Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2016

ABCya!

Tons of options to practice skills, though pesky ads can annoy without a subscription

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math

Skills
N/A
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Pre-K–5
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (61 Reviews)
Privacy rating (How we rate)

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1 video | 5 images

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.

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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.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Hundreds of simple games are organized by grade level and subject, so they're easy for kids to get to and use. The ads are a pain, especially on the home page, but once kids get to a game page it's not as bad.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Kids practice anything from typing and math to spelling and matching. Learning is through trial and error, or competition, but doesn't go deep. Kids can choose multiplayer games, too, to get the zing of playing with their peers. 

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Games come with written instructions, and sometimes audio instructions, too. Some keep point totals, but you can't track the total number of games played or any other progress data. There's no help for kids who are struggling.


Teacher Reviews

(See all 61 reviews) (61 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Jovonne T. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Charlotte Country Day School
Charlotte, United States
Interactive and Engaging Games
Overall I think that this is a great teaching tool. I like that it offers a broad range of games that covers a variety of subjects areas. It is grouped by grade level allowing you to access games above and below your current grade level to offer differentiation of instruction. The website is easily accessible so I have recommended it to families as a fun way to review skills at home. It would be helpful if it were more user friendly on the iPad. All of the games are not compatible for iPad usage and yo ...
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Unclear whether users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Unclear whether profile information is shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
Users can control their information through privacy settings.
Users cannot create or upload content.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.
Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.