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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fun and educational website for kids!

Now that the weather is finally nice, the grass green, the trees and flowers growing, I'm eager to get out of the house every chance I get.  Running through a park with my kids is so much nicer than trying to manage their behavior in our small condo.  


But its inevitable that the occasional rainy day is going to drive us back indoor.  When this happens, I try to have an arsenal of projects up my sleeve - food to bake, crafts to make, books to read, games to play, work to do.  I try to limit screen time for all of us, but sometimes our projects lead us to the internet.  While the internet can be a major time waster, it can also be a great place for educational exploration.  Here's a few sites I've found that are great for a rainy day. 

Starfall is hands down my favorite.  Totally free, the site is geared towards teaching Kindergartners and up how to read.  However, I began using the most basic tools on the site with my son before he was two years old.  As a result, he knew the names and sounds of all 26 letters around the age of two.  You can't ask for better results than that!  We've begun to dig deeper in the site, learning to put sounds together and other reading skills.  Some pages he enjoys but is not ready to read on his own.  For example, there are great pages that intro children to Classical music and various composers.  He loves these pages and I love the exposure it brings him - I simply do the reading for him.  A similar page introduces children to art and artists.  

I could go on and on about Starfall.  I'm grateful to have such a fun, educational tool available for me on rainy days.  

I have wished for something similar to teach Math skills as well, and I recently found this in Dream Box.  This website is pay-to-play: after an initial two week trial, you must have a subscription to the site in order to access it.  Again geared towards Kindergarten on up, I gave it a shot with my two year old.  I found that there was less low hanging fruit on this site.  He was able to enjoy playing the first few levels, but quickly found himself over his head in both Math and Computer skills.  The games did seem to effectively immerse kids in math skills within the context of an adventure game, so I'll look forward to trying this again in a few years.  

There's more to learning than reading and math!  This site was created by the World Wildlife Fund and features lesson-plans, games and songs children and their parents can download introducing them to ecology and how we can each play a part in keeping our planet healthy.   I'm glad that we have more tools now than ever to bring our children into the conversation of ecology and equip them with the tools to start making good decisions now.  

So there's a few ideas that I have up my sleeve.  Have you stumbled upon any website that are both fun and educational for children?

2 comments:

Amber,  June 2, 2009 at 4:36 PM  

You may want to try these...
http://www.literacycenter.net/lessonview_en.htm#
...my two year old loves the keyboard option

http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=10&e=gamesLanding&mcat=game_infant,game_toddler,game_preschool&site=us

http://www.kneebouncers.com/index.php?flash=loadGameSection

http://www.bigfishgames.com/download-games/genres/26/kids.html

http://www.poissonrouge.com/

http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/MatisseArtist

http://www.mrpicassohead.com/create.html

http://www.haringkids.com/

http://www.jacksonpollock.org/

Catherine June 3, 2009 at 11:56 AM  

Those are great, Amber - thanks so much!

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