Web Sites for Babies and Toddlers
Safe web sites
to entertain your child that they cannot get enough of
By: Rebecca Bahlmann
an effort to engage our child "safely" with the computer as well as give us
an occasional break, we have found some websites that we beleve are
particularly good for babies and toddlers. The best of these sites appears
to be the CBeebies website by the BBC. However, there are so many games on
these sites it is all a bit overwhelming. So, we bookmark only the games our
child likes which allows us to call up the games of interest as fast as
possible. Currently our child's favorite is the Tele Tubby area which works
on both Apple Macintosh and Windows PCs.
Tele Tubby games of particular interest include "ribbit" which
was the first game our daughter played and has
animal noises she loved (but quickly grew out of that). Her current favorites include
almost all the games listed "Spot the Noo-noo", "Hide and Seek"
are very good, "Sucky
Slurpy Game" makes her jump out of her skin with excitement, both counting
games keep her attention. One interactive game allows us to build a scene
and then play it which she likes. Once we play it we print it out for her to
color. The site is overall well put together with engaging games that are
fairly educational and all the while engaging and brain dead simple to work.
Another interesting area of CBeebies site is the "Print
and Colour" area which has really developed nicely and can be a huge
time saver when your child wants something to color but you are fresh out of
coloring books. Children can pick out their favorite characters and then
select which pictures they would like to color. Best of all, buttons are
very large and surprisingly intuitive to children.
interesting site for children 3 and older is the
Bob the Builder
site which allows children to orchestrate projects like "build a
playground", "fix a road", or "build winter fun". Our child likes the videos
as well as the activities.
If you don't have Internet access and want some fun games for your child,
another option is to buy some games. Giggles provides some rather cute games
that our child loved but gradually grew out of. Note that their website is (Giggles.Net).
If you type in giggles.com you get an adult web site. However, just because
the URL looks harmless we recommend trying it out first - or better yet,
just bookmark all the permitted sites.
We highly recommend staying away from You-Tube. We started watching video
snippets of "The Cars" but eventually you get to clips that are made up with
swear words, so beware.
The older your child gets, other sites could look attractive as well. We
have just begun to look at more grown up sites from PBS, Disney, and Noggin.
However, with the exception of PBS, you tend to find loads of
commercialization interwoven into them. Disney and Noggin sites both
maintain a bit much
for our taste. We listed these sites as resources but only
recommend the PBS site for parents not wanting to subject their kids to
PBS Kids - A good site, just not quite as good as CBeebies. All the PBS
shows have some kind of theme game.
Games - Provides some interesting games like "Penguin Bounce", but you
have to wade through ads to get to their best games.
Games - Some interesting games once you get past the ads.
The computer can provide an important distraction for your child and can
provide busy parents with some "occasional" relief but we don't let our
child play more than 10-15 minutes at a time and no more than a couple times
a day. The older the child, the more time they may be allocated with the
computer but emphasis should be to placed at locating the computer within a "shared area"
within your house. NEVER place a computer in the child's room or some place
where they cannot be observed during their online time. There are just FAR
TOO MANY things out on the Internet that can harm your child, which is why
we are careful to only provide access to sites we know about, for set
"supervised" periods of time. Note that while your child is young
you shouldn't need any content protection, however as your child grows older
and begins to use the computer in the shared space for Internet surfing,
content protection is paramount.
Only let a computer augment your interaction with your child, not a
substitute for it. They will always prefer to learn things from their
parents over any computer. Least that is the way we see it.