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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All About Ears, Hearing and Dangerous Decibels

At a site called Dangerous Decibels, there's a virtual exhibit on how we hear and how we can take care of our hearing.

You can listen to various sounds, and then see how tiny hair cells change vibrations into electrical signals which are sent to the brain. There's a picture a hair cell that's been destroyed by a loud noise and will never send signals to the brain again.

There are also decibel measurements and suggestions on ear protection -- and even how to answer back to peer pressure.

Save your Ears!


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posted by Stephanie @ Wednesday, May 27, 2009   0 comments

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Virtual Knee Replacement Surgery

NOTE: Recommended for Grade levels: 7 - 12 and up

The only flaw with this game is how quickly you have to read (if you don't have speakers) -- but other than that, the Virtual Knee Surgery game is excellent for anyone interested in what the operation consists of, how it's done and how long the replacement knee lasts.

My 10 year old daughter watched me go through the procedure and deemed it totally gross. I admit the thought of drilling into bone made me a bit queasy, but the fascination factor took us all the way through. What can make you retch a little are the actual photos from real surgeries! *yeech*

There's a teacher's guide which gives prompts for class discussions such as:
  • why did certain steps of surgery occur in the order they did and/or why these steps were performed at all?
  • why don’t patients need painkillers during surgery?
  • what was the FIRST knee replacement surgery like?


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posted by Stephanie @ Saturday, May 23, 2009   0 comments

Monday, May 18, 2009

Industrial Revolution -- Concentration Game for Grade 7 Students

There's a concentration game developed by a Grade 7 teacher where you match definitions to words and people's names to their accomplishments all with respect to the Industrial Revolution. It's a fun review for kids who need to study for a test.

The terms that are included in the game are:

emigrate -- to leave (EXIT) one's homeland to go to another country
immigrate -- to come into (IN) a new country
rural -- a term referring to the countryside
tenement -- a large apartment building that is overcrowded and rundown
monopoly -- complete control over an industry by a person or company

patent -- a document that legally protects an inventor from his/her idea copied by another inventor
assembly line -- system of production in which workers can mass produce products and they can be sold cheaper
subway -- a train that runs on underground tracks
laissez faire -- philosophy that government should leave businesses alone
refinery -- a place where oil from the ground is cleaned

Knights of Labor & AFL -- labor unions which fought for the rights of factory workers
specialization of labor -- learning a specific task through repetition
Andrew Carnegie -- known for dominating the steel industry
Henry Ford -- famous for the Model T
Thomas Edison -- invented the light bulb and over 1000 other inventions

Joseph Glidden -- invented barbed wire
John D. Rockefeller -- famous for dominating the oil industry
stock -- certificate showing ownership in a part of a company

If you find (as I did) that the definition has too many words to fit into the "cards", look down at the bottom of the puzzle -- the terms also show up there.

If you like concentration, hangman and other word games as a learning tool, there's quite a list of them at the Shared Activities page.

In order to create your own games, you must subscribe. Quia's standard annual pricing for educational subscriptions is $49 per instructor.


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posted by Stephanie @ Monday, May 18, 2009   0 comments

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hands On Crafts for Kids

At HandsOnCrafts, you'll find lots of projects -- many you've probably seen before, but it's a good place to click through for reminders.

For instance, I found this easy-to-do but very pretty Japanese wall hanging with a simple cherry blossom painted onto textured paper. What made this very interesting, though, was that the Japanese brush strokes for the words "cherry blossom" are shown in detail so that you can paint it onto the wall hanging. Very cool.

The brick bookends are pretty too.

What's nice about all the projects on this site is that detailed instructions are given, so that the older child can really perfect the craft, while the younger kids can still have lots of fun. So what if the wee ones don't want to use stencils and the butterflies come out looking like flying beach balls? It's all creative and learning and family fun.


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posted by Stephanie @ Saturday, May 16, 2009   0 comments

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fun Science Experiments for Kids

There's an experiment that demonstrates iso- and thixo-tropy properties of certain emulsions (fluid mixtures) -- say what?

Well, think glop; gooey, squeezy, yucky GLOP - and you've got it!

By mixing cornstarch and water together and then playing in it, you can learn all about
Isotropy -- the property of a fluid to become firm when agitated -- like at the beach when you walk in wet sand: walk slowly, and the sand starts to become more fluid (and you sink a little). Run quickly, and the sand remains firm.

It was some feat typing this, I'll have you know. There's glop everywhere...



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posted by Stephanie @ Tuesday, May 12, 2009   0 comments

Friday, May 08, 2009

Pioneers - a kid-friendly explanation

If you need to know something about pioneers, ThinkQuest.org has a good section for you. Things like wagon trains and prairie schooners are explained, and daily life on the trail is also briefly looked at. As an example, there's a paragraph called What Types of Chores Did Children Do? that reads:

Children had lots of chores that included milking their cows, fetching water from a stream or a river that was nearby, helping their parents cook food, washing dishes, collecting buffalo chips or wood for the fire, shaking out dusty blankets and quilts, and hanging beef jerky to dry in the sun.
It's a simple overview explaining who the pioneers were and where they went, with two of the major trails covered. There are interesting facts like the dangers they faced (including how to safely cross rivers) and the toys they played with.


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posted by Stephanie @ Friday, May 08, 2009   0 comments

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Kids - don't forget Mother's Day!

Sunday May 10th is Mother's Day, a custom of honoring mothers that goes back at least as far as 17th-century England, which still celebrates Mothering Sunday in March each year.

FactMonster has some ideas about what kids can do for moms on Mother's Day, like Gift Certificates:

  • Choose different chores that you could help mom with (dishes, laundry, etc.)
  • Make and decorate a card, with the tasks you've chosen written inside.
If you're in a rush or not the artistic type, don't worry. You can get your Coupons For Mom right here.

By the way, the official flower for Mother's Day is the carnation (which will look great in your own Fingerprint Flower Vase), but if you'd rather give mom a plant, you can make her a recycled flower pot that's a great memory-maker.


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posted by Stephanie @ Tuesday, May 05, 2009   0 comments

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Yoga For Kids - Online!

You can practice yoga with your child, with simple instructions at ChildrensYoga.com. On the page called Try Yoga Now, you'll find three types of exercises.

  • The first is called Animal Adventure, and contains breathing, affirmation and meditation exercises with child-friendly descriptors like blowing out birthday candles and posing like a snake.
  • Classroom Yoga is for teachers who want to give their students a quick break to relax and re-focus, but parents can get good ideas from this, especially to use on long car trips or airplane travel. From shoulder rolls to tree poses and a reminder to drink lots of water throughout the day, there's lots of effective exercises here to stretch and re-energize.
  • The last is Yoga To Release Anxiety, which can be practiced by children starting with the minimum time. The rapid movements and strong breathing are to help release old thought and feeling patterns that trigger fear, anxiety and pent-up emotion.
Who knows? Maybe the next step will be a moms-and-me yoga class!


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posted by Stephanie @ Saturday, May 02, 2009   0 comments