There are only 18 weekdays until my daughter is sprung from school and I expect that after the first week of Summer Vacation, her brain will begin turning from a tightly-compressed mass of knowledge into goo. I know it's going to atrophy to some degree but I, like more and more parents, expect her to work on something educational during the Summer. And since kids love the Web so much, it makes sense to explore websites that will help kids actually learn something during these warm months.
Here are my 7 favorite, free learning websites for kids in 6th grade and under:
- Mr. Nussbaum (http://mrnussbaum.com) – Created by a Virginia schoolteacher, this site is geared toward pre-schoolers through those in 6th grade. The site offers lots of interactive games “designed to pinpoint one or several essential concepts” taught in elementary school. Subjects covered include math, language arts, history, geography, and science. There are also printables for use by teachers and homeschoolers.
- Funbrain.com (www.funbrain.com) – Catering to kids in preschool through 8th grade, this site offers math, reading, online books, Mad Libs, comics, and games. Your kids will never know they're actually learning!
- The Kidz Page (www.thekidzpage.com) – A veritable carnival of learning and non-educational games awaits visitors to this site. The menu is so varied, I honestly don't think a child could be bored here. I especially like the number of downloads available here (wallpaper, jigsaw puzzles, games) and the many printables. Go here before you go on a road trip and print out a bunch!
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (http://games.noaa.gov) – A little-known site, it offers life science and environmental science games for kids in grades 3 through 6. A great place to visit if your child is interested in Nature and the environment. Check it out before you take the kids camping this summer!
- Highlights Kids (www.highlightskids.com) – Brought to you by the folks who publish the Highlights kids' magazine that many of us grew up with, this site offers a limited number of activities, but they're all good. Play games, crack codes, discover art activities, giggle at jokes, and read stories and poetry.
- ABCya.com (www.abcya.com) – Created or approved by teachers, your kids will have fun while reinforcing their math and language skills. This site is for kids in grades 5 and under.
- Kids.gov (http://kids.usa.gov/index.shtml) – An official government portal for kids, it's divided into three sections: Grade K through 5, Grades 6 through 8, and one for teachers and parents. Lots of data on the government and history can be found here as well as links to many other subjects. I especially love the section on Online Safety.
Brain drain is inevitable over the Summer, but, hopefully, I can control it by keeping her learning, even when she's off from school. Visit these sites and I know you'll want to bookmark them for the months ahead.
Thanks for reading! Please check back in with me later this week when I'll list some great learning websites for kids in Grades 6 and up. Hey - they need to escape from mush brain, too!