Summer vacation is finally here and what I love the most about it is the endless hours my kids spend outside getting dirty and exploring nature. As much as I want them outside every minute of every day, I know that they will still be begging me to use any form of technology that they can get their hands on.
To create a balance, I found a few websites that are motivating and fun for my children and educational at the same time. Below are some of my favorite sites to keep your kids learning this summer.
Summer Learning Websites For Kids
1.) Google Earth
Google Earth is not just for adults. I use the site in my classroom to show my students where stories take place and where they live in relation to that place. The kids love to find the destination on the map and then slowly zoom in to see physical features, surrounding areas and the view from the street. Google Earth is a great tool for teaching geography. The kids are always amazed at just how big the Earth really is. After showing my students specific places, I let them have time to just roam around.
You can give your kids specific locations that you want them to learn about, like where you are going on summer vacation, or a place you don’t know much about, like Antarctica. Or, you can also just let their natural curiosity lead them. You will be amazed at what they find.
2.) Brain Pop
Brain Pop and Brain Pop, Jr. are a staple in my classroom. This website offers hundreds of animated videos on topics ranging from science, math, and reading to health, relationships and the environment. After each video is a quiz, games, and activities that can be done online or printed out. The website is extremely user-friendly.
You will need a username and password to register. There is a fee to have access to the entire website (some videos are free). If you want to register, check with your child’s teacher first. Many school districts have subscriptions and can give you the access code to use at home.
Kids are naturally drawn to animals. National Geographic Kids is a great website for kids who love to learn about animals in the wild. They can scroll through choices of both aquatic and land animals, watch videos, read stories, play games and earn badges. Most of my students really enjoy the “Weird, But True” videos from this site.
Encourage your kids to share facts about what they learned with you. Have your kids create a list of animals they find to be the most interesting and research local zoos that might have an exhibit. What’s better than a field trip to see learning come to life?
4.) Storyline Online
Storyline Online is one of the best sites for kids who love to read as well as kids who need a little motivation to read. The site is free and very user-friendly. The site has a variety of well-known picture books read by famous actors like Kevin Costner, Elijah Wood, Viola Davis and Betty White, to name a few.
After watching the story being read, parents can download an activity guide. It provides questions to ask your little reader, projects to go along with the book and websites to help kids further explore the topic. You can even purchase your favorite books directly from the site.
The key to using these summer learning websites for kids is balancing them out with unplugged fun. Kids should spend most of their summer playing in unstructured, outdoor environments. To see the biggest benefit, limit technology use to 30-60 minutes per day. Try to use educational sites to supplement what they are learning through play.
Want to read more articles about summer learning with kids?
- fun summer learning activities for kids
- easy tips to avoid summer learning loss
- home learning activities for kids
- top educational apps for kids