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

ABCya!

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

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math

Skills
N/A
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K–5
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (55 Reviews)
Common Sense Privacy Evaluation

The privacy evaluation process categorizes edtech tools into the following three tiers:

Use Responsibly

Indicates that the service meets the minimum criteria and more research should be completed prior to use.

Use Caution

Indicates that the service does not clearly define the safeguards to protect student information.

Not Recommended

Indicates that the service does not support encryption or lacks a detailed privacy policy.

Take a look inside

1 video | 5 images

Pros: Students can find the games they want in a snap.

Cons: Too many conspicuous ads in the free version, and they're not always appropriate.

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. 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 fifth 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. Some 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.

Standout games:

  • Math Man Jr.: Solve equations by eating the ghost with the correct number in this Pac Man-style arcade game.
  • Multiplication Grand Prix: The winner in this auto race is whoever answers multiplication facts the fastest.
  • Trick or Treat: Use problem-solving and geometry to choose the quickest trick-or-treat route among houses.

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.

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. Games are mostly super-simple, often one-dimensional ways to practice specific skills. 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. 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 Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Dozens 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 Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Kids practice anything from typing and math to spelling and matching. Learning is through trial and error or competition. Kids can choose multiplayer games, too, to get the zing of playing with their peers. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

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 55 reviews) (55 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Melissa Z. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Liberty
Springfield, United States
ABCya is the way to go for teachers! It has everything all in one!
I really like this website a lot when used appropriately. I love the ease of the programs. They are spread out by grades and I find that they are appropriately grouped. I promote with teachers to be specific when going on ABCya. Instead of telling your students they can go on any game, tell them they should go on a specific game that relates to your curriculum. Also, I love some of the creative apps that they have been adding. You can use these apps to have them apply what they have learned in a ...
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