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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kids Know It - The Totally Free Children's Learning Network

The blurb at History Games For Kids reads

Innovative history games that make learning and retaining history facts fun. These online history activities have been designed to help you review the history concepts you have learned on our website, while also capturing and holding your attention. These games are much more than just an online quiz.
It's all true.

I played the one called Brick Busters History Game. It really was well done -- the answers to questions are written so that you nearly always choose the correct one (learning); then the questions come up again and again, but the choices between the answers become more challenging (retention).

Every subject is represented at KIDS KNOW IT -
The Totally Free Children's Learning Network, and some extremely good advice is there for the taking. If you're working on spelling, for instance, you can select an appropriate spelling list from over 6,600 words arranged in over 400 lessons.

The words in Lesson 407 are:

cone, cylinder. equation, evaluate, formula, inequality, order of operations, parentheses, pyramid, solution, solve, sphere, surface area, three-dimensional, variable, volume

A click of the button will load this vocabulary list into the games and off you send your child for a fun way to learn!

Scroll down to the bottom of the spelling page, and you'll see advice for the level, how many lessons it's advised to do and how to encourage spelling success.

Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Saturday, February 28, 2009   0 comments

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let's Go Play at the National Gallery of Art!

I nearly didn't get here I was so busy playing with my still life over at the National Gallery of Art.

According to NGAkids Still Life, I was actually creating "interactive compositions that mirror the paintings of the old masters". It goes on:

This Art Zone activity is suitable for all ages. Young children can explore spatial arrangement, perspective, proportion, and balance while creating engaging, interactive still life compositions that mix everyday objects with elements borrowed from famous works of art. More advanced artists will enjoy creating complex arrangements, and then switching to the painting mode to add and manipulate textured 'brushstrokes" that give their art a more abstract, painterly quality.
Well, I don't know about all that. I just liked tossing stuff off the table. :-)



Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Thursday, February 26, 2009   0 comments

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Meet the Composers!

At The Piano Education Page, there's a Meet the Composers section where kids can click on the name of the composer they'd like to read about.

Try it -- you'll find out stuff like Mozart liked to bowl and Johannes Brahms' favorite cafe was called The Red Hedgehog.

Here's a list of the great composers and musicians you'll find at Meet the Composers:

Johann Sebastian Bach (Leipzig, 1740)

Clara Schumann (Frankfurt, 1879)

Robert and Clara Schumann (Dresden, 1848)

Domenico Scarlatti (Madrid, 1752)

C.P.E. Bach (Vienna, 1786)

Frederic Chopin (Warsaw, 1835)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Vienna, 1786)

Franz Liszt (Constantinople, 1847)

Franz Schubert (Vienna, 1819)

Johannes Brahms (Vienna, 1870)

If you've got a school project coming up and you need information about music or composers, The Musical Reference Shelf is a seriously great resource as is the enormous Listening List which covers (and I paraphrase here) piano repertoire necessary for a basic overview of some of the important elements of piano literature.

Now, this is what the internet is supposed to be all about!


Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Wednesday, February 25, 2009   0 comments

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mah Jong

I used to play Mah Jong quite a bit a few years back. My daughters would often come alongside the computer to help, and made it a fun time for all of us.

The look of the tiles can be exquisite (I think that's what attracted me to the game initially) and now that I think of it, I've never played in real life, only virtually -- a situation I'd better rectify!

In the meantime, maybe you'd like to introduce (or re-introduce) your kids to this matching game. At GameHouse.com, you can choose between several patterns and lay-outs. You can also play online or download a game for free. I like the traditional look of The Medley, and now I'm going to buzz back there and clack my tiles a bit more.


Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Tuesday, February 24, 2009   0 comments

Monday, February 23, 2009

Zodiac Girlz - just kinda sorta cute

If you want to be silly for a while, sit your child on your lap and ask the frog questions.

The site is called Zodiac Girlz, and while I wasn't too impressed with the games, the froggie was kinda cute and (if truth be known), I liked the crabby Siamese over at the Tic-Tac-Toe game even though she was a bit snide.

Save this one for a rainy five minutes.

Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Monday, February 23, 2009   0 comments

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Are You An American Girl?

We've got the books, the dolls, the movies and I just realized that you can play games online at AmericanGirl.com too! At the Fun For Girls page, there's a Ceramic Studio (Chrissa's dad is a ceramic artist). You don't have to know the reasons behind the games, but if you're interested, there's a little paragraph to read before you play called The Story.

You can take the Procrastinator Quiz (I'm a Pro!) at Quiz Corner, and learn quite a few tid bits at Edible English.

By the way, I'm extremely impressed with the quality of these products sold by this company (which I now understand is owned by Mattel). I hope they keep up the high standards -- the prices reflect the quality, but this is a case (at least as I type this) that you really do get what you pay for.


Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Sunday, February 22, 2009   0 comments

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government - for kids!

At Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government, the snippets of information are broken down by grade groupings (from K-12), with the last section for parents and teachers.

A quick look through the site shows that it's well organized and thorough. As usual, I didn't get much past the K-2 level, where I was stopped by the history of The Liberty Bell. Maybe I learned it and maybe I didn't, but isn't it cool that:

The Bell was cast in London, England in 1752. It is made mostly of copper and tin. After it arrived in the U.S., the Bell cracked. A new bell was made from the metal in the old one, but this one also cracked. A third bell was built from the same metal, and now this one has a crack too!
Boy, I gotta start paying attention!



Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Saturday, February 21, 2009   0 comments

Friday, February 20, 2009

Babysitting Tips

Like everything else these days, babysitting's changed since I was a kid. Little girls are getting a minimum of $8/hour (*GASP*) for watching the kids. That's a far cry from when I happily sat for 50 CENTS an hour.

The Red Cross has some good pages about babysitting. The first one is called Tips for Having a Safe Babysitting Experience. This deals with how to get babysitting jobs and has an incredibly detailed interview form with questions to ask the family your child is sitting for. (No wonder kids make $8!)

The second is actually an Activity E-book in PDF format. At first glance, most of it seems pretty inane (like roll the ball with baby), but that may be because I'm a parent. Maybe 13 year-old girls without toddlers in the house need explicit guidance like this. There was a Cross The River game that looked like it could be fun on a rainy day (kids cut out paper circles and tape them to the floor; pretend they're crossing a river).

The e-book also contains easy snack ideas and nursery rhymes (which I know for sure we all forget -- I had to rush out and buy a few copies when my kids were born!)

My 12 year old daughter recently took a babysitting course with a friend of hers, and the kids enjoyed themselves very much. Her first experience in sitting was when a couple was giving a dinner party and wanted their 5-year old daughter entertained and taken care of -- a very nice introduction to the world of babysitting!



Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Friday, February 20, 2009   2 comments

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Magic of Magic School Bus

I've always loved the Magic School Bus (and I'm not ashamed to admit that I've learned stuff right along with my kids!). We had disks or downloads of games we used to play on the computer, but I have no idea what happened to them, so I'm really glad I thought of looking up Scholastic's site, where they have a Magic School Bus section.

The Maze Craze gets you to collect plants and animals for points (watching out for point-eating mud pits), and there's a Teacher Feature that shows you how to create an Earth Worm-ery, complete with kid-friendly and printable instruction sheet.

Before getting into worms (again), though, I think I'll start with something called Shine On, which explains why we can't see stars during the day (even though they shine day and night). But first, I'll probably print out Magic School Bus Coloring Book.

For the kids, I tell you! For the kids!


Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Wednesday, February 18, 2009   0 comments

Monday, February 16, 2009

Demolition Division and Word Frog

Over at 4Kids.org, I had fun with a game called Demolition Division. (Firing canons and destroying things has always been a hobby of mine.) It's a fun (and fast) review of division facts -- I had my speed on "normal"; I don't think I'd be able to put it up to top speed without getting a little stressed.

The Verb Viper wasn't as much fun -- it's a good game, but there seemed to be a delay (when I clicked on the answer) so that some questions were either skipped or received the answer to another question. Frustrating to get several wrong when you know you're right!

Word Frog, on the other hand, was cool! It's an exercise in matching antonyms, synonyms and homophones -- sounds boring, but when it's done by a frog's tongue flicking out to catch flies, it's kind of hard to stop.



Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Monday, February 16, 2009   0 comments

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day Jokes for Kids

Valentine's Day is sure not about romance when you're 8 years old! It's about candies and chocolates and silliness -- and lots of jokes, of course:

  • What do squirrels give for Valentine's Day?
  • What did the caveman give his wife on Valentine's Day?
    Ughs and kisses!
  • What did the boy octopus say to the girl octopus?
    I wanna hold your hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand.
  • What did the boy sheep say to the girl sheep on Valentine's Day?
    I Love Ewe!
  • What kind of flowers do you never give on Valentine's Day?
  • Knock knock!
    Who's there?
    Frank who?
    Frank you for being my friend!
  • What do farmers give their wives on Valentine's Day?
    Hogs and kisses!

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!



Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Friday, February 13, 2009   2 comments

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Harry Potter Lessons

For ideas that make elementary lessons fun, teachers and parents can visit cyber-prof.com. Having gone through the whole Harry Potter series of books and movies (to date) with my children, I thought the ideas of how to use the Harry Potter props, character names and ideas to stir interest quite good.

Suggestions on how to implement these ideas pertained mainly to science lessons, and included:

  • magical disappearing water (through evaporation)
  • making a magical rainbow (from prisms)
  • magical potion concoctions (from Kool-Aid)
  • growing "Basilisk Fang" plants in a pot dirtless, hydroponic soil
Gardening is already done to some extent in most schools, but Cyber-Prof suggests choosing plants that do indeed seem to be somewhat magical, such as the Venus Fly Catcher.

Another idea is to incorporate Hermione's Time Turner into your history lessons. Turn back time to enter the world of the historical figures or events you're teaching.

I really liked the idea of using Harry Potter sheet music for kids to play. I would suggest simplifying it (ie., treble clef only) as most schools use soprano recorders in their elementary music classes and many of the children are playing at a beginner level.


Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Thursday, February 12, 2009   0 comments

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spelling Rules

I was trying to help the kids with their homework tonight, and got stuck (again), this time on SPELLING RULES. All I remember from my school days is: "i before e, except after c and sometimes y".

This time, my daughter had to know when to use "tion" or "sion" -- for example, the word permit becomes permission (not permition) and the word complete becomes completion (not complesion).

So, what's the rule? (And what are the exceptions to the rule, because you know there'll be some!)

A couple of straight forward pages of spelling rules can be found at:

Reading From Scratch
Just Mommies

The google search I made to find these sites was spelling rules: when to use tion and sion.

OK, back to HW!

Oh, right -- you want the rule. Here it is, from Reading From Scratch:

How do you tell whether to use tion or sion?
  1. If the root word ends in /t/, use -tion: complete, completion
  2. If the root word ends in /s/ or /d/, use sion: extend, extension
    suppress, suppression
  3. If the sound of the last syllable is the "heavy" sound of /zhun/ rather than the light sound, /shun/, use s: confusion, vision, adhesion

Exception: The ending, --mit becomes -mission:

permit - permission omit - omission
submit - submission commit - commission
Clear as mud, eh? :-)



Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Wednesday, February 11, 2009   0 comments

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine's Day for Kids

Valentine's Day for KidsWhether you choose to make Stuffed Felt Valentines or print off cartoon character Valentine's Day cards for all the kids in your child's class, you can keep this day of love inexpensive and family oriented. Even if you opt to buy the cards, just by helping your kids add stickers (some scrapbooking stick-ons are really nice) and candy hearts turns this holiday from purely commercial to a celebration of togetherness.

There are even life lessons to be taught. For instance, my Grade 4 daughter has to give everyone in her class a Valentine's Day card (meaning even the bullies). So we talk about feeling left out and forgiveness and setting examples, and so on. After all, Valentine's Day is all about relationships.



Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Tuesday, February 10, 2009   0 comments

Monday, February 09, 2009

Animal Land for Kids (and kids at heart)

ASPCA Animaland is a website for kids who love animals (and I like it too!).

There are sections about animal careers and pet care. You can send in a photo of your pet -- maybe it will be featured as The Pet of the Week.

The Animal ABCs tab opens onto an alphabetized index, where you can click on animals from aardvarks to xenosaur and more! I didn't have time to play the online games (with a virtual dog), so let me know what you think.

Don't miss the link to ASPCA Education.org for parents and teachers looking for lesson plans, worksheets, and articles.



Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Monday, February 09, 2009   0 comments

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Stress in Kids

I've been learning a lot about how anxiety can affect children. After six months of tests, doctors ruled my youngest healthy, chalking up her tummy aches, dizzy spells, rashes and aches and pains to social anxiety disorder. I've found lots of information online about all of this, and am compiling so other worried moms will have a convenient one-stop site.

The term my daughter and I called her anxious thoughts are "bully thoughts". This online balloon popping game (Poppit!) can be used a visualization of how bully thoughts are destroyed when you employ certain behaviors (ie., like making fun of them or answering them rationally).

Bookmark and Share
posted by Stephanie @ Thursday, February 05, 2009   0 comments