I have 12-year-old and 3-year-old daughters who I'd like to find some good educational websites for. Any suggestions? - Michelle
Thanks for your question, Michelle! There are a huge number of educational websites out there geared towards both your daughters. Since you didn't specify interests, I found a few general websites for your tween and toddler that should both educate them and keep them entertained. Some you might know, and probably there are a few you won't. Hope they get you off to a good start! -Jeana
Educational Websites For Tweens
We've covered BrainPOP Jr. before for elementary-aged kids, and love the site's concept. BrainPOP's offerings for older kids, like your tween daughter, answer those burning questions about science, health, math, US history, culture and more through videos and text. Yes, it's pricey at $99 for a year subscription, but we all use it so much, we think $8/month really is pretty great for the level of high quality educational content. However there is also a sample section of BrainPOP's free educational content that you can check out first.
This is a great site that compiles girl-inspired content--everything from books, music, TV, movies and more - for helping promote self-confidence among young women. There is a range of ages suitable for this site, everything from picture books for little girls to biographies for adult women. Girl power!
Science Bob offers a fun and interactive way for tweens to learn more about science. The site is filled with real science experiments kids can try at home (eek!) possibly with your help, to videos of "Science Bob" explaining things himself. There's also a Q&A section where kids can submit questions and Science Bob answers. The latest on the site? An explanation of how Pop Rocks are made. And no, the Mikey rumors aren't true.
This relatively new site is so darn cool your kids will hardly realize they're getting a physics lesson as they construct a virtual LEGO empire across Australia and New Zealand. We called it Google Earth meets LEGO, and it's great fun.
Think Wikipedia for kids, only more fun, and you've got Wonderopolis. Sponsored by the National Foundation for Family Literacy, each day a new "Wonder of the Day" topic answers questions your kids have and ones they never even knew to ask. Like the difference between a rabbit and a hare; what is humidity; and who invented LEGOs. Admit it--you want to know too, right?
Educational Websites For Preschoolers
You can rarely go wrong with anything that comes from PBS and their Labs website is no exception. There are games focused on favorite PBS characters like Curious George, Sid the Science Kid and Cat in the Hat. There's also a "Home Activities" section that gives parents good ideas for educational and fun activities they can do together with their kids.
While certainly not the most sophisticated in design, Starfall is nonetheless a great site for early readers and those little ones learning to read. There are different phonics activities for kids of varying stages of development and helps them learn their letters or words in a colorful and interactive way.
Sesame Street is another one of those go-to sites that preschool-aged kids will want to visit constantly. Aside from being able to see Elmo, kids will love all the fun games that feature their favorite Sesame Street characters, as well as videos of clips from the show itself.
This super girlie website is perfect starting at about three, and with a more positive spin than you'd expect from a site that's all about twinkly little angels you can dress up like paper dolls. There's a lot of creative options like making music, coloring, and just using your imagination.
We love this website in part because your three year-old will love it as much as your tween. It's simply about...doodling. No right answers, no wrong answers. Just creativity. But more fulfilling, your kiddo can publish her drawings and put them on display--something you know the grandparents will love to see too.