(This post is sponsored by Funterra by SMART. Click here to read our disclosure policy)
This last year has been challenging for parents and kids. With so many schools closing due to the pandemic, we all scrambled to find educational content and social-emotional learning for our kids to digest. Enter Funterra.
Everyone should have a deeper appreciation for the ways teachers maintain our kid’s attention. While school districts have done their best to provide exciting online learning opportunities, there is an excellent alternative: Funterra by SMART. They offer a suite of game-based learning options to grow your child’s math, reading, and emotional intelligence.
What is Funterra by SMART?
Funterra is a new digital learning and entertainment platform from SMART Technologies, inventors of the SMART Board, and other interactive educational technology-based products found in over three million classrooms worldwide.
They provide an engaging game-based learning environment full of educational content that challenges your kids. Their popular games involve graphic design from all over the video game spectrum, including Funterra’s own Monster characters, traditional 8-bit graphics, and modern games similar to Among Us with an Educational twist.
Inside their website, you’ll find games for kids about math, geography, language skills, social-emotional learning. While this is not a replacement for what they can learn in the classroom, it is excellent extra support to keeping your child’s educational content on track with a fun and visually stunning games for kids.
Whether your kids are into puzzles, races, or character-driven adventures, Funterra offers a comprehensive continuum of game-based learning experiences that are fun and entertaining with an educational backbone.
Kids can choose to sharpen skills like basic math, spelling, or typing, or they can explore more complex topics such as resource management, decision-making, or teamwork. In addition, Funterra provides game-based learning that amplifies curiosity, creativity, resourcefulness, and grit – all vital attributes of a self-motivated, life-long learner.
The Importance of Gamifying Education
One of the more underrated benefits of Funterra by SMART is its ability to gamify education for kids. They create rewards and levels of achievement that motivate and encourage your kids to keep pressing forward through the different learning sessions.
When you allow your kids to operate in a gamified setting, they experience a heightened cognitive development. They also can practice their skills on a fun platform outside the classroom and from anywhere they have internet access.
Here are some of the other benefits of using Funterra by SMART to improve your kids’ social-emotional learning and educational content.
Monsters vs. Fractions
With this game collection of original games created by the folks at SMART, your kids will be immersed into a land full of mystery with engaging graphical images and sounds, all while they improve their Common Core fractions. In addition, they will be accompanied by their Monster friends while interacting with and manipulating fractions in math games for kids.
This is a far cry from the boring worksheets or multiple-choice questions most of us had to do in school. Instead, these are fully developed game-based learning environments for your child to explore while still getting the abstract concepts of concrete fraction applications. In addition, there is an entertaining story narrative for this fantasy world that was well written.
Monsters vs. Fractions gives both teachers and parents a game-based learning alternative to being stuck behind a desk all day long. The repetition of learning examples in each math game reinforces the core concepts while still providing motivating entertainment your kid will love. In addition, the game mechanics allow your kids to explore the world without losing the importance of correction or skill level requirements you would expect in a traditional classroom.
Funterra Maker Series
One of the essential foundational skills our kids can learn today is to combine creative skills with technological tools. The Maker Series introduces kids to the world of game design by allowing them to explore, build, and customize various aspects of gameplay.
Your kid will benefit from game-based learning through trial and error by creating their own games for kids. They will go through the same steps modern programmers and developers have to perform to finish a project.
Funterra by SMART has an incredible Pac-Man platform where your kids can redesign the different mazes and stages the traditional hero must complete before getting attacked by the ghosts. It is a lot of fun having your kiddo build you a map to try and solve. You get to watch them light up from seeing their creation working in real-time.
The Master Series of educational games for kids also teaches the importance of logic, mechanics, graphic design, and storytelling. Those skills translate directly into major industries like business, health, technology, engineering, and many more.
The best part is that Funterra by SMART made sure to include a level-based system that continually challenges your student. This way, the better they get at any one skill, the more complex the system responds to their account.
Interactive Stories and Emotional Intelligence
There is no replacement for real-world experience. However, there are plenty of ways to prepare your kids for those experiences. Funterra by SMART offers a collection of engaging supplements for their social-emotional education with their Interactive Stories.
These are various social-emotional learning scenarios that teach your kids about the impacts of their decisions through fun characters that they can associate with themselves. Funterra provides emotional insight into our kids’ lives and allows them to play out the different situations common to their everyday experiences.
Players will be able to watch the different expressive Monsters using vocal and facial queues to signal what they are feeling. That will prompt your kiddo to respond with what they would feel in the same scenario. This teaches them the importance of decision-making and valuable emotional intelligence.
Real-World Life Skills
How many times have you looked at your child’s upcoming curriculum for the new school year and been disappointed by the lack of life skills being taught? Of course, you value educational content but also want to see real-world skills like money, time management, budgeting, uncertainty, and probability.
The beauty of the new platform from Funterra is that they subtly teach all those necessary life skills without losing player engagement. Each game simulates real-life scenarios that give your student a sense of when to save rewards, spend money for upgrades, as well as the consequences of their decisions.
Without trying, your kiddo will soon learn the importance of managing their game resources. This directly translates to the real world, where managing money and time is essential to a successful life beyond the classroom.
We enjoyed the real-estate mogul games that impress upon your kids the way you can earn money by owning and operating different locations and buildings. But, of course, everyone in the real world knows real estate is an excellent form of passive income.
Meaningful Insights Provided by Game Play
You can tell Funterra by SMART cares a great deal about their final product because they created a way to demonstrate the academic performance increases of each of their players. This way, both teachers and parents can monitor how kids are doing through the educational content and adjust things if needed. It allows you a lot more of a learning partnership than leaving kids to their own devices.
Funterra also features an Insights Engine that provides you with a full spectrum of their current topics during gameplay. So instead of trying to have forced conversation over the dinner table with the standard “How was school today?” question, you’ll be able to directly relate your conversation to what they are currently learning.
Funterra by SMART didn’t stop with the engaging educational games for kids. They also intersperse video content that is popular, safe, and educational from shows like Sci-Sho Kids, Crash Course Kids, the Dr. Binocs Show, AumSUM, and much more.
You won’t have to flip through all the content ahead of time to check for suitability. Funterra has already done the hard work of creating fresh content that doesn’t push any appropriate boundaries but sticks to reinforcing the central concepts your kiddos are learning.
Our Review of Funterra’s Different Games
When we were asked to take a look at Funterra by SMART, we made sure each of our team members was able to play some of the games. We wanted to see just what type of educational content was available for our kids. Here are a few examples of what we did.
Tug Team Sailboats – Subtraction
In this game, you have two sailboats tied to one another by a rope. You are given a barrage of simple subtraction questions. Every time you get one correct, wind blows into your sails and pulls your opponent closer to the middle line.
This game is excellent! The questions are level-appropriate, and you get the tense feeling of having to keep moving to win. A wonderful way of building up anticipation for the correct answer with a quick results reward system.
A Hero Among Us
This game uses the same idea of the popular app Among Us to teach your kids about solving problems. They combine the excitement of finishing the tasks with “zombies” that roam around the screen and attack if you don’t move fast enough.
Jennybit and the Cheese Machine
We had to give one of the Monster Fractions game a try and were completely enamored with this math game. It did take a little while to load, but once we were inside, we were blown away at how much fun it is to play. You may need to turn off any browser adblockers to really enjoy the smooth gameplay.
In this math game, you fill up a machine with different ingredients to get a piece of cheese your Monster friend will enjoy. Then, you use levers with straightforward instructions to teach you the basics of a fraction.
Our Review of Funterra by SMART
After our team got to play with all the unique educational games for kids, we had a wonderful time. There is such a variety of options available to keep even the most skeptical of us completely engaged and wanting to do better at whatever game we played.
None of us completed the Maker Series, but it is sure to impress if it is anything like all the other options available on the platform. We definitively suggest Funterra by SMART as an excellent way to supplement your child’s education with some fun game-based learning skills.
The stories were also a lot more interesting than we thought they would be. One of our team members brought his daughter to follow along and found her wanting to interact directly with the Monster friend’s main character almost immediately. Funterra has built a product that delivers on its promise.
While this system could efficiently work on a tablet, we strongly encourage your kiddo to use a bigger screen during gameplay. Of course, they won’t lose anything with the smaller screen, but it is just so much more enjoyable to watch all the visually interesting details of the scene play out in front of your eyes.
Is Funterra by SMART Worth It?
There is a lot of educational content available to keep your kid’s emotional intelligence and skills sharp. The problem is that they tend to be educational games for kids based on single sheets of math work or simple, non-engaging programs that don’t allow your child to grow.
The difference between the other game-based learning offered online, and Funterra by SMART is that you get a fully immersive game platform for your kid. Think about how serious modern gamers dive into their Xbox or PS4? This is exactly what Funterra by SMART is offering, a fantastic game world full of social-emotional learning, math games, and fun explorations.
The full Funterra subscription offers immersive game-based learning in subjects that are not found elsewhere:
- An interactive Fractions curriculum (Monsters vs. Fractions)
- Choice-based Social-Emotional learning (Interactive Stories)
- Game design (Maker series)
- Practical capabilities like money and time management (Life Skills series)
Funterra by SMART also updates their educational games for kids with new categories and adventures every couple of weeks. This solves the problem of keeping your kiddo interested in doing the different math games and other offerings.
The price tag for these entertaining games for the kid’s environment is $7.99 per month for premium access. In addition, you’ll be able to track your kid’s progress across the different math games and achievements they attempt and get updates whenever they increase their games or categories.
Funterra makes it easy for families to test-drive the whole experience. You can try a free version first for 10 days that allows you and your kids to get an excellent idea of what is available on the game-based learning platform. Best of all, this doesn’t require entering a credit card, just an email address.
Teachers and students may access content that aligns with academic standards such as NGSS and Common Core with a free account.
Upgrade to access Premium game categories, including full access to the Monsters vs. Fractions collection, Emotional Literacy narratives, the Life Skills and Maker game series, and the Insights Engine.
How often do they bill?
The premium access costs $7.99 per month plus taxes. They bill every month the same way your streaming services bill; by the date of your original sign-up.
Is there an app?
Funterra says you can use their service on modern web browsers like Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge. We didn’t try any applications, but the website says they’ll be rolling something out soon. However, we do suggest shutting off any add-ons or extensions while using their site.
Were the educational games hard?
Nothing we tried was overly difficult to understand. Funterra does an outstanding job of adding sounds, images, and light queues to each game to lead the player along. They also tend to have a voiceover where they do have text, so kids who cannot read can still play. This isn’t for all games, but most of the ones we tried.
Can I do this instead of online school?
While Funterra platform is definitely extensive with a broad offering of different educational tools, we do not recommend replacing your child’s standard school curriculum. This is beast meant as supplemental education to help your kiddo with their concepts. We can see the games being used to advance kids who want to get ahead of their grade level and help those who struggle with traditional classroom settings.
Wrapping it Up
If you are looking for a fun way of helping your kids learn, improve, or keep up with the different important learning subjects in their lives, you cannot go wrong with Funterra by SMART. The price tag for premium access is less than most popular streaming sites and gives you so much content that your kiddo will never get bored.
This is a great alternative for your kids coming home from school and plopping down on the couch to watch TV. It is also an excellent resource for education when we have so much upheaval in our schools due to the pandemic or in-climate weather.
You can sign up for the free 10-day trial at https://funterra.com/. They often offer special trials for teachers and schools as well, and you can learn more about that by contacting them directly.
Funterra has a variety of ways for your child to learn. If your child is using a digital device, why not have them learn while they are having fun. Funterra can accomplish this and more. Plus, with a free 10-day trial, there’s no risk to you if your child doesn’t love it!