Fun, FREE Educational Web Sites for Kids

By Nancy Jang on September 23, 2010
  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5

  
Kids are naturally drawn to the computer with its fun animations and cool games. It's one stop for shopping, entertainment, fun, and games. Here are a few Web sites that I use in my class to give a little extra practice in a skill for my below level kids, some challenge activities for my top students, and reviews for my on level students. Sometimes, I use the sites as extension activities or for homework. All of the sites are free and some of them have a premium version that includes more activities and some teacher tools. Leave a comment to be eligible for a GIVEAWAY at the end of the post!

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office Clipart.

 

 

Most of the time, I introduce the Web site in the computer lab with all the students and we explore and then play a little bit. Then I send home the Web site URL with the students on their homework packets, write it on my newsletter, and post it to my classroom Web site.

 

Spellingcity2
SpellingCity This Web site houses thousands of spelling lists and allows you to add your own. It makes it simple to differentiate spelling words and also allows the student to have FUN while practicing their words. There are pre-tests and post-tests that the computer will read to the student. The basic version is free and many of the activities are printable. If you pay for the premium version, you get a few more games and it will give you a grade book tracking system. Here is a summary of some of the games:

  • Hang Mouse: A game similar to hangman.
  • Unscramble: Put the word back together from a scrambled set of letters.
  • Audio Word Match: Match cards to the words and sounds. 
  • Match It: Match the word with its proper use in a sentence.
  • Missing Letter: Find the missing letter that makes up the word.
  • Alphabetize: Alphabetize your words.

 

Webrangerslogo


WebRangers lets you create your own ranger station as you earn points through activities at various National Parks in the United States. Activities are leveled easy, medium, and hard. If students complete all three activities in one area, they can print the award and send it to the ranger station to get a cool embroidered ranger patch from that park.  The top kids can generally do it by themselves; on level and below level kids are asked to visit the site with their parents so they can help them read the activities. Our school has a subscription to Discovery Education and I will usually supplement their visit with an additional video and quiz. If your school doesn't have Discovery Education, CaliforniaStreaming.org has thousands of pictures and videos and offers a free trial for teachers.

Efieldtripslogo

 

 

 

 

eFieldTrips This site includes about 20 tours with a curriculum connection. Teachers can sign up for a free account and you get a password for the field trip that you want to take. The field trip consists of three parts:

  • eFieldTrip Journal
  • Virtual Visit
  • Ask the Experts Web Form

Most of the time, we take the trip together without taking notes, then when they go home, they view the field trip again and come back with their journal entry and a question to post in the forum. We vote on the best questions and combine a few before posting them. The photos are amazing and there is a field trip for every age range. I love going on the butterfly field trip to NABA International Butterfly Park in Mission, Texas. Insect life cycles are a California state standard for 2nd grade, and the kids love this field trip. Most field trips have a social studies or science connection.

 

  Timezattack logo

Timez Attack In April, 2nd graders in California are learning multiplication and division as well as preparing for state testing. This game has AMAZING graphics, is SUPER FUN, and the base version is FREE! It will even save your games if you register. My kids can't get enough of it! The paid version includes a choice of more background environments and characters.

 

 

Iknowthat

iKnowthat has several free sample games in each area for each grade level. We use MathBlox and Leon's Math Dojo as well as Monkey Money Mayhem. They offer at-home subscriptions for parents and licenses for classes and schools. The class license allows you full access to all of the games and tracks your students' use. There are good games for every subject and for grades K–6. The graphics are good and the games are easy to play. The app store also has Leon's Math Dojo and phonics apps for the iPad and iPhone!

I know that there are hundreds of Web sites that are wonderful, practical, and fun for kids. This is just the tip of the iceberg. What is your favorite Web site for kids? Leave a comment with the URL for your favorite Web site for kids to be eligible for a giveaway! I am giving away one package of lovely office supplies that includes dry erase markers, pencils, and sticky notes. Read my next blog post to find out who the winner is. All comments must be submitted by Sunday, October 3, 2010. One entry per person.

Join me next week as I get a little crafty. There will be a short video of a simple craft to do with your kids during the Halloween festivities or just to learn about pumpkins. I am going to be including science, language arts, and math activities that are centered around pumpkins. I am also including an October booklist, instructions for some crafts, and some fun party ideas. Stay tuned!

Happy teaching!

Nancy

Comments

Really enjoyed this blog post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.
bash

Thanks for sharing!

Karen, first click on the trip you want, then you have to register for it by giving them your email and creating an account. It will email you the password for that particular trip. Then when you log in,you can access that trip. If you have further problems, either try contacting them or your IT dept. I really hope you get the chance to use the site!

Hope this helps, Nancy

The eFieldTrips site wouldn't work for me at all! I'm so disappointed...I really wanted to use that one.

Rachel, Thanks for your comment. I'm looking forward to checking out your suggestion. I love supporting Arts Education in school.

Happy Teaching, Nancy

Great ideas that I will definitely use. For kids who love to draw, and want to learn how to do it better, this site ... http://www.drawinghowtodraw.com/ ... will help them do that with 100s of drawing lessons and an online drawing application to practice with.

Thanks for posting this great article.

Rachel

Tobin, My kids really like Hang Mouse too. I'm glad you found something that you liked. Thanks for reading!

Happy Teaching, Nancy

The Hangmouse on Spelling City is excellent!!

Mary, I hope you enjoy the efieldtrips. It inspires me to want to travel more after seeing some of these places! Thanks for your comment!!

Happy Teaching, Nancy

Nancy, I like the efield trips. I am going to take my students on the Pearl Harbor and Engery field trips.

Alicia Kelly, Thanks for commenting. There are a ton of games there and good free ones too.

Happy "Teching" Nancy

Kristin, Thanks for commenting. I can't wait to check your website suggestion. It's nice to have prescreened sites that are great for kiddos to use without wading through a million sites.

Happy "Teching" Nancy

Anne, Thank you so much for commenting! I hope you enjoy spellingcity.com It's easy to print our items for in class practice and they can play a few online games too.

Happy "Teching", Nancy

I liked the iknowthat.org site for great games.

ReadWriteThink.org has both tons of great interactive games and tools for kids, but also great, simple projects for parents do to with their kids. Take your kids on a reading hunt, work through a persuasive writing exercise or make comics (plus lots more). (ReadWriteThink is just one partner in Thinkfinity.org, which has a lot of other partners with great tools.)

I enjoyed reading your way of using web sites. I plan on trying SpellingCity.com

Khristi, Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to post. I am going to check out sightwordswithsamson.com! I am also entering your name into a drawing for some lovely office supplies. Check back next week to see who won the goodies. :)

Happy "Teching", Nancy

Lauren Bridget, Thanks for your suggestion. I love being able to hook kids into a site and be able to use it for homework too. The kids LOVE it for homework. I am entering your name into my drawing for some office supply goodies.

Happy "Teching", Nancy

Alyssa, Thanks for your comment. I am looking forward to checking out every one's suggestions on new websites. I have a ton more, but I will post them later in the year. Discovery is awesome. I am entering your name into my office supply giveaway! :)

Happy "Teching", Nancy

My favorite sight is www.sightwordswithsamson.com I use it at home with my children and with my students. They love it and it really does help the to learn sight words.

Great post Nancy.

A really cool site I use a LOT is http://www.what2learn.com. This is free to access and has literally thousands of ready-made interactive learning games to use right across the subject spectrum.

As well as the games-based learning, the students love the feature which gives them a virtual farm to buy things for and to care for and manage. Doing anything on this farm requires them to spend credits that can only be earned by beating learning games - a great motivational tool that keeps them coming back for more.

As a teacher, my favorite bits are that it is easy to add your own games and that I can quickly and easily see the scores my students get, making it suitable for homework tasks.

Thank you for the ideas. I am new to using technology in the classroom, so look forward to finding new sites. For a little down-time, my students enjoy http://kids.discovery.com/games/whizzball/whizzball.html. There are so many great sites, but this catches the attention of every level in my 2nd grade room. Let the critical thinking flow!

Katie, Thanks for your comment. I am entering you into the giveaway drawing. I am going to check out kidblogs too!

Happy Teaching! Nancy

Erica, Thanks for your comment! Let me know how you like the sites. I will be listing more later on in the year.

Happy Teaching, Nancy

A website I use with my middle school students during novel studies is http://www.kidblogs.org. The great things about this site are that kids do not need an email address to use it, the teacher is in complete control, and you can make it as public or private as you or your district desires. My students love this practice, too! I think one of my 7th grader's described it best when they said "It's like a class discussion, but we all get to talk at the same time without yelling or being talked over! Did you know it was going to be like that? Quiet and full of conversation at the same time?" Everyone's voice can be heard!

Thanks for some new ideas. I already use a few of these sites but I am excited to try the new ones!

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