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October 29, 2010

Lisa’s Top Picks: Great PC and Online Games for Your Child

If your house is anything like mine, then you likely find your child spending an increasing amount of time online playing games. My oldest daughter Lil loves Nick Jr.’s game website. While she enjoys interacting with her favorite Nick Jr. characters, I’m in favor of this site because of the wide variety of games and for its organizational structure of age appropriate material for preschool through early grade school. I’ve also been impressed with the educational aspect in each game, as she’s getting help learning how to spell, problem solve and use her imagination to create.

With that, I’m always looking for new and interesting gaming options. Here are my recommendations for great kid-friendly and family oriented games which are fun but also encourage learning. You’ll find yourself getting into the action of these great games with your child!

  • Itza Zoo – Based on research for how children learn, this game is targeted at a younger age group, recommended for age 4 and up. Your child visits various places in a zoo with the task of drawing pictures into the zoo scenery, while also interacting with the animals. Why I love this game? It’s great for encouraging development of reading skills.
  • Zoo Tycoon 2 – While this game is suitable for all ages, it’s largely targeted at ages 10 and up and is a fun one for parents to play with kids. Build and manage a zoo in 3D and learn how to care for animals. A great interactive game pushing the bounds of creativity.
  • Bookworm Adventures – A fun vocabulary game with a twist as users battle monsters by forming words from random letters. I love the challenging nature of this game for older kids.
  • Zuma – Set in the ancient temples of Zuma, this action puzzler has you shoot magic balls from your stone frog idol to make matches of three or more colors before the chain reaches the golden skull. I have to admit that in testing out this game, I got sucked in and spent about an hour of rather intense play.
  • Plants vs. Zombies – This is my personal favorite, along with several of my work colleagues. This strategy game has several modes, including adventure, puzzle, and survival. In your own front yard and with the use of plants, battle zombies trying to invade your home.

For all parents I also recommend vising the Get Game Smart website which provides helpful tips for all types of gaming and age levels on content, access and managing your family’s home PC game environment by setting parental controls.