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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

17 Kids’ Websites Bring Back the Magic of Learning

By Jan Pierce

The kids and you are at home, and there are hours to fill. If you’re working, it’s imperative that you keep the kids occupied. Before you freak out, remember: Your computer isn’t quarantined. You can go online and find many learning-oriented sites like the ones below. Do a couple of Internet searches and in no time little synapses will be firing. The kids will stay busy so you can stay productive. You’re welcome.

Kids’ Websites Scholastic provides a fee-based activity program that will keep preschoolers through sixth graders engaged and thinking about the world around them. This site boasts a library of more than 60,000 free e-books—the world’s greatest literature available at your fingertips. Suitable for older kids, this site is dedicated to exploring science, technology, and culture. For starters, look for the fun article “Goats Really Like It When You Smile at Them.” A favorite of homeschoolers, this remarkable free resource has easy-to-follow lessons on tons of topics—everything from math, science, and computing to history and SAT-prep. National Geographic has been providing exceptional kids’ content since 1975. So it’s no surprise this website is a goldmine of well-produced videos and games that aim to get young minds interested in animals, culture, and science. Every week, PBS Kids posts new crafts, activities, and tips for kids learning at home. (Look under the “Parents” tab.) Preschoolers have always adored Sesame Street. Early-learning online games and the new Caring for Each Other activity hub, both accessible via the website’s home page, keep the love going strong.

Reading Websites
Challenge your children to listen and engage with kids’ literature, with the help of these websites. This site offers a plethora of online games designed to support the reading and math skills of kids in pre-K through sixth grades. Check out games such as the Amazing Avian Alphabet, Journey to the Past Tense, and Number Ninja. Mrs. Read for Fun hopes her quirky videos encourage kids to become as passionate about books as she is. This excellent resource from Oxford University Press offers an extensive array of material, including free e-books, creative writing activities, math lessons, and storyteller videos. There’s even guidance for parents on things like phonics and how to teach spelling at home. Listen to celebrated actors like Wanda Sykes and Kevin Costner read imaginative children’s literature aloud. Inspire the imagination with free audio stories like “The Commune of Cats” and “Astropup and the Teletransporter.”

Author Websites
Many authors maintain websites to help kids interact with their stories and characters. Check out the ones below, and then search online for the sites of your kids’ favorite authors and books. The famous 91-year-old master of tissue-paper-and-paint collage offers collage-making instruction sheets, coloring pages, drawing games, booklists, and other cool stuff on his site. Choose “Downloads and Activities” under the Resources tab and away you go. Everyone loves Jan Brett’s beautifully illustrated stories for kids. Her arty activities include charming Easter- and spring-oriented coloring pages. Find lots of downloadable activities and videos, including common-core teaching and discussion guides based on Kevin Henkes’s books, on this site. You gotta love Mo with his pigeon stories and all. He currently offers delightful doodle lessons for kids via the Kennedy Center’s website: Want to make cupcake toppers or play Pin the Tail on Max? Find the downloads under the Resources tab. 

Jan Pierce, MEd, is a freelance writer and author of Homegrown Readers: Simple Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read. Find her at