Learning Games That Put Play First
There's perhaps no more powerful force for learning than play. Yet so many educational games get bogged down in the business of teaching that they forget to let play work its magic. The best games let play breathe, allowing students to learn through exploration, imagination, and often failure. Whether it's through creative play that centers expression, sandbox-style play that focuses on experimentation, or puzzlers that support tinkering and deep thinking, games of all kinds -- even those not designed for schools -- have learning potential. In fact, some of the most memorable and effective learning can happen in play that feels chaotic, pointless, or "just for fun." The games on this list -- most of which weren't designed for schools -- offer these kinds of playful, informal learning experiences that kids and teens find irresistible. However, we also think these games offer teachers paths to connect play to curricular content.