Disclosure: Plays.org is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com
Plays.org is a new website that offers hundreds of games for students to play online. Students can play all of the games for free without the need to register or give away any personal details. And unlike many other online games websites, Plays.org doesn’t display advertisements and doesn’t use retargeting technology to track users across the web. Those statements alone make Plays.org worth trying. If you want a better sense of what you’ll find on Plays.org, read on.
All of the games that you will find on Plays.org are written in HTML5. What that means is they can be used in the web browser on any device including iPads, Chromebooks, and any computer that students have access to in your classroom or at home.
As a teacher and a parent my favorite aspect of Plays.org isn’t any of the technical components mentioned above. My favorite aspect of the site is that every game is on its own page that contains a summary of the game’s purpose, details about how to play the game (directions for using a mouse, a touchscreen, and on-screen controls), and strategies for playing the game. Additionally, every game page states who the target audience is for that game.
Three Games to Get Started
Reading the game summaries, target audience, and directions does make it possible to get a sense of what each game is about without even playing it. That said, as the dad of two kids who are just starting to get a little screen time (20 minutes a day, tops!) I still want to actually play the game before I let my kids or any kids I’m in charge of play it. To that end, I spent some time over the last few days playing some of the games on Plays.org. These are the ones that stood out to me.
Curious George Museum of Tens appealed to me because I loved Curious George stories as a kid and now my daughters do too! It’s a game that my five year old liked when I showed it to her on our family iPad. The concept of the game is a simple one. Curious George is in a digital museum and there’s a wall of artifacts behind him. He needs ten of them to complete the collection. The player has to identify how many more he needs in order to complete the collection. Once that is done, a new collection appears and the game repeats.
Sight Word Bingo is another game that I tried with my five year old. The concept of this game is a fairly simple one. I chose the range of words for the game then set the size of the bingo board. To play the game she had to listen to words read aloud then tap the corresponding word on the bingo board. When a line of words was connected she earned a little “bingo monster” avatar. Sight Word Bingo includes vocabulary words appropriate for Kindergarten through third grade.
Lest you think that Plays.org only has games for early elementary grades, here’s one for kids that are a little bit older. LEGO City Adventures Build and Protect City Simulation is a game in which players build a LEGO community from scratch. The game begins with players creating buildings in the city center then moving outward toward suburbs. Players earn coins (points) for completing a building. They then use those coins to purchase opportunities to dig for more building blocks to continue building their cities and towns. At first the blocks and buildings are cheap but they get more expensive as the game progresses and they build larger buildings and build farther away from the city center. I can see LEGO City Adventures Build and Protect City Simulation being used as a means to introduce students to some concepts about city and town planning and development.
Benefits of (Optional) Registration
As I mentioned above, you and your students can play all of the games on Plays.org without registering or giving away any personal information. That said, there is an option to register on the site if you want to. The benefit of registering is that you can create a list of favorite games that you can then quickly access whenever you visit the site on any device. You can register directly on the site by creating a username and password. Alternatively, you can register by using your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account.
Finding Games on Plays.org
If there was one thing that I’d change about Plays.org it is the navigation menu. Currently, to find games on Plays.org you can either scroll through the entire catalog or click on links to game categories like math games or spelling games and then scroll through the list of games in that category. It’s a fine system, but down the road I’d love to see a few more options to refine your game search according to target age range (4-7, 8-11) and or skill (addition, subtraction). Take a look at my short video overview of Plays.org to see how you can find games for your kids to play.