We all know that kids (and adults!) are addicted to screen time. What’s important is for us to provide our grandchildren with online platforms that are appropriate for them.
With parental supervision and guidance, you can keep your kids safe online. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time at all for children under two, and one to two hours a day for those older. So, which sites should kids visit during their allotted time? Young ones will undoubtedly race to seek out their pals from that other screen—the television—or get right to gaming. Their choices might make you cringe. We’ve found eight sites where kids can catch up with favorite characters, play a few games, and expand their horizons.
Kids’ programming on the education-focused public television network PBS journeys from Sesame Street to the jungles of Wild Kratts. A See ‘n Say-like wheel of characters on the PBS website directs kids to games, videos, and printables from their can’t-miss shows.
Nick.com and Nick JR.
Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. fans find plenty of ways to interact with their favorites on these sites. There are games, video clips, activity suggestions, and plenty of printables for shows like SpongeBob Squarepants, Monsters Vs. Aliens, and Dora the Explorer.
Hogwarts’ hopefuls get sussed out by the Sorting Hat and can then join their housemates in earning badges and points by brewing potions, casting spells, and dueling in the magical world of Harry Potter. They also can get background info and extras for the first three books in the series.
National Gallery of Art For Kids
The The National Gallery of Art now offers an app for the iPad which is incredible. Children can discover a whole world of art in a fun and easy way, while exploring and learning about famous works from the Gallery’s collection. ‘NGAkids Art Zone’ app directs children with easy tools to create, express, and ensure personal creativity. A Vermeer-inspired dollhouse, a Rousseau-ish jungle, and Calder-like mobiles are all open to artistic interpretation as kids can swap out and personalize elements. Freestylers can try their hand at Swatchbox or Paintbox (suitable for young children).
American Museum of Natural History Ology
You don’t have to load up the minivan to visit the American Museum of Natural History. The museum’s site for kids, Ology, lets them explore anthropology, astronomy, biodiversity, and more with games, projects, stories, and ideas for making a difference in the world around them.
National Geographic Kids and National Geographic Little Kids
National Geographic Kids is in a broad sense a version of National Geographic, the flagship magazine of the National Geographic Society, that is intended for children. This online publication offers fun animal facts, videos, games, and news. Your grandchild can visit Curiosityville and check out Pablo the frog’s art club, Olive the bear’s cooking club, and other animals’ activity clubs for monthly projects they can do at home.
A kid-friendly portal to the Internet, Yahoo Kids is a gateway to games, activities, and homework help. While it’s mostly fun and games, Yahoo gets serious when it comes to Internet safety, educating kids and parents.
An enchanting cast of characters from the books of Dr. Seuss greets visitors of Seussville, who are then guided by an encouraging female voice. While you’re there, you can make your own Who, go on a photo hunt, and play book-inspired games like The Sneetch Beach Relay. Guests can venture to Whoville, the Jungle of Nool, Mulberry St., and McElligot’s Pool for more far-flung adventures. Click the ever-present camera icon at any time to take photos of travels.