Screen time can be a very divisive topic. While we all know that limiting screen time for kids is important, digital literacy is also very important in 2018. Kids need access to high quality websites that are educational, engaging, and safe. Teachers use a variety of educational websites in the classroom to engage their learners. I have used an array of educational websites, some stellar, and some less than. I have compiled a list of my absolute favorite educational websites for kids. These sites are all educational in nature, fun and engaging, and are age-appropriate.
Brain Pop, Jr. was probably one of the most used educational websites in my classroom. The kids also loved using it at home. Brain Pop, Jr. is designed for grades K-3 and Brain Pop is ideal for grade 4 and up. Brain Pop and Jr. consist of movies, quizzes and games. They have a wide range of topics within literacy, math, science, social studies, health, and the arts. They describe themselves as playful, educator-focused, reflective, and global. In the classroom, we loved watching the cute videos as intros to many of our new units. We would then take the quiz after as a class. The kids would get so excited each time they saw we were watching a new Brain Pop, Jr. video. They do a great job at explaining the content in an age-appropriate manner with great accompanying visuals.
Cost: Brain Pop, Jr.: $99/Year, Brain Pop: $115. Many schools pay for a subscription and give parents the code, so check with your child's school before buying a subscription.
Most people know of Sesame Street and will typically think of the TV show. They also have a fantastic website full of educational games (cooking, clothing, rhyming, cleaning, sports, letters, etc.), educational video clips, and art (interactive drawing and coloring). Everything is age-appropriate and super engaging.
Cost: Free. Sign up for a free account to access everything.
ABCya is another website I loved to use in the classroom. They have 300+ games and activities that are free on desktops and laptops. There are sections for Pre-K through 5th grade. Within each grade-level there are content categories: letters, numbers, skills (shapes, social studies, art), strategy, and holidays. It is very easy to navigate and has a great amount of options for kids to explore.
Cost: Free on desktop or laptop. Mobile/Desktop without ads: $6.99/month
When I taught kindergarten, this was the site we used for the 'listen to reading' rotation. Storyline Online streams videos of actors reading children's books with accompanying graphics. Each book includes a curriculum that was designed by credentialed elementary educators. This site is perfect for younger kids who cannot yet read. They can listen to engaging stories and learn from hearing a fluent reader and new vocabulary.
Cost: Free (donations are appreciated)
Time for Kids has interesting nonfiction articles that are grouped by grade-level. They are not full articles, but they still provide a bunch of reading and information. The articles also highlight important vocabulary that you can click on for a definition with an accompanying image. There is a wide range of topics including animals, arts, business, community, environment, health, history, science, technology, entertainment, United States, and world. Many schools subscribe and receive physical magazines. This of course costs money. I was subscribed for one year and my first graders loved it!
In my experience, nonfiction reading was always a favorite of my students. They particularly loved the Nat Geo books. The site is just as fun and engaging. It contains many animal facts and photos, videos, and games. If you have an animal lover, this is the site for her.
This is one site I never used in the classroom, but would be perfect for at-home use. It is designed for kids in grades Pre-K through grade 8. They offer hundreds of books, games, comics, and videos that support math, reading, literacy, and problem-solving.