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Web sites to help kids beat the summer doldrums

Published June 14, 2004

Web sites such as the Artist’s Toolkit blend fun and learning for a variety of ages.

With the summer break in full swing, it's time to check out a few awesome Web sites. You'll have so much fun that you may forget you are learning.

Remember to practice safety when going online. Do not give out any personal information without your parents' permission.

Things to see

A Walk in the Woods

Take a virtual walk in the woods at this University of Illinois site. Narration will assist the reader, making this a good site for FCAT practice.

Squigly's Playhouse

Visit Squigly's to play games such as Canyon Glider and Centipedo. Solve word puzzles, do crafts and read a few jokes.

North American bear

Several slide shows will increase your awareness of the bear and its habitat. Hear the roar of a black bear and learn a few facts at the Kid's Area.

Grand Canyon Explorer

Take a virtual trip to the Grand Canyon. A link is provided for Armchair Travelers. Lots of images will make you wish you were there.

National Zoo

Read about your favorite zoo animal, check out the photo gallery and enjoy the orangutan cam.

How Stuff Works

Ever wonder how double rainbows are made? There are answers to this question and others here.

Boomer wolf

You can hear the sound of a howling wolf or watch a video of this majestic animal.


Venus, Mars and the Hubble Space Telescope are here to explore.

Reading and math

Potamus Place

This site, from Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library, contains links to games, book lists and homework help. There are links to the Magic School Bus and a preschool library.

Fun with Spot

Early learners will have fun following the adventures Spot has at a farm, at the beach and at a party. There is a print and play option that will increase the educational use of this site.

Claw Theater

Claw Theater provides a new twist to some classics: Cats as main characters. Check out this clever site and read Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, and enjoy the illustrations.


Starfall is a great site to help your child practice reading. Great downloads are available to practice phonics.


Have books on your summer reading list that you can't find? Bibliomania has an extensive collection of online books, stories and poems, as well as complete works by authors such as Mark Twain, T. S. Elliot and Lewis Carroll.

Barahona Center

The Barahona Center aims to increase awareness of books written in Spanish and English about Hispanics and Latinos. The site, a searchable database that is available in English and Spanish, recommends books for children, adolescents and adults. Information is provided that will aid in locating these books at your local library or bookstore.

America's Story

Terrific stories here for all ages. Read about some amazing Americans, listen to music from an earlier time and explore the 50 states.

Things to do


Put your thinking cap on and get ready to make words. Be sure the letter tiles touch and be careful not to let the red tiles reach the bottom. See what level you can reach. Remember that green and gold tiles are extra points.

Chateau Meddybemps

Here's a site that keeps the fun in learning. Read about the pigmoose that was on the loose. Answer a riddle, or practice writing the alphabet. There are many activities for primary students, but there is plenty of fun here for the whole family.

Strange Matter

You may not see the exhibit in Fort Lauderdale this summer, but don't let that stop you from checking out this site. Materials Science examines everyday stuff, such as ketchup, foam and ice cream. There is a downloadable family guide offered.

Printable Greeting Cards

Design and print your own greeting cards at this site. Why not print a thank you card and send it to your teacher?

Artist's Toolkit

Explore the Toolkit and watch an animated demonstration, see Artists in Action, check the Art Encyclopedia and create your own work of art.

Spell It!

Play this game alone or with a friend. Choose a category of words, such as "what we wear" and then select an item. Using the letter wheel, select the letters that spell the word. After you click on submit, you will have instant feedback to your answer.

Learning Planet

Rats, Math Mayhem and ABC Order are just a few activities at the Learning Planet site. Activities are divided into preschool-kindergarten, first to third grade and fourth to sixth grade.


You'll find interactive stories that will keep your child coming back for more.

The Kaboose Network

There are plenty of interactive games here separated for kids, tweens and teens, and families.


Choose your grade level, pre-K to second grade or third to sixth, and then select an activity. There are color games, number games and brain teasers to provide hours of fun.

Health and fitness

Sparkle City

Why not start by taking a trip to Crest's Sparkle City. Join in song and learn how to keep that smile happy.

Eat Healthy

Dole has created a fun interactive site for kids, teachers, family and friends. The site promotes eating fruits and vegetables and staying active, and offers health tips.

Access Excellence

This site offers health information for the whole family, including news, activities and resources. The Pizza Explorer is fun and even provides a game of Tic Tac Toe while you wait.

Kids Health

You'll find loads of helpful information here on general health, emotions, behavior, growth and first aid. There are individual links for parents, teens and kids.


Physical activity that leads to a wet head is encouraged here. Have fun while learning that eating right and physical activity lead to a healthy lifestyle. Recipes, games and message boards are available.

- Jeanne Rogers is the technology specialist at Deer Park Elementary School in New Port Richey.

[Last modified June 11, 2004, 10:57:18]

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