A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this educational game site for grades K-8 pushes its companion site -- a subscription-based virtual world called Poptropica -- at nearly every turn of a webpage. If you can avert your child's eyes from the Poptropica ads, there's many educational games here designed to build on skills that kids are working on in school. Some games are intended for use in the classroom. There's a section called "Moms and Kids Playground" geared toward younger users to play on the site with a parent accompanying them.
What's it about?
FunBrain’s games are organized into a reading section, a math arcade, and a fun arcade, and the “All Games” tab gives a detailed breakdown of them all by topic, type, and grade level. A typical game uses a storyline while presenting facts (tossing pigs, crushing asteroids, basketball) and correct answers move the story forward to win. Other activities include reading online versions of popular kids’ stories and comics, MadLibs, and a “Playground” area of games for preschoolers to learn basic mouse and keyboard skills with a parent’s help.
Is it any good?
There's no doubt that FUNBRAIN.COM offers a lot of fun, interactive learning games for kids in grades K-8, plus tools for parents and teachers. Kids can search by grade level or topic. Kids can also read web book versions of popular books, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and comics on the site. The downside is that the site is advertising its paid virtual world version, called Poptropica, far too much. And some games are more arcade-style (like bopping penguins on the head) than might be expected on an educational site.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about limiting computer time so kids have time for other important off-line activities.
Talk about how companies use clever strategies to sell stuff to kids. The constant appearance of the virtual world Poptropica site makes it almost impossible for a kid to play on this free site without wanting a subscription to its paid companion version.
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