Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids

Website review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids Website Poster Image
Useful education tool, but games won't wow kids.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about how the U.S. government is structured. Four sections include information for students in kindergarten through high school. Kids will learn about the branches of government, citizenship, how national and state government differ, historical documents, elections, local resources, and famous American symbols, ranging from buildings to icons like the bald eagle. Kids will get a good overview of how the government works, but there's a lot of reading and only a few games. Ben could beef up his guide by housing some of the linked information on the site and making the content more interactive and engaging.

Positive Messages

Kids can become more informed about the U.S. govenment and may be inspired by the democratic principles of "a government of the people, by the people, for the people."

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

This is an educational, nonpartisan government site, so no ads here.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this site is the U.S. Government Printing Office's educational online outreach for grades K-12. The nonpartisan, text-heavy site provides tutorials and games on all branches of U.S. government, history, states, and symbols. It's informative, but amusing enough that kids will actually enjoy learning things. Parents and teachers may have to help younger kids sift through the lengthy information and read them only the most relevant parts.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written bysam1201 March 11, 2011
Kid, 8 years old September 2, 2009

this hole site is great

love this site and so do my kids

What's it about?

With a cartoon Ben Franklin as your guide, BEN'S GUIDE TO U.S. GOVERNMENT FOR KIDS is easy to navigate and clearly organized by grade level. One click on Ben's age-appropriate kite takes kids to links about historic documents, government symbols, the election process, and more. A list of government-sponsored sites points kids toward more specific info on additional topics like environmental protection and immigration. There's also a games section, where kids can color, play word games, figure out mazes, or match states on a map.

Is it any good?

This nonpartisan site isn't heavy on bells and whistles, but it's rich in information about the ins and outs of federal government and citizenship. The plain graphics, simple games, and lengthy text make this U.S. Government Printing Office-sponsored site a fine place for students, parents, and teachers to go for information, but not necessarily for entertainment.

Some games repeat throughout the grade levels, and a few are too rudimentary to interest most kids older than 12. Explanations of how bills and laws are created, why the nation needs a government, and what government agencies do in the community are clear but dry and, therefore, may not wow most gradeschoolers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why some of the historic documents posted on the site, such as the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation, are important.

  • Families can also discuss how learning about the government can help kids and families be active citizens. How does knowing about the government help us make positive changes in our country?

Website details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love learning about history

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