Good Suggestions for First-time Computer Games

Updated on September 11, 2012
H.W. asks from Portland, OR
5 answers

So, today's featured post on the secrets of kindergarten suggested that kids need to be somewhat familiar with computers for tests.
Kiddo is five and we've held off on computer games for a lot of good reasons. One important one is that he has some vision issues and computer/viewing time can be a passive viewing activity... not so helpful for him. When I refer to this activity as "passive viewing", I'm referring specifically to eye function and his eye dysfunction. Please don't think I'm suggesting the games would make him a thoughtless zombie.

That said, I'm looking for some very basic educational intro-type computer games for him. Please, no 'characters' if possible.(For clarity's sake, by 'characters' I mean Thomas, Dora, Luke Skywalker... that sort of thing. Big merchanised characters. Yes, I know, I am very old school.)
Any suggestions, or suggestions for places to go to find this stuff?

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Thanks for the suggestions thus far.

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

Very Beginner
((Our favorite in the iSpy series is iSpySpookyMansion, which is in a different area / can be downloaded through several other sites as well, like BigFish... or bought in CD format from Amazon)) (has characters)

Somewhat more advanced
ClueFinders / Carmen SanDiego / ReaderRabbit (games) (has characters, as a heads up)

Somewhat even more advanced

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Hi H.,
1) I don't know what kind of computer you have or the specifics of your son's vision issues... but anyway, per Kindergarten and per my kids when they were that age... they and the school used "Kid Pix" (it is a software. Google search it, or you can buy it at an Apple store).

They also have computer class at school.
And yes, they or at least my kids, know how to use a computer. At school they use Apple computers... because, it is very easy to use and very intuitive.

2) There is also:
Just do a Google search on it. I know lots of parents that use this.
It is educational "games" for the computer.

3) ALSO:
(this is good and free)
It teaches children how to "type" and it is free and was suggested by my daughter's teacher.

But yes, a child does have to learn how to use a computer and/or type.
Because, it is not only for tests... but for their general knowledge. Learning is via computers, in school too, and per their assignments, overall.

At home, well my youngest is now 6, and he before then, could use a computer. We're a tech family anyway, but my Hubby even taught him to make stop action movies on our Apple computer. Kids can learn anything. Computers are not necessarily "bad." It is about what... you teach them... and the fun of it. As I said, my son and even my daughter... learned how to use various applications and software on our computer. Even making movies.... by filming their own ideas for a "movie" and then we taught them the movie making software, and they can make those stop action movies. This is also "educational." For example.

But again, my opinion is... that kids do not learn computers ONLY for test taking. It is an overall, learning and a vehicle for learning. And it is NOT just a "passive" activity. It is and can be, very interactive. And it is also, how a parent engages their child, on the computer and teaches them... things as well, WHILE using the computer. Therefore, it is not a "passive" activity that they do alone. My son for example, also LOVES to do "research" on the computer to look up insects and dinosaurs and sea creatures. Which he loves. We do it WITH him.

4) Here are some other suggestions (all free online):

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi, the characters is what makes the games entertaining. In the world of computers everything is characters.

I suggest you try some Jump Start games. Our grandkids were playing them at 3 and there are different levels of games for each grade of school. They go along with what skills the kids are learning and they are a lot of fun.

Computers are not just for learning and he won't be just learning when he goes online to the school pages they recommend. He'll be playing games of all kinds because they teach him stuff while he's playing.

It's like doing the Hokey Pokey. You don't think about the educational purpose of that song. It teaches left and right, it teaches the kids to do what they're told, teaches them to do something that is movement, it sure teaches listening skills, all these things are needed skills to have in kindergarten and before.

But how many parents might not let their kids do the Hokey Pokey because they think it's just a silly little song that is a waste of's a teaching tool that was made to make learning fun in a back door kind of way.

The same with computer games and programs. The more enjoyable it is and fun the more they absorb and learn.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on
It's free! It's educational! It's fun!

I haven't looked into these as much, but seems worth checking out. They are put out by the British Broadcasting Borporation (BBC).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My almost-5-yr-old loves and I like those because they actually learn while playing.

1 mom found this helpful
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