I've always thought that science should be fun and exciting. Unfortunately, not all science teachers inspire students to be more interested in the subject. On a quest to find ways to infuse fun into science, I found the following websites with fun and free science games for kids (and kids at heart).
1. Sheppard Software
This site has an impressive selection of games and activities for kids of all ages. The games are sorted by grade level and topic: science, math, social studies and language arts. All games are free, and no registration is required. There are science games for both young kids (Seasons, an online coloring game with animation) and older kids (Life Cycles, where you help an animal complete its life cycle).
This site is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species. The games are free and revolve around all types of animals, from insects to mammals. Many of the games are so much fun that your kids won’t even think about the fact that they’re learning! For example, in the game Tripwire of Terror, you help save a spider trapped in a web. My daughter thought it was just for fun, but as she played she learned all about the Ladybug Spider and how and why spiders make webs.
For some reason, young kids seem to be fascinated with bugs and rodents—and this site is perfect for them! There are four educational games that your kids will enjoy while they learn about insects and rodents. The site is ideal for grades 3–5, but any kid (or kid at heart) with an interest in bugs will enjoy games like Pest Detective, where you solve the case of a pest home invasion, clicking on images and bug “suspects” to determine which pest caused the damage.
4. NASA Games
The NASA website has a special page of games just for kids. There are five fun games with different earth science themes. In the game Droplet and the Water Cycle, you can learn about the water cycle while playing a Mario-type game with a water droplet character. If your kids are interested, there is an entire kids-only page they can explore to learn more about the earth.
This site offers a variety of science games for kids of all ages. Games are divided into categories like earth science, biology, animals, physics and more. There are word searches sorted by different types of science words, crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles. Of course, there are also video games like Alchemist, which is a Tetris-like game that involves creating molecules to clear the board.
Discovery Kids (part of the Discovery Channel) has quiz games, strategy games, building games, and of course, Shark Week games! If your kids love Shark Week as much as mine do, these games will be a big hit. My daughter loves to play Shark Munch, a Pac-Man type game with sharks and squids.
7. National Geographic Channel Games
The National Geographic Channel website features two sets of games and activities for kids. The educational games are targeted to grades K–12. They are interactive adventure-based games on topics from the ocean to your human footprint. The Human Footprint game shows how much of different items like eggs and newspaper you consume in your lifetime. My daughter enjoyed seeing how much bread the average person eats. On the National Geographic Channel Kids page, there are even more games. These games are geared toward younger kids (K–8), and include more adventure games as well as quizzes and puzzles.
The Nobel Prize website has great games designed for students from middle school through college. The site boasts, "These games and simulations, based on Nobel Prize-awarded achievements, will teach and inspire you while you're having FUN!" They are definitely more challenging and specific than the games on other sites listed here, but you learn a bit of history along with the science fun. My favorite games are the Blood Typing Game and DNA–The Double Helix, where you create matching DNA structures in a limited amount of time while learning about DNA.
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