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Take a break from learning once in a while with free educational games. Even simple Facebook games such as Candy Crush can teach you things like hand-eye coordination, strategy, and time management.

For example, level 8 of Candy Crush requires you to remove all the jelly beans in 20 moves or less. That sounds easy, but it requires strategy to line up the jelly beans in groups of 3 or more. Removing all the jelly beans in 20 moves or less is only doable if you line up one group that takes out several other groups at the same time.

The best educational games are those that don’t scream on the box or on the website that they are educational games. Learning is always more fun for the child and more successful for the child, the teacher, and the parent when it is not forced.

In fact, play is one of the most educational experiences a young child can have.  Playing teaches them to use their imagination (how do I get this round peg into this square hole?) as well as teaches them social skills (I need to share my toys with my friend). Play that includes physical activity teaches them how their muscles work and how to avoid injury (a word to the wise, trying to steer your bicycle with the left hand on the right handlebar and the right hand on the left handlebar isn’t going to work well! It was on a gravel road too, so I still have the scars on my knees and toes even 40 years later. It was an educational experience though.)

If you’re looking for educational internet games, Fun Brain has an assortment of free educational arcade games and other games, such as tic-tac-toe with a math twist. You can also play baseball with math at Fun Brain. Fun Brain is free to use.

Another site that provides a unique play experience is Wonder Rotunda. Wonder Rotunda doesn’t allow any advertising on their site, and it integrates educational content with technology and entertainment. Students can visit the Great Barrier Reef, run their own business, travel throughout the human body, or visit Washington D.C. on a VIP tour (all from the comfort of their own computer). Parents can also join Wonder Rotunda, and for a younger child this might be a great option. Wonder Rotunda costs $12.00 for a one year unlimited pass.

A couple of well-known multi-media channels offer educational games.

Discovery.com offers games, puzzles, quizzes, and interactive games for children from age 8 on up through adulthood. There are even some interactive games linked to some of their popular television shows such as Survivorman and the Deadliest Catch.  Some games are free to use and some have fees attached

Another multi-media channel that offers games is National Geographic (magazine, website, and television channel). They offer downloadable games, retail games, mobile games, online puzzles and quizzes, and childrens’ games for age 8 up through adulthood. Again, some games are free to use or download while others have fees attached.

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