What do kids do with computers? Play, of course. And to encourage them, I've assembled a collection of my favorite online games for pre-readers. Most require Shockwave. If you haven't yet downloaded and installed Shockwave, don't hesitate. I consider it a requirement for families on the Net. One of the benefits of a Shockwave game is there are no delays in the game play because a Shockwave game runs on your computer, not over the Internet. To achieve this, however, the games will take a few minutes to download.
These three ingenious neighborhoods are filled with musical sounds available for the clicking. Similar to the popular Living Books series (which taught our children to click on everything), each clicked object animates and plays a sound. Sequences of sounds can be recorded and played back. For older kids (or parents who take dictation), they also have writing pages based on material from the musical games.
This Scrambler game is fun for the whole family because you are timed as you play at one of three levels of difficulty. Easy divides the picture into nine tiles, medium into twelve, and hard into sixteen tiles. There are ten pictures to choose from, and every time I've visited this site they have added more Little ones will need help choosing a picture, then pressing "Load" and "Scramble". But as soon as they see the scrambled tiles, they will understand what to do next. Can you beat your preschooler? My little mouse clickers are fast.