Learning Through Play

We learn through play. Whether it’s chess, playing with dolls, or a digital game of solitaire, play inspires critical thinking, creativity and connection. For children, play shapes and improves their social and psychological development. It’s an important and necessary way for them to experiment with the world. The games we play on computers, consoles and phones are simply the newest iteration of how we have used games to teach and learn for thousands of years.

Engaging Learners

Video games are ubiquitous. In the United States alone, nearly 227 million people play video games every week, and the majority of Americans believe that video games can be educational and can improve both cognitive and creative skills. Teachers agree: across the country, teachers are using games to teach chemistry, physics, math, history, English language arts, foreign languages and more. Educators know that video games can help students develop problem-solving skills, promote critical thinking and create meaningful connections to their peers.

Video Games in the Classroom

This report outlines how today’s teachers are using video games in schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. It is based on an extensive review of academic literature and draws on in-depth interviews with experienced teachers on their use of video games to enhance student learning. Video games promote engagement and resilience, stimulate collaboration and encourage student participation. These benefits can improve students’ attitudes towards learning and promote leadership and cooperation opportunities within the curriculum and through game clubs and esports.

To learn more about the benefits of video games and education and why many teachers today use video games to augment learning, check out the full report.

Educational Games and Resources from ESA Members and Partners

  • Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed – Ancient Egypt (ESRB: TEEN) (Ubisoft)
  • Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed – Ancient Greece (ESRB: EVERYONE 10+) (Ubisoft)
  • Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed – Viking Age (ESRB: EVERYONE) (Ubisoft)
  • Fortnite (ESRB: TEEN): Teaching with Fortnite Creative and Lesson Plans in Fortnite Creative (grades 8-12) (Epic Games) *
  • Game Builder Garage (ESRB: EVERYONE) (Nintendo)
  • Kerbal Space Program (ESRB: EVERYONE) (Take-Two Interactive)
  • Legends of Learning E-Learning Platform (Legends of Learning)
  • Minecraft: Education Edition (ESRB: EVERYONE 10+) (Microsoft)
  • Rabbids Coding (Ubisoft)
  • Rocksmith (ESRB: TEEN) (Ubisoft)
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI (ESRB: EVERYONE 10+) (Take-Two Interactive)
  • The American Democracy Game (NCSL Foundation)
  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War (ESRB: TEEN) (Ubisoft)

* Grade suggestions provided by publisher