True or false: Too much time on the computer will turn your child’s brain to mush. The answer? Both and neither. Any parent will tell you that one of the trickiest aspects of parenthood these days is navigating how to raise a child in the era of technology. Unfortunately, you really can’t micromanage everything your child consumes on a daily basis, but you can point them in the right direction. For example, you might not let your 9 year old have social media (fair), but you can grant them extra time on the computer if they’re playing kids computer games that get a parental stamp of approval.
Ah, computer games. Remember those? Shiny discs you used to pop into the computer, fictional storylines you’d lose yourself in before Facebook or, better yet, MySpace, was a thing. While some computer games are designed for sheer entertainment, others are designed with children in mind so that they can embark on digitized adventures that actually teach them something.
From hiking the Oregon Trail to fighting alien dictatorships, the best kids’ computer games are entertaining and have important life lessons and skills embedded in the storyline. These are some of the best kids’ computer games you’ll find these days — they’re oldies but goodies your kids will have fun playing, and you’ll feel good knowing their time spent on the computer isn’t time wasted.
Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
1. The Learning Company Oregon Trail 5th Edition
Is your child fascinated with the wild west? Oregon Trail from The Learning Company invites children nine years and older to blaze the trail in true pioneer style. Along the way they’ll encounter settlers from all different backgrounds — Irish, African American, Native American and more — traverse rapid waters, hunt, fish and search for food, piecing together their own historic adventure. The game takes them from the banks of the great Mississippi to the Willamette Valley, with seasoned trader Captain Jed Freedman to guide them. It’s equal parts interactive history lesson and problem solving activity, so you won’t mind giving your kiddo the OK to play for an extra few minutes.
2. I Spy Junior
No child’s computer game library is complete without one of these classic sensory games. This game will encourage them to put their thinking cap on by solving riddles in order to move objects, put together puppets, arrange props by shared characteristics, and more. From reading and thinking to early math skills, this is the ultimate way to engage all the senses at once.
3. Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Venice
If you have a mini detective on your hands, they won’t be able to stop playing this action-packed game. Filled with plenty of challenging obstacles to trace the phantom, this game will engage your child’s problem-solving skills. Spy on suspects and collect clues to solve the crime before anyone else. Best for older kids, this one is sure to keep them on their toes.