Lockdown Learning: Free Games for Kids in Times of COVID-19 Quarantine

Jasper Schellekens
4 min readMar 26, 2020

Learning in lockdown doesn’t have to be boring! The list of recommended games by the Institute of Digital Games at the University of Malta to learn in lockdown.

HERE — Game by Prof. Stefano Gualeni, Institute of Digital Games
‘Here’ — Game by Prof. Stefano Gualeni

Learning and Fun

The games designed at the Institute of Digital Games are based on the latest research related to game-based learning.

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has forced schools to shut down all around the world. Therefore, the Institute of Digital Games is providing a list of educational games developed at the Institute in addition to some resources that may help guide both carers and educators on the use of games in the classroom.

Institute Games — Made at the IDG in Malta

Iconoscope — This game is designed to teach lateral thinking and stimulate visual creativity. It also provides the opportunity to discuss abstract concepts liguistically and visually. Available in English, German, and Greek. Recommended for ages 9–11.

Students Playing Iconoscope

Virtual Labs

Chemistry Lab — Learn everything there is about molecules! From naming a molecule’s formula to building its structure.

Wind Energy Lab — Take control of a wind farm to power a small town with energy in a 3D environment. Understand how random changes in wind speed and power requirements, affect the use of natural energy resources.

Molecule Builder — Explore the properties and nature of 20 different molecules or compounds from various elements.

Molecule Naming Lab — Select a diagram from a list of numbered molecules, and name it correctly!

Molecule Covalent Bonding — Select a molecule and create its formula, then correctly find its bond and place the electrons.

Geography and History in a Time-traveling Murder Mystery

Data Agent (Downloadable version has 99 different cases to solve! Win64, Win86, or Mac) — A murder mystery that creates a murder victim based on a person’s name and builds the victim’s character and story using data from their Wikipedia article. All the data and information provided in the game is real encouraging the players to learn without them even being aware that they are in the style of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?

Something Something Soup Something — A funny philosophical game about language and what soup really is.

Com-N-Player App (Android, Web) — Discover and learn about science and have your say on what it actually means to you!

Con-N-Player — Mystery Objects Game

ArtBotFind and retrieve stolen art objects. Train your AI helper to recognise and locate the objects hidden in a maze of dungeons!

Artbot by Institute of Digital Games

Games IDG Recommends

We didn’t make ’em, but we like ‘em.

Foldit — Protein Folding Game — With Foldit you can currently help researchers discover new antiviral drugs that might stop coronavirus!

Foldit Protein Puzzles

Interland — Teaches kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and internet safety.

Bad News Jr.— Trick your teachers and classmates and become a master of fake news!

The Plague- Learn about the plague and impact of epidemics. Currently available for FREE. Recommended for grades 4–6. Serious Games Interactive have also made a number of their educational games available for free.

But wait, there is more! Our Educational Artificial Intelligence Games

There are so many resources for game-based learning that we have even followed up this post with another list of games. This time themed around learning about AI.

Give us a shout on Twitter @InDigitalGames or Facebook and let us know if you’d like to know more.

The Institute of Digital Games is ranked as one of the top 25 graduate schools in game design by the Princeton Review (#16 in 2020). It is a multidisciplinary centre studying games, focused on game analysis and game technology. The Institute of Digital Games is performing cutting edge research at the crossroads of AI, games, and humanities pushing the boundaries of the field with innovate work awarded at numerous conferences and competitions, collaborating actively with industry giants such as Ubisoft. In addition to academic research supported by European and national funding.



Jasper Schellekens

Jasper Schellekens is part of the top-ranked Institute of Digital Games at University of Malta. Leading innovative research from Game AI to Game Philosophy.