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Six Science Games Websites for Children: Fun and Educational

Linda Crampton has an honors degree in biology. She has taught high school biology, chemistry, and physics as well as middle school science.

Science games enable students to learn about important topics while having fun.

Science games enable students to learn about important topics while having fun.

Educational Games on the Internet

The Internet is a wonderful resource for teachers. It offers activities that are both entertaining and educational for children. Playing online games can be a great way for students to learn about science and have fun at the same time.

A wide variety of science games are available on the Internet. They cover many different topics and are available for all ages, from kindergarten to high school. Some games are only weakly related to science, however. Others are very educational but can be boring for children. The best games sites get the balance between education and fun just right. Luckily, many websites meet this requirement.

The sites that I describe below are the ones that I've used most often with my students. Some are best for younger children while others work better for older ones. All of them provide a free and entertaining way for students to learn about science. It would be a good idea for teachers or parents to explore the sites before children use them, though. It's important to discover whether particular games are suitable for a curriculum or for specific students.

Sheppard Software screenshot

Sheppard Software screenshot

Sheppard Software Games

The Sheppard Software website has a large collection of games in science, math, language arts, geography, history, and topics related to the USA. The site also contains informative articles, quizzes, puzzles, and brain games. In addition, it includes a paint program for very young children. The program lets children choose a habitat, colour the different parts of the background, and then drag appropriate animals into the picture.

The games are both entertaining and educational. The site contains age-appropriate activities for everyone, from preschool to adults (or so the people who run the site claim). An example of one of the games is shown in the video below.

When this article was last updated, a message on the Sheppard Software site said that the games are being converted so that they can run on all devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. This could be useful for an individual that has a single device and for schools that have a class set of a single type of device.

Sheppard Software is a useful site for educators and students. There's a link to science games on the home page. The website contains other sections that would be helpful for a science curriculum. These include the Animals, Health, Nutrition, and Chemistry sections. Each of these sections has games that students can play. It's definitely worth exploring everything that the site has to offer.

A Review of Sheppard Software Cell Games

The Science Kids Website

Science Kids has lots of games for children. The games teach important concepts in science. The main topics covered by the site are animals, biology, chemistry, physics, space, weather, and technology.

The Science Kids website is very useful because it contains far more than science games. The site has facts, instructions, and explanations for experiments as well as project suggestions. In addition, it offers puzzles for students to solve, including quizzes, word searches, and word scrambles.

The site also contains videos, free photos for presentations, a science joke page, and a lesson plan section for educators. Like the Sheppard Software site, Science Kids is a big website that is worth exploring. It's a great resource that takes a long time to fully examine.

Science Kids screenshot

Science Kids screenshot

We’re not saying the whole curriculum turns into this big game. We’re saying it’s an adjunct to a serious curriculum.

— Bill Gates

Read More From Owlcation

Two University of California Sites

The Lawrence Hall of Science website and another site that it runs (howtosmile.org) offer some interesting and worthy activities for children. Both sites belong to the University of California.

The "Play" menu at the top of the home page of the Hall of Science website leads to a small set of activities. The howtosmile website has a very large collection of activities. The site says that they have "almost 3,500 of the very best STEM activities on the web".

Currently, the topics on the second site are as follows.

  • Ocean Literacy
  • Astronomy
  • Energy
  • Cooking
  • PBS Shows
  • Climate
  • Life Sciences
  • Health and the Human Body
  • At-Home Activities
  • Chemistry

The site says its links go to activities, but a science activity can often be a game. Even when it's too much of a stretch to call a specific activity a game, it can still be fun.

The "Cooking" link on a science activity page might sound strange, but if you click on the link you'll find that the activities are related to the science of food and food preparation.

It is important to remember that educational software, like textbooks, is only one tool in the learning process. Neither can be a substitute for well-trained teachers, leadership, and parental involvement.

— Keith Krueger

PBS Kids Science Games screenshot

PBS Kids Science Games screenshot

PBS Kids Science Games

The PBS Kids Science Games site has an extensive collection of games for young elementary children. The games have a colourful and attractive design and are fun to play. They teach kids basic science facts in an entertaining way.

One very nice feature of the PBS site is that some of the game screens have a link to related information or activities. The linked sections include science facts for teachers and parents and printable puzzles and worksheets for children. There are also "Tell me more" tabs on some of the screens. These give kids additional facts and suggest new activities that they can perform at home. Some of the games are based on the PBS Kids television show called "Sid the Science Kid". The game screens have a video button that lets children see scenes from the show.

Television didn’t transform education. Neither will the internet. But it will be another tool for teachers to use in their effort to reach students in the classroom. It will also be a means by which students learn outside the classroom.

— John Palfrey

Science Zone Screenshot

Science Zone Screenshot

Mandy Barrow is an educator who has created a rich collection of resources for elementary students. The resources can be reached from the websites of both Woodlands Primary School in Kent, England, where Mandy used to work, and St John's CE Primary School in Kent, where she currently works. They can also be reached from Mandy's own website. The resource section described below is known as Science Zone and is located on the Primary Homework Help site.

The resources on the Science Zone page include information, activities, and links relating to science, math, literacy, history, and geography. They also include a science games page, which consists of links to other sites categorized by topic. Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, and Space Science are all represented. For example, the site contains links to game sites that let students assemble a skeleton, build electrical circuits, and play different instruments. Since the games come from other websites, the requirements for running them vary. Some of the ones that I've explored in recent times require the Adobe Flash player. Hopefully, they will be converted so that this is no longer a requirement, since Flash has been discontinued.

Some of the resources provided by the links on the site may be interesting for the general public as well as children. In fact, I found the science games when I was searching for information about an aspect of British culture that interested me. At that time, the cultural facts and science games were located on the same site. When I explored the website, I realized how useful it would be to educators. The information about British culture and history is now located on the Project Britain website.

There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.

— Nancy Kassebaum

A Drawback to the Site

Though I've found some good science resources on the website described above and it can be fun to explore, the site has a problem. There is a drawback to creating a big list of resources found on other sites, especially if the list isn't checked or updated regularly. Some of the links on the site no longer work. Others go to the correct home page but then require a search to find the new location of the resource.

Despite the problems, I think the site is worth exploring (before it's introduced to children) in order to find useful websites that are still in operation or to discover the new addresses for interesting resources. It's not a good site for children to explore on their own due to the frustration that might arise when they discover that some of the links are broken.

Edheads screenshot

Edheads screenshot

Edheads

Until recently, Edheads was a wonderful site with some excellent games for children and teenagers (and perhaps for some adults). The games had advanced features and were very educational. Edheads was my favourite science game site for my high school students. Unfortunately, the site has problems today. It still exists, however, so I'm hoping that it will eventually return to its former glory.

The screenshot above and the video below show how the website once looked. In the recent past, the site offered activities (or games) in which students performed virtual surgery while learning about surgical techniques and the human body. Virtual operations included brain surgery, knee surgery, hip surgery, and aorta surgery. The site classified the virtual surgery games as being suitable for grades 7 to 12+.

The Edheads site contained other science games in addition to the virtual surgeries. These included a simple machines game and a compound machine game for grades 2 to 6, a weather game for grades 4 to 9, a crash scene investigation activity for grades 9 to 12+, and a nanoparticle activity for Grades 10 to 12+. The site also had an activity in which students helped to design a cell phone for seniors. In addition, it contained several stem cell activities. The website provided teacher's guides and a resources section.

Unfortunately for visitors, fourteen of the ninteen the games eventually required a fee. Schools had to purchase a membership in order to use them. The membership fee for a relatively small group of students wasn't exorbitant, however.

The site's problems seemed to have begun when Adobe Flash was discontinued and the games had to.be converted to HTML5. The activities are complex and probably take a long time to create. When this article was last updated, four games were listed on the site, but the links to them didn't work. I hope that work is being done to restore the site to functionality.

Edheads Simple Machines and Design a Cell Phone Overview

Learning Science via the Internet

The Internet is a great source of science information for all ages. Facts, virtual experiments, videos, podcasts, practice exams, online courses, the latest science news, and games are all available for someone who has access to the Internet.

Playing games can be a very effective way to help students learn about science. I've reviewed my favourite games websites, but many others exist. Teachers in schools and at home can choose from a wide variety of online activities. It's highly likely that at least some of these activities will be both fun and educational for their students.

Website References

© 2012 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 22, 2013:

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, ARUN KANTI.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE from KOLKATA on May 22, 2013:

Thank you very much for sharing the informative hub which should be helpful for the teachers and parents.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 21, 2013:

Thanks for commenting, truthfornow. Yes, I think the websites would make it fun to study science!

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on May 21, 2013:

I think all these websites would be cool and fun for kids to learn science and make it seem less intimidating.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 21, 2013:

Thank you, RTalloni! I appreciate your comment and the pin. I hope that the hub is useful to parents - and to grandparents!

RTalloni on May 21, 2013:

Glad to find this resource for online science games. Pinning to my Home Education board and looking forward to hopefully visiting some of these sites with my grandchildren one day. :) Summer time can be learning time and this should be helpful to parents everywhere!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 14, 2012:

Thank you so much for the comment and the votes, Peggy. I appreciate your visit!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 14, 2012:

I think that anytime one can encourage a child's interest in science it is good and if games spark that interest...that is great. Wonderful review of the different games available on websites. Up and useful votes!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 14, 2012:

Thank you for the comment and the vote, Eddy, and thanks for sharing the hub with your family, too!

Eiddwen from Wales on November 14, 2012:

A great share which I will be handing on to my family. I vote up and thank you so much for a great hub and here's to so many more for us both to share on here.

Eddy.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 13, 2012:

Thank you for the comment, Deb! I appreciate it.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on November 13, 2012:

This is sure terrific for kids instead of them playing all those fantasy and shoot 'em up games. Great article!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 13, 2012:

Thank you very much, drbj. I agree with you - the video about germs is clever!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on November 13, 2012:

These science websites are excellent tools for making learning interesting and fun for children. Thank you for sharing them, Alicia. And the germy video is clever.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 13, 2012:

Thanks for the comment and the vote, PaisleeGal! I appreciate them both.

Pat Materna from Memphis, Tennessee, USA on November 13, 2012:

Alicia.. another good hub ! Thanks for sharing the info. It will be useful when my grandson visits. Things have changed so much since his dad was a kid. Voted up.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 12, 2012:

Thanks, Bill. I appreciate your visit and comment. These sites certainly are useful!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 12, 2012:

I am familiar with several of these from my teaching days. Well done; great information for teachers and/or parents and/or students. :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 12, 2012:

Thanks for the visit and the comment, Kris! Yes, a good interactive science website is a great way to stimulate students' interest in science.

Kris Heeter from Indiana on November 12, 2012:

I'm glad to see that there are several interactive science websites like these for kids. The early they become interested in the science the more likely they might be to pursue a those interests into adulthood as either hobbies are careers. I know I got hooked in the the 4th grade thanks to an interactive science project! Great hub!

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