Learn How Kids Embrace, Consume and Socialize Using Technology

Free Learning Websites for Kids

By Dr. Vicki PanaccioneJune 26, 2013

free websites for kidsFree Learning Websites for Kids


While there are many dangers on the internet, there are also many, many great free websites to facilitate your children’s learning.  I have enjoyed putting together a list of some of the websites that I think are particularly safe, fun and educational for your kids to explore over the summer.  Enjoy!

Into the Book:  I am starting off with my favorite site…because it actually takes your kids literally, “into the book.”  This site is a reading comprehension resource for K-4 students and teachers.  Your kids first names will be the only password they need to explore  a story in eight different research-based strategies : Visualizing, Summarizing, Synthesizing, Making Connections, Questioning, Evaluating, Inferring and Prior Knowledge. http://reading.ecb.org (note: not  www) 

  • Visualizing:  Helps your kids create a movie in their mind while reading the story.
  • Summarizing:  Entails learning to pick out the most important parts.
  • Synthesizing:  Includes putting the pieces together to see them in a whole new way.
  • Making Connections:  Contains ways to connect text with other text.
  • Questioning:    Involves asking questions (such as Why?  I wonder… and What if?) to understand what they are reading.
  • Evaluating:  Helps kids make judgments and form opinions about what they have read and explain why they feel the way they do.
  • Inferring:  Contains ways to figure out what the text really means from clues in the text.
  • Prior Knowledge:  Encourages kids to use what they already know to understand something new they have read.

For each section there are videos that play to explain each area and show kids how to do each skill.  It also demonstrates how much more there is to do with a book than simply read the story.
These different ways of exploring a story will come in very handy as your kids progress from the lower to the upper grades.

Last but certainly not least, is the ability for your kids to create a Mind Movie by drawing the story in your mind and choosing the music and graphics to go along with their ideas.  http://reading.ecb.org (note: not  www) 

Quite honestly, I found myself having trouble tearing myself away from this site to explore some others.  But, I finally moved on and here are some other sites that I think your kids will equally enjoy in other ways:

Switcheroo Zoo:   Switch Zoo has 142 species, and features many animal games, music created from animal voices, a reference section about all the animals in Switch Zoo, lesson plans, poetry, stories and artwork created by visitors to the site. www.switcheroozoo.com

  • Make and PlayKids can make and name their own new animals in Switch Zoo, play animal games, solve animal puzzles, take a guided tour and join a zoo quest.
  • Watch and Listen:  Listen to Fur Elise and other music performed by the Switch Zoo Critter Chorus, watch a dog’s dream and uncover the Mystery of Switch Zoo.
  • Teach and Learn:  Build an on-line habitat, read animal facts, read stories and see drawings by students.
  • Switch Zoo Puzzles:  Your kids can try their hand at solving these puzzles while the images on the pieces are changing!

Switch  Zoo is rated “E” for Everyone and identified by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, and has the best “kid safe” rating a site can have by the Internet Content Rating Board.  www.switcheroozoo.com

National Geographic for Kids:  This tried and true site inspires kids to explore about our planet through games, videos, contests, photos, quizzes, and blogs about cultures, animals and destinations. www.kids.nationalgeographic.com   Some of the areas your kids can explore include:

  • Games:  Includes all kinds such as Action, Adventure, Geography, Puzzles, Quizzes and more.
  • Videos:  Your kids can watch all kinds of videos, including Cartoons, En Espagnol, Explorers, Nature, Green, History, Science and Space and Weird and Wacky.
  • Fun Stuff:  Includes Photo Fill-Ins, Cartoons, Jokes, Crafts, Recipes, Science Experiments and Contests.
  • News:  Informs kids about the latest information regarding Animals and Nature, People and Places, Science and Space, History and other news-worthy stories for kids.

Once on the site, you can actually navigate to a whole section for “little kids” ages 3-8, with various “clubs” for them to join including:

  • Pablo’s Art Club
  • Rosie’s Science Club
  • Olive’s Cooking Club
  • Rudy’s Book Club
  • Joe’s Nature Club
  • Jack’s Good Neighbor Club

You know you can’t go wrong with anything National Geographic puts out.  www.kids.nationalgeographic.com  

So hope you take your kids and go exploring on line.  Please don’t just plop them down at the computer to fend for themselves.  Be sure to interact with your kids and find out what they like on each site!


Child Psychologist and Parenting Expert

Dr. Vicki Panaccione has been called, “The World’s Expert in Parenting,” and “The Oprah Winfrey of Families.” She is an internationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, parent coach, best-selling author and radio personality who has dedicated her 25 year career working with 100’s of children and helping 1000’s of parents raise happy, successful kids…and enjoy the ride! Visit her online at http://www.betterparentinginstitute.com/.


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