Friday, February 3, 2012

My 2 Favorite Educational Websites for Kids

Some of the greatest moments as a parent come when your child learns something new they're REALLY excited about.  Over the last few days, Sweet Pea has learned to use a computer mouse.

This is HUGE for her because she LOVES doing the activities on the website...but she always had to talk her brother or sister into doing it with her to work the mouse...which also meant THEY usually got to choose exactly which activities to do.

Well she's gotten enough coordination to work the mouse, and did some Starfall last night ALL BY HERSELF!  Can't you just see how happy she is about it?!?

Me:  Do you like Starfall?
Sweet Pea:  YES!  I do it ALL BY MYSELF!  No, grown-up help ME!

You can tell just by looking at her how proud of herself she is.  Starfall was the first thing she wanted to do this morning too...

She went and got her favorite snowman book, so she could make the snowman in the "Build a Snowman" activity look the same.  It didn't end up looking the same...but I thought it was cute she got the book for help.

If you haven't tried out Starfall, it's a big favorite around here.  It's got some awesome activities for kids learning their alphabet and just learning to sound out words.  There is also a good subscription site for kids who are doing more reading.  (You can try a few of those activities free to see if you like them.)  We paid for the subscription site last year and the kids loved that too.  The subscription site is a little too easy for Firecracker now and the regular activities are just right for Little Brother and Sweet Pea, so we're just enjoying the free stuff for now.  We'll probably pay for the subscription site again when Little Brother starts kindergarten.  One of the things I also really LOVE about Starfall is that there are no ads or links to outside websites, so it's a really safe place to let you kids enjoy while you're doing dishes or something in the next room.  I also love that there are no TV or licensed characters involved.

{Edited to add: Michelle from Fun on a Dime left a comment with a great suggestion for teaching toddlers to use computer mice. She puts a different sticker where their thumb and clicker (pointer) finger need to go to help them know which side of the mouse to push. I wish I'd thought of that months ago! You can read her post about it here along with pictures.}

Another favorite website I thought I'd share while I'm at it is this AWESOME MATH site.  I'm not even sure what it's called...I guess OCSD Interactive?  I'm guessing it's from a school district somewhere.  I can't even remember how I found it.  Again...I LOVE that there are no ads or links to outside websites.  Again there are no TV or licensed characters involved.

The games don't have as many bells and whistles and cute pictures as some sites out there...but they're really well-designed.  There are lots of different levels of games.  This is more of a kindergarten and up site.  Some advanced preschoolers may also do okay with it.  Some are just right for kindergarteners while some are harder and they'll need to grow into them...which I love because it will serve Firecracker for a while.  The games also address specific skills, so you can choose one that addresses exactly what your child needs.

As a former math teacher, I've been really impressed with the academic design of these games and the number sense they help kids develop.  We try to have Firecracker to something a little "extra" besides her homework each day.  (Because she really gets very little homework.)  Sometimes it's reading a book, sometimes working out of a math workbook, and sometimes playing games on this website. 

And just in case you're wondering...this is not any kind of sponsored post.  No one asked met to push these sites...I'm just passing on some sites that we really love!

Please help me make blankets for kids in my community.  I have mini-quilts available in my shop.  All proceeds go to buy materials for local blanket programs.

Please show my sponsors some love...
Urban Zoologie - Bright Dinosaurs - From Sisters and Quilters
Fat Quarter Bundle of Happy H'owl'o-ween and Trick-or-Treat - From Sisters and Quilters
Tuxedo Collection Fabric Bundle - From Sisters and Quilters


  1. Tag, you're it! Check out the link for the fun to begin. This isn't some weird spam, I'm a follower of your blog ;)

  2. Yay for Sweet Pea! That's tremendous eye-hand coordination for an almost-3-year-old. What fun!

  3. Awesome! I can't believe how grown up she looks! :)

  4. Don't you love their little independence and excitement? I used to teach computer classes to preschoolers and a trick we used to use is to place a sticker on the mouse button and another on the side where their thumb goes. It helps them know where their hand needs to be and keeps them from getting frustrated when they click the wrong button and bring up those extra boxes. I have a post on my site that I can send you about it if you need a visual.

    I'm going to have to check out that math site. I've been looking for something for my son. Thanks!

  5. Thanks for the review on those two sites, I am wanting to teach my three year old how to use the mouse too and looking for sites for her to try out. Michelle, thanks too for your information about the sticker on the mouse, I will try that. I found you via the Somewhat Simple Link Party.

  6. Thanks for sharing those ideas and thanks so much for joining us on "Strut Your Stuff Saturday". We loved having you and hope to see you back next week with more great ideas! - The Sisters

  7. I love these too..thanks for the sharing!

  8. A great app for your phone is Letter Quiz! My 2 year old loves to trace all the letters. Another great one is ABCs and Me by 5 Little Pumpkins. When he was 18 months old he knew his letters, shapes, and colors because of this app!

  9. The Starfall link/website doesn't seem to be working for me. Anyone else having trouble? I'd LOVE to check this out. I've been searching for a great preschool website. My daughter's always asking if she can play games on the computer. We even have a laptop just for the kids, but I don't want them playing on just any site. Maybe this is a temporary problem. Hopefully that's the case.

  10. My daughter was playing on it this morning, and I just double checked seems to be working fine. You might try doing an internet search for Starfall and see if that comes up with it.

  11. The site is my specil needs preschoolers LOVE this site

  12. Starfall is incredible! Thanks for the math site link. I'm really glad someone linked to you on Pinterest! :)

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you. I also love responding, so please make sure your Blogger account is set up for me to be able to see your email address or include your email address. I've had to stop accepting anonymous comments due to spam. If you don't have any other way to comment, you can always send an email.