Learning Fun for Kids Online

Home school and after school, kids online can access some great sites and games that are both educational and fun. This site reviews and links to the best, and also discusses some parenting articles and homework sites of interest to parents.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Horse Whisperer

I'm a little off topic here, but there's been some blogging on disciplining children and whether spanking is ever appropriate. A site of interest may be that of Monty Roberts, the "horse whisperer".

Abused by his father as a child, Monty Roberts sees horses and children as "flight animals", in need of the same type of communication and support.

You'll find the articles including the link to 'Kids are like Wild Mustangs' on the News Archives page.

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posted by Stephanie @ Friday, December 30, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mazes: you either love 'em or get lost in 'em

Games that require thought are more appealing to me, both as a player and as a parent, not simply those that tout "eye-hand coordination". Mazes -- if they're the right balance between being too simplistic and too complex -- fit the bill.

Try the maze at uptoten.com and let me know what you think.

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posted by Stephanie @ Thursday, December 29, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Eye Gunk Questions and Other Gross Stuff

As parents, don't we get the strangest questions? Some are just too hard to answer: "Why is the sky blue?" [Ask your father]; "Where do babies come from?" [Ask your mother]; "What's that stuff in the corner of your eye when you wake up?"

"Well, dear, it's - I don't know - gunk, you know, sleep."

"But what IS it?"

I ignored the temptation to say "Brain leakage" [bad mommy] and did a google search on the phrase "eye gunk". You know what the first site to come up was?

This page on that old standby, The Yuckiest Site on the Internet.

Now on to ear wax!
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posted by Stephanie @ Tuesday, December 27, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Monday, December 26, 2005

Time to Make Money (for next Christmas!)

Teach the kids how hard it is to make money with this virtual Lemonade Stand. Because it's pretty in-depth, dealing with pricing, quality control, and inventory, as well as unpredictable weather, picky customers, and inventory wastes, the "Help" features are a nice touch.

If your kids are super (short) entrepreneurs, maybe they can kick something in the pot for next year's blow-out!

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posted by Stephanie @ Monday, December 26, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Games

There are little Christmas-themed kids' mahjong online boards at a site called Free Christmas Games Com--they're cute, and easy enough to play so that they're not frustrating, but not too simplistic for me (I mean, of course, for young children).

The variety of jigsaw puzzles is also nice, although the Christmas wreath on an iron gate set in a brick archway was obviously included by some deviant scrooge-like character.

Ah, well - Merry Christmas, anyway! :-)

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posted by Stephanie @ Friday, December 23, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, December 22, 2005

It's educational. It's fun. It's free.

Need a refresher on geography? Vocabulary? Periodic table?

It's all free at Sheppard Software, where their motto is We Make Learning Fun!

Now, you gotta like that. :-)

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posted by Stephanie @ Thursday, December 22, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Attention: Readers!

A great site for kids -- from those who are just starting to learn to read to those who are advanced readers is StarfallCom.

Click around to get the most out of it: there's a section under SKILLS called "Movies" and Snowman and Gingerbread are good interactive learning fun.

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posted by Stephanie @ Wednesday, December 21, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Get Psyched!

I found this little gem, KidsPsych, a few years ago, and my kids still enjoy it (well, so do I...). Our all-time favorite game is called Oochina on the Farm, and I just dare you to make it on the first try!

Have fun. :-D

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posted by Stephanie @ Tuesday, December 20, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Monday, December 19, 2005

Mitten Clips as Christmas gifts!

Even toddlers enjoy making these simple clips and they're useful as paper holders: mitten-shaped felt glued onto a clothespin which has a magnet affixed on the back.

For decorating ideas, see this page called Fun Stuff to do Together, courtesy of everyone's favorite jailbird, Martha Stewart.

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posted by Stephanie @ Monday, December 19, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Learn to Read and Spell with Phonics at Foniks

There's a free site where even pre-school children can learn to read and spell with Foniks by simply mousing over the big-print letters and words to hear them spoken.

And don't miss the free talking e-book for early readers!

I looked at the MouseOver Music section, but don't think it's suitable for the very young children targeted here.

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posted by Stephanie @ Sunday, December 18, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Friday, December 16, 2005

Write a Senior Citizen

This site was suggested in a newsletter I get from AbsoluteWriteCom, but it's not just for adults. Kids make great pen-pals: and it's an educational way to brighten someone's day. The seniors are from all over the world and as sort of surrogate grandparents can teach your kids about different cultures and interests.

Share your love of writing. It's the sort of feel-good win-win situation that doesn't come along often enough these days.

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posted by Stephanie @ Friday, December 16, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dover Children's Book Samplers

I love getting this weekly sampler from Mary Dover. Today I printed out Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer from the "How to Draw Christmas Pictures". No more dogs with antlers for this artistically-challenged mama!

Don't forget to send a Christmas e-card. It's free!

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posted by Stephanie @ Thursday, December 15, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Wonderful Christmas Gift Idea: Chicken Soup!

There's a great idea over at Education World, proposed by a teacher as a class activity, but that would work quite well at home as well.

Using the Chicken Soul series as her inspiration, sixth-grade teacher Alison Murphy calls the project "Chicken Soup for the Holiday Soul", and the kids create their own books to take home as gifts.

You can read full article here. Younger children can participate by coloring pictures of people and pets in their lives they love most.
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posted by Stephanie @ Wednesday, December 14, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Howtoons: how-to's in cartoons!

In the kind of play that matters (and warms a mother's heart) Howtoons are cartoons showing kids of all ages "How To" build things. Each illustrated episode is a stand-alone fun adventure.

Now you too can make a:

Marshmallow Shooter!

Hippo Harmonizer!

Turkey Baster Flute!

Shockwave Air Cannon!


Have fun :-)
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posted by Stephanie @ Tuesday, December 13, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Stephen King at the Weekly Reader!

The What's Your Story? section of WeeklyReaderCom is featuring Stephen King, master storyteller.

Kids can read his opening lines and then submit their own. Lots of fun and encourages children to read and write creatively.
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posted by Stephanie @ Sunday, December 11, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Easy Science at KidSourceCom

Try these experiments with your kids (or all by yourself!). With stuff already in the house, they're simple to do and educational.

1. Can a paper straw go through a raw potato? Of course not - maybe... Find out!

2. Can soap power a boat? No way! Well, I don't think so...Find out!

3. Why does a big cruise ship float as well as a feather? It's a mystery of the universe; there's no explanation. Okay, okay, I'll go find out.

Seriously, KidSource is a huge parenting/education site and well worth your reading time.
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posted by Stephanie @ Saturday, December 10, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Monday, December 05, 2005

Silly and Fun

Chateau Meddybemps is a wonderful learning-centered play area created by Jerry and Susan Jindrich, an internet designer/developer and an educator. There are guides for parents and teachers, and lots of jellybeans too! :-)
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posted by Stephanie @ Monday, December 05, 2005   0 comments links to this post

Coloring

The web is international: the first site I'll introduce is called ColoriezCom. It's all in French and it's got a truly extensive index of pages to be printed out for coloring at this link.

Besides having one of the best selections of coloring pages I've seen, it can be used from an educational perspective in that (besides the numeric or alpha dot-to-dots) there are pictures from literature Peter Rabbit, Babar, and others. You may well spark your child's curiosity for Beatrix Potter or Jean de Brunhoff books!
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posted by Stephanie @ Monday, December 05, 2005   0 comments links to this post