1. NGKids : National Geographic Kids
Weird but True : A spider hears using tiny hairs on its legs, Lightning can make the air around it five times hotter than the sun’s surface! and Apples float but pears sink.
Packed to the gills with nature, geography, animal and pet information, this site is well designed, and full of exciting and informative activities. You can choose from weird but true facts, videos, photos, fun stuff like creating your own rock band and song in animal jam, colouring pages, craft activities, interviews with experts, dinosaur fun, cartoons, science experiments, striking photos and info about various countries, as if that wasn’t enough to keep the kids occupied and let you read the paper, then let me know. With hand on on our pet hamsters heart, we are sure you will be impressed with this site.
2. CBBC : Things to Do and more
So much to do, and so little time. This website is bright, bouncy and you can choose your activity either related to the TV shows, or choose by type (i.e. games, posters, things to do, wallpapers, screen-savers, create & make and more …). There is a range of useful activities that are well targeted to kids of the CBBC age which seems to be 5+ in our house. You will find, crafts like how to make pom-poms, recipes for bug biscuits, white rabbit muffins, or chilli chocolate mountain cake from Junior Bake Off, guides for looking after pets, song lyrics, trading cards, skateboarding posters, activities to make your own friendship books, the list is endless… there is more than enough to keep you going for at least 4 summer holidays!
Oxford Owl is an award-winning free website with 250 FREE tablet-friendly eBooks and activities to help you support children’s learning. The home of The Oxford Learning Tree, Biff Chip and Kipper, Project X, and Treetops its design is simple, clear and easy to navigate. There are separate areas for school use and for parents/ carers at home. For younger readers (3-7 years) you can choose from a list of ideas that reinforce and support, language, phonics, memory, listening, action, senses, practical activities, and reading together. For older readers (7-11 years) there are game ideas for words, board games, screen games, and reading and writing together games. There is also a whole area dedicated to Maths in a similar format. All their guides, information and expert is invaluable for any child and parent learning to read especially those working to the UK curriculum.
The site has 250 E books for you to download in the reading section, with a ‘top tips’ section with clear information on how to promote a love of reading at home. I really like the expert page and ‘jargon buster’ info which is useful for new parents with primary school age kids. There are print out and play pages with heaps of activities, Biff, Chip and Kipper games and colouring pages and downloads.
As a leader in its field they have also put together video information for e-safety, tablets and apps. Fantastic stuff. Here is a video about E-safety which is very informative.
A snail can sleep for 3 years straight!, The heaviest insect in the world weights 2.5 ounces., A cockroach can live for up to 3 weeks without its head!
An American based site which they simply say offer THE cure for boredom. You can choose from crafts, science experiments such as the ‘oil blob dance’ or ‘dancing raisins’, recipes, music, games, jokes & riddles, weird animal trivia, and a section dedicated to bugs and insects.
5. How Stuff Works : “Learn how everything works”
In 2013, we learned our beloved Milky Way may host billions of stars with Earth-like planets. Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
Where do the worlds oldest people live ? Can water go bad ? What if the earth stopped spinning ? At last a place you can go to read and watch to find out about all that essential information you so often need, ready for the curveball question that you get when sitting in traffic at 5.45pm on a Friday after a very long week. The site has sections for adventure, auto, culture, money, entertainment, home & garden, science and tech, and answers your home and lifestyle questions. Find explanations, reviews, opinions and videos that (in that very American way) offers you glimpses into the best and the worst that the world has to offer from the 10 of the biggest lies in history to 5 games you can only play with pen and paper.
A site for the whole family, that might genuinely get you hooked in a good way.
Here is a list of other recommended websites that promote learning, and reading in the home; Books For Keeps, Booktrust, First News, Guardian Children’s Books, The National Literacy Trust, LoveReading4Kids, Reading Zone, World Book Day, A compendium of UK parent bloggers