The imagination of a child is like no other and if it is fed and nurtured from the beginning, the results could be extraordinarily positive. It’s crucial to keep children’s minds active in their formative years, since that’s when they do most of their learning and retain the most information. It’s also important to encourage a child’s sense of creativity, giving them the freedom to grow and expand their minds. In the past, parents worried about their kids watching too much brainless television and sought to find educational programming they could learn from. Today, the problem is pretty much the same, though the media has changed. Kids are constantly on the computer, surfing the web, but what are they looking at? Are they being productive or simply staring at a screen that inspires nothing out of them? Have no fear because we’ve got a list of some fantastic websites that can put you parents at ease, knowing your child is using their minds and being creative all while they are visually stimulated and entertained.
Kerpoof is a fun, colorful, creative spot for kids to enjoy, create, and even learn in. As there are several online games to choose from that each display a level of interaction, Kerpoof allows children to tap into their artistic side and expand their knowledge. In “Spell A Picture,” kids can produce an image by spelling out words of objects that they then can choose and compose anywhere within the frame. The educational element is masked by the fun of coming up with new words to see the different objects and characters. Some words like “man,” typed multiple times, produce different visual results. Another fun game called “Make A Drawing” is your typical drawing pad with the added bonus of a color palette that has the ability to function like a real painter’s palette, allowing kids to experiment with mixing colors.
2. Tate Kids
Tate Kids is the Tate Modern Museum’s answer to creating an artistic virtual space for children. The site offers a number of innovative games all while expanding a child’s creative horizons and educating them about art along the way. For the kid interested in graffiti, there’s a great game called “Street Art” that prefaces the digital pastime with a little insight on what street art is and even cites Banksy as one of the most popular street artists today. Once in the game, children are free to express themselves through a series of spray paint cans that range in size and color. Hold down your cursor long enough on the simulated wall and your paint will run just like real graffiti. Tate Kids has also integrated a social aspect, letting kids create and share their own art galleries. The site even gives tips for being crafty offline.
3. Built by Kids
Built by Kids is a lifestyle website that was a 2012 Webby Award nominee in the Family/Parenting category. It is a site designed to keep families physically engaged while building their relationships and bonding over creative activities. Built by Kids proudly boasts that it is created “WITH, BY and FOR children” and firmly believes that “by teaching children practical skills and encouraging them to submit to their creativity, children become more confident, capable and cosmopolitan.” As such, the site features several familial activity ideas conveniently categorized by age (from toddlers to teens) and skill level (easy to challenging).
4. National Geographic Kids
National Geographic Kids aims to entertain young children while simultaneously introducing and further expanding their knowledge about our planet and the animals that live on it. Serving as the children’s version of the original National Geographic Society, the site offers similarly educational and enlightening content that’s more suitable for the innocent wonderment of a child, gearing a lot of its focus on discovering animals. In addition to games and puzzles, there is a “Fun Stuff” category that includes crafts, recipes, and “Photo Fill-Ins,” an activity that allows kids to creatively insert dialogue into the thought bubbles of cute and funny animal photographs. There is also a section devoted to photography, encouraging young photographers to upload and share their own animal photos.