Product Review of ABCya!
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 educators 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 no assessment, progress tracking, or learning support, which makes ABCya! best for learners to use during classroom downtime to practice skills they’ve already learned. Or, educators 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 educators and learners can report inappropriate ones to site administrators.
There’s a lot of content here, which makes ABCya! easily flexible for lots of situations. Learners 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, educators 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 learners 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; educators may want to test out games to suggest to their learners before letting kids free to explore on their own. Unfortunately, educators 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 User Consensus About the App
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.
Curriculum and Instruction
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.
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.