Educational Computer Games for Preschoolers

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on September 28, 2012

Forget board games and puzzles, the latest craze in the ‘get smart' range of toys and games in the kiddy market are computer games. Interactive and educational computer games are now the tech toy of choice for parents, teachers and children. Educational computer games for kids are available in a host of different avatars ranging from those used with hand held devices or gaming consoles or those that are used with a computer, laptop or even your television set at home.


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Preschool computer games usually use popular cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse or Winnie to Pooh to entice the child and capture his attention. There are games designed to teach kids to learn shapes and colors, introduce number concepts and alphabets and improve hand-eye co-ordination and thinking skills. Most preschool computer games have colorful buttons, easy to use controls and big letters to make the content age appropriate.

Many parents consider them a better alternative to watching television and hope that introducing kids to the computer early on will create a comfort level when it comes to using technology, as they grow older.

To understand how computer games can help your toddler, it's important to know exactly where your child is on the developmental scale. Between the ages of one to four, it's all about exploration. From touch to taste, sight to sound, your toddler can't get enough of new things. His curiosity is at an all time high and he is ready to learn more and more everyday. No doubt an ideal time to introduce the computer screen or television you might say. But several experts insist that time spent in front of a screen (either computer or TV) should be limited to half an hour a day for toddlers. Better ways to stimulate their minds and imagination are through face-to-face conversations, story telling, and play activities. If you are still keen on setting your child off on his technological journey, read on to know what you should and should not do when it comes to computer games and young children…

Tips for Choosing Computer Games

While it is impossible to list out all the good educational and fun computer games, what we can do is give you a list of things to think of when choosing a computer game for your toddler:

  • Check the content - If the game is too complicated or has too many instructions, it goes without saying that your child will lose interest very fast. Age appropriate content for toddlers usually involves story telling, bright colors, simple instructions and enjoyable music.
  • Say no to violence - Any form of violence including the type seen in cartoons can affect young children. Studies show that kids exhibit more aggressive behavior after seeing violence on screen so choose those games carefully.
  • Easy controls - There is a certain degree of fine motor skills required to use a mouse or use the different keys on a keyboard. Young children will find games that require fast reflexes and intricate mouse controls very frustrating. Games that include simple puzzles or drawing and easy navigation are the best options.
  • Open ended games - Try not to choose games that are competitive or have definite right or wrong answers. Rather look for games that are open-ended such as art or building games that let a child's imagination flourish.
  • Ratings alert - Every game comes with a rating assigned by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). These ratings should be treated as a guide and parents can ultimately use their discretion when it comes to buying the game. For a complete list of ESRB ratings and explanations about why they have been assigned, visit For toddlers and young children, a rating of EC (Early Childhood) is the best option.
  • Review in advance - The Internet is a marvelous tool for parents. Before you even go into a shop to buy a game, you can read reviews of recommended games online. Doing your research in advance will help narrow down your choices and help you make an informed decision.
  • Test it out - Before buying a computer game for your child, ask if you have a free demo. You can then check for yourself if the content is appropriate and in keeping with your family values and personal choices.
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