What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the site is essentially a portal that offers links to dozens of sites on topics like science, art, and computers. Although some of the sites that are linked to are sponsored or regulated by the government, many aren't. Some are owned by private companies, like the Discovery Channel, or not-for-profit organizations, like the San Diego Zoo, and can contain ads. But overall, the content on this site and partner sites is pretty clean.
What kids can learn
- historical figures
Thinking & Reasoning
- applying information
- solving puzzles
- academic development
- personal growth
Engagement, Approach, Support
Content constitutes mainly of links to other websites. Although many of those sites feature games and interesting reading, the format and quality vary, and kids can't track their research.
The teaching materials can be a good resource, and the majority of sites Kids.gov links to focus on education-related topics. But the lessons are presented differently on each site, so learning isn't consistent.
You may have to hunt for them, but links lead to potentially helpful lesson plans, activity ideas, and other items. Kids, however, don't get much individual feedback on what they're learning.
What's it about?
KIDS.GOV links to government agencies and other sites that cover topics such as careers, U.S. presidents, the art of video games, and saving money. Links are split into three groups for different audiences: grades K-5, grades 6-8, and educators. The site itself isn't too dynamic -- kids will likely spend more time on the linked-to sites than they will on Kids.gov. However, the site is well-organized, and most of the sites it links to were created specifically for grade school-aged children, making Kids.gov a valuable, safe resource.
Is it any good?
Kids.gov is well-organized -- the navigation is the same in the parent and teacher, teen, and younger kids' section. The sites that Kids.gov links to are designed and written for kids, and many feature bright colors, games, and other kid-friendly elements. Some sites focus on health, like the Center for Disease Control's BAM! Body and Mind site; others offer fun games and a message, including career information and online safety tips.
The site can serve as a resource to help parents and teachers easily find safe, informative sites for kids to learn about a number of subjects. Teachers may also benefit from the site's classroom material recommendations. But kids may tire quickly of the basic Kids.gov format: Since the site is essentially comprised of lists of links, they're constantly being pushed away from the main site -- and may not navigate their way back to find out more.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about online safety. Why should you ask a parent before ever entering any information about yourself on a site? For tips on protecting kids' privacy online, check out our guide.
What information is OK to give out on websites? If they ask you to enter your name, should you enter your real name?
Kids.gov offers dozens of resources to make learning fun. How else can you help your child get excited about new educational topics?