Website Review: 4Kids.org

4Kids  is a great online learning and activity resource for children.  This website is directed at elementary aged children to provide a safe learning environment that promotes and encourages searching and playing online in a safe environment.  This website is maintained by Education students and faculty at the University of Kansas and is very user-friendly, perfect for young explorers.  This is a great online activity for kids to ‘play’ around on at home while learning at the same time.

Every week they post a new online “magazine” issue with several sites for kids to explore.  Last week’s site includes links to websites and activities on bugs, taking a stand on social issues, learning Spanish, an interactive page called Speak Out!, a weekly column called “Ask Amy”, and their weekly Kid Quest.

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Speak Out

For Speak Out, each week, 4Kids poses a question to kids and then they get to submit their response online.  Last week’s question was “What is your favorite dog breed?”  Previous questions include “What is your favorite Veggie?” and “What is the scariest book you’ve ever read?”  These are just fun questions to get children to interact online.  In order to submit a response the user only needs to include their name and response. Kids can also propose a question for the Speak Out section.

Ask Amy

Ask Amy is another interactive section of the website.  Children can Ask Amy questions about the World Wide Web, homework, fun things, or cool websites.  Kids fill out the form and add their question and then they will get a response in the coming weeks on the 4Kids web magazine.  Last week’s question was about savvy spending and saving money.  Amy provides a short response to the question and then provides links to learning about money and saving for kids.  This includes The Mint and a PBS Kids’ site.  Previous topics include making healthy choices when eating, how Internet phones work, and inventions.

Kid Quest

Each week, a Kid Quest is also posted to the online magazine.  This challenges children to read the articles, and follow the activities posted on the links in the articles.  Once they have read the online magazine, they should be able to answer the questions to the challenge.  If answered correctly, the child then has the chance to become the Champion of the week and get their name posted on the Champions lists.  This is a great incentive for kids to read and learn from the articles.

Games, Videos, & Cool Spots

Beyond the weekly online magazine, there are also three standard sections of the website.  This includes games, videos, and cool spots.  The games page has both math and language arts games for kids to play.  The game links take you to another child-friendly website called Arcademic Skill Builder.  This site has many online learning games.  They also post kid appropriate videos from SchoolTube.  The Cool Spots page includes an annotated list of kid appropriate websites.  This page has great resources for kids, parents, and teachers alike.

One more great aspect of this website is that they also keep a well-organized and easy to use section on Back Issues of their online magazine.  This means kids can always go back and learn more from the previous editions.

Article By Laura Ketcham-VanHellemont

Picture By houdini_cs

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