Play is critical to your child's social, emotional, and physical growth. It's your child's way of learning about the world. And digital games have been an outlet for creative play since the days of Atari. But digital games can also be educational and help your child build foundational skills such as literacy and counting.
There are numerous educational websites for kids that seek to make learning fun and interactive in order to help keep your child engaged and entertained. These 10 educational websites for kids offer fun teaching games, printables, videos and more.
PBS Kids — You most likely watched PBS as a kid as it's well known for its educational content. And now your little ones can hop online with some of the same friends you remember. Spend time with classic characters such as Elmo and Curious George and visit new friends such as Peg + Cat. The site is easy to use, and you can select games by character, difficulty level or newest releases. The site also has an amazing library of printable sheets for your child's educational enrichment.
National Geographic Kids — Let's face it, most kids are fascinated by animals and love learning about them. So, if your child ever asked you a question like, "What are baby dolphins called?" National Geographic Kids has the answer! On this site, kids can watch educational videos, play games and, best of all, learn about animals and the world around them. Check out your child's favorite furry, feathered and scaled friends.
DreamBox — DreamBox is an engaging, game-like environment that motivates students to persist and progress in mathematics skills. DreamBox has a challenging curriculum that is aligned with common-core standards. DreamBox is an entertaining way to reinforce addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills.
ABCmouse.com — ABCmouse.com has been a parent favorite for a long time. It is quite possibly the most comprehensive learning site on the Web for kids ages 2 to 7. Kids are given their own "classroom" to maintain in a role-playing environment. They can read, listen to books and music, play games and color as they accelerate through customizable learning levels designed by teachers and experts. The site even tracks children's progress as they learn.
BrainPOP — BrainPOP's animation brings learning concepts to life for kids. Kids can learn about topics not taught on other educational sites — topics such as historical events, science and even the stock market, and broken down into easy-to-understand lessons, all with the help of a fearless robot and his friends.
Spatulatta — Spatulatta believes that learning takes place in the kitchen, too. After all, cooking also involves reading, math and problem-solving skills. On this site, kids can learn cooking basics and try out new recipes built around the type of meal and favorite ingredients. This is a great way to have picky eaters become more involved in their own food preparation or to have aspiring chefs grow their skills.
MakeMeGenius.com — This is a fantastic site that is great at taking difficult ideas and concepts and breaking them down into short easy-to-understand video lessons. The site is filled with videos that cover subjects such as physics, photosynthesis, the nervous system, the solar system and electricity. All of the videos are kid-friendly and will keep even your youngest children interested from start to finish.
HowStuffWorks — This is the site I wish I knew about when my children were toddlers. So, if your little one is currently in the "Why?" phase, then this is the site for you. When your child wants to know why dogs bark or how crayons are made, head on over to HowStuffWorks. Games, quizzes and videos also add to your child's learning experience.
Scholastic — Scholastic Book Fairs are probably one of the most widely recognized school events, and Scholastic has been providing books and educational materials to students and teachers for more than 30 years. This site contains activities broken down by grade level and goes all the way up to seniors in high school.
Making use of educational games is a win-win situation for you and your child. They get to play and have fun while also learning the skills they need to succeed in the future.
Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.