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20 Really Cool and Useful Websites for Kids

20 Really Cool and Useful Websites for Kids

Useful websites for kids must be engaging for children, and both safe and offering some educational value for parents to love them as well. The following 20 sites are a bit more off the beaten and well-known path worn by Nickelodeon or Disney!

1. PEEP and the Big Wide World

peep

    PEEP and the Big Wide World is a fun and interactive educational site for three- to five-year-olds. The site has plenty to do for the little ones and gives parents plenty of educational resources. There are coloring pages along with games, and the site offers activities for parents and kids to do offline. PEEP and the Big Wide World has plenty to keep toddlers to the preschool aged occupied and is a fresh gateway toward building a true love for learning.

    2. Funology

    fun

      Funology touts itself as being “the science of having fun!” Kids will love the magic tricks, allowing them to impress their family and friends. Parents will love the many crafts pages and the blog that reviews games and more. There are also scientific experiments available for kids to do with parents. One such experiment is to build a terrarium for a child’s favorite dinosaur. Or check out the recipes page for healthy snacks, breakfasts, lunches, or dinners.

      3. The Great Plant Escape

      plant

        The Great Plant Escape is geared toward children in fourth or fifth grades. The site is an extension from the University of Illinois and is geared to teach kids about plants and their systems through problem-solving. Activities are structured to strengthen a child’s math, science, social studies, and even art. Children can work the pages independently, but the fun is enhanced when parents join in. Parents might want to start a small garden or plant a seed to allow children to see the growth of plant life for themselves.

        4. Switch Zoo: Animal Games

        Screenshot

          This site is a true joy, even parents may beg for a turn to figure out where a certain species of animal is from. Switch Zoo has plenty of games to keep kids occupied. Parents will appreciate the fact that kids are learning as they play.  Kids will delight in making their own animal, building the right habitats, and a great deal more. There are also educational resources that parents may want to tap into to help their child learn even more.

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          5. bubblesphere

          bubbles

            The site is owned and operated by none other than ‘Professor Bubbles’ himself. The bubblesphere site is full of recipes for making large and fantastic bubbles or a slew of tiny ones. Kids can experiment and post their experiences in the forum. Kids can add their own recipes, while learning to mix and make bubbles of all kinds. Children can also track the adventures of Professor Bubbles around the world.

            6. Kodable

            kodable

              Kodable teaches children aged five to six years old how to write computer code. Kids learn through a self-guided game. Children drag and drop computer code to further their creature along on its way. The free application comes with the first 45 levels of the game.

              7. Funbrain

              funbrain

                This site is just right for school-aged kids, from kindergarten to the eighth grade. Funbrain mixes the educational with games that are simply all-out fun. Parents are invited to get even preschoolers in on the action in this site. The books and comics section includes excerpts from that favorite of many kids: The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid.

                8. Giggle Poetry

                giggle

                  Have a kid who is struggling to read? Giggle Poetry may be the answer. Children are challenged to rate poems with the ‘giggle meter.’ Word and reading games also abound, each immersed in poetry sure to attract and keep a child’s attention.

                  9. Hackety Hack!

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                  hack

                    This site is for teens aged 13 and up. The site is perfect for budding programmers. Kids are able to read about programmable languages and to test their new knowledge in a safe environment. Only an e-mail is needed to sign in to post messages or sample programs.

                    10. ABCya!

                    abc

                      Kids will love the many games in the language arts, math, and more. Parents will love the fact that there are no downloads, plus the fact that no personal information is required for game play. The games also sharpen a child’s computer skills with typing games.

                      11. CryptoKids

                      crypto

                        Here kids learn all about cyphers and making secret codes. Budding cryptographers learn how to scramble messages and passwords. There is no need to provide an e-mail for kids to have fun on the site. There are lots of games that will also test memory. The site was built and is maintained by the National Security Agency.

                        12. Invention at Play

                        play

                          Invention at Play offers kids the chance to dream, play, and experiment. Kids learn to stretch their imaginations through various games, such as word play or problem solving with virtual blocks. Children are also introduced to inventors and their inventions. In this very cool site, kids learn that play and the use of their imagination can lead to a new invention.

                          13. Chillola.com

                          chillola

                            Chillola.com is a way for children from around the world to interact with one another and learn another language. Educational and fun, Chillola offers the chance to learn English, Spanish, German, French, or Italian. Kids interact through sharing their works of art, poems, and more. Parents will love the fact that the site is not only a great way to learn a new language, but that the tools are entirely free.

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                            14. Amazing Space

                            space

                              This site will bring the wonders of space right to your child’s computer. The site is better suited to older children, as there are no games. However, kids will be able to see outer space through the Hubble telescope, or catch a glimpse of their own night sky online. The site encourages parents to grab a telescope and share with children the beauty of the sky from their own backyard.

                              15. 4Kids.org

                              4kids

                                This site is coupled with the Scholastic newsletter that your kids receive at school. There are plenty of games and opportunities to explore the news that’s important to kids. Kids can also rate and report on sites they find entertaining in the ‘cool spots’ tab. Parents can keep up with what their kids are reading about in the news that is important to their children.

                                16. Dance Mat Typing

                                dance

                                  Kids get to learn the ‘dance moves’ from a wise old billy goat and his mates. Kids learn by watching the screen instead of their hands as they learn to type. This is a silly and fun but very educational site offered by the BBC. There are related sites that teach the language arts, history, and math. Educational games in Mandarin, French, and Spanish are also available.

                                  17. CIA For Kids

                                  cia

                                    This site is suitable for kids aged K–12. There are games and information about what the CIA does. Kids will have a great time exploring the world, figuring out puzzles, and more. For the little ones there are coloring pages that can be printed. There are resources for parents on how to keep kids safe online, as well as a portal to cool and useful sites for kids.

                                    18. Mr. Nussbaum

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                                    mt

                                      The Mr. Nussbaum site covers a lot of territory. The site has games for preschoolers and all the way up to grade eight. There are plenty of games, along with educational tabs that cover history, math, science, and much more. The goal of the site is to enhance children’s learning from the classroom into an interactive experience on the web.

                                      19. Brain POP

                                      brain

                                        Brain POP offers movies, games, an experimental arena, and so much more. The site is suitable for kids in grades K–12. Parents will love the fact that the subjects covered in core standards are also available through this site. A separate subscription is available for those who choose to home school their children. Brain POP also serves as a resource for ESL students.

                                        20. Lil’ Fingers Storybook

                                        storybook

                                          Introduce toddlers to the world of reading with Lil’ Fingers. Lil’ Fingers has big buttons and bright colors to attract a child to stories like Bears In Bed or One Little Rabbit. The site also introduces books that parents may want to add to their child’s collection or pick up at the library. There are also games and videos to entertain a growing mind.

                                          21. Kids Web Japan

                                          japan

                                            Kids who are into Manga comics or are simply curious about another culture will love this site. Chocked full of kid-worthy news and what’s popular with Japanese kids, it’s sure to keep them coming back. There are games, virtual culture, and learning activities. There are even animated cards kids can send to those they love. Parents may be surprised at how well their children enjoy this marvelous site.

                                            Featured photo credit: Mads Bødker via flickr.com

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                                            Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                                            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                            Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                                            Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                                            Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                                            So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                                            Joe’s Goals

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                                              Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                                              Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                                              Daytum

                                                Daytum

                                                is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                                                Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                                                Excel or Numbers

                                                  If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                                                  What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                                                  Evernote

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                                                    I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                                                    Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                                                    Access or Bento

                                                      If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                                      Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                                      You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                                      Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                                      All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                                      Conclusion

                                                      I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                                      What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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