Summertime is here! For kids, it’s that magical time of year where they can spend their time as the like, without the demand of school and homework. However, we parents and caregivers know that it won’t be long until we start hearing those two dreaded words…I’m bored!!!
Never fear! Here are five websites that will beat the summer boredom blues and get your kids (and you) exploring, building, laughing, and learning.
Five Sites Worth the Surf
If you have a kid, know a kid, or were a kid, then PBS programming is not new to you. Many of us grew up on Sesame Street or in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood learning our numbers, letters, and how to make friends. Today, PBS still provides high-quality programming for kids of all ages. However, if your kids are only watching it on TV, then they are missing out on some fantastic content. PBSkids.org has games, videos, and activities based on all your kids’ favorite shows. Your kiddos can learn more about nature with the Kratts brothers and Nature Cat, play games with Cat in the Hat, Daniel the Tiger or Elmo, and solve problems and explore engineering with the SciGirls and the Design Squad team. PBSkids is packed with things for kids of all ages. Parents can also find resources and tips on the parent’s page (http://grownups.pbskids.org/).
Your kids might already be familiar with Moby, everyone’s favorite robot, and all the videos, games and activities available on BrainPOP (https://www.brainpop.com/). Many schools have subscriptions and use BrainPOP resources. However, did you know you can access all the awesomeness from home? If your child’s school has a subscription you can log in at https://go.brainpop.com/home/tips and get tips and ideas for home learning. Don’t have a subscription? No worries, there are tons of games and resources at BrainPOP Free Stuff (https://www.brainpop.com/free-stuff/). Pick a subject area and start exploring.
Looking for online challenges that will help the kids level up IRL (in real life)? Check out the creative community on DIY.org. This safe online community is for makers and imaginative doers of all ages. Kids will find hundreds of challenges that will help them build their skills and earn digital badges such as Backyard Farmer, Animator, or Biologist. (You can even order the real embroidered badges.) Kids can build their own online portfolio by sharing videos of their projects with the DIY community and receiving peer feedback to help them grow their skills.
Code.org is all the rage during the school year. Many schools use the resources throughout the year or during the Hour of Code. However, their extensive resource list is a great way to keep your kids learning through the summer months too. Code.org offers coding courses for all ages including high school students (adults, you can play too). Visit their full listing here: https://studio.code.org/courses. Their game-based approach is a fun and easy way to build coding and computational thinking skills. Kids (and adults) can create a free account and track their progress through the program. If the thought of taking a coding course this summer seems daunting, they can start their coding adventure by exploring the Hour of Code activities. They are available all year long.
Why is the sky blue? Why do Llamas spit? Where do bugs sleep? If there is one thing we know about kids is that they are full of questions. And we don’t always have the answers. Well, send that curious kiddo over to Wonderopolis (https://wonderopolis.org/). Wonderopolis is a free website where kids can find answers to the questions that make them wonder. They can browse through the large bank of Wonders of the Day and explore a huge variety of topics. With over 2,000 questions answered, they are sure to learn something amazing. If you want a little more hands-on exploration, click over to Camp Wonderopolis (https://camp.wonderopolis.org/) – a free online summer camp where families can learn together. For the educators out there, you can join the Wonderopolis community at WonderGround (http://wg.wonderopolis.org/). Here you will connect with other wonderful (pun intended) educators and find lesson plans and ideas to use in your classroom.
Best Site for Parents
Parents, are you worried about where your kids are spending their screen time this summer? The sheer number of websites, apps, games, and videos, make it impossible to watch or preview everything your child might visit or view. Don’t worry, the team at Common Sense Media (https://www.commonsensemedia.org/) has your back.
Common Sense Media is a parent’s (and educator’s) best friend when it comes to ratings and reviews of all kinds of media. From video games to movies to websites to YouTube channels to books, Common Sense Media’s reviews are endless. This site will provide you with unbiased reviews and the detailed information you need to help your child make good media decisions. You can learn more about appropriate age range, costs, content (including language, violence, and adult content), subject areas, and more. It is not only useful to review the current media your kids are using but to also find new media to explore.
So, as the temperature outside begins to rise and those kiddos start to get restless, looking for something to do. Take them surfing on the web. These sites will chase away the boredom, spark their curiosity, and engage them in fun (and learning) both online and IRL.