When it comes to teaching geography and historical facts to kids, social studies games make it easier for them to understand the content. Flashcards are great, but they can get old quickly. Games help kids learn at a slower, more controlled pace so that they can absorb the information.
Many social studies games for kids are interactive, contain current events, and make it fun through puzzles, videos, and games. If you have a child who has trouble remembering specific facts and dates, there are several fun and free educational games that will help them learn and remember history and geography.
Buying social studies games or subscribing can cost upwards of $15. We found quite a selection of free games that are ideal for supplemental learning, homeschoolers, or just because they love the topic. Try these kids’ games as well:
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Here are our favorite social studies games for kids:
If you’re looking for a comprehensive social studies education, head over to the HistoryforKids website. I used this channel when I was homeschooling my two small children during the pandemic. There are coloring pages, worksheets, quizzes, and videos to help kids learn about cities, countries, and continents, along with time periods like The Middle Ages and Ancient Egypt.
2. National Geographic
National Geographic no longer prints physical magazines, but they do have an eclectic online assortment for pre-K to eighth grade kids. There are a lot of free options to explore:
- Resource Library: You’ll find everything from encyclopedia entries to articles and videos to games. Their social studies area (under Subjects on the left-hand side) has 750 entries. There are brain games and educational videos covering social civilizations, geography, world history, and conservation. Learning tools on biology, arts, music, and motor skills are available, too.
- Kahoot!: Students in grades 5 – 8 can test their knowledge of the world in interactive online games. I’ve seen ancient civilization topics on Inca, China, and Egypt. If you create a free account, you can bookmark your favorites, but there is a guest account option to view the content.
3. PBS Kids
PBS Kids is a fun option to improve your kid’s knowledge of U.S. and world geography. The games use popular PBS characters like Luna, Arthur, Molly of Denali, and Clifford the Big Red Dog to guide younger kids through adventures. In addition to the voice-guided games, there are printable activities and videos of aired episodes.
Parents and teachers will appreciate the easy navigation and colorful format of ABCya. Kids from pre-K to sixth grade can play free social studies games. In the USA Geography Puzzle game, kids can choose between an easy or hard version where they’re challenged to click and drag states to their correct spot on the map.
To learn more about a country’s facts, World BINGO lets kids choose from six continents, then decide on capitals, flags, or both. Finally, you’ll pick the grid size (3X3, 4X4, 5X5) before starting. If you keep too many incorrect answers, you can try again or move on to a new game.
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PrimaryGames offers over 1,000 fun and interactive games for kids in grades K – 6. The site offers reading, math, science, and social studies games. The social studies games test your knowledge of capitals, presidents, history, world flags, and more.
Name that President shows pictures of presidents and gives four possible answers to choose from to identify them. When the right answer is chosen, an interesting fact about the president is revealed. The answers are voiced, so kids won’t feel overwhelmed to read everything.
I know we’re addressing social studies games, but Education.com has a plethora of resources that shouldn’t be missed. There’s content for kids in preschool to eighth grade, including science, math, and of course, social studies. Specifically, the website includes free printable worksheets on topics like the 13 colonies, the history of hip-hop music, reading a map, and the U.S. Constitution. You’ll have to create an account, but it’ll get you access to lesson plans, and you can assign worksheets digitally.
7. Mr. Nussbaum
The games on Mr. Nussbaum were all created and designed by a teacher. The social studies and geography games are for grades K – 6 and are sorted by subject and grade. My kids enjoy News City Pizza, a video game where you drive a car and deliver pizza while learning directions (north, south, east, and west). You are fined for running red lights and get bonuses for correct deliveries.
I came across a unique list of social studies games on Study.com, a division of Education.com. The ideas are geared towards teachers and offer fun classroom activities to instruct kids on history and geography. For instance, there’s an explanation of how to play historical charades and directions for making DIY board games.
9. Kids Social Studies
Designed for second through fifth graders, Kidssocialstudies has interactive online quizzes on topics like geography, politics, U.S. events, government, and how society works. You’ll find voice-guided games with multiple-choice questions. The website also has printable worksheets, board games, flashcards, and PowerPoint downloads.
Learninggamesforkids offers free games on U.S. states, inventors, U.S. presidents, and women’s history. If you go to the Games Categories list, you’ll find several additional options like printables, educational resources and songs, keyboarding games, and spelling games. My kids enjoy the VocabularySpellingCity word search games that go along with the topics.