Virtual Summer School: Fun and Educational Websites for Kids
Fun and Educational Websites for Kids
For the Future of Education™
Don't let July melt away your child's
attention span and vocabulary. It’s easy
for children to lose their critical learning
skills during the hot summer months.
Without school to provide focused
exercises and games, kids can get tired
and even frustrated when left to their
Here are some useful and innovative
websites devoted to keeping those
learning skills fine-tuned while
providing fun games and activities!
BrainPop www.brainpop.com FOCUS: VIDEO
An educational video website on a variety of interesting topic from science to music to art. Colorful cartoon
characters lead children through lessons on 60’s folk music, Shakespeare and even aliens. There are about 20
rotating videos under the free section of the website. Family subscriptions cost $99/year and allow 24 hour
access to these educational films. Schools can subscribe their entire student population for around
$1000/year with access during school hours.
FOCUS: DIGITAL ART
Kerpoof is Disney’s free website that allows children to
create their own animated activities and digital art. On this
website, children can easily create their own storybook, movie,
or drawing using templates on the Kerpoof website. All of the
games are designed for kids to use their creativity to create
their own world. Drawings can be saved, printed and emailed
from the Kerpoof website. All Kerpoof accounts are free, but if
you purchase a membership you can create groups with friends
to share your creations and chat in a safe environment.
Free Rice www.freerice.com
Learning for a good cause! Free Rice is a free multiple-choice
trivia game on different topics ranging from art to geography.
Depending on how many questions you answer correctly, the
program automatically advances you to the next level of
expertise. Run by the United Nations World Food Program, for
each question answered correctly they donate 10 grains of rice.
A great online exercise for all ages and grade levels. FOCUS: TRIVIA
National Geographic Young Explorers
An online version of the print magazine, the National Geographic Young Explorers
website is intended to teach Kindergarteners and First Graders reading and listening skills
while introducing them to basic science principles. National Geographic puts a select
number of issues on this website for free viewing. Each issue is full-color and accompanied
by audio tracks that assist the child with reading the text.
In addition, the National Geographic Kids (http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/)
and Little Kids (http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/littlekids/) websites are also
a great resource for more stories, craft ideas, videos, games and even advice for parents.
Spelling City www.spellingcity.com
Spelling City is a free website for spelling and writing exercises. One
activity can use your own list of spelling words in games and quizzes.
You can type in words from a school vocabulary list or use one of the
website's lists. Some exercises use audio to assist the learning process
and other are written activities that can be printed out. You can even
print handwriting worksheets directly from this website.
Starfall provides free online learning activities in celebration of the 100th day of school. Games practice
reading and spelling skills for young children. Each of the exercises is a colorfully animated story with large
text for easy reading. With large icons and simple instructions, this website is a good starting point for
teaching kids how to use a computer and the internet.
FOCUS: DIGITAL ART
Crayola Coloring Application
An online coloring application that takes the mess out of art.
Children can choose from Crayola’s products of markers, pens, and
pencils to create a colorful image that can be printed or shared online.
In addition to being an easy and clean alternative for craft time, using
online programs like this application can teach children how to use the
computer keyboard and mouse with more accuracy.
PTA Summer of
The PTA has conveniently organized a
day-by-day calendar of events for
summer activities to enrich learning skills.
Daily activities range from listening to
classical music to practicing handwriting.
Every Friday the program provides a
downloadable activity for printed
instructions and activities. This is an
extremely good resource to involve
parents with extracurricular learning and
to instill healthy skills for children at an
FOCUS: ACTIVITIES WITH PARENTS
HINT: Put computers in locations
where you can monitor online activitiy
such as a family room or kitchen.
Final Words of Advice
Don’t forget to talk to your kids about safety on the web.
Remind your kids to stay on the websites you have selected for them, and never give out personal
information if they are ever contacted directly. You can bookmark safe websites for them using your web
browser or Delicious, and set filters on your browser to ensure that only age appropriate content is
searchable. The Federal Bureau of Investigation provides some great advice for parents in regard to internet
safety on their website (http://www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm). Set boundaries for how
your children use the internet, and it can prove to be a useful and exciting learning tool.
Set rules for the amount of time kids spend online.
Finally, while these resources are a great way to spend time, it's important to regulate the amount of time
your child spends sitting at the computer. It is not physically healthy for a child to spend a lot of time sitting
at the computer. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children spend no more than one
to two hours per day on screen media (i.e. television, computer and video games). Make sure kids go outside
and get a good amount of physical exercise every day. Don't forget about the valuable community resources
available in your neighborhood, such as library summer reading programs and day camps.
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