Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kindersite: Kid-Friendly Educational Links

Nick Peachey recommended Kindersite.org yesterday on his fantastic blog, so I thought I'd poke around a little bit. I did something similar with Curriki.org a month ago.

Kindersite's stated mission is twofold: first, the proprietors want to provide a portal to safe, educational content for children ages 2-8; second, they want to provide data to facilitate research on how children use such online content and how it affects their learning.

The first thing I find is a growing database of nursery rhymes in various languages. They have lyrics in the original language and in English. You can listen to some of them in mp3 form, and some of them have videos. I found myself a bit mesmerized by this Greek lullaby:

After a couple of dead ends, I find "Pictures as Words," a game from PBS's Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat page. This is a PBS series based on Amy Tan's childrens book of the same name. The game is very simple and would be a good way to introduce students to the idea that other alphabets are quite different (and perhaps more intuitive) than ours. Here's what it looks like:

Finally, I browse through Kindersite's treasure trove of story links. I end up having a story read to me about Mr. Happy and Mr. Stubborn, two characters created by Roger Hargreaves. This is a pretty exciting moment for me, as I had completely forgotten these books. Turns out there is now an animated Mr. Men series on Cartoon Network with a fun, kid-friendly website.

As you can see, my time on Kindersite led me to a lot of other places. Although I think their interface is a bit clunky, the proprietors of Kindersite are living up to the first part of their mission. Parents can feel completely secure turning their kids loose on this site. They will find a few time-wasters, to be sure, but they will be kid-friendly. A little more digging will turn up some serious educational gems. Happy hunting!

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