via minecraft.netReleased in 2009, Minecraft has become a favorite of parents, as well as kids, because it is so steeped in creativity. "Users can recreate an existing fantasy world or build a new one from scratch," explains Parent Info). "They can fight villains and seek adventure, and they can play alone or with friends. It can also be played at any level."
Parent Info notes that these qualities add up to an experience that is so much fun for kids that they don't even realize they're honing their problem-solving, planning, and organization skills, and for those who play with friends, it enhances their teamwork skills. There is also a specifically educational Minecraft product line, which is available for educators and non-educators alike.
It's available on multiple platforms, including computer, smartphone, tablet, X Box, and Playstation. There are various fees for Minecraft, including a download fee.
Find out the advice that moms of girls wish they knew sooner.
via tynker.comTynker is an iPad app that "helps kids get into coding and other education activities by wrapping them in games that are genuinely fun," according to a representative for the company. Tynker also contains its own set of free games and courses that can inspire creativity—girls have used it to create everything from greeting cards to music videos to comic cartoons to quiz games, and more.
Downloading costs nothing, and membership includes a free Minecraft-related coding course plus free tools to modify the Minecraft world (including creating new characters). There is a monthly subscription needed, however, for more in-depth Minecraft lessons and modifications. Full pricing info can be found here.
Think you might be raising a baby-Einstein? Here's how to tell if your child could be gifted.
Tynker + LEGO + drones!
via education.lego.comIn addition to its partnership with Minecraft, Tynker has partnered with several other major games that are popular with girls. These include:
- LEGO WeDo, which is intended to introduce kids to robotics, engineering, and programming, such as building a small truck for a lesson on recycling, and using LEGO bricks to teach kids about plants and pollination—a life science project you wouldn't immediately associate with LEGO bricks, according to TechCrunch's review of the stand-alone product.
- Parrot Mambo Code, which is a code-able drone by Parrot, which when paired with a 6-month Tynker subscription, enables kids as young as age seven to learn to code while reaping the benefits of traditional outdoor play.
Tynker + Monster High
via monsterhigh.wikia.comIf you've heard of Mattel's Monster High, an American fashion-doll franchise inspired by horror and sci-fi/thriller flicks, you may be wondering why it's on this list. Well, the fact is, Tynker tinkered with it and created a positive online gaming experience that girls who already have a penchant for fashion-dolls can easily slide into—in fact, the draw used on Tynker's website is: Learn to Code with Monster High. Using the Tynker tools, a girl could create her own dance party or scavenger hunt—as long as she codes it.
Does your daughter have the Barbie bug? Try talking to her about the 17 things you didn't know about Barbie.
Content continues below ad
via Psych appThe brainchild of Ellen DeGeneres, Psych is an online game that blends trivia with a social experience. The idea behind it is to get together with a bunch of friends and answer ridiculous trivia questions—the catch being that the other players will be trying to "psych" you out with wrong answers. It's available for free on iOs, although there are numerous in-app purchase opportunities.
Here's some trivia about, well, trivia, and other games.
via en.akinator.comBased on good ole "20 Questions," Akinator, a downloadable mobile game, features a "genie" with actual artificial intelligence who can "read your mind" by asking you a series of questions. Play begins by asking the genie a question along the lines of "Which character from a movie am I thinking of?" The genie then asks more and more focused questions until you've either stumped the genie, or the genie has "pwned" you.
via starstable.comYes, the love girls have for horses might be a bit of a cliché, but it did start somewhere, and for the most part, it's chock-full of healthy values. Now, put that together with an online experience where players ride, take care of their own horses, embark on quests, participate in competitions, and become part of an epic story, and you've got the makings of a winner of a girl game. It's called Star Stable.
The Star Stable website claims that the game offers many benefits, including:
- Learning social skills and building solid relationships by chatting with friends, and taking part in player-created riding clubs.
- Problem solving by facing challenges in a world that is constantly changing and expanding.
- Developing a sense of responsibility from the financial management of virtual currency Star Coins to caring for their own horses.
- Star Stable encourages reading and engagement with fiction.
via smartgurlz.comYou might have heard about SmartGurlz if you're a fan of NBC's Shark Tank, but if you haven't, then we're here to tell you it's a revolutionary toy brand whose line of self-balancing robots and action dolls are encouraging girls to become tomorrow's programmers. Appropriate for girls ages 6 and up, SmartGurlz blends dolls with robots with math and engineering for a STEM-enhancing experience that parents and "techxperts" alike are buzzing about. It doesn't hurt that SmartGurlz was invented by a mom frustrated by the lack of educational but fun toys for her own daughter. What started as a labor of love has since evolved into a company that empowers girls everywhere with skills to become confident, inspiring women.
Don't miss these wonderful ways to build self-esteem in your daughters (and sons).
Content continues below ad
via via innogames.comThe people behind the online game Elvenar understand that females make up a significant part of the gaming industry, playing a variety of games that don't necessarily fit a girl-game stereotype. In fact, girls represent over half the total players of Elvenar, which lets players strategically build up cities, manage their resources, research hundreds of technologies, and either trade or conquer different regions in the world. "In this way the game lets any type of player explore basic concepts of economics, build up communication skills through fellowships (teams within the game) and practice strategic thinking," Villegas explains.
Honorable mention: Candy Crush
via king.com/game/candycrushWhen it comes to free online games for girls, Candy Crush remains virtually unparalleled. And it's actually good for your brain, at least for the first 30 minutes (should your kids really be playing any game longer than that?). Please note, however, that Candy Crush is highly addictive. That said, a recent survey found that the more you play Candy Crush, the more unhappy it could make you. So please make sure your girls enjoy it in moderation!