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Web sites to help kids beat the summer doldrums

By JEANNE ROGERS
Published June 14, 2004

photo
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

www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/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

www.squiglysplayhouse.com

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

www.bear.org

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

www.kaibab.org

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

natzoo.si.edu

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

How Stuff Works

www.howstuffworks.com

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

Boomer wolf

www.boomerwolf.com

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

Space

www.space.com

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

Reading and math

Potamus Place

www.potamusplace.net

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

www.funwithspot.com

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.org/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

www.starfall.com

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

Bibliomania

bibliomania.com

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

www.csusm.edu/csb

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

www.americaslibrary.gov

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

Bookworm

www.popcap.com/gamepopup.php?theGame=bookworm

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

www.meddybemps.com

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

www.strangematterexhibit.com

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

www.mycardmaker.com/mycardmaker-fun.html

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

www.artsconnected.org/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!

www.spinandspell.com

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

www.learningplanet.com/act/mre/

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.

Alfy-Storyville

www.alfy.com/storyville/

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

The Kaboose Network

www.kaboose.com

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

Gamequarium

www.gamequarium.com

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

www.crestkids.com/

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

www.dole5aday.com

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

accessexcellence.com

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

kidshealth.org

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.

Kidnetic

www.kidnetic.com

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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