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Keeping your children safe whenever they are online is a top priority for most parents today, especially parents of children who own smartphones, tablets, or other electronic devices, including laptops or computers.
Whenever your child is spending time online, it is important that they do so by only visiting and browsing safe, verified, and educational websites.
Whether you are a parent who limits screen time or if you simply want to ensure your child is not subjected to harmful or dangerous material, it is important to know which websites are best for children of all ages.
For Toddlers and Younger Children
Keeping your young children and toddlers entertained at all times can quickly become overwhelming and tiring, especially if you have already built a fort, read a book, and baked a cake together. Providing your young children and toddlers with screen time does not have to result in feeling guilty with the right websites geared towards young children specifically.
ABC Mouse is one of the most well-known educational websites for children of all ages. The interactive website is colorful, easy to navigate, and enjoyable for most school-aged children. ABC Mouse includes more than 1,000 learning activities and 850 levels of learning for children ages 2-8, allowing your child more opportunities to explore various subjects and topics while learning right from the comfort of home. ABC Mouse currently offers a free 30-day trial for parents who are interested in using the website for their child. After the trial is complete, ABC Mouse costs $9.95 each month to continue.
Dreambox Learning is another excellent resource for young children who are learning Maths. Typically, Dreambox Learning is geared towards younger children ages 4-8, but can be used for any young child who enjoys games involving Math and solving problems. Currently, Dreambox Learning has a 90-day free trial for children who are interested in trying the software.
The official PBS Kids website provides a plethora of learning activities, printables, and digital games for children of all ages. Children who watch PBS Kids shows such as Arthur, Clifford the Big Red Dog, or Sesame Street can play any of the games and all of the media published to the PBS Kids website free of charge.
Curious World is a free downloadable app for Apple iOS iPhone and iPad devices. The Curious World app centers around teaching young toddlers about a variety of topics ranging from weather and the outdoors to the animal kingdom and exploring space. The app includes thousands of free videos, games, and free updates for your child to explore the curious world around them free of charge.
Starfall is another scholastic website for young children and toddlers. It is also available to businesses, schools, and administrators. Most of the content available from Starfall is free to use, although for complete access to all of Starfall’s content, a family member will run your household $35 annually.
Scholastic’s Learn at Home
Scholastic has been a top provider of learning tools, books, and materials to millions of children throughout the past few decades. Today, Scholastic currently operates it’s very own Learn at Home program for individuals who are currently experiencing widespread school closures or shutdowns.
Scholastic’s Learn at Home resource center provides parents with a complete 20-day lesson play to help keep your children busy while ensuring they are learning each day, even when they are not required to attend a traditional school setting. Using Scholastic’s Learn at Home Resource center is easy, simplistic, and free to use. Currently, Scholastic’s Learn at Home resource center is designed for children in PreK through grade 9.
For Older Kids and Teens
Keeping your older tweens and teens safe online without restricting their access entirely is possible by providing them with fun, entertaining, and family-friendly resources.
Duolingo is one of the most popular language teaching applications available for both Android and iOS devices. Using Duolingo is free of charge and provides your child with an interactive and engaging method of learning a new language. Whether your child is currently learning Spanish, French, German, or even Russian in school or if they are simply interested in expanding their linguistic skills, Duolingo is easy and free to download and will provide your child or teen with plenty to do each day.
BrainPOP is a fun and interactive website that provides learning games and tools for a variety of subjects. From science and social studies to English and history, there is plenty to do by joining to become a user of BrainPOP. While BrainPOP is typically limited to schools and premium member-only, there is plenty to do for free whether you are a parent or a student.
After Hours Programming
Offers free coding classes for beginners. If your kids want to tackle Python, Ruby or build a basic HTML website in their free time this website has lots of tutorials. After Hours Programming was established 10 years ago and is still going strong.
Khan Academy is one of the largest free online resources available for children and adults of all ages to learn new topics in-depth. Completing full courses online is possible via Khan Academy, free of charge. Using Kham Academy online is optimal for teens and tweens who have an interest in excelling in school or advancing in current subjects they are covering while enrolled in school. Khan Academy provides interactive methods of learning from video media to using games along with virtual software platforms to test coding and work for those learning new programming languages. For any child or teen who simply cannot get enough of learning, registering as a member of Khan Academy is a must.
The Smithsonian Learning Lab
If you want to show your child more about the world around them, consider visiting the online Smithsonian Learning Lab. The Smithsonian Learning Lab is complete with thousands of photos, videos, and other formats of media that showcases items that are currently stored or displayed at the official Smithsonian Museum. Complete with a guided video tour, accessing the Smithsonian Learning Lab is simple and free of charge.
IXL is a massive online learning website that is designed for children from K-12. The website itself is frequently utilized by schools and various districts, but it can also be accessed by individuals and families alike. Using IXL is simple once you have chosen the type of account you require for your household and the number of children you are using the software with each day. IXL covers topics ranging from history and science to math, writing, and even art, providing your child with the best possible remote learning experience while working and learning from home.
Currently, much of the material that IXL has to offer is available for free. However, families who are interested in accessing all of the lesson plans and content that IXL has to offer will be required to pay $9.95 per month, similar to other competing premium learning services. However, if your child’s school currently offers IXL through the school or administration itself, it may be possible to acquire login access to IXL free of charge. Speak with your child’s school administrator or teacher directly to determine whether or not you can also use IXL for free rather than paying a monthly fee to gain access.
Providing your child with safe, educational, and reputable websites to visit will prevent them from browsing websites that are unknown or websites that may show explicit content. The more familiar your child becomes with navigating safe and family-friendly websites, the less likely they are to encounter material and content you would like to prevent them from seeing altogether. Taking the time to seek out fun, educational, and safe websites with your child or as a family is a great way to discuss parental controls, appropriate online browsing behavior, and how to distinguish family-friendly content from content that is reserved only for adults.