5 Educational Websites for Summer Learning

Are you out of school yet? It feels funny to ask that, seeing that my daughter’s kindergarten year ended on May 18. But I know most schools get out later than that. I didn’t graduate until June 16 in Virginia, where we had the no-starting-until-after-Labor-Day rule.

I’m sure, like me, you don’t want your child’s reading level to go down during the summer, not do you want him or her to stop learning. But how do you make it fun? There are a million great ways (I highly recommend I Can Teach My Child if you have a toddler/preschooler/kindergartner). And one tool we use at home is our basic desktop computer.

While I certainly don’t want to fry my kid’s brain with screens all the time, she is allowed to use the computer a couple times a week for a half-hour or so. We are pretty insistent that she stay on educational sites, despite her new interest in finding URLs on brochures and wanting to visit the “Lego GIRLS” site. (Bleccch.)

Here are some of our favorite sites and some others I’ve seen highly recommended.


ABCMouse.com (paid) – ABCMouse is an “interactive classroom” for kids ages 2 through 7. Our kids started using it about age 4, when they could control the mouse. It teaches basic reading and math skills as well as offering simple lessons on animals, space, and more. The learning path has 6 levels, going from pre-reader to kindergarten levels. My daughter is 6 1/2 and can read well, but she still enjoys the lessons, earning tickets, and playing around with the different features. It’s about $8/month, but you can try it out on a 30-day trial.


ReadingEggs.com (paid) – Reading Eggs is a service we were gifted through my daughter’s school. Its curriculum is a little wider than ABC Mouse, spanning ages 3 to 14. Through Reading Eggs, kids can work on letter sounds, sight words, spelling, and a bunch more! Like ABC Mouse, there are levels that you move through and receive “golden eggs” as prizes, making it feel like a game. The cost is about $50 for 6 months or $59 for a year, with a 2-week free trial.


PBSKids.org (free) – Since we don’t have cable, my kids are pretty familiar with the beloved PBS characters: Curious George, Cat in the Hat, Daniel Tiger, Sid the Science Kid, the Wild Kratts … need I go on? On the PBS Kids website, little ones can play games related to the series, as well as watch short videos or print out pictures to color or activities to do. My kids especially love the “pipe game” from Odd Squad, which helps with spacial reasoning.


Discovery Kids (free) – Is your child obsessed with dinosaurs? Space? Sharks? Discovery Kids might be a good site to visit, then. There are games that vary from building a roller coaster to exploring volcanoes to virtual jigsaw puzzles. The “Puterbugs” system jumped out at me – a game focusing on teaching typing alongside reading, writing, and math.


Superbook (free) – Looking for something to enhance spiritual learning? Based on the CBN series Superbook, this site has games, videos, a virtual Bible with daily “challenge” and character discovery, trivia, and more. Kids can even submit their prayer requests. For fun, I tried out the Bible Brain Busters game. Definitely suited for older kids (because you need to read and answer fast), some of the questions were funny and some tricky, but they will definitely learn something. Mom and Dad might enjoy quizzing each other, too.

Do you have any favorite websites for kids’ learning?

Fun Apps & Websites for Kids


Wacky Safari — Let’s go on a safari! This app has animal sounds, fun facts, jokes, and pictures. Cost: free. Available for Apple devices at iTunes.

Word World by PBS Kids helps your child become ready to read and then become an independent reader.

School Age

Pianist — Learn to play the piano on this full 88-key piano keyboard. Cost: $3.99. Available for Apple devices at iTunes.

Club Penguin introduces virtual worlds, avatars, and online gaming.


Wreck This App — Based on the popular Wreck This Journal by author/illustrator Keri Smith, you can tap into your creativity with prompts and a variety of drawing tools. Cost: $4.99. Available for Android and Apple devices.

Bunki Munki is a safe social Website just for preteens that promotes positive thinking, self-esteem, and confidence. Parents must register their children on the site.

Cool Technology … for Parents by Christi McGuire

If you read “Cool Technology” in this month’s ParentLife, you discovered lots of apps and websites for your preschooler, school-age child, and preteen. But there’s a lot more for your family—and for parents, too! Check out these products, apps, and websites.



Leapster Explorer® by Leap Frog® (www.leapfrog.com) allows your preschooler to engage in games and activities that help them build school skills, such as letter recognition, writing, reading, math, and more.

Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor: Sleep better knowing your little one is fast asleep, too. This monitor delivers one of the best visual images available. The camera allows you to zoom as well as pan vertically and horizontally almost 360 degrees. Available at Amazon.com.

Kidz Gear ™ offers products and accessories that are child-sized but with high-quality performance. The award-winning line of Wired Headphones for Kids has “volume limiting technology” that brings a safe experience for children that limits maximum volume levels. Headphones are ergonomically designed with soft padded ear-cups. Priced economically for happier (and quieter) car trips! Available at www.gearforkidz.com.


Wipolo: Explore the world with your friends! You can organize all your trip details in one spot—create itineraries, keep reservations, locate destinations, learn destination facts, write a travel journal, keep track of past trips, store pictures, and share it all with others.

Healthy Children: A comprehensive website powered by the American Academy of Pediatrics to support and educate parents about the physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, and teens.


SOS Rescue Me: Your child can feel safe anywhere when they are on their own. Download this app to your child’s phone, and if she feels threatened, she clicks the button. A preselected set of contacts will receive a text with your child’s current location. Cost: $.99. Available at iTunes.

Sit or Squat: It never fails–your little one has to potty when you’re out and about. This app helps you find the nearest public restroom. Cost: free. Available at www.sitorsquat.com.

 S.O.S.: An app by the American Red Cross helps you know how to handle emergency situations, like CPR, before first responders arrive. Cost: free. Available at https://market.android.com.

Instant Playdates: Plan playdates to your Facebook friends. Cost: free. Available for Android and iPhone. Available at http://instantplaydates.com.

Mom Maps: Find family fun places and kid-friendly locations, such as parks, playgrounds, restaurants, museums, and indoor play spaces in your area—including a map to get there. Cost: free. Available at http://kidsplayguide.com.

Holiday Gift List:  Manage everyone’s Christmas or birthday wishes and tally your spending. Cost: $1.99. Available at iTunes.