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Pros: Students can find the games they want in a snap.
Cons: There's no support for kids who don't know what game to choose or how to get through a difficult game.
Bottom Line: Practice core subject skills with fun games at school or at home.
There's no assessment, progress tracking, or learning support, which makes ABCya! best for students to use during classroom downtime to practice skills they've already learned. Or, teachers could recommend it to parents as a great kid-safe alternative to TV. Teachers could let kids roam free to explore on their own, demonstrate a game to the class with a whiteboard, or direct kids to particular games if they want to focus on a specific learning theme.
If you don't pay the premium price for the ad-free version, do beware of the ads; it's even pretty easy for kids to click on the ads by mistake thinking they're clicking into a game. Each game has one or two banner ads that are supposed to be appropriate for kids, but teachers and students can report inappropriate ones to site administrators.
ABCya! is a free educational games website that's organized by grade level and subject area. With a bit of help from adults, it's easy for kids to access tons of games. Choose a grade level from pre-K to sixth grade, and then choose a subject: Letters, Numbers, Holiday, Strategy, or Skills. Next, click on a game that looks fun and read the instructions. Teachers might have to help out here: Some instructions are complicated. And games include difficulty levels, so kids might have to choose their grade level again. Also, a few games are multiplayer, so kids will need to create usernames to play. A passcode can be set so only kids in the same class or friends with the passcode can access the same game. A videos section includes how-to videos for a variety of arts and crafts projects.
All content is free, though teachers can pay for a subscription to use an ad-free version. Games are also available on mobile devices with the subscription. Many games align with a wide variety of Common Core State Standards. Teachers can also search for games that meet specific standards.
There's a lot of content here, which makes ABCya! easily flexible for lots of situations. Students might need to use the computer's arrow keys, the mouse, or the full keyboard, which is good computer practice. Although ABCya! features categories for grades pre-K to 6+, the content really is best for early to mid-elementary grades. Games are mostly super simple, often one-dimensional ways to practice specific skills, yet some manage to be creative. For example, there's Math Man Jr., in which kids solve equations by eating the ghost with the correct number in a Pac-Man-style arcade game, or Trick or Treat, in which kids use problem-solving and geometry to choose the quickest trick-or-treat route among houses. For some games, teachers will definitely need to help out by reading the instructions, but most games -- even the ones for the youngest kids -- are easy to grasp, and students should be able to get around the site and play most of the games on their own.
Certainly with so many games, some are better than others; teachers may want to test out games to suggest to their students before letting kids free to explore on their own. Unfortunately, teachers have no way of guiding kids' game play, and kids have very little help in following a logical learning path. Despite that, overall, this is a pretty useful and easy-to-use site full of a wide variety of fun games for different grade levels and subjects.