School has looked a lot different lately - students of all ages and levels have had to adapt to learning at home and over Zoom. While social distancing and staying at home during coronavirus-related lockdowns, so many of the traditional ways of learning and teaching are unavailable to us. But luckily, we've got video games!

Video games aren't all about defeating enemies or having epic adventures. Some games blend traditional gameplay mechanics with educational content, teaching players everything from geography and vocabulary, to math, typing, history, and more.

Here's just a few educational games kids (and lifelong learners of all ages!) should try out during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Keep in mind that all age ranges presented here are merely suggestions. Each individual child is different, and parents should choose the games which best suit their child.

Kate's Personal Recommendation: Mario Teaches Typing

Edu Mario

Topic: Typing

Suggested Age Range: 6-12

The educational game that I remember most fondly from my childhood, Mario Teaches Typing debuted for PC in the early 1990s. It tells the story of Mario and Luigi discovering an enchanted typewriter which sends them on an epic adventure. Help them travel through levels and defeat classic enemies like Goombas by typing the letters, words and phrases shown on screen. The original Mario Teaches Typing is now available to play online totally free!

Epistory - Typing Chronicles

Edu Epistory

Topic: Typing

Suggested Age Range: 8+

A more modern take on game-ified typing, Epistory is an action adventure game taking place in a stunningly designed fantasy world. Players can learn to type words of varying difficulties as they travel through the game's world. Best of all, Epistory goes beyond simply teaching typing. The game takes place from the point of view of a writer, and explains the steps of the creative process, which might just inspire your kids to create their very own stories!

LittleBigPlanet Series

Topic: Problem Solving & Logical Thinking

Suggested Age Range: 7+

This ongoing series of puzzle platforming games requires players to develop their logical thinking skills as they explore a world that is truly just as big and exciting as the name suggests. Kids can improve their ability to solve problems as they decide how to approach each obstacle and level they face. Plus, the game's aesthetics are adorable and comforting, with protagonist Sackboy being a friendly presence who players of all ages will quickly grow to love. LittleBigPlanet games can be found on PS3, PS4, and PS Vita.

MathLand

Edu Mathland

Topic: Math

Suggested Age Range: 5-9

In MathLand for the Nintendo Switch, kids will help the pirate Ray recover stolen gems from his enemy, the bad pirate Max. Travel between 25 exciting islands as you learn addition, subtraction and multiplication. The game features multiple difficulty levels, ranging from basic addition and subtraction with small numbers to beginner multiplication tables, number sorting and mental math. Yar, mateys, it's time for a math adventure!

Discovery Tours Assassin's Creed Origins & Odyssey

DiscoveryTour

Topic: History, Culture, Geography

Suggested Age Range: 12+

Inspired by their popular Assassin's Creed series, Ubisoft has created the Discovery Tours, educational explorations of Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt. Players will travel around beautifully rendered locations originally designed for Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Origins while they learn about history, art, culture, and more. Includes written and narrated segments created alongside museum curators and other historical experts from around the world. Discovery Tours is already available in the two Assassin's Creed titlesbut can also be bought separately on the Ubisoft store. 

Carmen Sandiego Series

Edu Carmen

Topic: Geography & Puzzle Solving

Suggested Age Range: 7+

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? You and your kids can find out together! This series of games stars a sneaky thief who likes to steal important artifacts and treasures and hide out in various locations around the world. Players will learn facts about geography while tracing Carmen's whereabouts. New entries in the series were created in partnership with Google Earth and utilize stunning visuals provided by satellite, as well as teaching how to use this valuable and educational software.

Minecraft and Minecraft: Education Edition

MinecraftBirthday

Topic: Building, Physics, Design, Collaboration, Creativity

Suggested Age Range: All Ages

Minecraft is one of the most popular video games in the world, and a huge part of its success is the sense of learning and community it fosters. This game of building and exploring develops creativity in players, while also teaching them about the fundamentals of construction and design. Plus, it's great for parents and children to play together in collaborative mode. Educators and parents should also check out Minecraft: Education Edition, designed specifically for use in the classroom.

Rabbids Coding

Edu Coding

Topic: Coding

Suggested Age Range: 7+

Those rascally Rabbids have gotten a ship and taken off for space - but their playing has created a horrible mess! Players will learn and utilize the basics of coding in order to instruct the Rabbids on how to clean up their spaceship. While there's lots of games geared towards teaching kids coding and helping them get more familiar with their computers, Rabbids Coding has the extra benefit of being completely FREE! It can be downloaded via Ubisoft's website.

My Word Coach

Edu WordCoach

Topic: Reading & Vocabulary

Suggested Age Range: 10+

Another Ubisoft entry, My Word Coach is focused on vocabulary, with a dictionary of over 17,000 words for players to learn. Word difficulty ranges from beginner to advanced - there's even some SAT words in there! Learn words through a number of fun minigames with plenty of replay value. There are even five minigames with multiplayer options so that kids can learn together with family and friends.

Math Blaster

Edu Blaster

Topic: Math

Suggested Age Range: All Ages

The Math Blaster series includes PC games, console games, and now an online and mobile experience where your kids can learn math and play fun math games together with learners around the world. Team up with math-loving spacefarers in order to save the galaxy from enemies who wish to destroy math forever. The Math Blaster website also includes worksheets, game suggestions and resources for teachers and parents.

World RescueEdu Worldrescue

Topic: Sustainability, Ecology, Healthy Living

Suggested Age Range: 9+

This game takes the leading research into sustainability, world environmental goals and healthy living and re-imagines them in a way that combines learning and fun. Kids will meet a range of young activist characters as they travel around the world solving problems in locations ranging from Kenya to Norway, and Brazil to China. Learn real-world strategies for dealing with real issues including pollution, deforestation, disease, and more.

Just for Fun: New Pokémon Snap

Edu Snap

Topic: Having fun with your family!

Suggested Age Range: All ages

Video games make a great learning tool, but don't forget that they're ALSO a great way to relax, have fun and experience some quality family bonding time. One game that's set to be fun for the whole family is the upcoming Nintendo Switch title New Pokémon Snap, in which players take on the role of a photographer tasked with taking pictures of Pokémon in their natural habitat.


What's your favorite educational game? Anything that you feel should be added to this list? Let us know!