THE TOP TEN TOT WEB­SITES & APPS

WEB­SITES AND APPS FOR YOUR TOD­DLER that have some great ed­u­ca­tional benefits too!

Your Baby & Toddler - - Front Page - BY JU­LIA BOLTT

You prob­a­bly know all the caveats about too much screen time for tod­dlers. How­ever, that’s not to say that there isn’t a time and place for your tot to in­ter­act with tech­nol­ogy. With th­ese 10 ed­u­ca­tional web­sites for your kid­die, you can guar­an­tee the most ben­e­fit from it.

Web­site #1 TAKALANI SESAME STREET

Sesame Street is a se­ries that is glob­ally recog­nised, but has been beau­ti­fully lo­calised with Takalani Sesame. You can choose be­tween English, Afrikaans, Isizulu, Se­pedi and Tshiv­enda, and kids can learn a let­ter of the day and a word of the day. To play Sesame Street games that teach num­ber and let­ter recog­ni­tion or watch videos from the show, head to the in­ter­na­tional par­ent site. www.takalanis­esame.co.za www.sesamestre­et.org

Web­site #2 NA­TIONAL GEO­GRAPHIC LIT­TLE KIDS

This web­site is ideal for the five and un­der set. The site is bright, un­crowded and easy to nav­i­gate and has plenty of straight­for­ward games that teach ba­sic nav­i­ga­tion skills. There are games, crafts, recipes, videos and, of course, loads of an­i­mal in­for­ma­tion. How­ever, there’s no in­struc­tional voiceover, so par­ents will need to play along­side their younger chil­dren to help them ex­plore. www.kids.na­tion­al­geo­graphic.com

Web­site #3 FISHER-PRICE GAMES AND AC­TIV­I­TIES

The mak­ers of the iconic toy se­ries have a very child friendly web­site of­fer­ing on­line games, colour­ing pages and crafts for in­fants, tod­dlers and preschool­ers. There’s a set of fil­ters to help se­lect age ap­pro­pri­ate games that have cheer­ful voiceovers, mu­sic and easy nav­i­ga­tion us­ing ba­sic mouse skills. All the games teach skills like ABCS, num­ber and shape recog­ni­tion, match­ing and count­ing. www.fisher-price.com/en-za/game­san­dac­tiv­i­ties/on­linegames

Web­site #4 UP TO TEN

This web­site of­fers a huge range of puzzles, co­or­di­na­tion games and mazes. Early learn­ing games and ac­tiv­i­ties are the core fo­cus, and there are more than 1 000 age ap­pro­pri­ate games for preschool­ers and chil­dren up to ten years old. Char­ac­ters Boowa and Kwala have a huge re­serve of games with op­tions for older or younger kids and voiceovers to guide the ac­tiv­ity. For kids who re­ally love the site, there is a pre­mium op­tion. www.up­toten.com/

Web­site #5 NICKJNR

Whether you love or loathe the Nick­elodeon brand, the Nickjnr web­site is specif­i­cally de­signed for preschool­ers. This bright, cheer­ful site is an­chored around Nickjnr’s most popular shows,

no­tably Bub­ble Gup­pies, Paw Pa­trol, Dora

and Friends and Team Umi­zoomi. Games like Spin Art are great for younger chil­dren de­vel­op­ing mouse and ba­sic nav­i­ga­tion skills, and the nav­i­ga­tion is all voiced, so pre­lit­er­ate kids can un­der­stand the in­struc­tions and progress through the ac­tiv­ity. The en­thu­si­as­tic Amer­i­can voiceover is likely to drive par­ents batty af­ter a while, but your tod­dler prob­a­bly won’t blink an eye. www.nickjr.com

Web­site #6 SPROUT

This preschoole­r site fea­tures games, videos, colour­ing pages and crafts and recipes suit­able for younger chil­dren. It’s linked to an Amer­i­can TV chan­nel, but many of the range of show char­ac­ters in the games will be familiar to South African chil­dren – An­gelina Bal­le­rina to Sarah & Duck, Bob the Builder, Zou and Noddy, among oth­ers. The games have voiceovers for easy nav­i­ga­tion by pre­lit­er­ate tots, and users can choose be­tween easy and hard op­tions. There are links on the site to send user gen­er­ated pic­tures through to the TV chan­nel, so a par­ent needs to be there to su­per­vise in­ter­ac­tion on the site. www.sprou­ton­line.com

Web­site #7 KNOWL­EDGE KIDS

This Canadian web­site is fun and sim­ple, with easy nav­i­ga­tion and a good range of games, videos and ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at younger, preschool and nurs­ery school aged chil­dren. Game voiceovers mean that even quite young chil­dren can man­age to find their way through a game, and there are colour­ing pages for down­load. http://www.knowl­edgekids.ca/

Web­site #8 CBEE­BIES

This site is linked to the popular Dstv chan­nel and has a wide range of games based on the chan­nel’s popular shows. The easy to nav­i­gate site also has down­load­able colour­ing sheets, story time episodes of shows like Char­lie &

Lola, Baby Jake, Num­tums and 64 Zoo Lane, and songs from all the shows. The songs might just drive par­ents dilly, but your kids will love it and all the con­tent on the site is per­fect for tots, with voiceovers for easy in­struc­tions and nav­i­ga­tion. www.cbee­bies.com/za/

Web­site #9 DIS­NEY JNR

As with most of the chil­dren’s chan­nels, Dis­ney Jnr has a web­site that backs up its pro­gram­ming with games, ac­tiv­i­ties, colour­ing and video con­tent. Nav­i­ga­tion is very easy, aided by a voiceover and there is a very broad range of games to choose from, fea­tur­ing all the Dis­ney char­ac­ters your chil­dren al­ready know and love. It’s geared to­wards tod­dlers and preschool­ers and you can se­lect op­tions by brand (for ex­am­ple, Jun­gle

Junc­tion) or cat­e­gory, like games. If your chil­dren al­ready watch Dis­ney Jnr this is a great op­tion to in­tro­duce smaller kids to ba­sic com­puter skills. www.dis­ney.co.za/dis­ney-ju­nior

Web­site #10 FUN­BRAIN JNR

This web­site of­fers ed­u­ca­tional games, sto­ries for older chil­dren, print­a­bles and stick­ers. The games ad­just to the child’s age and stick­ers are earned by play­ing games. The site is de­signed so that par­ents can sit with their chil­dren and play, or the chil­dren can ex­plore on their own, and all the games de­velop early lit­er­acy, maths and prob­lem solv­ing skills. http://www.fun­brainjr.com/

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