The Internet can be a remarkable educational tool for children. Through activities like crafts, sports, science experiments and music the possibilities for learning are endless—and tons of fun too! Properly monitored, the web can open children's minds to a whole world of knowledge; you just need to know where to look.
To help you share the best of the web with the favorite kids in your life we've compiled a list of the absolute best kids' sites we know. Happy exploring!
Bottlecaps to Brushes — Brought to you by the Smithsonian Institute, this site is filled with information about art appreciation, creativity and discovery. Kids can follow Cappy, an animated giraffe through his exploration of American artwork.
National Gallery of Art, Kids — Follow Lizzy and Gordon through the National Gallery, create interactive pieces of art and more on this fun site.
ASPCA: Kids — Created especially for kids by the ASPCA organization, kids who love animals are sure to love this site. Watch interviews with animal cruelty investigators, learn how to train your dog and check out the fun photo of the day.
Kids' Planet — This interactive site is great for teaching children about the animal kingdom. From animal facts to games, your child is sure to roar over this fun site.
Nature Rocks — Studies indicate children who play and explore outdoors are less stressed. Nature Rocks, a program founded by the Children & Nature Network, is devoted to helping parents and kids enjoy the wonders of the outdoors. Find nature in your area and begin exploring today!
National Geographic: Kids — Travel to far off lands for fantastic learning filled adventures on the National Geographic website devoted to kids.
Ranger Rick — The National Wildlife Federation's most beloved character continues educating kids about animals and the wonders of wildlife. Be sure to check out Ranger Rick's Greenzone for tips and info on keeping Earth healthy.
The National Zoo — Even if you can't travel to Washington, D.C. to check out the National Zoo in person, their website provides the next best thing. Click on the Families page for activity sheets, migratory info and the latest on conservation efforts. The Homework Helper feature is a particularly helpful tool for school projects and research.
Cartoon Network — Your child can check out all the latest news, games and fun with their favorite Cartoon Network characters on this site.
Dr. Seuss' Seussville — The Who's of Whoville are cookin' up fantastic fun on the site devoted to everything you love about Dr. Seuss—even that fabulous green eggs and ham!
Eric Carle — Do you have a fan of The Hungry Caterpillar in your house? Then you should check out the official Eric Carle website for info on all of the author's books, creations and artwork. You can even link to his blog!
PBS Kids — Check out all of your little ones' favorite shows to see what their favorite characters are up to. Bake cupcakes with Elmo, build a dollhouse with Calliou and learn about weather with Sid the Science Kid!
The Muppet's Official Website — Videos, games, galleries and the latest news on everything Muppets are contained on this site. Be sure to check out the Muppet's Kitchen with Cat Cora for great recipes and meal ideas. You'll be laughing right along with your kid with this one!
Wild World of Wonka — "Feed your imagination" with the official website to the Willy Wonka Candy Factory.
Crafts for Kids
Artists Helping Children — Masks — Gather your scissors, glue and googlie eyes and get ready to create masterpiece masks! This site is a hub for artists to post their own mask crafts geared toward children. Everything from Easter Bunny masks to handheld Big Bird masks can be found on this site.
Crayola — The official site of Crayola, this site offers so much more than just crayons. It's free coloring pages, art projects and games are sure to keep your kids busy for hours.
Craft Bits — We especially like this site for its creativity. Kids of all ages can create crafts from fun and unique products. Kids can learn to make their own sidewalk chalk, sew and create recycled crafts.
Craft Projects for Tweens — Friendship bracelets and hair scrunchies make a comeback on this site devoted to providing crafts for your tween to enjoy. Visit the Show and Tell section to check out submissions from other tweens.
Amazing Moms: Tea Parties — Beyond tiny cups and saucers, this site shows you how to make your child's tea party fun for everyone involved. Ideas on tea party treats, crafts, games and decorations are all included in this comprehensive site.
eLibs — All of the fun and merriment Mad Libs has to offer online!
Escapade Direct — We love this site for its vast variety of games and activities created especially for getting kids off the couch. Divided into sections like, travel, swimming pool and backyard games, parents and kids are guaranteed to find fun activities to do. We especially like the Think Outside the Box Holiday Games.
NeoPets — Build a virtual pet online on this website.
How Stuff Works — A partner of the Discovery Channel, check out this website to discover the real ways and explanations of how stuff works. Pictures, puzzles, games and more are available to check out.
Coloring Pages — Find cool animated coloring pages, games and more on this website.
Coloring 2000 — What sets this site apart from most websites offering coloring pages is how it's organized — by character. And when your little one has her mind set on coloring a Dora the Explorer picture for her room, you can find it quickly and easily.
Educational Coloring Pages — Nothing short of a plethora of coloring pages can be found on this website. Page options include your child's favorite animated characters, animals, addition and subtraction activities and pages devoted to holidays. This site will make you want to grab your crayons and get coloring!
Holiday Crafts and Facts
Christmas — Create the ultimate Christmas crafts with Martha Stewart's DIY guides. Your little one will delight in making Santa's Swizzle Sticks and older kids will enjoy the challenge of creating a Matchbox Advent Calendar.
Easter Crafts — Easter time is an excellent opportunity to make memories with your child. This site covers the basics from how to dye picture-perfect Easter eggs, offers free printable project pages and religious education crafts. Happy hunting!
Father's Day — Need an idea for what your preschooler can make for dad this year? Check out this site with lots of free Father's Day crafts and printables. This site generally requires a membership, so be sure to click on the "free" button for options available without needing one.
Fourth of July — Celebrate America with these fun and easy craft ideas from Enchanted Learning. Help your child make Patriot Pinwheels or a star wreath with these easy-to-follow directions. While the pages for printouts require a login and credit card number, there are plenty of crafts you can access without one.
Halloween — Ghouls and goblins of all ages will love the crafts on this site. Whether your interests lay in crafting with pumpkins, making witch decorations or getting tips on Halloween make up for the big night, this site's got it all. We especially like the Handprint Spider Smiles. Happy Haunting!
Hanukkah — Ever made a Menorah out of macaroni? You are in for a treat when you visit this website for crafts celebrating Hanukkah. We especially like the colorful photographs to illustrate each step of the project.
Grandparent's Day — The Crayola website is chock-full of craft ideas and their listing of gifts for grandparents does not disappoint.
Mardi Gras Activities — This site is so comprehensive in its Mardi Gras history, crafts, recipes and coloring pages, it will have you screaming for King Cake. Links are provided for additional Mardi Gras fun and learning.
Mother's Day — This site boasts it has 151crafts devoted to celebrating Mother's Day. Here, you'll find everything from creating homemade flowers and bouquets, candles, chocolate and jewelry.
New Year's — This site, sponsored by Family Fun, has everything you need to ring in a fun New Year. It's sections for New Year's crafts, recipes, party ideas and games are easy to read and follow.
St. Patrick's Day — Did you know it is said St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland? Discover cool facts like this and more on the DLTK web page devoted to crafts, recipes, games and coloring pages to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Thanksgiving — We love free stuff, so we were excited to find this site with creative free crafts for preschoolers. What better way to learn about Thanksgiving than by making footprint turkeys?
Valentine's Day — This crafting site offers printable step-by-step instructions for creating memorable Valentines.
Jazz for Kids — Create your own jazz music members of an animal band on this site from the folks who bring you PBS Kids!
PlayMusic.org — If your budding musician needs a little inspiration, this site is sure to spark their musical side. The site celebrates classical music with information on some of the world's most talented artists such as Bach and Beethoven. It also provides Q & A with young composers, tips on writing your own music and links to Carnegie Hall.
Party Ideas for Parents
Disney's Family Fun — Parties — Whether it's princess or pirates, this site has you covered on event planning for kids' birthday parties. This site allows you to search party ideas by age and offers tips and tricks on throwing a fun birthday bash for your little one.
PBS Parents' Birthday Parties — Did you know some party experts believe the number of guests could make or break your child's party? This site is chock-full of tips like this as well as party etiquette, games and slumber party secrets sure to make your child's party a success.
Abraham Lincoln Crafts and Activities — Perfect for school reports and studies of presidential history, this site offers ideas for crafts and presentations related to our nation's 16th president. You can even learn to make your own stove top hat!
Education World — This site offers summer reading lists sure to satisfy your child's reading tastes. Lists are divided into reading levels and include articles designed to help you inspire your child to read.
Kids.gov — This is the official portal for the U.S. Government. Divided into sections dedicated to each grade level, this site is pretty comprehensive in its civic offerings for kids.
Kids Past — A fun site to explore the history of mankind.
Neuroscience for Kids — This is a simple, yet useful site that offers tips and tricks on creating a successful school science project. We love the detail given to explaining the project and the helpful links provided at the bottom of the page.
Science Made Simple — With links to science projects, videos, articles and educational tools, this site offers parents a comprehensive guide to science curriculum.
Rainy Day Activities
Audible — Download books right to your iPod or MP3! With thousands of titles available, you and your child will have lots of choices of books to "hear!"
Boredom Busters — Are the kids bored because they can't go outside due to weather? Banish those boredom blues with these indoor and outdoor activity suggestions.
Cooking with My Kid — Discover the best way to cook with your kids on this blog run by a mom devoted to cooking healthy, kid-friendly meals. Set out to teach herself and her kid about cooking, this blogger offers tips, photos and plenty of recipes to have fun in the kitchen.
Get Kids in Action — Undesirable weather doesn't mean your kids have to sit in front of the TV all day. Get them up and moving with the ideas listed on this site. We especially like hula hooping and building forts!
TLC — The Learning Channel's website offers creative ideas to keep kids entertained and learning when weather prevents them from playing outside.
Science and Exploration
Dinosaurs for Kids — Kids love dinosaurs and this site does a nice job of not only teaching them about these prehistoric wonders, but engaging them in fun, interactive web games.
Fact Finder Kids Corner — Hosted by the US Census Bureau, kids can click on a map of the United States to discover cool and interesting facts about each state.
Insects.Org — If your child doesn't shy away from bugs, this site will knock their socks off. A comprehensive library of information, the site includes colorful photographs and features a Bug of the Week. This site is bound to pique the interest of your child as it shows them how these miniature marvels interact with Earth's other organisms.
Kinetic City — This site boasts it has "the most amazing collection of science experiments, games, activities, challenges and more" — and they aren't kidding. Kinetic City houses enrichment activities designed to make your little scientist think outside the box. Launch ships into space to learn about gravity or play "Respiration Relay" to examine the path oxygen takes in our everyday lives. This site provides activities to enjoy online and away from the computer.
Math Playground — Math games abound on this site for kids and adults alike!
NASA — Want to fly your face into space? Help your little astronaut learn more about the solar system and Hubble's latest discoveries on the NASA website. An ideal educational tool for kids ages K-12, this site has educational programs, research tools and even a link to join the NASA Kids Club. Check out this site and your little space explorer will have a whole new appreciation for astronaut ice cream!
The Space Store — Check out all kinds of space goodies for your little astronaut on this website. From space pens to memorabilia and autographs, this site's comprehensive selection has everything your family needs for exploration of the Final Frontier.
Walking with Dinosaurs — Check out all sorts of facts, videos and discoveries about dinosaurs. This site is especially great for school projects and reports.
Yucky.com — Discover all sorts of disgusting things you can do with science on this website. They don't call it the "Yuckiest Site on the Internet" for nothing!
Baseball Rox — This site is ideal for anyone interested in learning more about the game. Videos on improving your skills, tips on playing positions in the field and a Coaches' Corner is sure to help feed your player's passion for baseball.
SI Kids — More than just the latest sports scores, this site is the go-to site for kids interested in athletics. It features pointers on improving your game, one-on-one interviews with athletes, games, contests and more. Be sure to check out the "More" section to view funny photos. Submit your caption for a chance to appear in the next issue of Sports Illustrated Kids Magazine!