Teacher (and Auntie) Approved Education Sites for Kids!
In today’s technology crazed world, there are hundreds of websites aimed at children. Some of these are strictly games, others claim to be educational, and some really are. As a teacher (and auntie) I choose to embrace these websites as an additional resource in helping students learn. I’m not saying to pluck your kid in front of the computer and let that be the extent of it, but there are websites out there they are helpful when used as a supplement to your child’s learning experience. As a teacher, I’ve checked out a lot of the child-oriented sites and experimented with them also. The following are my favorites, and the ones I believe offer the best educational value for your child.
PBS Kids (ages 3-8): The PBS Kids website offers hundreds of educational games and activities to help your child have fun while learning. The content for these activities covers every content area imaginable. It also has the added bonus of allowing your child to learn with their favorite PBS characters. This can provide some extra motivation for your child to participate in the games/activities (that is if you can handle seeing those characters in yet ANOTHER medium). This is a favorite of my four-year old niece who likes to play a game with her “T.V. friends.”
Cool Math (ages 13+) and Cool Math for Kids (ages 3-12): Both of these websites are totally devoted to making math, for a lack of a better word, cool. The subject areas are clearly broken down so that a child can choose to focus on one problem area, or several. My students have always loved this site just for the pure “cool” look of it. The design of the site screams “This is fun! Not work!” The activities and lessons are really helpful to any student struggling with math.
Wonderopolis (ages 6-14): This site is the universe’s solution to your “but why?” child. It takes questions that kids often wonder about the answers to and provides easy to understand explanations and answers. There are a ton of categories to choose from and kids can even submit their own questions to be answered. If you have a serious thinker on your hands, you can even subscribe to get a “Wonder of the Day” sent to your e-mail. Added bonus: “Mom, can wolves be tamed?” “Not sure. Check Wonderopolis.” Ahhh.
Starfall (ages 3-8): I always recommend this website to parents who are looking for ways to help their young child with their literacy. I’ve been using Starfall with my niece since she was two, and it’s still one of her favorites. Now at age four, she can take some more control and ownership of the activities which is another great aspect of this website. For being free, it has an incredible number of activities and literacy resources. On this site, kids can learn about the alphabet, phonics, sign language, colors, math, spelling, holidays, and so much more. It also has some catchy tunes that I guarantee Mom and Dad will be humming for days.
National Geographic Little Kids (ages 3-5) and National Geographic Kids (ages 6-12): Both of these websites offer learning fun for more than just math and reading. Your child can explore the world, history, animals, environments, other cultures and more through the activities on these sites. I love these both for kids because it’s something different than the standard math and reading activities on many other sites.
KidsPsych (ages 1-5 and 6-9): This website is especially helpful because it addresses a child’s cognitive thinking and deductive reasoning skills. With the “teaching to the test” phenomenon that has taken over many public school classrooms, KidsPsych works to develop and hone these oft neglected skills. The site also includes a link to Magination Press which writes books that are specific to helping children understand life situations.
Funbrain (ages 5-8) and Funbrain Jr. (ages 3-5): Funbrain may be one of the most well-known educational sites for kids. It’s very popular in schools and homes because of its ease of use and wide variety of choices. Funbrain offers games, books, comics, activities and more over many content areas. I like to use it as a good standby option because I know it’s always a winner.
Pottermore (ages 6-No Limit ): I love Harry Potter. I love Harry Potter in a "pack my bags for Hogwarts and compete against young children in H.P. trivia contests" way. So, I am including Pottermore on my list of websites. Don’t worry; it didn’t only make the list because I’m obsessed. The site is full of exploring and learning fun for both fans of the series, and those who are discovering it for the first time. It offers audio recordings of the books, new writings by the author, discussions of the books, a Pottermore Shop, and activities and games. To access the fun you’ll need to sign up for a free account on the site.
EekoWorld (ages 4-13): EekoWorld is a site dedicated to raising a “green” generation of kids. They offer lots of kid-friendly information and advice about how to help the environment. They have a calendar of environmental holidays and events, games, activities, and a forum for kids to share how they help the environment.
NGA Kids (ages 5-18): The National Gallery of Art’s NGA Kids Art Zone introduces art and art history to kids in an interactive and kid-friendly way. They can watch animated stories that teach about all the forms of art, or create their own artwork from over a dozen interactive art categories. There are also resources for parents about how to include art in your child’s life.
Photo courtesy of whiteafrican and Flickr Creative Commons
About Hannah T
I am a 2010 graduate with a degree and certification in Elementary Ed., and I have worked with students from birth to junior high. I believe that one of the most important qualities to surviving a teaching career is a sense of humor. I also strongly feel that students are most successful when they are active and hands-on learners. My Mom was a Special Ed. teacher for almost 30 years, and my Dad was an English major, so I enjoy bouncing blog ideas off the two of them. This usually results in an exchange of great stories with my Mom, and a correction in my writing from my Dad. When they're not available, the job falls to my rescue dog, Coozie.