Thursday, June 3, 2010
Websites for Kids
Sometimes I have major guilt about letting my boys watch TV. I know they are only watching good shows (you know Max and Ruby are the cutest little bunnies imaginable, and who can argue with PBS Kids?), but still. TV is TV, and I feel guilty. On the other hand, there are certain things that a mom has to get done in a day, and sometimes a little screen time just does the trick. (I know there are plenty of non-TV families out there. Your forum is coming!)
About a month ago, though, I realized that my four-year-old, Blaine, is now old and dexterous enough to work on my computer, so we've replaced most of our TV/movie time with interactive websites. I know screen time is screen time, but I so prefer to watch Blaine clicking and talking and playing along than zoned out like a vegetable.
Two major advantages that I hadn't anticipated:
1. Blaine really struggles with fine motor skills. Learning to manipulate the mouse pad on our laptop has been a huge triumph for him.
2. Thanks to one of the websites (see below), Blaine is totally learning to read (and is thrilled about it)!
Our favorite websites for young children:
1. Hands down, the best site I've seen, and the one I allow most in our home: starfall.com
This site is colorful, easy to navigate, and ALL ABOUT learning to read. There are various levels available, so even a school-age child enjoys it. I've been working on letters and phonics with Blaine for a long time, and the fun games and songs on starfall have really helped solidify those skills. One of my favorite aspects about starfall is that you can print little books for free from the site. Blaine and I have printed several for him, and I'm telling you, there is no greater satisfaction than hearing your son read, "Zac is a rat. Zac sat on a can."
2. The LDS Friend Magazine website at friend.lds.org is darling. Blaine loves to do the coloring, puzzles, and hidden picture activities.
3. Being the huge Dr. Seuss fan that I am, I love seussville.com. Here is a direct link to the games.
4. Another fun one is pbskids.org. Lots of learning activities and games.
5. I've also let Blaine do a bit of sesamestreet.org. The games and activities are cute, but personally, I can only take so much of Elmos' voice.
6. When Blaine's a bit older I can't wait to show him kids.nationalgeographic.com. It's a fabulous site.
Again, I think we need to be careful how much time our children spend in front of any screen. But, I have to say, when I need a few minutes to take a shower, I love to see my little boys cozied up in front of the computer and hearing Blaine say, "Do you want to learn about the letter 'R,' Roger?"