ABCya Educational Computer Games and Apps for Kids
ABCya Educational Computer Games and Apps for Kids

When you have kids and want an educational app, there are many apps to choose from. However, there are the bad, the good and the exceptional. In this review, I will look at the exceptional. These are not just apps, but whole educational platforms aimed at teaching kid’s skills from early ages and advancing them with step by step games and tools that provide another layer of education away from the formal education system.

Essentially, there are apps out there that will provide your kids with a comprehensive education from the convenient of your home and your PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

This is the world of ABCya, and this is what an amazing company can produce when love is a major component of their productions process.

ABCya: The company

ABCya.com, L.L.C. is an educational children’s game software development company that was founded in 2004 by Alan Tortolani in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S. The CEO of the company is Lisa Tortolani, and the official website is www.abcya.com

Alan was a public-school teacher that decided to create his own software since his school district ran out of funds. The name was his own creation and reflected a word that kids of all ages could pronounce.

In September 2016, ABCya reached around 13.2 million unique visits a month making this a constant top 25 apps found on many scoreboards including the iOS App Store’s Education Category.

ABCya: The platform

Since this platform was created by a public-school teacher, it conforms to certain conditions including its focus on K-5 grade levels. Games are categorized into age groups and subject matters. The site is a platform for holding many games, and new ones are added annually.

The age groups are organized from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, and the content categories are split into two main categories and then split into subgroups. The main categories are numbers, letters, holidays, strategy and skills, and the games and activities are designed to meet the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

The subgroup categories include arcade-style, word find, racing, typing, and more. In some instances, games might require parental or grow-up guidance to explain the instructions.

The site itself is easy to navigate and GUI friendly for both adults and kids.

ABCya: The Components

After downloading the app, you have two options, a family login or class login page. The difference between the two is based on the original registration process, where an individual or family login requires an e-mail and password with basic info. The class login is school-based, and the process is between the school and the site, so all kids in the class can connect using the same login codes.

The site has a nice list of links under the Parents and Teachers tab, and you can connect to their FAQ, they’re about us and other settings and pages.

Now to the core of the matter, the games.

There are over 300 games and activities on the site, and they are accessible through category or grade. Each game has a grade relevance indicator, and each grade holds the games relevant to its age group.

The seven ages groups are:

  • Pre-Kindergarten
  • Kindergarten
  • K-1
  • K-2
  • K-3
  • K-4
  • K-5

As an example, in the age group category (Pre-K) Pre-School, are the following word games

  • ABC & 123 Magnets

In this game, the children can practice the alphabet, number, and punctuation recognition. They do this by clicking and dragging magnets to the refrigerator. The program reads out the letter or number when the child clicks it on a magnet. This game can be used to practice basic writing skills.

  •  All About Me

This is the first day at school kind of simulator, where the player is asked to answer different questions about themselves. This is a step-by-step process, making the game structured, and the answers are displayed in a fun pattern. You can save the final layout and print it.

  •  Alphabet BINGO

Alphabet BINGO is all about learning the alphabet in a fun way. In this game, children will hear an animated character say a letter and the player has to click on the correct letter. The display can be toggled between upper and lower case.

Other pre-K word games include:

  1. Alphabet Bubble
  2. Alphabet Slider Puzzle
  3. Alphabetical Order
  4. Alphabetical Order Bubble
  5. Connect the Dots ABC
  6. Letter & Number Tracing
  7. Molly’s Magic Adventure
  8. Monster Mansion – Alphabet Matching
  9. Monster Mansion – Letter Match
  10. Talk to Me Alphabet

Let’s jump over to the 2nd Grade and look at their holiday games. These games represent two popular religions and US national holidays, instilling the child with an understanding of the icons that represent holidays while providing some exciting interaction. The religions are Christianity and Judaism, I expect that sometime during the next year they will add Islamic games too, but Islam has yet to become a national identified religion

Second Grade Holiday Games:

  1. Christmas Lights Math
  2. Christmas Present Hunt
  3. Christmas Tree Fun
  4. Christmas Word Search
  5. Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel
  6. Easter Egg Hunt
  7. Easter Word Search
  8. Ghost Typing
  9. Halloween Candy Hunt
  10. Halloween Hop
  11. Halloween Word Search
  12.  Hanukkah Gelt Hunt
  13. Hanukkah Word SearchHanukkah Word Search is a word puzzle game providing two grid sizes. The larger one is for longer words, and the shorter one, yes, for shorter words.
  14. Make a Christmas Tree
  15. Make a Gingerbread House
  16. Make a Pumpkin
  17. Make a Snowman
  18. Make an Easter Egg
  19. Pumpkin Carving
  20. Pumpkin Matching
  21. Shamrock Hunt
  22. Super Santa
  23. Super Santa Junior
  24. Thanksgiving Word Search
  25. Trick or Treat
  26. Turkey Touchdown
  27. Valentine Hunt
  28.  Valentine’s Day Word Search
  29. Write a Letter to SantaThis is the ABCya writing activity game for helping children write letters to Santa. It helps teach them both rewriting and also understanding what Santa all about is. (If you explain it properly).

If we jump over to the 5th-grade list of strategy games, then the list is seriously overpopulated with choices, and this is a good thing. Here is the full list, with a few defined for reference to the level that is required to play them.

There are over 100 Fifth Grade Strategy Games, but we shortened the list for those games with different level rates such as Andy’s Golf 1 & 2, this is, in reality, two different games in the same series, I counted them as one. Here is the full list.

  1. 10 x 10 | Ice Cream Adventure
  2. 40x Escape
  3. Alan’s Pizzeria
  4. Alarmy 1 to 4
  5. Andy’s Golf 1 & 2
  6. Animalines
  7.  Aqua Friends
  8. Aqua Thief
  9. Baby Chick MazeBaby Chick Maze is a family memory-based strategy. In this game, you learn to guide the baby chick through a maze from memory. This means you need to look carefully and then retrace your steps based on memory.
  10. Big-Time Butter Baron
  11. Blobble
  12. Blue Box
  13. Brain Trainer
  14. Build the Bridge
  15. COIN
  16. Cake Topping
  17. Candy Pool
  18. Candy Timbermen
  19. Cat Around Africa
  20. Cat Around Asia
  21. Cat Around Europe
  22. Cat Around the World
  23. Civiballs 1 & 2
  24. Colorush
  25. Cute Puzzle Witch
  26. Daisy’s Plumber Puzzle
  27. Dogs in Space
  28. Duck Life 1 to 5
  29. Factory Balls 1 to 3
  30. Flappy Dragon
  31. Flip and Go
  32. Fluffy Cuddlies
  33. Full Moon
  34. Future Buddy
  35. Fuzz Bugs Factory
  36. Fuzz Bugs Treasure Hunt
  37. Giant Hamster Run
  38. Golf
  39. Gravity Run
  40. Hero in the Ocean 1 and 2
  41. Hook
  42. Hoverboard Halfpipe
  43. In Drmzzz
  44. Jelly Collapse
  45. Jelly Doods
  46. Jelly Slice
  47. Jellydad Hero
  48. Jetpack Escape
  49. Let Me Grow
  50.  Lightybulb
  51. LineumLineum is a puzzle game that teaches your children how to think in 3-D with mental image planning by drawing a continuous line that flips non-green tiles.
  52. Little Jane
  53. Me and the Key 1 to 3
  54. Mila’s Magic Shop
  55. Mini Train
  56. Money Land
  57. Monsterland 1 to 4
  58. Monsterland Challenge
  59. Mountain Hop
  60. Mythical Jewels
  61. Need a Hero
  62. One Button Circus
  63. Pixo Cross
  64. Puzzle Drops
  65. Rainbow Stacker
  66. Rally Racer
  67. Red Warrior
  68. Road Rally
  69. Robo Trobo
  70. Rotate & Roll
  71. Salazar the Alchemist
  72. Scary Path
  73. School Bus Pickup
  74. Shift the BlockThis is a logic puzzle that requires the player to slide colorful blocks around and create groups of like-colored blocks. This then eliminates these blocks leading to a puzzle solution.
  75. Slice the Box
  76. Snail Bob 2
  77. Snoring
  78. Snoring Pirates
  79. Snoring Treasure Island
  80. Snoring Wild West
  81. Snoring Winter Edition
  82. Sparkanoid
  83. Stack the Burger
  84. Submarine Dash
  85. Sugar, Sugar 1 and 2
  86. Sushi Slicer
  87. Sweetland
  88. Temple Crossing
  89. Ten Basket
  90. Tingly Bubble Shooter
  91. Tiny King
  92. Tower Blocks
  93. Use Boxmen
  94. Well Whale
  95. Wheely 1 to 7
  96. Zippy Boxes

Safety and Guidance

I have trolled the internet for reviews to back up what I already know and have experience with. My children have all used these games, and even I have a go on occasion. These are fun games for all ages; however, even when there are fun games around, you still have been wary of the internet. In this section of my review, I bring third-party reviews, professionals that have used and still use ABCya on a daily basis, their input is important for all partners, since we cannot gauge the contribution of these games from a school environment point of view. So here are three separate professional opinions.

From Parents Choice:

A review was written by Karena Rush, Ph. D. in 2014. Rush opens up with “ABCya contains free, fun educational games and is a good place to find new and original educational activities as well as the tried and true. “ Rush concludes with these words “The variety of these games designed for children in grades K-5 will keep kids coming back for more fun and learning, while parents and teachers will want to recommend and share this site with one another.”

From Common Sense Education review website:

Posted by Kristin G., Classroom teacher from East Buchanan Elementary School, Gower, United States

Kristine opens with this statement “There are several reasons why I believe this is a great website to use in the classroom. One reason I like it so much is that many of the games have different levels. “ Kristine concludes with these remarks “Basically, if you are looking for a safe website that is easy to use where students can practice skills, then ABCya is the website for you and your students.”

Education World gave ABCya an A-A+ rating, here is their site’s reasons:

A for content: “ABCya provides Web-based educational games and activities that have been created by teachers for primary and elementary school students.”

A+ for site design: “The site is visually stimulating and easy to navigate. Some of the kindergarten and first-grade activities have audio instructions.”

The Childs Point of View

Any review that discusses apps for children should include a critique made by the player, and in this case, these are children. So, there is a cute 8-year-old child playing with this system for over 3 years now. He started off with the basics but fell in love with the strategy games such as duck race and blocks.

His main attraction to these games was competitive. He hates to lose. With strategy and arcade types of games it’s pretty obvious when you win or lose. With numbers and words its fuzzier, since they don’t lose, they just get a right or wrong answer and try again.

Since there is a lot of dangerous games for children on the web, I try to provide him with enough online stimulation by offering a large and continuous flow of new games. In other words, children, on the whole, get bored quickly be repetitive games, they want something new that will constantly challenge their growing minds.

This is where ABCya comes in, their extensive library of games, and the many layers per game provide a lot of focused stimulation as well as attraction to change games. All the games were accepted happily by young hungry minds, and it is only the individual preference that decides which games are used more than others.

The conclusion of my son’s critique would have to be his love of full audio-visual stimulation, and the need to win at any cost, not just the computer, but other players. When it comes to exploration and mazes, then it’s a fight against himself, and this is the most frustrating. In the beginning, before he learned self-criticism, he created a new buffer. When he loses, it was the computer that was cheating. When playing some else, they were cheating. With word and number games this issue did not come up. What the bottom line of this story is, that children will learn to cope with failure in their way, but they have to be given enough stimulation so that they do fail, this is the only way they can learn from their mistakes and improve.

Conclusions

There are so many games here, this platform is constantly adding new games, and if you have a strong internet connection, your children will enjoy uninterrupted hours of educational fun. What I do strongly suggest is that you meter the types of games your children play. The strategy games tend to overtake the number and word games, so always make sure your children play at least one word and one number game a day to improve these skills before going over to the logic and strategy games that end up leasing to basic online playing.

This site complements the education system and is a fun platform to have at home and also in the school classroom. This is a must app as well as a great desktop go-to game page. The additional bonus is the constantly expanding library of games, and the ever-increasing levels of popular titles, that give children a chance to continue playing with their favorite games on different levels.

The app is available for iOS and Android, and is free to download but comes with those annoying ads. Something that also helps us learn patience (frustrating but true).