Lay a Solid Foundation of Learning With First Grade Educational Games

First grade is an important transitional year for many children. At this point, they are leaving behind the play-centered learning of preschool and kindergarten and moving on to a stricter learning environment they will spend a majority of their time in for the coming years. However, parents and teachers can still use first grade educational games to keep learning fun so you can set a more solid foundation for the rest of the schooling years.

Video Games

Your children love to play video games. However, it is important to restrict the amount of time spent playing games that have no educational value. This doesn’t mean you can’t allow your child to play games online. Instead, it means you need to focus on finding educational video games that will help reinforce the information your child is learning in school, helping him more firmly grasp the concepts so he can succeed in his new environment.

Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way for you to help your child’s important critical thinking skills. First grade educational games that incorporate puzzles of some type will challenge your child to really think about the problem and how to best solve it. The type of thinking required to solve puzzles is different than the way children think for other aspects of school. Exercising their brain with these puzzles is important to their long-term success for this reason.

Other Activities

In some cases, online educational game sites offer additional activities that can be used in the classroom or at home to supplement the learning at school. These activities may be science experiments you can perform together or worksheets you can print up for your child to complete. Children learn by so many methods it is important to be able to offer a variety of methods to your child to ensure his success.

First grade educational games are the perfect way to make sure your child transitions well to the more rigorous curriculum that comes after preschool and kindergarten. Finding a website that provides video games, puzzles and other activities will allow you to supplement your child’s education and make sure he is fully grasping the important concepts he needs to move forward through his school years successfully. First grade is the perfect time to set the foundation your child needs in the years to come. With the help of online games, you can make sure learning is still fun.

Gadgets and Apps – Welcome to the Future of Travel

Travel’s facelift for the 21st century has been radical and far-reaching. Skype and wifi have replaced the ritual of calling home by feeding endless foreign coins into a phone box, updating your Facebook status is the new postcard, and travellers are increasingly likely to use ‘augmented reality’ rather than have a guidebook tucked under their arm.

If anything, the pace of change continues to quicken – exciting, sometimes mind-boggling innovations are appearing all the time, meaning how we interact with places and people keeps on evolving. Below are some of our favourite gizmos and gadgets.

iLingual

A phrasebook like no other – download the iLingual app, take a photo of your mouth, the app then has over 400 phrases your mouth can ‘say’. Cue the odd sight of travellers holding their iphones in front of their actual mouths as the screen ‘talks’. Watch a video for this app – a demo is better than any written explanation. Only a few languages on offer at the moment, but it can’t be long until iPhone-bearded travellers are pow-wowing in Swahili on the Serengeti savannah.

Word Lens

Very Star Trek this one, another app for those struggling with mastering a foreign language. Word Lens only currently translates English-Spanish, but it’s a neat idea and could be genuinely useful. All you need to do is aim your iPhone camera at some printed text and Word Lens translates it in realtime. You need never struggle over a foreign language newspaper again (or at least not a Spanish language one).

Google goggles

Google goggles may just be the biggest game-changer of all. It’s still in its infancy, but the image recognition software is looking a pretty awesome and versatile travel tool. Here’s how it works: you’re strolling around a city, or a museum or gallery, you take a snap of something you want to know more about it, if Google recognises the subject of the image it will bring up search results. Cue instant expertise and a handy tool for appearing knowledgeable about, well, everything – from sourcing well-reviewed restaurants to enabling you to wax expertly on, say, pre-Incan Peruvian art. In other words, this may be the ultimate dating tool.

World Customs

We always give people who travel with us with plenty of tips and guidance about local cultures and etiquette in foreign countries, so this app is right up our street. Pick your country and then you’ll be presented with a load of helpful info on the destination – from law & order to religious etiquette to taboos. Great for sorting out your do’s from your don’ts.

And a couple of lower-tech gadgets we like…

Solar-powered LED light and water bottle cap

This one looks genuinely good doesn’t it? Mixing water and electricity perhaps isn’t intuitively clever, but the sealing means you’ve got nothing to worry about, and the light is supposed to be decent enough for a tent lantern. The idea of a solar-powered torch may lead cynics to snipe about artificial light being a little redundant if the sun is beating down, but ignore them – this has a good charge, is cheap, light and saves space, and is environmentally intelligent.

The daddy of all Swiss Army Knives

A supercharged multi-tool that looks like it’s on steroids. 87 tools on offer, including – at last! – a golf shoe spike wrench. All that’s missing is a flux capacitor. This one kilo treat fits snugly into your pocket, providing your pocket is 30cm long. A snip at nearly $1000AUD, plus postage, which presumably bumps the final price tag up a bit, not least because the instruction manual must run to a couple hundred pages.

Online Educational Games for Kids

If you’re looking for fun and creative ways to teach your children at home, or if you need to know how to make sure that your kids don’t forget all the things they’ve learned in school over the summer, you may want to find a few educational games for their age group. These games can be very entertaining, and will allow your son or daughter to retain information in a way that is fun and engaging. Here are some resources for finding the best – and most affordable – games.

The Fun Brain site has a great variety of educational games for kids of all ages. You can play the games online using the ‘arcade’ features, and there are even Web books for kids that you can download to give your child a fun summer reading list. If you want to make sure that your child does not forget basic math skills, you’ll definitely want to try Fun Brain games like Fresh Baked Fractions, a game that teaches children how to recognize and create fraction using segments of baked goods. Or, you may want to try Math Baseball, a game that teaches both sports strategy and counting.

For grammar retention, Scramble-Saurus is a great game that will teach children how to recognize letters and transform them into words. There are also a number of other educational games for kids on the site will teach motor skills and community awareness, and many of the games are available in Spanish as well.

If your child is in elementary school, Primary Games has educational games for this age group. Science games on the site include Ocean Fun, which teaches young children about the creatures that live underwater. You can print out coloring pages of underwater animals for your children to color as well, which is ideal if you’re home schooling or trying to keep your children productive during the summer. Language Arts games include Candy Land Dora, where Nick Jr.’s Dora the Explorer is the main character. Flip Words and Bouncing Letters are also great games that will teach your children how to properly form sentences and recognize the letter combinations that make up words.

If your children watch PBS often, you’ll definitely want to log onto PBS Kids to find educational games for them. Their favorite characters from PBS cartoons, like Caillou and Arthur are featured on the site, and there are lots of pages to download for coloring, as well as music that you can incorporate into your child’s math, science, or language lesson. You can sign up for a free trial to see if you like the services, and the monthly fee is definitely affordable.