As a parent who is constantly looking for engaging and out-of-the-box ways to teach my kids and deliver content, I often look online for ideas. One of my go-to places for information about games, apps, and websites is Common Sense Graphite.
Common Sense Graphite is connected to the likely better known Common Sense Media, a site which helps parents make smart media choices with and for their kids. Common Sense Media also makes a fantastic Digital Citizenship curriculum, tailored for all grade levels.
The Graphite side, however, focuses on education specifically. It is aimed at teachers, but as parents, we are our kids’ first and longest teachers. You don’t need to be homeschooling to use this site. If you’d rather your kids spent time playing games which have at least some educational benefit, Graphite is the place to look.
What does Graphite offer? Fantastic search capabilities, ratings in a variety of areas, standards match-ups, screenshots, and tips to use in an educational capacity. You can search for just the free resources, by platform, by grade, by subject, and more. You can also read teachers’ ratings on the site as well, for even more real-life feedback.
Now, Graphite doesn’t host or create these games. They merely evaluate and review the games, apps, and websites available on the internet and in the off-line world. This makes them an independent resource not beholden to any company.
If you aren’t sure where to start, begin with the Top Picks section, which divides up some sure bets into subject areas and grade levels. Then, as you find resources you like, check out their related titles. This will lead you down a fun and eye-opening rabbit hole that will leave you with a long list of resources you want to check out with your kids.
Graphite doesn’t just review games and websites that deal with major subject studies. They also cover things like video and animation websites and apps, gaining global perspective, geography, art, music, and even resources and organizational tools for teachers themselves.
Here is a list of a few of the many interesting stand-outs:
- Papers, Please – A bleak immigration game that forces players to make difficult choices. Great for teens.
- The Republia Times – An editorial simulation that teaches about the introduction of bias. Also great for teens.
- Quandary – A game about ethics and argumentation. Great for late elementary and middle school.
- Crazy Gears – A fun physics game, for early elementary.
- Smithsonian Quests – Researching already-curated topics teaches students to build skills. Great for late elementary through early high school.
- Stellarium Mobile Sky Map – Makes it easy for students to identify night sky objects. Great for middle school through adult.
- BioDigital Human – Allows students of any age to investigate the inside of the human body, systematically. Best for middle school and up.
- Algodoo – An open-ended physics sandbox game allows kids to just play, unfettered.
Visit Common Sense Graphite today to find some games, websites, and apps to help boost your kids’ education, or just to help them learn more about their interests!
Disclaimer: I write educational reviews for Common Sense Graphite, but I would use them as a resource even if I didn’t. I stumble across curriculum-changing games and websites weekly.