Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids

Fall 2016 Website
Ages: 6 - 14 yrs.

The National Geographic Kids website is everything you would expect from National Geographic - broad and fascinating, with articles, videos, games, and other activities on a wide range of science and social studies topics. Kids can optionally set up an account (all accounts must be parent-approved) to track their explorations of the site; there are badges to be earned, offering rewards for reading articles on certain topics, playing games, visiting photo galleries, or participating in polls. The more that a child does in his or her account, the more points are earned, allowing kids to advance through leveled badges as well. Although all activities on the site are available without an account, effectively every page on the site has at least one ad for National Geographic magazine subscriptions.

We especially enjoyed the "My Shot" site, which allows users to share their own photos (a separate account is needed for this, again requiring parental approval) and browse the work of other young photographers. We also liked playing the games, though some of these were truly challenging and required quick reflexes, possibly above the capabilities of younger visitors to the site. We laughed at the hip-hop, semi-animated videos of the states, sponsored by Barry the Bald Eagle; there are twenty-six states so far, but Barry's journey continues.

We ran into a slight glitch on the site; the link to change the account avatar is currently inoperative, but this did little to diminish our enthusiasm.

Finally, the site offers a research page called "Homework Help," with links to many commonly requested topics (history, geography, animals, a general encyclopedia, and advice on assignment work). Parents and educators who visit the National Geographic education page will see plenty of ideas on how to integrate the website material into a curriculum.

Emily Crawford   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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