What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Highlights Kids is the companion website to the classic children's magazine, Highlights, and features a nice blend of kid activities including games, recipes, crafts, and science projects. Kids can submit jokes, embarrassing moments, and other content for potential publication on this educational site, or in Highlights' print edition -- but they don't have to register to play games or access other online activities.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- letter or word recognition
- substance properties
Thinking & Reasoning
- analyzing evidence
- solving puzzles
- making new creations
Engagement, Approach, Support
A wide array of activities and games, ranging from virtual gingerbread house construction to a pinhole camera science experiment, makes the site a fun, interesting experience. Art projects let kids personalize many of the activities.
Most of the clever, very visual activities and games feature an educational element and a thorough explanation of what kids are learning; many also feature different modes, timers, and other helpful leveling devices.
A separate Which Way USA site, based on the kids' geography book club, features games and activities; users can also access Puzzlemania Kids, based on another Highlights book club, the main Highlights site, and Highlights Classroom for educators.
What's it about?
Highlights Kids, the online counterpart to the classic Highlights magazine, features reading- and writing-based, scientific, and artistic activities. Kids can check out 10 recipes, instructions for more than 40 craft projects, and more than 45 science experiments. They can also access more than a dozen online art activities, like virtual castle construction, and watch videos of kids telling jokes. The site also has word search, hidden picture, and other games; kids can also submit content, such as drawings and jokes, for the print magazine.
Is it any good?
HIGHLIGHTS KIDS has dozens of activities to keep kids occupied, and many include an educational component. Virtual art projects let kids customize buildings or create a funny face out of food; science experiments will help them understand gravity, how vision works, and other concepts. Kids don't need to have a subscription to Highlights’ print magazine to enjoy the site. However, like the magazine, the site contains hidden picture and out-of-place image activities that are easy and visual enough for young kids to play. Many games are timed, feature different levels, and include hints, making them challenging (or not too challenging) for kids of varying ages.
Kids will find plenty of creative, diverse activities on the site -- and parents should be happy to know that, in addition to customization options and easy-to-understand functionality, many of them also offer a subtle science, reading, or other lessons.
Families can talk about...
Families can discuss what privacy concerns sites that require registration involve. If a website asks you to sign up before you can play games or see other content, what personal information is OK to share? What should you think twice about submitting?
Highlights features a few activities based on spotting differences or out-of-place items in images. Talk about being observant and using reason. How can your child use those skills to assess whether or not a situation is safe?
The site also features dozens of craft and art projects that let users be creative. Ask your child to complete one of the art activities to express a feeling or recent experience, and then have your child describe how the image conveys that emotion.