Fun, FREE Educational Web Sites for Kids
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!