I remember when my son was 4 years old and I let him play on one of my old computers. I installed a Sesame Street game and sat next to him so I could explain how it works. He grabbed the mouse from my hand and got to work. He didn’t need any guidance as he navigated the Sesame Street world. I would check on him every so often and couldn’t believe how focussed he was on the game.
It took some bargaining to get him away from the computer that day, but I realised it also gave me an opportunity to get a lot of work done. From then on, we would spend a couple of hours in the park every morning and then come home to do some work. I would design websites for my clients and junior would sit next to me and solve Cookie Monster’s problems.
From then on, he has developed a real fascination for computers and all things electronic. His problem solving skills are amazing as a result of the time he has spent online playing and learning, while having fun.
It is important however, that you are aware of what your children get up to on the computer, especially if it is connected to the internet. Before you allow your kids online, make sure you set rules and monitor their activity. Check out these resources for keeping your kids safe online
- Stay Smart Online - Cyber Smart
Here are some fun websites for kids to explore, learn and interact with other children safely.
Welcome to the world of adventurous penguins. You can play for free or buy membership which gives you extra functionality. From as little as $5 per month (on an annual membership) you can dress your penguins, shop for new items from different catalogues, collect rare and exclusive party items, collect puffles, adopt pets, create unlimited igloos and much much more. This website introduces the concept of social media to kids in a safe environment. Penguins can talk to each other and all conversations are monitored by the Club Penguin staff. Parents have complete control over their child’s penguin world. Visit Club Penguin website.
Moshi Monsters is a free, safe online world of cute monsters. You can adopt your own pet Monster, go on amazing adventures, play games, solve puzzles and more. You can upgrade to paid membership for $6.95 per month or $44.95 per year and get extra benefits which allow you to colour your special monster, build homes, create artwork and display it in the Googenheim, visit the Underground Disco and Moshling Zoo and lots more fun and games. Visit Moshi Monsters website
ABC for kids
What is there not to love about ABC Kids? A great educational website for younger kids with many of their favourites characters including Bananas in Pyjamas, Sesame Street, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Lazy Town, Shaun the Sheep, Olivia, The Wiggles and plenty more. The website offers a large range of games, craft projects, recipes and colouring pages as well as songs and videos. Visit ABC For Kids Website
Minecraft has taken the world by storm. Since its official release in November 2011, over 12 million people have bought the game and are happily building their own worlds. Minecraft is an open world game which allows you to place textured blocks to create anything you can imagine. It has no specific goals for the player to accomplish, instead it gives them freedom to choose how to play the game. Suitable for slightly older children – from 7 years and up, the game can be played in multiplayer mode, allowing kids to interact with each other. Visit Minecraft website
National Geographic Kids
National Georgraphic Kids is learning and exploration at its best. You will find great geography games, interactive adventures, puzzles and quizzes, lots of videos about animals and nature, science and space, photos, stories and that’s just the beginning. Kids can take part in fun activities, crafts, science, contests and even learn how to cook some really cool recipes and find out some weird but true facts. Visit National Geographic Kids website
Letting children get online is a big decision for most parents, especially if they are not very computer savvy. However, these fun websites for kids are a good introduction to the online world, as they designed specifically for children.