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Pubbly Games: Educational Design, Joyful Experience

Play is how kids make meaning in the world. Whether children are looking for frogs in a pond, digging at construction sites, or baking cupcakes — they are learning. Since young learners mimic what they see or seek new adventures in order to learn, play and games are vital to their ability to make sense of their experiences and expand their imagination. Pubbly’s educational games for kids promote a child's curiosity while building skills and confidence.

This is the fourth article in a six-part series exploring how the Pubbly platform offers young learners a safe and joyful place to build knowledge. At Pubbly, extensive research is embedded into the development of each educational game to advance learning objectives. Read on to learn more about Pubbly’s wide variety of educational games for kids.

Games That Are Fun and Purposeful

Pubbly is known for its interactive reading content, but also offers a wide range of educational games and activities. There is ample research on the benefits of educational games, and games are commonplace on many devices and in most classrooms today. 

Jeanne Sager, writing for TeachStarter, cites a 2016 study at the University of Manchester which “concluded that ‘playing interactive educational games may have a positive impact on children’s problem-solving skills and engage them in advanced mathematical thinking.’” Leveraging insights from this and other studies, Sager highlights the benefits of play for increased focus, motivation, language development, and even memory — because students get to practice the learning in a new, low-pressure way through games.

Richard Lopez, Pubbly's animation director, speaks to Pubbly’s process in creative development. On a new project, he explains, the team focuses on specific curriculum standards or a set of learning benchmarks, which get rolled into the game concept and experience. In other words, the animation is developed to enhance and support the educational content, not overwhelm it. Lopez says, “We keep things fun and interesting, but always keep the key learning objective firmly in our sights as a kind of North Star.”

Pubbly develops games with educators in mind to answer these questions: How can online learning activities avoid going overboard on "edu-tainment?” How can Pubbly use gamification to spark curiosity and delight while also providing developmentally appropriate instructional rigor, modeling real-life educational experiences when possible?

Leveraging best practices, Pubbly games utilize specific concepts in educational publishing, like direction lines, which articulate the instruction in alignment with the educational focus of the game. Some games lead with open-ended instructions, and reward systems are based on affirmative sound effects and animations, all of which tie to research-based educational principles.

A Spotlight on Pubbly's Educational Games for Kids

There are many wonderfully inspiring games on Pubbly. Here are just a few:

Wordbuzz is developed around the imagery of a beehive, where a child learns to form words and spell by connecting cells in the hive. The game is modeled directly on how a teacher delivers a spelling test in a classroom. The child will hear the word used in a sentence, for example: Box. Spot is hiding in the box. Box.

The repetitious structure is designed to engage the child using a format that is interactive and fun, while also modeling real life educational experiences (i.e. the familiar structure of a spelling bee), which can help reduce anxiousness in the classroom. 

In Word Families, children get to match up kids on a bus with the correct parent to practice word families. This is a fun game to help visualize important vocabulary concepts in a way that's easy for kids to understand. Word families are foundational when children are starting to read and write.  

Another building block game is called Ponder, where young readers drag and drop lily pads in alphabetical order to create a path for a frog to safely hop across a pond. And in Dig, a Pubbly math game, kids uncover gems by exploring different visual representations of even and odd numbers.

These are just a sampling of the educational games Pubbly has designed to further the mission of bringing joy back to learning inside and outside of the classroom. Children’s curiosity is innate, and Pubbly is committed to providing a safe environment for that curiosity to bloom and grow.

Where Can Pubbly Games Be Used?

Anywhere. Pubbly can run on a desktop, phone, device, or even a teacher's SMART board. In the classroom, for example, a teacher with a lesson plan on word families can pull the Pubbly game Word Families up on the SMART board for a break from the typical classroom experience, engaging students in a fun, interactive game without overstimulating them. 

At home or on the road, parents can relax, allowing their children to use an iPad, Kindle, or Android tablet with confidence that there's an educational and enjoyable app that’s safe for kids. Children can use the Pubbly Player app on almost any mobile device, including tablets and phones, which means it can go anywhere — to the grocery store with a parent, or in a doctor's waiting room. A caregiver can even have a child learning with Pubbly at the kitchen table while dinner is being prepared. Pubbly meets your child where they are and helps build their confidence and joy in learning.

Come Meet Pubbly

Pubbly is dedicated to having a portion of our animated books, educational programs, and games FREE and open to early learners everywhere. Sign up now to view on desktop or download our Pubbly Player on iOS, Kindle, or Android. And stay tuned for the next article, which will explore the dynamic range of educational programs that Pubbly has to offer. 

1. Jeanne Sager, March 2023 updated