The Best Free Educational Websites for Kids!
Have you ever wondered what the Best Free Educational Websites for Kids are? Well no need to worry any more I have a list of some of the best Free Online Educational Websites for Kids that you will want to check out! If you have little ones most of these are compatible with iPads so just make sure you have a good case (With a sticky finger screen protector) and then let your kids browse these sites where they can have fun and learn all at the same time.
PBS Kids – This is a great site for kids of all ages featuring all of your kids favorite characters from PBS!
Random House Kids – Featuring Books, Activities, Games and more all surrounding your favorite Characters from Random House Books! This is a great way to make books come alive for little ones!
Starfall – This is a great website for learning to read. Starfall takes your kids all the way from ABC’s to Learning to Read! There are some fun games and more that surround Phonics, Sounds and putting sounds together in words! This is great for preschoolers learning to read!
The Magic School Bus – There are tons of Great Videos and Games about the Environment & Science. This is a great website for older children who want to learn about weather, geography and more.
Brain Pop – This popular Subscription service also has a Free Content section where you can get learn for Free! This is a great way to give Brain Pop a try and see if you like the format, Again this is great for older children!
Highlights for Kids – My kids LOVE Highlights Magazines, and the website is just as great! There are games, books, crafts and of course Hidden Pictures.
ABCYa – This is another great learning site for kids. There is everything from Counting Games, to Graphing, Patterns and more. Great for learning early math skills. This is one of my Son’s Favorite Free Websites!
National Geographic Kids – This is a great site for exploring our world and learning all you can about the Ocean, Animals, Geography and more! There is a TON of information on this site and also some great videos, Puzzles and quizzes!
Wonderopolis – Similar to the National Geographic Website, this provides fun facts about our world and the animals in our land. So many fun facts to explore!
Fun Brain – Reading, Math, Tic Tac Toe and more are all a part of FunBrain.com! Explor tons of new games for kids and learn as you go. They even have fun Mad Libs to help with reading!
At Anastasis Academy we are a 1:1 BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) school with EVERY student using technology throughout the day every day. Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship are important topics for us because it is so integral to what our kids do while they are at school. Whether or not you have a 1:1 program, these are topics that shouldn’t be overlooked! Don’t assume that because your students are fairly savvy when it comes to learning technology, that they will automatically pick up on digital literacy. Digital Literacy isn’t a topic that should be relegated to school either, it is essential that parents learn about digital literacy so that they can echo and enforce good technology use at home. This week we will have a week of intensive digital literacy training for our students. Being a BYOD school means that these topics come up as we go through the year often, it is nice for us to have an intensive week to refer students back to throughout the school year. So much of digital literacy echoes good safety practices in “real” life. As such, we spend time discussing online and offline safety practices during this week and have our local school deputy join us. When I was a technology teacher, I would end this week with an Internet Driver’s License, students had to pass a safety quiz in order to get their license. This was their ticket to being able to be online in my class. Students could lose their license for inappropriate online behavior. This was always popular for kindergarten through fifth grade students! Below are our favorite resources to use. We choose a different digital literacy topic for each day of the week, follow along or mix it up to meet your own needs!
Monday- Online Identity
Students tend to assume that if something is online, it must be true. This is especially true of people they “meet” online. Students believe that anyone on a social network, blog comments, forum, etc. are who they say they are. It is important to help students understand that not everything and everyone online is what they seem.
Jr. High: NS Teens Friend or Fake– a video that helps students realize that not everyone they meet online is trustworthy
Tuesday: What to do
Every year I would ask my students how many of them had seen something they knew they shouldn’t have online. 100% of kids from kindergarten through eighth grade would raise their hands. When I followed up with: how many of you told an adult about it? Only about 2% in the same age group raise their hand!! When you ask students why they don’t report to an adult they list the following reasons: I didn’t want to get in trouble; Mom/Dad/Teacher would take the technology away from me if they knew, it was just an accident so I don’t tell; I was embarrassed. This is a big deal! Kids need to know that there is a trusted adult in their life who can help them navigate their online interactions without blaming them for accidental exposure. After sharing these videos, we discuss appropriate responses to inappropriate material. I ask kids to turn off the screen without shutting the device down. This keeps other students or siblings from seeing the inappropriate content before it can be reported. If a student sees anything online that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, confused or something they know is inappropriate they should report it to a trusted adult right away. I always let students know that they will never be in trouble for reporting this to us. It is a big help for us because then we know which sites to block so that other kids don’t run across the same material. Empower your students to do the right thing by letting them know that they are doing their part to keep a wider community safe. If students do come to you with inappropriate content, take a deep breath, thank them for their help and report the URL to your tech department to be black listed. No matter how shocking the content is, do NOT get upset with the student! This will keep them from ever telling you about it again. Do not punish students for dong the right thing! Follow up as necessary to help the student properly navigate what they were exposed to.
Elementary: NS Kids: Bad Netiquette Stinks!
Jr. High: NS Teens: Mike-Tosis
Wednesday: Online Identity/Digital footprint
Students often separate who they are online with who they are in “real” life. This is a mistake! It is important for students to understand that who they are online and who they are in person is one and the same. Decisions made online can impact their real life in big ways! Students also need to know what information is okay to share online, and what information is private and should not be shared online.
Elementary: NS Kids: Be safer online
Jr. High: NS Teens: Profile Penalty
Thursday: Cyber Bullying
Cyber Bullying is becoming a big issue for kids all over the world. Kids say things to each other online (or about each other) that they wouldn’t dream of saying to someone in person. It is important that kids know what cyber bullying is and what to do if they encounter a cyber bully. Kids need to know that it is always inappropriate to cyber bully in all of its forms.
Jr. High: NS Teens: Terrible tEXt
NS Teens: Cyberbully Zombies Attack
Friday: Online Privacy
Here’s the thing about making online content private: it’s never really totally private. Kids forget that even if they only share with people they know, the people they know may not necessarily keep online content private. I always use the example of my mom who keeps many of her pictures “private” online. However, I have access to those photos and nothing stops me from downloading them or taking a screen shot and sharing them with the world. It is important for kids to know if something is digital, that it can be shared.
Elementary: NS Kids: Passwords
Jr. High: NS Teen: Post to be Private
Every Day Learning: Online Discernment
Students tend to believe that everything they read or see online is true. Obviously this is SO not the case! Help your students learn how to have discernment as they are surfing the net.
Elementary: Google: Detecting Lies
Jr. High: Google: Detecting Lies
Teacher resources/lesson plans:
Net Smartz: Includes an online safety education kit, teaching materials, presentations
Web Wise Kids: teacher resources, safety night, safety kits
iKeep Safe: Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum
Media Smarts: lessons, resources, professional development
Carnegie Cyber Academy: lessons, game guides, printouts/activities
ThinkUKnow– videos, lessons, resources
Child Net- presentations, resources, lessons, videos
CyberSmart- resources, professional development
Tree Octopus- Help Kids see that not everything that is online is true. The Octopus Tree Frog site will put their critical thinking skills to the test!
Remember, as you go through these topics and resources for kids, it is crucial that you tie in the equivalent off-line behavior. Think stranger danger, reporting inappropriate behavior, bullying, and critical thinking. At the end of the week, challenge kids to create their own PSA video about the digital literacy and safety tips they learned this week!
One day your child tells you everything, from the consistency of the macaroni and cheese in the cafeteria to the hard words on the spelling test to the funny conversation she had with her best friend.
The next day…poof.
Parent: “So, what’s going on at school?”
For many parents, the information they receive about what’s happening at school ebbs and flows, especially once their kids hit 10 or 11 years of age. Even younger children may be reluctant sometimes to share the details of school life.
It doesn’t mean that something’s wrong or that you’re somehow missing a key piece of the parenting puzzle. It may simply be that your child is asserting independence and craving a little privacy. “No one tells parents this,” says Peter Sheras, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Virginia who specializes in adolescent relationships, family relationships, and stress. “Parents feel they are not very good at parenting.”
Of course, that’s not the case. You might just need to tweak your approach. Don’t interrogate, Sheras says. Kids don’t want to be grilled. Be subtle; be patient. Learn to listen intently to the words your child does offer. Watch your child’s body language and demeanor. Avoid yes-or-no questions if possible, and be specific. Try escalating—starting with simple questions and gradually delving into more sensitive topics.
If all else fails, wait it out. Try again later with a different approach, such as choosing a different time of day to start a conversation or taking your child out for a burger before asking questions. In a place where she’s comfortable, she might feel more talkative.
Don’t start the conversation with “We need to have a talk,” Sheras says: “That’s when a child dives under the table.”
Here are 20 questions that can help you get started.
- “I know you were stressed out about that math test. How did it go?”
- “I’m really proud of how well you’re doing in school. What are you studying these days that really interests you?”
- “You seem to have some good teachers this year. Which one is your favorite?”
- “If you could make up a teacher from scratch, a perfect teacher, what would he or she be like?”
- “When I was your age, I really didn’t like social studies. I just didn’t see the point in studying how people in Russia lived or what kind of languages Native Americans spoke. What subject are you really not liking these days?”
- “What’s your favorite time of day at school?”
- “What do you think about your grades? How does your report card compare with what you were expecting?”
- “We used to have the meanest boy in my class when I was your age. I still remember what a bully he was. Do you have anyone like that in your class?”
- “I’ve been reading a lot in the news about kids picking on other kids. What about at your school? Is that happening?”
- “I’m hearing a lot about bullying on the Internet. It sounds a little scary, but I really don’t know what it’s all about. Can you tell me about it?”
- “I noticed a few new kids in your class. Which ones have you been able to get to know? What are they like?”
- “I know it was hard for you when Kenny transferred to a different school. How’s it going without your best friend around?”
- “Who did you sit with at lunch today?”
- “I’m sorry you didn’t get invited to Sarah’s birthday party. I know you’re disappointed. How have things changed between you and Sarah now that you’re not in the same class?”
- “I really like the way you choose such nice friends. What qualities do you look for in a friend?”
- “I know you really like your new friend Caroline, but whenever I see her she’s being disrespectful to adults. Why don’t you tell me what I’m missing? What do you like about her that I’m not seeing?”
- “I can tell it embarrasses you when I insist on meeting your friends’ parents before letting you go to their house, but it’s something I need to do as your mom. Is there a way I could do it that would make you feel more comfortable?”
- “How’s it going with your activities and schoolwork? What would make it easier for you to manage your schedule and responsibilities?”
- “I feel like I haven’t talked to you in ages. How about we go for a walk and catch up?”
- “I’m sure I do things that embarrass you. What do I do that embarrasses you the most?”
Talking with your child should be an ongoing process. Keep the dialogue open, and be available so your child can find you when she feels like chatting.
One final piece of advice from Sheras: “Keep talking even when you think your kids aren’t listening,” he says. “Your children are listening whether they act like it or not.”