My fingers have been glued to a keyboard or mouse longer than I can remember. In my school days, it was frankly unusual to use programs like Kid Pix and Paint to complete school projects, or to use digital dictionaries and the nascent Internet for research, but I enjoyed utilizing the technology of the time. We’ve sure come a long way from dot matrix printers! I think I had it good though; kids now are expected to film videos, create presentations and otherwise use technology in their work.
As the technology has evolved, while more resources for kids are available, I think it is a little more difficult to find truly “kid-safe” resources. Here are some neat and trustworthy locations for news & information for kids.
Yahoo! Kids Homework Help
The “Study” area of Yahoo! Kids, easy to find at http://kids.yahoo.com/learn, is the best of sites we look ed at presented just for kids. The interactive animal section covers dozens of species of ambphibians, birds and more, plus has games to help learn the differences between animals. Kids that are stumped on a concept can also Ask Earl for an answer; Earl’s provided 1,586 answers (and counting). Of course, the popular search engine resource has handy search options as well, like the World Factbook and Reference area. Ads are also an absolute minimum; at this time, a single kid-friendly advertisement. (You can of course back up to the main Yahoo! Kids area with more about movies, music, sports and more.)
Time for Kids
I think of all the sites I took a look at Time for Kids is the most kid-friendly. There is a news archive with stories written with kids in mind. Topics range from current events to pop culture. The Homework Helper has a searchable index of research-ready websites recommended by kids, as well as tips for writing and a look “Around the World.” This site too has an acceptable set of ads; right now two directed to SIKids.com.
It was a trip down memory lane to look at the website for Weekly Reader, the familiar, informative publication we read in school each week as kids. Their colorful, ad-free site (save for a couple static ads to their own content) is split with resources for elementary and secondary-age children. While this site may be more directed at teachers, its information is presented well for kids’ eyes, too. (It is also an ideal place for parents who homeschool to visit.)
Scholastic – The Stacks for Kids
A very new, very fresh, and very modern resource for older kids is The Stacks for Kids by Scholastic. It is currently in beta mode but has destinations for adolescents like message boards, games, and of course, details about new books and authors to check out.
National Geographic Kids
Kids will find fun and crazy facts, wild videos, activities and much more at the National Geographic Kids site. This innovative website won a and was a Parents Choice Award winner in 1998 and a Webby Award in the Youth category. Check out the Photos area for intriguing photographs of scenery, animals and so on, or read kid-centered stories on a variety of topics. A couple ads on the site were for games and such but were not inappropriate.
Other kid-friendly destinations on the web include the Exploratorium’s “Explore” area (a must-see collection of online exhibits), Nourish Interactive, PBS Kids, the NASA Kids’ Club, and KidsKnowIt.com. For information about keeping kids safe online visit Microsoft’s collection of articles.
Please share any other websites you or your kids frequent that you would like to recommend to other families! See more from our blog celebrating the journey back to school.