After the kids have exhausted themselves playing in the pool/park/neighborhood, why not have them check out a few of the best kids websites online? Here are just a few that I've come across lately:
- National Gallery of Art for Kids: Based in Washington DC, the National Gallery has created an incredible site full of all sorts of fun games for kids: interactive art, digital photography tools, and lots more. Not to be missed.
- Mr. Picassohead: Remember Mr. Potato Head? This is similar, only you get to make a Picasso masterpiece.
- Jackson Pollock: Make your own Pollock painting. Just click anywhere in your browser screen to start; change colors by clicking again.
- Design Your Own Medal: Choose your hero, design your medal, and award it to someone.
- This Is Sand: Now this one is addictive. Click anywhere on the screen to start the sand going; you can change colors by clicking on "C". Makes beautiful sand designs.
- Glubble: Want to get your kids on the Web - safely? Glubble creates a secure environment where only the parent-approved sites are on the okay list.
- Kidoz: Similar to Glubble; Kidoz is a browser that only goes to sites that are pre-approved. This is the one I use with my kids.
What are your favorite kids' sites? Share in the comments below!
More great kids sites: There are so many great kids sites out there on the Web; here's a few that I visit with my own kids.
Something I like to do is poke around the dusty halls and closets, so to speak, of search engines (yes, I'm kind of a search nerd). You can find all sorts of interesting things this way. One of the more useful services I've come across are "dashboards", so to speak, of each search engine's properties, sites, tools, and services, all in one incredibly convenient place for easy access. For example:
Yahoo is one of the world's most popular online destinations, and they offer a lot of peripheral services that can be found all in one place at For Yahoo! Searchers. A couple of interesting sites that caught my eye: Creative Commons Search, Video Search, and Local. This is just Yahoo's search services; you can find all of Yahoo's services at Yahoo Everything, an alphabetized smorgasbord of what Yahoo offers online.
Google offers what they call Everything Google, divided by subject: Web, Mobile, Media, etc. Quite a few here that we're all probably familiar with, and quite a few that we're not, including SketchUp, Product Search, and Fusion Tables.
A few more hubs you might be interested in
Have you heard of Kickstarter? It's a great way to discover exciting projects, support creativity, or even get funding for something you've been thinking of starting yourself:
"We're a home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct support of people like you. Since our launch in 2009, more than 4 million people have pledged over $595 million, funding more than 40,000 creative projects. Thousands of creative projects are raising funds on Kickstarter right now."
Kickstarter is one of the most popular destinations on the Web for folks who are looking to connect with something bigger than themselves. Check out Kickstarter and see if there's something that might interest or inspire you!
If you'd like to learn how to navigate the Web more efficiently, then you'll want to read Web Help 101, a comprehensive guide to some of the top issues that beginners face when they're getting online. You'll learn:
And much more! Check out The Ultimate Web Help Guide for Beginners and you'll be surfing the Web like a pro in no time at all.
Tired of reading bad news? You'll want to visit Upworthy, a site dedicated to finding inspiring content all over the Web. But it's not just about what make you feel good:
"At best, things online are usually either awesome or meaningful, but everything on Upworthy.com has a little of both. Sensational and substantial. Entertaining and enlightening. Shocking and significant."
To that end, therefore, you're going to find stuff like Internet Calls Fat Girl 'Fat' And Her Response Is ... Perfect right next to Mesmerizing Photographs Of Soldiers' Faces Before And After A War. Upworthy is full of absolutely fascinating information and has become one of my new favorites - be sure to check it out!
Here's the scenario: you try to access one of your favorite sites (maybe one of the sites you're addicted to), and the darn thing won't load for you. You try, over and over again, and STILL no joy. You know that it really should be coming up, so you type the URL into your favorite search engine to see if there's anyone else having the same problem. Unfortunately, search engines just don't index result quite that fast (yet), so it seems as if you're the only person having the problem, and you're just going to have to wait it out. Bummer!
That's where Down For Everyone Or Just Me comes in. This is an ingenious site, and here's how it works: simply type in the name of the site that's not cooperating with you, and within seconds you'll see if this mysterious downtime is a more widespread problem (or if it's really JUST YOU). This is an easy way to troubleshoot where the connectivity problem might be happening.
More great Web tools
- The Most Useful Web Tools: If you're looking for a list of the most useful Web tools, you've come to the right place. Here are my picks for the best tools on the Web for anyone who is looking to boost their productivity.
- Remember the Milk: If you're looking for a dead simple way to manage your to-do lists, reminders, and basic stuff you gotta get done, then you need to check out Remember the Milk, a deceptively simple Web service that helps you organize yourself.
- The Top Ten Most Useful Google Services: Here are my picks for the top ten most useful Google services: the products that consistently help people achieve the ultimate productivity, demonstrate ease of use, and are viable for the long term.
If you've ever felt the hankering for a bit of higher education, but you don't want to pay the hefty bills that go right along with it, then here are five sites you can pick up free - yes, FREE - college courses in all sorts of subjects:
- MIT: Everything from Physics I: Classical Mechanics to Street-Fighting Mathematics.
- Yale: Classics, History, Political Science, and more.
- UC Berkeley: Podcasts and Webcasts of UC Berkeley current and archived courses.
- Carnegie Mellon: Engineering, physics, and hey! Computational Discrete Mathematics.
- Notre Dame: Ooh! Lots of good stuff here, from Africana Studies to Gender Studies to Romance Languages and Literatures.
There is just a wealth of education treasures to be had here! Do you have any favorite spots on the Web where you've picked up a free bit of education? Let us know in the comments section below.
More Web freebies
There are millions of Web sites online, and you have a lot of choices as to what you want to visit. Here are a few sites that will help you figure something out, learn something, or simply help you get a bigger picture of something:
- National Geographic Photo of the Day: National Geographic is known for its amazing photos and photojournalism, and the Photo of the Day definitely does not disappoint.
- FactCheck: From the Annenberg Public Policy Center; FactCheck follows prominent politicians and news stories and checks content for accuracy.
- Popular Science: The latest journalism on gadgets, scientific discoveries, and all sorts of really fascinating technologies.
- SmartPlanet: Creative, thought provoking insights from top thinkers in a variety of different fields, especially technology.
- PBS: We all know and love public television, but the PBS web site offers fans a much deeper look at the background and content for all their shows: timelines, in-depth research, etc.
Do you have a favorite site that you visit that inspires or educates you? Please share it with us!
More smart sites
Feel like a walk down the virtual memory lane? Try The Internet Archive, a great site that has been archiving web pages since 1996.
Go back to the future: Okay, Marty McFly, here's some more historical stuff for you:
- Online Archives: I've put together a good, basic list of online archives for you, with everything from the National Archives to Papyrus Archives (ancient Egyptian hieroglypics!) to Simpsons Archives.
- The Worst Software Bugs in History: a look at some pretty serious viruses through the years.
- Ancient Egypt History on the Web: amazing sites all about Egyptian history.
- This Day In History: fascinating way to look at history.
- A Short History of the Internet: Internet history is interesting, if for nothing else than it's fascinating to see how far we've come in so short a time. Read this short history of the Internet, and learn more about the Internet history timeline.
Google's image search is one of the best sources for finding an image online. Learn more about this service and read Advanced Image Search with Google. You'll learn:
- Basic image search
- Advanced image search
- How to view and filter your search results
- How to keep your image searches safe