Friday, January 10, 2014

Top 10 Toddler to Preschooler Series

Top 10 Toddler to Preschooler Series
Educational Websites (Part 1 of 4)
Belinda @ Kids Matter
Is it time to introduce your toddler to the World Wide Web? Don’t be afraid. It’s the age of technology and you knew this day was coming. The first thing you have to know is that you will need to be heavily involved in computer time… for the safety of your child and your computer. Establishing time limits on the computer or gaming system is important and essential in the development of your child. Children need access to many educational activities such as exploring a book. Delving deep into how a book is made, who the author and illustrators are, and who the characters of the book are can help excite the child for the world of reading.
Below is a list of sites that fit the established criteria for this age.  First, it had to be user friendly and easy to navigate. Second, it had to be age appropriate. Third, the site must be colorful and exciting with lots of great sound effects. And, the fourth criteria was a big one… the site had to be FREE.
Top 10 educational sites for toddlers and preschoolers
1. Poisson Rouge - Poisson Rouge is an artistic creation allowing intellectual stimulation through exploration.  This site is phenomenal for encouraging the imagination of a child and their desire to learn and explore.
2. Happy Clicks – The site starts with basics by teaching toddlers how to use the keys on the keyboard and advances up to how to direct the mouse through movement, drag and drop, and point and click.
3. Owlieboo – This site is extremely simple for the beginner. It’s very colorful and has great sound effects. Little fingers quickly learn how to move the mouse, press the keys, and do simple click and drag tasks.
4. Starfall Starfall is, “Where children have fun learning to read.” Starfall describes it best, “ opened in September of 2002 as a free public service to teach children to read with phonics.”
5. PBS Kids – A place where kids can watch videos and play games with their favorite PBS character like Curious George. The site is very user friendly and colorful, but the main draw is the characters your child will love. 
6. National Geographic Kids – Excellent place to teach your child about the great outdoors. Explore countries and animals through pictures, videos, and games. During the days when you can’t take your child outdoors, this is the next best option to introducing nature.
7. Fisher Price – With feather like introduction to piano this site is a good place to introduce your child to the alphabet, through animal sounds, and to numbers with rhymes.
8. Sprout – Spend some fun time with Caillou and the Sprout friends watching videos, coloring, playing games, and opening up a new world of crafts and fun recipes. There is nothing better than being hands on with the fun.
9. Nick Jr – Go on adventures with Dora and crew through games, activities, videos, and coloring sheets. This site has great preschool activities which are infused with abundant energy and sing song lyrics.
10. Babygamer – Basically, this site is a list with links to a lot of great sites, some educational, some just plain fun such as SNM#1. This is a good place to help you research sites to explore with your child.
 “It’s not so much what children learn through play, but what they won’t learn if we don’t give them the chance to play. Many functional skills like literacy and arithmetic can be learned either through play or through instruction – the issue is the amount of stress on the child. However, many coping skills like compassion, self-regulation, self-confidence, the habit of active engagement, and the motivation to learn and be literate cannot be instructed. They can only be learned through self-directed experience (i.e. play).” Susan J. Oliver (author, Playing for Keeps)
 Always remember… education matters because our kids matter.

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