As you probably know by now, I am originally from Nigeria and although I have lived in a few countries, I grew up in Nigeria for the most part. Incidentally, I was a hard-copy-book nerd growing up and had nothing to do with computers until I landed in the United States. Back then, my idea of entertainment was my nose in a book or playing outside in the hot sun.
The Relevance of great Websites for kids
In this day and age, information and entertainment are shared quite frequently over the internet via computers. So we find that kids are interacting with websites on a regular basis, in the home and outside of the home.
It became key to seek out websites that would edify my children, not only while they are being educated but also while they are being entertained.
In this post, I will be sharing just 5 of the many websites that I have found useful for kids. Here we go:
Interland is a free Google-developed online game released in 2017. It is interactive for the kids and basically teaches them, through hands-on practice on how to safely navigate the online world.
Big Bro and Little Bro really love this site, mainly because it is a game that they can connect with, while I love it because it is actually teaching them real-life skills. Speaking of real-life skills, here is a true story:
When Big Bro was born, my mother-in-law came to spend some time with us to help with the new baby, as is customary in my culture. The first time she taught me how to bath the newborn, she showed me a don’t-try-this-yourself stunt. She held my baby upside down by his feet. Big Bro and I screamed that first time, and then in subsequent days not so much. She explained to me that traditionally that was done to teach the baby, through experience, how to emotionally handle fear.
Now, this is probably an extreme example, I know, but it helps me explain what Interland does with the kids.
It teaches them the pitfalls they may experience in the real cyber world by benignly exposing them to it, in a pretend environment while teaching them real-life skills for handling hackers, cyberbullies and overshares.
We like this site because it is empowering for the kiddos and for mothers as well.
The next website that has helped us is IXL. This is a highly popular and comprehensive subscription-based educational site that caters to K-12 and also has a huge section for the pre-Kindergarteners as well.
I will add that many school districts subscribe to IXL while offering it free to its students and so it does not hurt to just ask if your school district does. Subjects covered in IXL are math, language arts, science, social studies, and Spanish. Now, what we really love about this website is that it's topic breakdown is EXHAUSTIVE especially in math.
It breaks down the subjects by grade, topics, individual state requirements and even textbooks that the kiddos may be using in school!
Also, it offers continuous diagnostics. This means that kids can practice in isolated concepts within topics repetitively until they master it. This was a game-changer for us! I remember I mastered the times' table in Primary 2 while in Nigeria by means of rote repetition. My classmates and I all learned together. We literally have to recite the entire times' table from 1 through 12, every morning as a class.
Repetition, in our case and many others, was the key. Now IXL excels at this learning-through-repetition thing and it honestly helped Big Bro master his times' table in record time. This was after trying all kinds of Apps and flashcards because as we all know, in many cases, Practice makes Perfect (or at least close to it).
Oxford Owl is another great website. It is an award-winning website created by Oxford University Press and geared towards kids, parents, and teachers. Oxford Owl caters to Math and Language Arts and is just PACKED with learning goodies for the kids.
It is subscription-based and also has tons of books in its free interactive e-book library. These e-books are classified by age-group ranging from 3 to 11 years of age and there are also lots of videos that support storytelling and grammar growth.
We really like Oxford Owl mostly because of the insider tips for parents to help with supporting the kid’s education.
I always tell my kids’ teachers that I will always be a support/adjunct teacher and will always support their learning at home, even though they do a fine job at school just because it takes a village, right?
Right Now Media
Rightnow Media is a massive faith-based video streaming library with over 20,000 videos. It also has over 2,000 kids’ episodes for shows like Seakids, VeggieTales and Max Lucado’s Hermie & Friends. This site is subscription-based and many churches do purchase subscriptions for their entire churches.
We were just relieved to be able to occasionally leave my kids in front of a streaming TV service that has shows that are entertaining and helpful for character-building with zero risks of the occasional inappropriate advertisement flashing across their screens.
Progressive Phonics is a free comprehensive reading program that features Beginner phonics, Intermediate phonics and Advanced phonics lessons, handwriting practice and activity sheets.Each phonics family addressed has a booklet with hilarious stories that can be read on-screen, downloaded and/or printed out for individual consumption.
The beginner lessons feature the five short vowels while the intermediate lessons highlight the long vowels and consonant blends.
The advanced phonics lessons have silent E variations, R-controlled vowels among other variations. Big Bro and Little Bro started out learning to read with this particular site and I found it to be a fun, no-pressure medium to introduce reading to the kids. So there you have just 5 of the websites that we have found very helpful.
Have you tried any of these websites? What did you think? Are there any other websites that you have found useful for kids. Let me know in the comments below. Until then,
Best Regards and talk to you soon!
Disclaimer: I was not compensated or even asked to review these websites, I simply wanted to share some useful tips.