Making the Internet More Meaningful for Kids
The Internet opens up worlds of wonders for everyone, including children, but with the positives also come the potential for a Pandora's box situation. That's something that all of us have considered at some point - and not only for children. However, just because there are potential downsides and dangers, it does not mean that we ought to set aside the Internet. Not only is that NOT feasible at this day and age, but it also does not make sense to take away the obvious advantages because of something "bad" that MIGHT happen.
In the case of our children, the trick still lies in good parenting. I am a firm believer in the idea that everything stems from how one is raised (well okay, most everything), and when it comes to technology and the Internet, it also applies.
I thought about writing this leaf in an effort to share some of the useful and/or fun web sites I have come across recently. For sure, parents already have their go-to web sites for the kids, but here are some that you might not have heard of.
Image via San Jose Library on Flickr
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With gazillion web sites to be found today, how do you find those which will be good for your kids? Call it information overload or whatever you want, but that's not even considering the fact that you also need to find web sites that your kids will enjoy. That consideration might make things a little more difficult depending on the preferences of your children.
As such, this list does not guarantee success in every case. As every parent knows, many things in rearing children are touch and go, trial and error. Still, the following web sites which I am about to share have withstood the test of countless children of varying temperaments and personalities. The chances are that your kids will enjoy at least one of them!
Humans to Animals
Let's start with something silly. That's always a sure thing with kids, yes? Ningen-pet.com is a recent discovery for me, but it has provided a short relief from boredom and restlessness (the kids, not me). The concept is that a scientist, Dr. Garakuta, has created a machine that transforms humans into animals. The surprise is what kind of animal you will be turned into. It will work best if you supervise your young child and turn the activity into a storytelling session. Be creative, add your touch, and you'll have fun with this web site.
The US Mint has a page dedicated to kids, and if your children are at the age where they are starting to learn about money, this site will provide great fun and offer an education opportunity as well. It is a great way to teach children about money and currency, as well as history. Even better, this web site might encourage your child to become interested in coin collecting!
Bookwink is one of the best web sites I can recommend to parents, especially those who already prioritize reading in raising their kids. I don't know about you, but I believe that if a child develops a love for reading, then he's set for the best education he can ever have, and this will never end as long as he lives. This web site will help get your kids - and yourself - excited about books and reading in general and also help you find excellent reading material.
I think that many children dream of being an astronaut at some point in their lives. If you want to encourage this interest in space in your children, then Amazing Space is your go-to web site. From homework help to general information to teaching tools, this web site is a great resource for space enthusiasts and future astronauts.
Chore Monster is a web app that aims to make chores more fun for kids. You know how children can complain and dilly dally when it comes to tasks. What this web site does is to gamify chores and tasks for children. Rewards are given for achievements, and everything can be controlled by the parents. They're in the beta stage but you can request for an invite. It might just change things at home!
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Polling is incredibly powerful, and a fun way to add an interactive, easy to use feature to your leaf!
These are obviously hand-picked web sites that I have found to be of good use. I have no doubts that you already have your own list of greenlighted web sites for the kids. Still, if you want to add new items to that list, why not give these a try?
Additionally, why don't you share your own favorite kid-friendly web sites? I am sure many parents will want to know what works for others as well!