For many 21st century parents, keeping kids’ screen time in check seems to be a never-ending challenge. But sessions spent on computers, tablets and smartphones do not always have to represent time poorly spent, even when the devices are in the hands of young children.
For parents looking to limit the unproductive activities such as selfies, video games and trivial YouTube videos, a wealth of parent- and teacher-approved educational websites can also be found on the internet. Those seeking to put a positive spin on screen time can consider sending their children to these seven enriching and worthwhile websites, many of which can even make learning seem fun:
- Babytv.com (babytv.com): Designed for the youngest of learners, ages 3 and under, this website delivers 24-hour streaming programs meant to educate and entertain the little ones. Its kid-captivating shows are centered on topics like the night sky, flowers, twilight, the ocean, the sky and shooting stars. And to keep kids otherwise entertained, it also offers activities like puzzles, games, coloring sheets and crafts.
- ABCmouse.com (abcmouse.com): Created for children ages 2-8, this website offers full, award-winning curricula in reading and language arts, math, science and social studies, and arts and colors. Its 10 levels of learning cover more than 850 lessons and 10,000-plus individual educational activities. And it makes learning fun with research-backed books, games, puzzles and learning videos developed in collaboration with teachers and other experts in childhood education.
- CoolMath4Kids (coolmath4kids.com): Designed for children ages 12 and under and billed as an “amusement park of math,” this website offers an array of fun, math-driven video games. The games are designed to teach kids addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fractions, all while keeping them entertained. Its sister site, Coolmath.com, delivers “math for ages 13-100,” offering simple-to-understand explanations of concepts in challenging mathematical areas like algebra, calculus, decimals, and factors and primes.
- PBS Kids (pbskids.org): This site gives children access to an array of educational content featuring characters from their favorite shows like Cat in the Hat, Clifford, Curious George, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid and Wild Kratts, just to name a few. Educational offerings across the many character-driven categories include games, videos and printable activities.
- NASA Kids’ Club (nasa.gov/kidsclub): Provided by space-exploration agency NASA, this website is designed to spur young students’ interest in STEM subjects and outer space. Its many outer space-themed offerings include educational games, photo and video galleries, details on NASA missions, access to streaming NASA TV content, and downloads like apps, e-books and ringtones.
- ReadingIQ (readingiq.com): Billed as a “library in your pocket,” this website geared toward kids ages 2-12 is designed to help children develop a healthy love for reading. It features 7,000-plus books from well-known publishers like Disney, Pixar, Highlights and National Geographic. Further, the site provides content that is accessible to kids of all reading levels, and its reading-level assessments can help parents track their kids’ literary progress.
- Khan Academy (khanacademy.org): This popular website is offered by nonprofit group Khan Academy in an effort to “provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” It features courses for students in pre-K through college in subject areas ranging from math and science to computing, arts and humanities, economics, reading and language arts, and life skills. And for students looking to take their educational paths beyond high school, it even offers preparatory courses for tests such as the SAT, LSAT and MCAT.
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