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They say that there are no guidebooks to tell you how to be a parent, but with the internet that’s no longer true. Moms4Mom is a great example of how the internet can be used by pregnant mothers and parents at all stages in their children’s lives to find out everything they need to know by asking the real experts – other parents. I wish I could have seen a site like this when I first had my children as the main questions I would have wanted answered are right up there in the frequent discussions.

Why do toddlers stop eating? When do you start taking children to the dentist? Are there problems with colic medecines? As if that isn’t enough there are even tips about how to get on with the parents of your children’s friends. And if your questions aren’t here you could join and ask them yourself, plus give your own expert advice if you’ve been through any of the other parents’ dilemmas. Dads can also ask questions too, despite the name of the site. Any parent will know that this is the type of site that’s really needed and I’ll certainly be coming back to it as it ranges from pregnancy right up to questions about leaving older kids alone and teaching them to ski.


RefrigeratorArtist – Share Your Child’s Artwork

RefrigeratorArtist gives parents the chance to share their children’s artwork online, making it possible to keep a permanent record of all the favourite pictures produced by the family. These can go into an individual gallery with the name of each child, and you can select pictures to go into the voting to try to win $400 in US savings bonds each month. Vote for your favourites from the children on Refrigeratorartist to help select the winner.

Keeping a digital record will help a lot of parents because the actual pictures really do stack up over the years and families can only keep a few. The site also has products available to purchase with the children’s artwork featured, including t-shirts and mugs. I can’t help thinking there will be plenty of competitive voting going on, with friends and relatives nagged to vote for children, and more nagging will come from the children to get the t-shirts and mugs. So it should be a financial success for the designers while still being a lot of fun and a useful resource for families wanting to keep an archive of their children’s artwork.


Kideos – Like YouTube for Kids

Anyone with children will know how much they want to go on to YouTube, but much of the content is unsuitable so parents have to keep an eye on what they’re watching. Kideos gets around that problem by providing a children-only website for videos, with content for all ages from two up to ten-and-over. The content is checked for suitability and the videos do look tempting for younger viewers.

This site will mainly appeal to younger age groups, with children starting to grow out of the layout by the time they reach eleven and older. It has the bright colours very young children enjoy, and the videos are presented in a different way to YouTube, with clear menus and a good sized photo of each one. A teenage Kideos would also be appealing, and as children get older they would like to be able to upload their own videos and interact with the community.

Videos can be selected by age group and also from a range of categories including Most Popular as well as favourite TV and book characters, cats and dogs, cartoons and educational. It’s good to see some other languages, with Spanish and Portuguese included, and more languages would help older kids learning the basics. Parents can create playlists for their children, and all videos have been screened and approved by the Kideos panel.


MyPage – Easy to Make Kids’ Websites

mypage-itTeenagers study how to design websites at school, but younger children also want to have their own sites. With MyPage they can make their own website easily, share it with friends and have a URL with their nickname forming part of it. This is not just fun, it’s also a simple introduction to the basics of website design – something children need to learn.

The pages are fun and colourful and with pre-teen pictures of children so the target age is clear. Childen register with their parents’ permission and email address an get their own URL which starts with and then has their chosen nickname. To make it easy for children to create a fun site there are toys and games called Kidgets and wallpaper to make the sites attractive. Extra activities include videos and colouring in, and children learn to add these to their pages and move them around. All useful computer skills.

Perhaps most important of all children can communicate with their friends, view each other’s sites and also exchange the activities they have included on their own. The ability to communicate with friends on the internet is one of the things that attracts children to interactive online games, and this is a safe way to appeal to that wish while also helping them learn real computer skills.


GameClassroom – Educational Games for Children

gameclassroom-comThis is a fun site that combines enjoyable games with learning that fits in with schools for the years from nursery to year/grade six. It’s designed with the attractive colours and images that would appeal to children and it looks like a standard computer games site. Each game is aimed at helping with skills – particularly English language and maths. The games include some brain-training type intelligence activities, needing hand and eye co-ordination. Others are more specifically for the maths and English classes taught in schools.

Racing cars are used to teach fractions, ability with numbers and patterns comes into stacking and other games needing calculations. Basics, such as months of the year for nursery-age children, lead up to more complex games including story starting techniques and prompts to get children writing. Along with the games there’s a homework help section with more detailed information and guidance on the subjects children will be studying for these important 7 years. Parents have been willing to pay for this kind of series on CD so the website should be a useful and entertaining resource, and something parents can do with their children to help them understand their studies.


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