Top Pick

The Most Engaging Games for the Classroom

One thing games are really good at is engagement. Unfortunately, the games kids want to play and the games teachers want them to play don't always align. These are the exception, balancing just-one-more-turn play with rock-solid learning, leaving students and teachers happy.

Cork The Volcano - Puzzlets Publisher: Digital Dream Labs LLC
Fun elementary coding through hands-on puzzle tiles
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
GoNoodle Visit Website: https://www.gonoodle.com/
Brief bursts of physical exercise add classroom fun, build brain power
Grades K-5
Type Website
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
The Robot Factory by Tinybop Publisher: Tinybop
Improve designs, collect favorites in robot creation sandbox
Grades K-8
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Fruity Fractions Publisher: Lighthouse Learning
Stellar tool builds rock-solid foundational understanding
Grades 1-3
Type App
Price 2.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 5
The Land of Venn - Geometric Defense Publisher: iMagine Machine LLC
Brilliant, wacky adventure game seamlessly integrates geometry
Grades 1-4
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 5
Prodigy Publisher: Smart Teacher
Adaptive math practice wrapped in role-playing adventure
Grades 1-8
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Slice Fractions: School Edition Publisher: Ululab Inc.
Clever twist combines math instruction with engaging gameplay
Grades 2-5
Type App
Price $5.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Crayon Physics Deluxe Publisher: Kloonigames
Influential physics game is still a draw
Grades 2-12
Type Game
Price $19.95
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Minecraft Publisher: Mojang
Spiraling sandbox of adventure and creation gets kids to dig deep
Grades 3-12
Type Game
Price $26.95 for desktop, $19.99 for consoles (except Wii U at $29.99)
Platforms Linux, Mac, Wii U, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Contraption Maker Publisher: Spotkin
Solve problems, puzzles, brain teasers while creating wacky machines
Grades 3-8
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Zoombinis Publisher: Technical Education Research Centers, Inc.
Classic logic puzzler gets a beautiful new look
Grades 3-8
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, Apps for Windows, Mac Apps
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
DragonBox Algebra 5+ Publisher: WeWantToKnow AS
Mesmerizing step-by-step puzzler sets the foundation for algebra
Grades 4-8
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone, Apps for Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Twelve a Dozen Publisher: Bossa Studios Ltd.
Engrossing math platformer puts problem-solving skills to the test
Grades 4-8
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Little Alchemy Publisher: Littlealchemy.com
Flex alchemical muscles in discovery-based puzzler
Grades 4-10
Type Game
Price Free
Platforms Google+, Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 3
Elegy for a Dead World Publisher: Popcannibal
Compelling sci-fi world imagined -- and written -- by its players
Grades 4-12
Type Game
Price $14.99
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Geoguessr Publisher: Anton Wallén
"Just one more turn" gameplay jazzes up geography
Grades 4-12
Type Game
Price Free
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! Publisher: GlassLab
Classic city building game tuned to teachers' needs
Grades 5-8
Type Game
Price $19.99 individual; $49.99 to $649.99 license packs
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 3
Journey Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Gorgeous, moving adventure -- a jewel of social and emotional learning
Grades 5-12
Type Game
Price $14.99
Platforms PS3, PS4
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Never Alone (Kisima Innitchuna) Publisher: E-Line Media
Illuminating native Alaskan folktale supports SEL skills
Grades 5-12
Type Game
Price 14.99
Platforms PS4, Windows, Xbox One
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Kahoot! Visit Website: https://getkahoot.com/
Game-like student-response tool can spark competitive fun
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Kerbal Space Program Publisher: Squad
Design and launch a rocket into space in realistic astrophysics sim
Grades 9-12
Type Game
Price Free to Try, Paid
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Papers, Please Publisher: 3909
Mature immigration game forces tough ethical choices
Grades 9-12
Type Game
Price $9.99
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4