Aimed at kids aged four and above, the BBC Schools website is very well organised, with video clips, games and activities split up according to age and subject. From maths to music, art to business studies, every subject is catered for. While the games are interesting and encourage mental development, be aware that the site is still in the developmental stage and could throw up a few dead links.
Do you remember Art Attack? A brilliant British TV show chock full of advice on how to create great art at home, it was axed in 2007 (to much sadness, at least in the Time Out Kids office). Luckily for us and frustrated parents everywhere, the website is still up and running, with hundreds of ‘art attacks’ available to explore with full instructions. Roll up those sleeves, crack out the PVA glue and loo rolls, and get ready to be guided through the logistics of 3D castle construction, crazy golf course creation and curved spoon drawing.
The CBeebies site is, quite simply, the king. The website is populated with games, stories, rhymes, music, songs, animations, cartoons, things to print out and much more. It’s easy to navigate and the colourful scheme will keep children entertained for hours. The activities are mostly tied to existing characters from the TV station, yet the games are easy to pick up without having watched the channel. Overall, this is aimed at younger tots.
Kids will be fascinated with the neon-on-black colour scheme here, although we’d advise sunglasses for sleep-deprived parents. The activities on offer at Coolmath-Games are all maths based (as the name would suggest), but the difficulty levels on offer mean that this website is for bigger kids – in fact, some games will even challenge parents’ wits. On the whole, the website is great for developing maths and strategy skills.
Maths was never a topic we were keen on learning, but had Counton been on hand, maybe – just maybe – things would have been different. Bursting with activities including how to tell the time, and interesting stuff to read (code breaking anybody?), the site will keep kids occupied for hours while still teaching them maths skills and improving their memory and lateral thinking. The website is clean, with clear links, simple navigation and a very easy-on-the-eye colour scheme. The games are better suited to slightly older children, though.
Even wicked witch mummies can’t fail to love a bit of Disney from time to time, and its website provides your child with an exciting journey into the lives of their favourite characters. Featuring princesses, the Jonas Brothers and the much-idolised Hannah Montana among others, this website has them all, in games, videos, interviews and episode updates. From pre-schoolers to pre-teens, everyone can find a little of what they want. Hey, if it keeps the kids quiet for half an hour, Disney really must be the place where dreams come true…
In our opinion the Early Learning Centre is one of the best toy shops out there, and this is also true of its excellent website. The ‘Kids Zone’ is divided into four sections encouraging children to explore farms, oceans, wildlife and their planet. Aimed at younger kids up to the age of eight, it’s a great way to make learning about nature a fun experience using games like matching pairs, although we were a little embarrassed to find ‘fly me home’ fiendishly difficult.
Founded by the UK’s National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, games on the Magic Factory are designed to teach older kids about light and colour. The concept is unique – after all, only the very brave would attempt to make physics fun – but this website genuinely succeeds thanks to its games with the friendly and oh-so-cool glowworm.
Games, videos, creative arts, recipes; even those with a particularly short attention span would struggle to get bored on Nick Jr’s website. Giving your kids a chance to learn how to have fun with the simplest things at home, the site provides kids aged two to six years with endless enjoyable ideas. There are bits in there for you, too, with sections on party planning and a dedicated area for tips and tricks on how to raise well-rounded, well-nurtured little ones.
Primary games has loads of fun games targeting children in primary school (the site’s name speaks for itself, then, really) to help make learning an experience to remember, although the crazy colours and moving images may make your eyes bleed. We forgave them, though, once we saw the ‘eat your veggies’ exercise.