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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Great Educational Websites for Kids of All Ages- Screen Time Suggestions For Kids That Teach, Part 1


I have never shunned screen time. As an unschooler, I believe that learning comes from everywhere, and text based learning is far from the only useful knowledge that can be gained. Screen time works for me and my family and I don't limit it. I find that with limitless screen time, my kids regulate themselves and put away their screens because its not this forbidden fruit that they must eat up as quickly as possible, because they know its always there when they want it.

But even those that don't share my views on screen time are letting kids use screens more than they generally would, because of schools being shut down because of coronavirus, and many parents are desperate that if their kids are using tablets, phones, and computers, at least they should be doing something educational with that time. I highly recommend letting your kids have some screen time if you want to keep your sanity intact during this corona-schooling time.

Here is an extensive list of educational screen time suggestions that you can use during this time, so that you don't need to be constantly entertaining your kids, but they'll still be learning and hopefully having fun at the same time.

I will admit that because I stopped homeschooling my kids by 6th grade, and now that my kids are in school all day I don't encourage them to watch educational shows when they're home, so many of these suggestions are for younger ages, but I asked my boys in 5th and 7th grades for suggestions of educational things that they currently enjoy and I've included those on the list, as well as things that I enjoy watching and older teens probably would enjoy as well.


Great Educational Screen Time Suggestions For Kids of All Ages

I've decided to divide this list into three categories- today I'll be covering websites that are educational, many have corresponding apps. After this, I'll be covering educational shows and channels. I've tried to put these in order of age appropriateness, but you have to know your kids and see what works for them.

Educational Apps or Websites

Starfall.com- Originally this was something for preschool and kindergarten, teaching to read, but it expanded, and now is for up to grade 3, covers math as well, and has seasonal content, using songs, often with catchy tunes that teach reading rules, as well as interactive play and games. However, to get the expanded version, you need to pay, but there are free samples for math and for older ages in reading and grammar rules. I used this all the time for my kids and they loved it.

TeachYourMonsterToRead.com- The online version of this is free, and it teaches kids to read from beginner to more advanced, using cute games and monsters, with different fun monster avatars. When I was writing this post, Ike heard about what I was writing and said "That was my favorite thing to do when I was little (5-8). You played these mini games with letters to complete bigger objectives on a mission."

PBSKids.org- Has lots of educational games and videos, connected to different shows. This is best for preschool through lower/middle elementary school. My kids' personal favorites was Wild Kratts, Daniel Tiger, and Curious George.

AnimalJam.com teaches kids about animals and ecosystem through an online world to explore filled with games and educational videos, about birds, bugs, all sorts of different animals. This is geared for age 7-12. You need flash for this.

Brainpop.com is an animated educational website for kids with lots of videos, BrainPop Junior being geared towards younger kids.While parts of this usually costs money, they're giving free access to families affected by school closures.

Funbrain.com has many educational games in a variety of subjects, from preschool until 8th grade.

ABCYA.com has educational games from preschool until 6th grade, on a variety of different subjects, with the main focus being reading, grammar, and math.

Kids National Geographic has lots of videos for kids, mostly about animals. The main National Geographic also has adult stuff and for older kids about pretty much every subject under the sun.

Code.org/learn- This awesome website teaches kids to code via fun games. Mostly elementary school aged but older people can also enjoy this. Lee told me to write that he loved that when he was 9 or 10.

Khanacademy.com has so many different subjects it teaches, but my kids especially liked the math and the coding there. It explains it very well, and helps you advance according to your pace. This is for all ages and levels.

Udemy.com is for pay but has courses on so many different things. I signed my son up for art classes through udemy, and they often have sales. This is for all ages, but generally geared towards adults. However, if your kid is interested in one of the subjects, they are generally kid friendly.

Coursera.org is meant for adults but kids in high school can also learn these. These are college level courses.

Duolingo.com teaches you languages for free, so many different languages, from beginners to more advanced, allowing you to test out of easier levels to reach where you're at.

What are your favorite educational websites and apps for kids? Can you share some descriptions of what they age and what age they're best for?

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