Video Games With Learning in Mind

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After a summer of fun and games, it can be tough to get your kids ready for school. But no need to force your little ones to part with the video games yet: Brain-building titles can give your kids a kick start for the new school year.

Sure, educational games are probably about as popular with your kids as cleaning their rooms. But there are a few games for the handheld Sony PSP and Nintendo DS systems that are so fun, your kids won’t even realize they’re learning. And with price tags ranging from $20 to $30, they’re easy on your wallet, too.

Midway’s “Hot Brain” ($29.99) is an exclusive PSP title sure to spark the back-to-school fire in many kids. This rated-E game tests their brains in logic, mathematics, concentration, memory and language. Kids can challenge themselves, or play against up to three players head-to-head via a wireless connection. Only have one PSP? No problem. My son and I take turns seeing who can top the other. I almost always lose.

Do your kids have problems with memory? Help is here — in the form of a rapping cartoon dog. Sony’s “PaRappa the Rapper” pushes your child to remember sequences and timing of various lights and sounds — sort of like that old tabletop game “Simon.” If players are successful, they hear a rap and advance to the next level. If not, they’re given another try. Players that reach the final level are rewarded with an alternate ending and a bonus song. This is a memory workout as well as a musical experience. Rated E for everyone, this game retails for $29.99. continue reading

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