The Best Online Games for Kids

From Club Penguin to Poptropica, here is a quick guide to some of the most popular online kids games

by Jennie Wood
Poptropica



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Many kids spend hours each day in front of computer screens and tablets. While parents would like to think their children are using the devices for homework, chances are a large chunk of the time is spent playing online games. Do you know anything about the games they're playing? Are they safe for kids? Is there any educational value to them?

We've put together a list of popular online games for kids that are in compliance with COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act). COPPA is a federal law that applies to the collection online of personal information from children age 13 and under. The law details what must be included in a website's privacy policy, outlines the site operator's responsibilities with privacy and safety, including marketing restrictions, and when the operator must seek consent from a parent or guardian before allowing a child under age 13 to use the site.

Poptropica*

Developer: Family Education Network
Platform: Mac and PC
Publisher: Family Education Network / Pearson
Who can play: Designed for ages 6–15.
Price: Free, but subscriptions / memberships are also available for purchase

Poptropica is the largest virtual world for kids and one of 2011's 50 Best Websites according to Time Magazine. In this massive multiplayer online role-playing game, players travel to different Islands to complete quests, play games, and read comics, as well as compete and communicate safely with other players. For every Island they complete, players win credits and medallions. Players can spend their credits in the Poptropica store, where they can purchase costumes and other items for their avatar. Currently, there are more than 20 Islands. Each Island has its own theme and challenge. Poptropica Islands are free to play. Members get Early Access to new Islands and unlimited access to the Poptropica Store. Membership subscriptions renew automatically.

Play Freerice and feed the hungry

Free Rice

Developer: John Breen
Platform: Online
Publisher / Owner: United Nations World Food Program
Who can play: Everyone
Price: Free

Users play educational games that have multiple-choice answers. For every question a player answers correctly, 10 grains of rice are donated to various third world and developing countries. The rice is distributed by United Nations World Food Programme. The money for the rice is donated by various sponsors in exchange for advertisements on the website. Bangladesh, Cambodia, Bhutan, Uganda, and Nepal have all received free rice. The games on the site include English vocabulary, grammar, geography, literature, and more.

Toontown Online

Developer: Walk Disney Internet Group
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
Publisher: The Walt Disney Company
Who can play: Everyone
Price: Free, but memberships / subscriptions are also available for purchase

Toontown is a multiplayer online role-playing game. Created by The Walt Disney Company, Toontown is billed as the first multiplayer online game for kids and families. Toontown is a virtual 3D world based on classic Disney cartoons. Software for the game is available as a free download. Players can play a limited version of the game for free or purchase membership subscriptions for unlimited access. Membership subscriptions renew automatically.

Club Penguin

Developer: Club Penguin Entertainment (Formerly New Horizon Interactive)
Platform: Online
Publisher: Disney Online Studios
Who can play: Everyone, designed for ages 6–14.
Price: Free, but subscriptions / memberships are also available for purchase

Club Penguin is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game. Using cartoon penguin avatars, players explore a winter wonderland virtual world. There are mini-games within Club Penguin where players can earn coins. The coins can then be spent on items in the site's virtual store. Players can play a limited version of the game for free or purchase membership subscriptions for unlimited access. Membership subscriptions renew automatically.

Neopets

Developer: Neopets, Inc.
Platform: web game, cross platform
Publisher: Neopets, Inc., Viacom
Who can play: Everyone
Price: Free

Neopets is a website where users can interact with their virtual pet. The site lets users create their own pet that lives in the virtual world of Neopia. Users of the site can create an account and up to four virtual pets. Neopoints can be earned through playing various games, trading, and contests. Neocash is optional and must be purchased with actual money. Users can use neopoints and neocash to buy toys, food, clothes, and other accessories for their Neopets.

Funbrain

Funbrain*

Developer: Family Education Network
Platform: Online
Publisher: Family Education Network / Pearson
Who can play: Everyone
Price: Free

Funbrain is an educational online game site for children and adults. The site has several math and reading games within various arcades—plus the perennial favorite Mad Libs. The site also has books and comics, including the hilarious and popular story, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which has gone on to be published as a book series and made into feature films.

PBS Kids Games

Developer: Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
Platform: Online
Publisher: PBS
Who can play: Everyone
Price: Free, but subscriptions / memberships are also available for purchase

PBS Kids Games is an educational online game site for children and adults. The games include The Great Shapes Races and Migration Adventure. The site's games for adults are designed to help them prepare their children for school. Users can play some games for free or purchase membership subscriptions for unlimited access.



Poptropica and Funbrain as well as infoplease are all part of Family Education Network.

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