Faq

General

How do I use this site?

Simply play, and enjoy! All of the games featured on Backpack Games are playable right here on the site. No need to worry about broken links to external sites, or embedded files that don’t stream correctly. All games are hosted on the Backpack Games server, and are available to play 24/7.

What is Backpack Games?

Backpack Games is a website that encourages game based learning. At Backpack Games we know that games provide a hands-on way for people to practice what they have learned, and to strengthen academic skills. In order to do that, a game has to have educational content that is integral to the gaming experience, not tangential. Players should use academic skills while playing the game and to solve game activities – not as a break in between levels, to earn the right to continue playing. There are many online games that are educational, and there are many online games that are fun, but not as many that can be both – and they can be hard to find. To save our users time, we search the web for the best games that meet our criteria for good educational games and collect them here on Backpack Games. Games are organized on the website in several different ways to make it easier to find just what you need.

How is Backpack Games different from other online game sites like Miniclip?

For starters, all our games have educational content. Every game on the site has been hand picked by an educator and comes with a review that provides direction on how best to use the game in an educational context. Additionally, we list all skills that are enhanced by a game, both academic (Math, Science, etc.) and cognitive (memory, attention, etc), as well as standards that are addressed by the game.

I’ve seen this game on other sites!

Backpack Games is a service that searches for the best games from around the web so you don’t have to, and provides a categorized catalog of games. You will find many games here that can be played on other game sites as well, but only on Backpack Games will you find all the information a teacher or parent needs in order to integrate these games into the classroom or homeschool environment. You also don’t have to worry that students will get distracted by non-educational or violent games – all games found on this site have been personally reviewed by an educator for relevance and appropriateness.

Who is this site for?

Backpack Games is for teachers and parents who are looking for games with educational content to supplement and enhance children’s learning.

Do I need an account in order to play games?

No, you do not need to create an account in order to use this website. If you do create an account, you can favorite games that you like and then come back to them the next time you want to play.

Why are there ads on the site games?

Currently, that is the way we are able to provide games for free. Game developers share their games with website publishers like Backpack Games in exchange for ad revenue. Since these are the same ads found on other popular game sites that kids this age play on, we feel this is an acceptable trade-off to make valuable educational content available to school-aged children. Other than ads that can’t be turned off, we are committed to providing an ad-free experience on the rest of the site and are constantly looking for new ad-free games to include in our arcade.

How much does this site cost to use?

All games on the site are free to play. We plan to offer a Plus version that will offer advanced features for teachers such as the ability to assign specific games to students, and track what students are playing. Let us know if you would be interested in being part of the Beta test of the Plus version when it’s available.

Why aren’t there more multiplayer games?

Currently we are limited to offering existing games, and most online games do not have a multiplayer option (we are working on developing our own educational games, and some of those will definitely be multiplayer games. Keep checking back for new game offerings!). However, most of the games on our site can be enjoyed by two (or more) players, solving puzzles together and taking turns playing the game. Many of the games we offer are more fun when played with a friend or sibling, and kids will naturally gravitate towards other kids who are playing and offer solutions to each other.

Teachers and Parents

How is Backpack Games different from other educational game sites like Gameup?

Backpack Games understands that educational games aren’t just about learning – but also must be fun to play as a game. While many sites offer drill-based games to help memorize basic information like multiplication tables, most of our games focus on developing skills such as problem solving and cognitive flexibility, in addition to math and science content knowledge.

Backpack Games offers dozens of different games and is constantly adding more. We host games that were specifically designed to be educational, as well as those originally designed for entertainment that also sharpen cognitive and academic skills. Our goal at Backpack Games is to offer the widest possible selection of games that address STEM skills.

In addition to the large selection, every game found on the site is categorized and searchable several different ways, not just by academic subject. Games are also categorized by cognitive skill, grade level, game genre, and standards.

We are also working on a Plus version that will offer unique features for teachers such as the ability to assign specific games to students, and track what students are playing. Let us know if you would be interested in being part of the Beta test of the Plus version when it’s available.

Why should I use Backpack Games with my students?

If you are looking for games to incorporate into your classroom or homeschool environment, or just want something educational for your children to play at home, but don’t know where to find quality educational games, then Backpack Games is what you’re looking for. We collect the best games from around the web that can be used to teach Math, Science, Vocabulary and Problem Solving to kids in grades 3-8 and organize them so you can easily find what you need. Additionally, we provide reviews of each game – from an educator’s perspective – to help you understand what each game has to offer. Save time looking and spend more time teaching with Backpack Games.

Are games aligned with Standards?

Yes! When relevant, we list standards that are addressed by a particular game. Not every game on the site is aligned with a standard, but we want to make it easy for teachers to find games that do address the standards they teach.

The math standards used on this site are taken from the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in math, which can be viewed in full here – http://www.corestandards.org/Math, and the science standards are based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which can be viewed in full here – http://www.nextgenscience.org/next-generation-science-standards.

How do I find games that fit my needs?

All of the games on the site are categorized in several different ways to make it easy to find exactly what you need. Games are listed in the main menu according to Academic Subject, Cognitive Development skills, Game Genre, Grade Level, and Standards (both Common Core and Next Gen Science Standards). There is also a word cloud at the side of every site page that lists specific skills addressed by games on the site, and clicking on a skill will bring up a page with every game that addresses that specific skill.

Additionally, while viewing a specific game, users can click on a category or skill listed under the game to see other games in that category or that address that skill. There is also a list of “Similar Games” under each game that suggests other games you might be interested in, if you like the game you are playing.

How do I know what each game has to offer?

To make it easier to understand the educational value of games found on the site, each game has an Educator’s Review that explains a little about how the game is played, and how it addresses the relevant skills listed for that game. There is also a Please Note section under most reviews that alerts parents and teachers to game features that might be difficult for students, such as a game that might be challenging to students with weak visual-spatial skills. Usually this means that while the game can potentially be used to strengthen that skill, the student might need help from a parent, teacher, fellow student, or sibling to learn how to play the game and help out when the student gets stuck.

Can I suggest games I think have educational value?

Absolutely! New games are constantly being released, and if you find a good educational game you think we should add to our site, feel free to let us know and we’ll look into it to see if it meets our standards.

How does Backpack Games decide what games to include?

While there are thousands of games available online, not all of them are educational – and not all of them are fun to play! In order to be included in Backpack Games, a game has to meet the following criteria:

  • Playable online with no download required (we know many teachers can’t install software on their classroom computers!)
  • The Flash file must be able to be hosted by Backpack Games (we know many sites are blocked by school filters because they contain inappropriate content in addition to the good stuff, we ONLY offer the good stuff!)
  • Must have high educational content
  • Must focus on STEM skills (Math, Science, Vocabulary and Problem Solving)
  • The game must be fun as a game (there are many educational games that have good educational content, but don’t engage children to learn from them because they aren’t any fun)

Every single game that is found on Backpack Games has been handpicked and reviewed by an educator.

Who decides what games should be included on this site?

All games found on this site are handpicked by qualified educators. Games with inappropriate content or violence will not be chosen, no matter how educational they are. Games are reviewed for educational content and categorized according to specific skills that they address. Additionally, each game includes an Educator’s Review that makes it clear why a specific game has been chosen and what the educational value is. If a parent or teacher needs to be aware of anything in a game that might make it difficult for students with a particular weakness, this will be pointed out in the Please Note section under the Educator’s Review.

Why are there no preschool games?

Most of the games found on Backpack Games are appropriate for all ages (adults included!). However, since we do show ads while a game is loading, we do not feature games that target young children.

Why are there no games for high school students?

Someday we would like to be able to offer games for all students of all ages on all subjects. However, in order to build this site properly we feel it is important to focus on our core goals, which are offering games that develop STEM skills, for children who are in grades 3-8. However, many of our games are appropriate for all ages (adults included!) and high school teachers and students are more than welcome to create free accounts on the site.

Safety

Why do I need to create an account?

You do NOT need to create an account in order to use Backpack Games. All games on the site are available to play for free at any time. If you do create an account, you can favorite games that you like and then come back to them the next time you want to play, but this is not a requirement to use the site.

What age is this site appropriate for?

Most of the games found on Backpack Games are appropriate for all ages (adults included!). However, since we do show ads while a game is loading, we do not feature games that target young children. Since many children aged 8 and up are already playing similar games on other sites and are seeing the same kind of ads, we feel this is appropriate for them to handle on our site. We currently feature games targeting grades 3-8.

Is this site safe for kids?

Absolutely! This site was designed with kids in mind, and we do not collect ANY personal information. In order to create an account on this site all you need is a username and email address – no other information is collected, and anyone can use the site without creating an account (however, you will not be able to create a list of Favorite Games without an account). There is no chat or messaging feature on this site so users cannot be contacted by other users. Email addresses of site users will never be used in any way.