WHAT TO KNOW?
Tufts University Child and Family Web Guide describes trustworthy websites on child development and parenting. All sites listed have been evaluated by child development grad students and faculty. The sites have been selected from the thousands available on the Web, based primarily on quality of information. Sites are listed in five main categories: family/parenting, education/learning, typical child development, health/mental health, and resources/recreation. The WebGuide is also searchable by age group.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the nation’s largest and most influential organization of early childhood educators and others dedicated to improving the quality of education for young children.
The Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative at the University of Illinois is home to more than a dozen projects focused on the education, care, and parenting of young children. This site includes articles regarding research on a number of topics of interest to parents of young children. These include: academic redshirting; classroom placement of twins; dealing with biting; full day kindergarten; direct instruction versus child-initiated learning for young children; how to choose a school; and kindergarten entry skills.
Meet Dr. Calhoon. This professor of early childhood education at Black Hills State University in South Dakota maintains an excellent list of early childhood resources on the internet. It includes sites for parenting information, children’s health, links to articles about Reggio Emilia and other educational issues, and links to excellent activities sites. You can also see pictures of Dr. Calhoon’s young daughter.
Nutrition.gov provides links to databases, recipes, interactive tools and all kinds of nutrition-related information for infants and children, adult women and men and seniors. The site is maintained by a team of registered dietitians and nutrition information specialists at the Food and Nutrition Information Center of USDA’s National Agricultural Library (NAL), in cooperation with scientists and professionals at the USDA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and many other partners. It includes links to information on the Food Guide Pyramid, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, dietary supplements, fitness, and how to keep food safe. You can find helpful guides to portion size, interactive tools to help you assess your diet and physical activity status, information about what foods contain which nutrients, and much more.
The American Library Association website features links to many interesting websites for children, as well as wonderful lists of children’s books, recordings, videos and computer software. Includes lists of all Caldecott Award winners, Coretta Scott King Award winners, Newbery Medal winners and winners of the Pura Belpre Award for latino children’s literature.
Beside the wonderful lists of great books, the Children’s Book Council site includes great information about all our favorite authors and illustrators. I especially like the list of “75 authors/illustrators that everyone should know”, which includes brief descriptions of their most well known books.
Children’s Book Press (CBP) was a nonprofit publisher of multicultural and bilingual children’s picture books that is now part of Lee & Low Press. View lists of their books by category and click on a title to see an illustration and read a fairly detailed description. Includes lists of African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American books, as well as multicultural anthologies.
This woman-owned and operated mail order e-company specializes in adoption, infertility and parenting challenges books. Tapestry books claims to be “your complete source for adoption books,” and it certainly looks to be just that! Books are split into two categories: books for children and those for adults. To further facilitate browsing, there are more descriptive categories such as under children: books for younger children, celebrating differences, thinking about birthparents. Adult lists include: before you adopt, saving memories, and talking about adoption.
Literature is perhaps society’s best means for exposing young hearts and minds to new ideas. Engaging stories help children grow intellectually and emotionally, and inspire youngsters to explore the world around them. The International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This digital collection of international children’s books reflects similarities and differences in cultures, lifestyles, and priorities of people around the world. The collection focuses on books that help children understand the global society in which they live, in order to increase tolerance and acceptance. Take some time to read some of these wonderful full color digital books. The readers are easy to use and the range of international books is fascinating.
The Early Childhood Education Network provides simple, attractive, literacy activities in English, Spanish, German and French. The site is free of advertising and takes a straightforward approach to having fun with learning that does not distract the learner with flashy animated characters or other effects.
PBS provides fun, often TV-related family activities under fun and games in the parents section of their website. Under the Community and Issues and Advice sections parents can find a wealth of good advice on all kinds of parenting issues from computer use to schools & education.
Reading is Fundamental suggests hundreds of fun family activities that promote reading success.
Reading Rockets, a website companion to the PBS TV program, translates research on reading readiness for parents, and gives friendly tips for helping preschoolers get ready to read. It includes information for parents and educators on teaching kids to read and helping those who struggle.
Planning a road trip? MomsMinivan.com has over 101 ideas for fun things for kids to do in the car. How about scavenger hunts or car trip bingo? Or aluminum foil art creations? The site includes kids travel game ideas, printable activity sheets, and links to related sites and products. You can also find information on car seat safety, and lots of road-trip tips. The site is organized by age group to make it easier to find what you need for your trip. Whether you will be in the car for 30 minutes or 30 hours, there’s something for everyone! Thanks to Clay’s mom for this site suggestion!
KidsHealth provides health information about children from before birth through adolescence. Created by The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media, the award-winning site provides families with jargon-free health information. Separate areas for kids, teens, and parents each have their own design, age-appropriate content, and tone. There are in-depth features, articles, animations, games, and resources on a wide array of topics about medical, emotional, and developmental issues of children and their families.
Nutrition.gov provides links to databases, recipes, interactive tools and all kinds of nutrition-related information for infants and children, adult women and men and seniors. The site is maintained by a team of registered dietitians and nutrition information specialists at the Food and Nutrition Information Center of USDA’s National Agricultural Library (NAL), in cooperation with scientists and professionals at the USDA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and many other partners. It includes links to information on the Food Guide Pyramid, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, dietary supplements, fitness, and how to keep food safe. You can find helpful guides to portion size, interactive tools to help you assess your diet and physical activity status, information about what foods contain which nutrients, and much more. http://www.nutrition.gov
Children’s Software Revue (CSR) provides a magazine and reviews of children’s software, video games and other interactive media products. The editors’ mission is to help parents, children’s librarians and teachers leverage the power of technology to support the development of children ages birth to 16, by providing timely, accurate reviews of commercial interactive products, including educational software, videogames, smart toys and web sites.
Established in 1978, Parents’ Choice Foundation is a not-for-profit evaluator of children’s books, videos, toys, audios, computer software, television, and magazines. The Foundation’s mission is to provide parents with information to participate wisely in their children’s learning. The Foundation searches out products that are fairly priced, fun, safe and socially sound, and that help kids grow imaginatively, physically, morally and mentally. Parents’ Choice Foundation has no commercial ties. The website includes a product finder that allows parents to search by price level and other factors to gather award-winning ideas for great toys and gifts. It also includes reading lists, activity lists and ideas for learning.
Dr. Toy is really Dr. Stevanne Auerbach, an expert in child development and play, and Director of the Institute for Childhood Resources in San Francisco. Dr. Auerbach’s monthly on-line magazine presents her awards for the best educational, developmentally appropriate toys and children’s products. Her website also includes features such as Dr. Toy’s Smart Play/Smart Toys, which describes how play influences a child at each level of development. Her annual 100 Best Toys and Children’s Products lists “safe and smart products for quality time that includes plenty of communication and fun.” Other lists of reviewed products include Best Vacation Products, Smart Play Smart Toys Products of Excellence and Best Classic Products. The site is hard to navigate, and I do not always agree with her glowing descriptions, but the site is worth a look if you are still stuck for ideas.
WHAT TO WATCH (OR NOT!)?
This site aims to provide families with the tools they need to make informed media decisions, and also includes some reviews of music and video games. It does not include the age recommendations of the above site, and does include distracting advertising links, but it is an excellent second opinion. Reviews are easy to find with the search feature, and the site also includes an interesting section called “The Big Picture” for articles that range from details on film classifications and ratings, to issues regarding violence in video games and music, and holiday movie lists to help you plan special occasions.