Students are in the midst of their summer break from school, but that doesn't mean their minds have to take a break from learning. While free museums and trips to historically significant cities are good ways to teach kids about American history, a set of 19 free online video games can get students engaged in politics and civics without them having to leave home.
iCivics is a nonprofit organization committed to teaching civics through better engagement with students. The group was founded by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. "I wanted to teach young people in America how they can be part of the governmental structure and help decide what problems to tackle and how to solve them," O'Connor says in a video on the organization's website. "We need to teach young people that they're going to grow up and be in charge."
iCivics isn't just for summer vacation. It also reaches into the classroom by providing teachers with lesson plans that accompany the games. The non-profit claims to reach 7 million students and 70,000 teachers every year.
Below are reviews of three iCivics games. Each one is particularly relevant to recent political debates, covering presidential elections, the Supreme Court and the federal budget, respectively. While the games aren't perfect, they're more educational than most video games or daytime television students may find on summer break.