The Oregon Trail is an educational simulation game teaching kids what it was like to be a pioneer traveling west in the 1800s. It is based on the classic PC simulation game The Oregon Trail, which was created in the 1970s. It is a fun app that kids can play games and learn history at the same time.
In the game, kids join a historic wagon train traveling west ward from Missouri to Oregon. To start, kids can choose who they want to be, a farmer, a carpenter, or a banker. While making the choices, kids are presented the pro and con of each. Farmer is accustomed to eating less, so his food will decrease slowly. Carpenter is handy, so his wagon condition will decrease slowly. They also get to choose the type of wagons they want to use, based on the cost and the functions.
During the game, kids have to learn to make all the decisions during the trip, such as how fast they want to travel, when to rest, what route to take, and what supplies to buy. At almost all the key decision points, the app offers pro and con’s to help kids decide what is good for him/her. For example, on choosing traveling speed, the faster you go, the quicker the health condition declines.
While playing the game, kids will also run into difficult situations, such as losing all the food to robbery, being sick when no money left. To win the game, kids have to learn how to overcome these obstacles, and many times, this means trade-offs.
As some fun activities, there are 8 mini-games, such as hunting, fishing. Once a while, a historic figure comes out to issue side quests …
What the kids learn:
Kids can learn about the history of the American westward expansion of the 1800s. In addition to interesting historical facts about life on the road, kids also learn how to make decisions in real life scenario, and how to deal with tough situations such as illness and hunger. They also learn setting realistic goals for themselves. I remember my son told me one day after playing Oregon Trail: “I’m ahead of schedule, and I did not lose any of my children”.
The Oregon Trail does a great job in bringing history alive. Kids learn historical facts, as well as being resilient and making decisions at difficult situations.
The Oregon Trail works on iPhone, iPod, and iPAD. It is also available for Android on Amazon App store and Google Play.
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