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Homeschoolers will love Gametap!

Gametap is a swell resource for homeschoolers: if your children love computers, they will really love this! (And I’m not even an affiliate or getting paid to write this or anything. Just a happy customer working on our second year of enjoying Gametap in our family!)

What is Gametap?

Gametap allows you to have computer games . . . on tap! It’s a subscription service – Once you subscribe, you have unlimited access to over 1000 computer games. There are offerings in almost every category imaginable, including arcade, action, adventure, and more. For the nostalgic, they include ports of old Atari and Commodore games, as well as many PC classics. (I personally love that they have all the old Sierra games, like King’s Quest and Space Quest!)

Perhaps most relevant for homeschoolers, though, they include a “family” category with games and educational software for children. (Though I have to think that I learned a ton about problem solving, typing, patience, and drawing maps just from playing those Sierra games as a child!)

If you use a lot of parent intensive homeschool materials, like I do, you will appreciate having something that the kids can enjoy on their own. I don’t know about you, but by the time we finish all our reading aloud, our hands-on math explorations, our fun but messy art and history projects, and our nature explorations, I’m usually ready for a little “independent” time, lol. This is a great way to get that, but more importantly, most of the Gametap family content is highly educational, too.

Gametap has tons of appeal for unschoolers, as well as more structured homeschoolers. My children have had a ball using Gametap games to teach themselves how to count out change and tell time. There are also plenty of games that help introduce and reinforce math, reading, science, history, art, and other concepts in fun and motivating ways.

How does Gametap work?

Once you download the Gametap application, you can log onto Gametap, browse or search through all their selections, and choose a game that you want to play. Games you select are automatically downloaded onto your computer – Time involved can vary from a few seconds to an hour or more, depending on the game and your internet connection. (Dial-up isn’t supported, unfortunately, but I can certainly understand why!) Most of our games have averaged around 20 minutes or so to download.

Once the game has been downloaded, however, it is stored on your hard drive, so you don’t have to re-download it in the future. Next time you want to play, just log on to Gametap and launch the program. Gametap lets you bookmark your favorites, which allows even pretty young children to easily locate and use their games. Mine could use Gametap independently (for the most part) when they were 6 years old.

One key aspect of Gametap is that every family member gets their own ID. 7 free sub-accounts are included with every subscription, and this allows you to set up appropriate parental controls for each user. That way, young children won’t see games that are too mature for them. You can also select whether your children are allowed to chat with other gamers, etc. (Mine aren’t – but then, they are only 7!)

There are two different versions of Gametap. The first is free, and allows you to play about 70 games. This is a good way to see how Gametap works. I’m a big fan of try before you buy, myself! The free games rotate every week or two, and they don’t typically select too many children’s games (they are primarily trying to attract teens and adults, I think) which means that if you do like it, you’ll probably want to upgrade to the paid subscription.

The full version of Gametap is only $59.95 a year right now, which is a great deal, in my opinion. Just one Wii or Playstation game would cost that much! You can also subscribe for $9.99 a month, if you don’t want to do a whole year right now. Gametap advertises that you can easily cancel online anytime, but we haven’t had to do that yet (obviously!)

What kinds of games do they have?

Most of Gametap’s selections are games that are a few years (or in the case of their retro games, a few decades!) old. Over the past year, though, they have been adding more and more current games as well, and they’ve been developing some games that are only available on Gametap. They recently added Sid Meyer’s Civilization IV, for example, which is a fantastic game for kids from late elementary level on up to adult! All the Sam & Max adventure games are released first on Gametap, and Gametap hosts Uru Live, the online multiplayer version of the Myst games.

In the “Family” category, they have dozens of selections including:

  • Jumpstart titles (preschool on up, plus History, Science, and more)
  • Reader Rabbit products
  • Lego Creator games
  • Freddy Fish adventuress
  • Scooby Doo mysteries
  • Cluefinders products
  • and really many many more. You can see the whole list of Gametap products at Gametap’s website.

Some of the selections my children have most enjoyed:

  • They love the Jumpstart 1st and 2nd Grade products, plus the History title.
  • They also enjoy all the Lego games.
  • They love Freddy Fish.
  • One of my girls taught herself to play chess with the tutorial in the Lego Chess game. Now she loves playing chess on Gametap and in real life!

We bought Gametap for the kids, but one side effect has been that my husband loves to go on Gametap to play some of his childhood favorites. He also loves to play Civilization while the girls watch and offer their advice. They’ve learned so much about knowledge and invention, just from watching him play! I’ve enjoyed getting to play some new and old adventure games, too, so our whole family loves Gametap.

My husband thinks some of my reviews sound too much like infomercials! I’m sure he’ll think that about this one too, but my feeling is that I would prefer to review and recommend the products and services that we have found to be the most helpful to our family. It’s fun to review resources you love, and spread the word to other people who might like them, too!

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2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Thanks for the “infomercial”!! :o) We just signed up … it looks very addictive! LOL! My screen name (TapID) is mom2many9

  2. april

    Yay Theresa! I hope you enjoy it as much as we have! I figure for about $5 a month, you can’t beat the price! Plus, they are always adding new games. When I signed up 1 year ago, I think they “only” had about 400-500 games, or so.

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