Want to support your child’s interests, but don’t know where to start? Enter the Internet! Kids’ educational websites offer amazing resources you can access without spending a penny or a lot of time. Here are some of our favorite sites on popular hobbies and passions for kids 7 to 10.
Animals and science
Does your child love animals and nature? National Geographic Kids’s site has simple stories about all kinds of living things and the scientists who study them. It also offers games, videos, photos, and writing contests, as well as many educational but fun activities for kids curious about life on Earth. Bill Nye (aka “the science guy”) has been teaching science to kids on his TV show for years. His website has plenty to inspire young scientists, with experiments they can try (safely) at home and lots of cool science facts.
Reading Rockets helps parents and educators help children learn to read and write. But it’s also got wonderful activities for kids who are interested in literature and especially creative writing. Be sure to check out the Exquisite Prompt ,which has writing ideas submitted by some of the country’s top authors — including Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux ) and Megan McDonald (the Judy Moody series). They are inspiring, fun, and — best of all — designed for kids of every age!
If your child lives for T. rex, he or she will go crazy over these two dinosaur-centric sites. Kids Dinos offers mini-paleontologists a friendly if cartoony place to research and play games about their favorite extinct species. Dinosaur Central, created by the Discovery Channel, has a treasure trove of incredible videos, interactive timeline, and extraordinary graphics and animation.
Got a stargazer or amateur astronomer at home? Amazing Space will answer your child’s questions on asteroids, black holes, comets, galaxies, and gravity. NASA Kids’ Club has loads of out-of-this-world games to make learning astronomy interesting and fun. Don’t skip the breathtaking photos of Earth taken from outer space, as well as fascinating facts about the universe, our solar system, and the Space Shuttle.
These three music-based websites for kids find clever ways to engage youngsters interested in music. Sprocket Works has some great games like “What Instrument?” and music trivia to give your child a basic education about classical and modern music. Creating Music teaches kids basic concepts about music in smart and entertaining ways. Your child can learn to play the scales, write his or her own music, learn about pitch, and even play music with (a virtual) Beethoven! On the San Francisco Symphony Kids’ Site, kids get a fun introduction to harmony, rhythm, tempo, notes, and more. Your child will also learn about the different instruments played in a symphony — brass, woodwinds, strings, and percussion.
On MuseumKids children can get a rich education in art history while learning about creating art, with plenty of games focusing on everything from ancient Egypt to knights’ armor in medieval times to Van Gogh and Degas. Crayola’s site has dozens of printable activities for kids who love to color and paint. There are even printable cards and gifts your child can help design and decorate.
On Sports Science, created by the Exploratorium (an outstanding kids’ science museum in San Francisco), your child can learn about the science behind such sports as skateboarding, soccer, hockey, cycling, and baseball. Sports Illustrated Kids has lots of great games for young sports fanatics.