Useful websites for learning
These websites have been found to be very useful.
Information for parents to explain some of the changes that will come in with the new National Curriculum in September 2014.
online maths homework
Currently being trialled.
Free computer-coding lessons
Art appreciation for children
Introduce your children to Degas, Warhol, Turner and other artists through fun games and activities. They can also draw, upload their own art to a gallery and watch films about art concepts. The games are suitable for three age groups ranging from 5 year olds to the over-10s. Plus there are lots of ideas on how to “be crafty offline” in the “Tate Create” sub-section.
Answers for inquisitive children
What’s inside a computer? What happens if the Earth stops spinning? This site from the Discovery network has all the answers that inquisitive children (and parents) want to know, plus blogs, quizzes and games. Another similar resource, wonderopolis.org, has a “wonder of the day” to encourage learning throughout the week.
Competitive maths learning
There’s nothing like a bit of competition to inspire learning. Mathletics is the leading maths website, a paid-for resource for schools and students aged 5-19 to play maths games while competing against other pupils and schools from around the world. Exercises can be selected according to subject and progress is tracked. A lot of schools subscribe, but home use is available from £39 a year.
Online maths tutor for 5 to 13-year-olds
If you’re looking for a maths tutor, consider Maths Whizz. It uses interactive animations, games and tutoring, covering primary to early KS3 level. Students can log in from anywhere with a web connection. It costs either £149 per year or £19.99 per month.
A website offering a bit of everything that the creative parent and child might need to learn while having fun. As well as craft projects, science experiments and cookery (all with easy guides) there are games to play, magic tricks to watch — and even quite funny jokes to enjoy.
Learn to code through games
Nominated by Sarah Ebner, The Times School Gate Blog.
“Scratch (free to all users) is a brilliant way for children to learn to code, without having to worry about learning a new programming language. The site, from the experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, allows children to program by dragging and dropping, rather than writing out, code.”
Free fun exercises
This site has been on the web since 1997 — and it still looks much like it did then. But behind the basic design are hundreds of maths games, exercises, quizzes and a glossary to explain maths terms. An excellent way to practise without feeling like you’re doing extra school work.
Video game maths
Even complex mathematical tasks can be taught using games. This site, developed by mathematicians including Marcus du Sautoy, is used across the UK to teach high-level concepts using fun video games. As Education Secretary Michael Gove says: “When children need to solve equations to get ammo to shoot aliens, it is amazing how quickly they can learn.”
Creative writing for youngsters
Budding writers should head to this site, where children under 16 are set a weekly creative writing challenge — always of just 100 words in length. Entries are posted on the site, and volunteers all over the world leave critical and encouraging feedback.
One-stop shop for lyricists
Nominated by Francis Gilbert, teacher and writer, who says: “Lots of great poems, presented in an interesting way for all ages, as well as links to competitions and websites promoting poetry. It really is the one-stop shop for budding poets.”
Online video tutorials
Started by a Salman Khan, an American who wanted to help his nephew to learn maths, these online video tutorials have become an online education sensation, teaching the YouTube generation everything from arithmetic to physics.
Mini online encyclopaedia
Created by a Kent primary school, but has such a wealth of resources that it is now used by lots of parents and schools. There are games and tests at primary level, divided into topics and key stages. Includes excellent maths and literacy games.
Interactive map of the Blitz
Find out exactly where bombs fell in the UK during The Blitz . This clever interactive map uses data from bomb census maps to show exactly where each bomb hit. Some bombsites are linked to interviews and photos creating a powerful visualisation for anyone interested in history.
Homepage for children
Need a child-friendly site that offers more than games? Yahoo! Kids is an appealing homepage for youngsters with sections for jokes, e-cards and films. It also contains a search engine, with filtered results aimed at children.
Games for simple computer skills Fancy a game of Math Baseball or online Sudoku? This site has maths and reading games suitable for children up to Key Stage 3. It also has a “Playground” zone that helps younger children to learn basic computer skills through games.
Official online home of The Cat in the Hat and friends
Play and learn while bringing classic Dr Seuss books to life, including The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham and Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Explore the books and characters through activities and games.
Learn anything, quickly
How’s your Mandarin? This innovative website uses user-generated “mems” — ideas that help you to remember things — to teach you anything you fancy, from Spanish to maths and music. You sign up, choose your course, and follow their short interactive lessons for a few minutes as often as you can — all totally free. It remembers what you’ve learnt — and need to work on.
Fancy reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Plato’s The Republic? Lots of literature past its copyright date is at your fingertips thanks to Project Gutenberg. You can download 40,000 free e-books for Kindle or to read via apps or online.
Can you name all the characters from Harry Potter? Or every capital city in the world? How about all of the states in America? Sporcle creates endless addictive quizzes and allows you to create your own trivia tests and share them with friends.
Expand your word knowledge
Tergiversate? Pusillanimous? Lucubrate? Vocabulary.com teaches you new words by using multiple choice quizzes, remembering what you get wrong and returning to those words until you get them right. It has a blindingly fast dictionary, a word blog and lists of interesting words under various topics for you to learn.
Pre-school interactive learning
“Poisson Rouge is one of the most creative, beautiful and interactive sites available for pre-school kids. If you are thinking of succumbing to a tablet for your five-year-old, load up these apps to make you feel a bit happier about all that screen time.”
A fun way to learn to read
“Reading Eggs uses games, animations, songs and rewards to encourage children to read. It’s not free but many Mumsnet users report that the site has encouraged their children to get excited about the idea of reading. No higher recommendation than that.”
Saviour site for students
“I can’t believe I passed an exam without this. Truly this generation don’t know how lucky they are. Never mind if their revision notes are incomplete, illegible, ink-blotted scrawls when it comes to exam time. From the American West to the alimentary canal, it’s all there in clear, easily searchable nuggets — the perfect revision resource.”
Advice for parents of SEN children
“Special Needs Jungle is a really excellent site for parents of children with special needs or disabilities, by parents with expert knowledge. It helps them to navigate what really can be a ‘jungle’ of confusing information, so they’re able to identify and access the support and services they need.”