Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Great websites for your kids

The Internet is HUGE, and not all of it is safe for your kids to play on. But don't despair, because the Internet is an amazing way to connect with your kids on their level. With that in mind, here's a list of tried and true resources for you and your kids to learn, play, and grow together.

The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks Virtual World (ages 7 and up)
http://www.wiglingtonandwenks.com/
On this entertaining, educational site, kids design their own avatars who play games, assist historical characters (from Beethoven to Marco Polo), and explore real and imaginary worlds (the Great Pyramids, a pirate’s den). Registration is required; the game is free, with an optional fee-based premium account.

Funbrain (ages 6 and up)
http://www.funbrain.com/
Funbrain offers clickable educational games with problem solving and rudimentary graphics. In other games, math and literacy challenges hide out behind awesome animation and sound effects.

Kideos (ages 3 and up)
http://www.kideos.com/
Prescreened for kid suitability, these videos are organized by age and categories for easy navigation. Much safer than letting your child use YouTube.

NGAkids Art Zone (ages 7 and up)
http://www.nga.gov/kids/zone/
From the National Gallery of Art, this website brings art alive for kids with witty activities which allow them to play with famous masterpieces.

The Toymaker (ages 5 and up)
http://www.thetoymaker.com/
This website offers free patterns where, with the help of a printer, kids can make their own toys, including paper planes, miniature furniture for doll houses, bug boxes, and much more.

Exploratorium (ages 8 and up)
http://www.exploratorium.edu/explore/
This website from the San Francisco science museum feeds curious minds with amazing online exhibits. Intriguing interactive activities abound.

Activity TV
http://www.activitytv.com/ (ages 6 and up)
Kid-friendly how-to videos offer instructions in great hands-on activities such as origami, juggling, and jewelry making. Printable instructions are also offered.

PBS Sprout (ages 3 and up)
http://www.sproutonline.com/sprout/home/
This website has games, recipes, craft ideas and more. Sprout Online works in conjunction with the PBS television station in the U.S. and features contests. The website can be personalized for its members and accessed by friends and family in faraway places through “My Refrigerator” a private webpage that allows posts. You can upload photos and make posts. It is the website for preschoolers and their families to share together!