15 Sites to Explore with Your Preschooler Over the Summer
Keeping kids busy throughout the summer can be a challenge. If you run out of things to do, consider exploring some of these free sites with your preschooler. All of them are fun, and many of them offer learning opportunities that can help your child succeed in the next school year.
PBS Kids - This PBS site is one of the most popular online destinations for kids. The site offers games, streaming TV shows, standards-based lessons and activities, online reading materials, and much more.
Seussville - Seussville is a fun site based on the Dr. Seuss books. Site visitors can play in the Dr. Seuss playground, read about Dr. Seuss, listen to music, learn about upcoming reading events, and participate in other online activities.
MeeGenius - This online library is perfect for young children who are just learning to read. All of the books on MeeGenius are free and come with audio playback and word highlighting.
International Children's Digital Library - The goal of the International Children's Digital Library Foundation (ICDL Foundation) is to make no-cost, quality literature available online. The Foundation offers more than 4,000 free books in over 50 different languages.
Storynory - Storynory is a good place to find free audio books for children. Books include a mix of classics and original stories. A new audio book is added to the site each week.
Magic Keys - Magic Keys is a unique site that offers illustrated stories for children of all ages. Other site features include free coloring books, rhymes, riddles, and links to phonics resources.
San Diego Zoo Tour - Children who can't make it to the world-famous San Diego Zoo in person can tour the zoo through videos and live web cams. Some of the animals that can be seen up close include apes, pandas, polar bears, and elephants.
Smithsonian National Zoo - The Smithsonian National Zoo also offers a virtual tour of their facility online. Web cams capture many of the zoo's animals, including big cats, otters, fish, ferrets, flamingos, gorillas, pandas, and sloth bears. Site visitors can also view the zoo's extensive animal photo gallery.
KinderArt Littles - Created specifically for preschool-age children, KinderArt Littles offers lessons and activity ideas that are both fun and educational. Other site features include a free newsletter, tips for parents, and links to additional resources.
Kaleidoscope Painter - The Kaleidoscope Painter is a free Java applet that can be used to easily create a kaleidoscope-like image on an online canvas. Finished images are printable and can be saved to your computer.
Tutpup - Tutpup is a fun site that allows visitors to compete in educational games with other children around the world. Many of the games on Tutpup are designed for elementary students, but the site does have several word and spelling games that would be appropriate for preschoolers.
Illuminations - Designed to help parents and educators teach math, the Illuminations site offers activities, lesson plans, games, and information about education standards for students in grades pre-K through 12.
Free Songs for Kids - This site offers high-quality children's music, streaming videos, printables, and more for free. All of the songs are original. Many were created specifically for teaching.
Preschool Activity Box - This EarTwiggles site provides free activities, craft ideas, worksheets, and other materials that are perfect for daycare centers or an afternoon at home. All of the materials are age appropriate and come with easy-to-follow instructions.
KidsSoup - Unlike the other sites on this list, KidsSoup isn't free. However, it does offer more than 5,000 preschool appropriate resources for less than $3 per month. Resources include lesson plans, games, activities, crafts, books, and printables.
Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School.