Do you let your toddler-preschool aged kid(s) play on a computer? We do as we feel it’s more interactive & stimulating than watching TV and believe it can be educational as well…
You see, my stay-at-home wife has had enough sick-days, snow-days, rain-days to know, there are moments where she will raise her arms in the air and wave a white flag of surrender. There is only so much crafts, play-doh, pretend play and reading one can do before the dreaded moment arrives and your child looks at you with eyes that say “Whats next?.” Also, add to the mix an infant that the parent has to take care of, in addition to the toddler/preschooler with endless amounts of energy! For some that may mean rolling out their guitar and singing kumbaya, but lacking musical skills, she opt to look to the internet for help. Through the months, we’ve come across these web sites, listed below, that have withstood the test of rain, snow, roseola and an ear infection.
My one year old daughter loves this site- perfect for younger kids to toddlers who love pressing buttons on keyboards (who doesn’t?). They have added new things like an alphabet game, numbers, and shapes. Best thing is– no ads!
Okay, there are ads, BUT still lots of fun same concept as Kneebouncers but with different themes like “animals” or “marine”. I like that they have categories based on computer skills — like “pressing keys”, moving mouse” etc.
The Australian version of “Noggin” has something for everyone, our personal favorite is “Color the Rainbow” and the games from PlaySchool.
Home of kid favorites like Dora, Diego & Kai-lan – chock-full of games, stories, and activities to print out. Check out their online library of videos to watch some of your favorite Nick Jr. shows online. They have great stuff, but it isn’t the easiest place for my 4-year-old to navigate on her own. Our faves are “Where’s Max?” and “Dora’s Great Big World.”
The children’s area of BBC – this site should be way fun for older kids (3 and up) tons of games with different themes (action and sports, activities and puzzles, animals and nature, etc.). Especially great if you enjoy British humor – case in point, my personal favorite “Cutting the Cheese” , our preschooler enjoys watching “Shaun the Sheep” jumping and falling out of his mattress.
Created by a team from Mauritius – this site has a mind-blowing 1,300+ games for kids, with categories ranging from imagination, to memory, listening, and observation – this is one of the most extensive kid’s sites I’ve ever been to. The only problem I’ve had is navigating the vast selection and deciding which way to go, the games we’ve tried so far are easy to understand and fun. I suggest you start by clicking on “Free site” – this page gives you a good overview of what they have. Warning though, they do have ads that seem to encourage kids to click on them, I once had to stop my daughter from clicking on an ad with the Disney Princesses featured, and another time they had ads that were advertising really scary monsters – but no “adult” ads.
A classic go-to site with all your PBS Kids shows just a mouse-click away- every show has a different variety of games, stories and video clips. I like showing our preschooler video clips of kids’ experiments from Curious George and she loves playing the A-B-C-D-Watermelon game from “In Between the Lions”.
The perfect site for your little nature explorer has everything from how to create a motion-ocean, to games that follow the trail of Captain John Smith. Videos are categorized according to species and are short and interesting enough for tiny attention spans.
Our older daughter LOVES this site (when she was 1-3 years old and constantly asked to see it. They have loads of “books” with sounds and simple animations. I joined their yearly membership ($25) and I couldn’t believe how much more you can get access to! She loves the song book “dem bones” and “pirate ship”. I’d place the mouse just-so and after the song/animation plays she pushes the mouses’ right click button and the song starts all over again – it was one of her favorite thing to do.
Tessy and Tab is a company that publishes a monthly magazine for kids called “Tessy and Tab” they have a “fun page” with counting, alphabet, and coloring games – but the best thing is their “find the peek-a-bug” game — there is an illustration and the child needs to find the peek-a-bug that is half hidden in the illustration and when they click on it the bug flies away.. its too cute.
Last, but definitely not the least, created by the same people who created bluemountain.com – Starfall is dedicated to early childhood reading and is a great resource for games that encourage phonemic awareness. My one year old loves listening the “A” segment.
I could go on and on, everyday there seems to be a new site for kids that crop up, some I did not talk about in detail but may be worth a visit are Disney.com, and Fisher Price preschool online. Of course, at the end of the day nothing replaces face-to-face time between you and your child, but these sites provide a good bridge for those times when you don’t want to wedge them in front of the tv (again), but are too exhausted to think up of another interesting activity to do at home.
Do you have sites you want to share/add? Please leave a comment or email me! I’m sure there are tons out there that I’m missing…