Friday, August 10, 2012

5 great websites for Early Learners #healthyhabits #cgc

I began my career as an educator and once and educator, always an educator. My key focus in the beginning was on early intervention with the birth to 5 crowd. I was an in-home therapist for occupational and a little bit of physical therapy with the birth to 3 year olds. Later I also taught pre-school. The one thing I learned is there is no better way to get your child, whether they are delayed or not, a head start in life, is by beginning their education early.

Now that I have two preschoolers of my own I can't help but keep up the tradition. I'm no longer working in the educating field but I have this new love of technology and I've noticed something. Kids are learning to use electronics and technology earlier and earlier! So how can you help your kids keep up AND even more important how can you keep up!?! Well here's a start. I have a list of 5 websites that are great for early learners and are very preschool friendly.

1. Starfall: This is one program that we used in preschool and elementary school. It's a great FREE online program that was created to help children learn how to read using phonics. There are four different levels to choose from ranging from learning letters and sounds all the way up to the beginning and intermediate reader. It is very user friendly and interactive along with being easy enough for a 3 year old to navigate.

2.ABC mouse: ABC mouse is like having your own classroom at home. It covers all types of educational topics from reading and math, to arts, to even puzzles and games. There are also several levels to choose from starting with preschool (age 3) up to Kindergarten (age 5).  It's like having your kids in a virtual classroom! Not only are they learning basic skills but they are also learning how to navigate a website. Clever, huh? This one does come with a price tag. You can get the first month free and then pay a monthly fee to continue use.
3. Dora's Beyond the Backpack: Yep, that's right, Nick isn't just for cartoons. Your kids can have fun with their favorite characters and learn too! What I love most is how this program allows you to take a quiz about your child and then creates a personalized plan, full of goals, activities and games (that can also be printed) that will prepare them for Kindergarten. I know not all parents automatically know what skills their kiddos need to have when they enter school so this one makes it super easy for them. And the best part: it's FREE.

4. I know some people hate to say this or use it with kids: but I LOVE worksheets. Fortunately I have a daughter who also loves to do worksheets. That's why I'm constantly going to this site, clicking on pre-school on the left and printing on fun activity sheets for her to complete. Right now we're working on cutting (her favorite) and there are a lot of great and fun pages to color, cut out and glue!

5. Healthy Habits Toolkit from Sesame Street: For my final site I wanted to switch it up a little bit. Not only do I want my kiddos to start school with the educational tools they need to succeed but also the social and emotional tools they need. That's where the Healthy Habits site comes in handy. There are videos, games and printables to use with your kids to teach them those skills to do independent tasks they will need. For example, my kids are learning about brushing their teeth and how important that is. There are games and videos to show you how to brush your teeth and even a printable chart to keep track of tooth brushing (2x a day for 2 year olds and up)!

So those are some of my favorites and I know there are a lot more. So tell me, what websites do you use with your preschool aged children?

Disclosure: As a member of Clever Girls Collective, I was selected to participate in the Healthy Habits program sponsored by Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #healthyhabits #cgc 

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