Hottest Websites for G’kids

Are your grandkids techno-crazy? Do you want some fun, safe, exciting Web sites to share with them? Here are five of the very best sites for kids.

Each site meets our GRAND criteria: a safe environment, security and privacy, nonviolent, inoffensive content, easy to use for the age group, educational value, all free or a free option, and few advertisements that don’t interrupt the current activity.

PBS Kids. Features activities and games from children’s favorite PBS TV shows, from Curious George to Mister Rogers. Educational games, interactive stories, jokes, videos and music. The menu items are clickable graphics. PBS Kids also has a valuable section for parents.

National Geographic Kids. Ah, the spectacular National Geographic magazine! Now kids have access to much of the same educational material online. The People and Places section, Animals, Activities, and Stories are where the good stuff is. This site offers visitors original games, puzzles, creative activities, true stories of adventure and discovery, and pictures and videos of wildlife and cool places from around the world. Kids are sure to have a wild and fun time.

Starfall. One of the best sites for teaching children how to read. It features four reading levels ranging from learning ABCs to activities for advanced beginning readers. There are plenty of interactive books, games and videos. Starfall provides families and teachers with a wealth of sequential reading activities that reflect the newest research on how to teach reading, including phonics. It uses high-interest animations and clear sound.

FunBrain. Boasts being the Internet’s #1 education site for K-8 kids and teachers. FunBrain disguises learning through fun, interactive games like Math Baseball and Grammar Gorillas. Games with a purpose, with science, math and language skills. You’ll also find comics and online books to read.

Poptropica. An online game and virtual world where players can travel, play games, compete in head-to-head competition with other players in real time and communicate safely with each other. There is a role-playing component as players are encouraged to explore the many islands, finish missions and get medallions. Poptropica is a completely safe site. It uses pre-scripted chat that allows players to communicate without sharing personal information. Older kids will find Poptropica easy to use.

Try exploring these Web sites with your grandkids. Enjoy!

Shayne Packer helps grandparents discover cool ways to connect with grandchildren at GrandparentsTLC.com. E-mail Shayne if you have a tech product or service useful to grandparents.

SHAYNE PACKER

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