Common Sense Media says

Engaging games give kids safe, smart civics lessons.

Age(i)

2
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5
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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

An active engagement in community and government is encouraged throughout. A spirit of citizenship and volunteerism is also fostered. "Impact points" earned by game play can be applied to real community service projects; at the end of three months, those projects with the most points are awarded a substantial prize.
 

Violence

Some silly cartoon antics appear on several games, including anvils that are tossed toward -- but never on -- animated characters.
 

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

No personally identifiable information is used on the site. Kids who become members receive random secure screen names and those who join a "class" by entering a leader code are asked to use their first name and last initial only. Only those over 13 are welcome to use the site on their own, though younger kids are encouraged to visit with their parents.
 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that iCivics is a safe, educational site designed to help kids learn (and teachers teach) about civics topics, including democracy, constitutional law, the branches of government, elections, and campaigns. Using engaging, interactive games and innovative educational materials, the site aims to prepare American kids to become knowledgeable, engaged citizens of the 21st century. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor founded iCivics in 2009 to reverse the nation's declining civic knowledge and participation and to foster an understanding and respect for the U.S.'s system of governance. Kids, parents, and teachers alike will find a wealth of useful and entertaining materials at their fingertips.
 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • citizenship
  • government
  • power structures

Skills

Responsibility & Ethics

  • following codes of conduct
  • honoring the community
  • respect for others

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The blog gives feedback and a sense of community, but the site is mostly static.

Learning Approach

Games don't dumb down learning even though they're cute for middle and high schoolers. In fact, they clarify complex concepts.

Support

Each game has a detailed tutorial, and help screens in each support struggling players. Some games require a lot of reading, with no language translation available. Teacher materials connect the experience offline.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • citizenship
  • government
  • power structures

Skills

Responsibility & Ethics

  • following codes of conduct
  • honoring the community
  • respect for others

Kids can learn about civics subjects such as the Bill of Rights, The Constitution, the court system, state and local government, freedom of speech, and public policy. They not only learn these concepts in general, but also see how they apply to their own lives and community. Kids can play games that let them choose the appropriate law, action, or solution and pick the proper argument to win a make-believe case. iCivics' entertaining and age-appropriate approach makes always-important civics subjects relevant for everyone.
 

This Learning Rating review was written by Conny Coon

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

iCIVICS is essentially an engaging educational site cleverly disguised as a gaming spot, with innovative games, cute animated characters (Liberty Belle and Chuck Freepress), and a real-world reward component. The more games you play and the more "Impact points" you earn, the more impact kids can have on an actual community service project. Games focus on core civics concepts such as rights, the court system, governance, freedom of speech, and constitutional law. Each game is creatively executed and educates while it entertains. Instructions and information are clearly presented and easy for tweens and teens to comprehend. Kids can drop in to play or become members and create a safe account that enables them to save in-game progress, unlock special features, and compete with other members. Educators have access to free, standards-aligned civics curriculum and comprehensive teaching materials.
 

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Who says studying civics can't be fun? At iCivics, learning about government, citizenship, civil rights, politics, public policy, and The Constitution is exciting, entertaining, and engaging. Through interactive games ("Cast Your Vote," Immigration Nation," "Responsibility Launcher"), kids can get a grasp of often-complicated concepts and improve their understanding of civics curriculum. Educators of all levels can turn to these online tools to supplement their in-class teaching and turn kids on to some of the more staid civics lessons through gameplay. The language and look used throughout iCivics is geared to the computer-savvy student and it offers a fresh, fun-filled way to learn through play.
 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of understanding democracy and how our nation's government works.

  •  

  • Talk about how the Internet is a valuable tool for helping with school subjects such as social studies and math.

  • Talk about the importance of making smart decisions about technology even when it's being used to help with schoolwork and learning.

Website details

Genre:Educational
Pricing structure:Free

This review of iCivics was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byMariosonicfan7654321 November 24, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Educational

Has games that help kids learn social studies skills and how our government works.

Educator and Parent of a 10 year old Written byRunesong October 14, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Fantastic site for fun & education

My daughter & her friends can't stop raving about this site which I introduced to them on Constitution Day! Many games & many topics to choose from. Manage a team of constitutional lawyers or support your side of a real Supreme Court case with relevant arguments. The more you play, the more you learn & the more points you earn. Best of all, the site lets kids spend their earned points on community service projects they care about from around the country. It's refreshing to see a site for kids that was actually designed with the kids' best interests, including privacy, in mind. Someone really got this one right, on all counts!

What other families should know
Great messages
Safety and privacy concerns
Educator and Parent Written byParentingTwinsAndMor March 14, 2013
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

High Schoolers and Homeschoolers Love it too!

My kids are in high school and really enjoy this game. I introduced it to them for homeschooling during the election last November to use for 2 weeks. But... they absolutely LOVED it so much, they still use it without me asking. In fact my eldest is doing her official government curriculum and she feels better about what she is learning because she was familiar with the concepts from iCivics. A winner!

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