"There are possibly millions of flash-based games out there. And, this short list is a way of sharing a few, but also putting the call out to GeekDad readers. What flash games do you play with your children? What do they learn from them? What games have had to be banned – for their sheer addictiveness?"
Here are the 4 games they're offering up (I've included their descriptions as well). The games all think outside the box...not sure if they'll make your kids smarter. A handful include open-ended play, which is plus.
This art-based game is beautiful. It allows you to explore shape, and more beautiful in its open-ended style that allows you to play and create amazing images forever. A series of bubbles follow the mouse in very subtle ways, in the beginning it is a little slow, so may be difficult to hold children’s attention. But, there are ample buttons to click and options to try. And, you can save the final results as a jpg file.
Thinking Machine 4
Ok, it is chess. But, this isn’t just another chess game. When the computer has its turn it begins graphically representing all the possibilities before it. What results is an amazing pictorial representation of the thousands of options a computer considers before making a move. It looks pretty, in fact, it may be a ruse to distract you from concentrating on your next move.
This is possibly one of the ultimate flash games. It has appeared in a couple of different forms, but what is nice is that it challenges the concept that people need an end goal, or a points tally to make the game enjoyable and addictive. Using a suite of simple tools you can stop the falling materials, change thgeir direction, gather them up, plant algae in the water and watch it spread, set the oil on fire and watch it burn. The possibilities are endless. It is great for primary aged children to explore a whole range of concepts in simple ways from volume to through to gravity.
Suggested by a GeekDad contributor (thanks Matt), here we have space invaders turned even more geek by the fact true principles of physics apply. Rather than exploding, aliens bump and plummet into each other and it takes some effort to push them out of the way. This version of the classic game is also set up to be a bit easier, so even pre-school aged children will enjoy the aliens flying and bumping all over the place – just as Newton theorised.