Avoid the Summer Slide with the Smithsonian Science Education Center

Summer vacation is often filled with fun activities but did you know that, on average, students lose two months worth of academic progress over the break? This is referred to as the “Summer Slide,” or the tendency for students to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year. In order to combat this, we have provided a list of free educational games to keep your student engaged and excited about learning all summer long! 

Showbiz Safari

Grades 1-3

Showbiz Safari is a life science game that will help teach your student about the diversity of plants and animals in different habitats. Which furry mammal is the best fit for the blockbuster film “Paws”? Which water-loving actor will get the leading role in “Swimmin’ in the Rain”? Your student will help Walrus pick actors based the special traits of each plant or animal.

Screenshot from Showbiz Safari

Image: Smithsonian Science Education Center


Grades 3-5

Morphy (Grades 3-5) is a life science game that teaches students that animals have external structures that function to support survival and behavior. In the game, Morphy and his fellow alien crew have crash-landed on a foreign planet. His crewmembers evacuated at different times and are now missing. Your student will help Morphy locate the crew members so that they can repair their spaceship. But Morphy can’t survive this planet on his own - along the way, he will meet creatures with external traits that will help him navigate this strange new world. 

Screenshot of Morphy

Image: Smithsonian Science Education Center

Disaster Detector

Grades 6-8

Disaster Detector (Grades 6-8) teaches students how to analyze and interpret data on natural hazards. Players will forecast future catastrophic events and implement solutions to mitigate the effects of those disasters. In this game, your student will use tools to make predictions and save the city of Smithsonville by helping them prepare for natural disasters. 

Screenshot of Disaster Detector

Image: Smithsonian Science Education Center

For more educational games visit our Game Center.


Doris R. Entwisle, Karl L. Alexander, and Linda S. Olson, Summer learning and home environment. A nation at risk: Preserving public education as an engine for social mobility, New York: Century Foundation Press (2000): 9-30.

About the Author

Courtney Fernandez Petty
Curriculum and Communications Outreach Intern

Courtney Fernandez Petty is a science communications and outreach intern at the Smithsonian Science Education Center. She is also a graduate student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her doctoral work focuses on better understanding airway diseases, like cystic fibrosis, to identify novel treatments. She is active in both community and school outreach to increase awareness of the importance of science and research. She is also passionate about advancing science education by merging technology and education based objectives to prepare students for a more STEM literate society.