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

ABCya!

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

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Teachers say (54 Reviews)
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Grades
Pre-K-5 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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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, 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 levels 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.

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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.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

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?
3

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?
2

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

4
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Featured review by
Steven B. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Armistead Gardens Elementary School
Baltimore, MD
4
ABCya offers more than just ABCs, including ads

I enjoy using this tool with my students because it offers a large variety of activities and skills for students to practice. It is engaging for my students, and they typically get excited when I introduce it during part of my lesson. ABCya offers skills from PreK through grade 5 which is extremely helpful for me because I teach multiple grades. I have been able to use this tool during different parts of my lessons. It works very well as an incentive and skill reinforcement. It's free and does not require any logins, which increases the ease of use. However, with the free access, we have ads. The ads aren't terrible, but it does require some training with my younger students to instruct them not to click the ads (sometimes they look like the links to the games or activities). Every page they view on ABCya has at least one ad, usually more. They don't need to be bombarded with these, but again, it is a free tool to use. Despite this, I will continue to use ABCya on the laptops in my classroom.

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