Highlights Kids

Common Sense Media says

Companion site to classic kids' mag lives up to original.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Activities encourage kids to explore, learn, and play. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The site surprisingly doesn't push magazine subscriptions; ads for other products aren't prevalent, either.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

A Safe Surfing Tips page offers kids Internet use advice. Their Highlights Kids experience, though, is pretty insulated; they can't e-mail or chat with other users.

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

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • reading
  • vocabulary

Science

  • biology
  • gravity
  • substance properties

Social Studies

  • history

Arts

  • drawing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • investigation
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • reading
  • vocabulary

Science

  • biology
  • gravity
  • substance properties

Social Studies

  • history

Arts

  • drawing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • investigation
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Kids can learn about science and will get reading and vocabulary experience. The site features a solid mix of engaging, diverse educational activities. Articles and stories provide reading practice; words appear when kids drag pictures into blank spaces in a story writing game, providing word recognition and reading practice; a word scramble game that matches terms with images provides vocabulary help, and kids can also hear the story read out loud. They'll hone observation skills in hidden picture games. Science experiments offer information on the elements, biology, and other concepts; craft projects provide a creative outlet. Highlights Kids is a warm, well-rounded resource for kids; a great 21st-century translation of the classic mag. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Website details

Genre:Brand Sites

This review of Highlights Kids was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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