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Here is the second set of reviews written by my students. This time they are covering software – some is for the DS, some for the Wii, some for PC and some for Macs. Some have versions for all of these. Most of the games selected by my students are also ones my own children have played – and I agree with their choices. All these games are both educational and fun.
And a reminder that I offered my students 50% of my affiliate earnings when people bought any of the products they reviewed.
From Amy V
I’ve grown up playing this game. From an early age, my siblings and I would build amazing amusement parks with it. I liked to make crazy rollercoasters that only the bravest visitors would dare ride. Of course, I soon found out that it doesn’t make your park more popular, or earn you more money. I borrowed so much money from the bank, it wouldn’t let me borrow any more. So I learned that you had to build attractions that didn’t cost about 50,000 dollars, and would actually attract visitors.
This game is great for teaching how to manage money, in a way that kids won’t realize they are actually learning anything. You get too caught up in designing your amusement park, to realize you are learning economics. This game is great for about 6-12 year olds.
** This does work on Amy’s Windows 8 laptop.
From Tim H
In Age of Empires 3
you start with a few villagers and you build a town and army with wood, food, gold, and stone.
You can build stuff from houses to castles and spearman to trebuchet. You can play a campaign or the computer. When you play the computer you build a big army and destroy the enemy.
PS: this is rated 10 and up. (ie it has a Teen rating – as it has mild violence)
Age of Mythology
is from the same game maker as the one above. In this you can build stuff ranging from temples to tents and minotaurs to Greek archers.
This game is rated 10+
From Jonathan Z
Civilization is a fun, educational, and strategic computer game. Civilization (also known as Civ) is a game where you are the head of a nation. Your job is to have your nation be more powerful, more cultural, more scientific, and richer than any other nation.
The game starts in 4000 B.C., and ends in 2050 A.D., 500 turns later. There are normally 2-8 players in a game. You can customize multiple things per game. You can change the difficulty level, your country, the map size, and the victory conditions.
Game-winning options include: having the most score when time runs out, having three times as much culture as the nearest competitor, being the first to build a spaceship and launch it, destroying your competitors, or killing all the enemy kings.
There are many different aspects of running your nation. You choose where to build cities, whether to build a library or a dock in a city, where to move your soldiers, where to build roads and forts, whether or not to trade with other countries, or how much research you want to do. By researching technologies, you can have more building options.
There are four different ages: the Ancient Age, the Medieval Age, the Industrial Age, and the Modern Age. After you have researched certain technologies in an age, you can move to the next age.
Civ teaches you how to think strategically, become familiar with the names of different historical empires, such as the Zulu or Iroquois, learn the names of their major cities, and how to manage your resources. Civilization is best for people ages 10 and up, and takes 24-48 hours to play. However, you can save the game and exit at any time. Civilization is a computer game that helps you learn history, geography, and economics while have fun at the same time.
From Sami I
Minecraft- This pixelated indie game brings out the spirit of imagination in the way its various types of blocks create limitless possibilities. Whether you’re fighting off endermen in survival mode, or building the castle of your dreams in creative mode, you will always have something to do, as periodic updates spice up the gameplay. With versions for the PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox 360, and PS3, there’s sure to be a way you can experience this simplistic masterpiece. (Amazon only has Minecraft for some platforms. For others visit the Minecraft website)
- This classic adventure game kindles the fire of imagination in a child’s mind, and teaches then how to keep track of money, food, and more!
Many of us know it as the game played on those old computers at school, and now it’s on the Wii! I recommend this game to anyone with a sense of adventure.
If you want a fun and educational toy to give as a gift for Christmas, I would recommend any game in the Carmen Sandiego Series
, for the PC and Mac. These games are a fun, point-and-click adventure, chronicling the chase for the world’s greatest thief, Carmen Sandiego.
All of the games in the series are comical, with lots of wordplay. Yet it still feels urgent, like you’re actually tracking down a thief. With all these pros, you’re sure to have an interesting and engaging adventure while learning geography, history, and more along the way. I myself have played Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? and highly recommend them to any kid who knows how to use a computer.
Another computer series I recommend is the Math Blaster series
. This series takes math, reading, and more to a whole new level with a story to the game.
The series covers everything from simple addition to geometry! Wherever your child is in their path for math, the Math Blaster series is for them!
and Big Brain Academy
- These Nintendo series test and train your brain all while keeping it interesting. With tests such as Sudoku, memorization puzzles, and a test called “Number Cruncher” it will surely be a interesting and scientific experience.
With games for the Wii, DS, and 3DS, if you have a Nintendo console or handheld, you will easily be able to get and play these games. (Wii games can be played on the Wii U, and DS games can be played on 3DS.
I Spy Series
- This CD-Rom series sharpens your eyes while you find a diverse amount of objects.
Whether the theme be a school or a spooky mansion, you will be challenged by the genius placing and camouflaging of the objects in the I Spy series.
and Leappad Explorer are great learning devices that are disguised as a handheld console. These two handheld/tablets have many options for games to chose from with their favorite Disney characters, such as Mike and Sully from Monsters University, Phineas and Ferb, Rapunzel from Tangled, and much more!
All of these cartridge based games come with a helpful age suggestion, with topics ranging from reading to math to life skills! These devices can be taken anywhere, as long as they are charged up.(The age range for these is 3-8 years old, depending on the game)
Please share any more ideas you have in the Comments.