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The best educational websites for kids who won't stop stealing Mom's tablet

Jill is a sometime runner and expert wine taster from sunny San Antonio. She has a degree in social psychology, one husband and three children. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Babble and she's regular...

If your kid's going to have screen time, these websites make it worthwhile

Babies may be born with a cellphone in hand these days, but there's a big advantage to the fact that most kids are comfortable with technology by the time they can crawl. It's certainly important to protect kids from the dangers of the Internet, but at the same time, a significant portion of our children's education takes place online.

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Half of America's kids under 8 have access to a mobile device like a smartphone, an iPod, iPad or other tablet. And before you start railing about kids and screen time, it's not all bad. Computers augment learning in the classroom and at home. Here are some of our favorite educational sites for kids: 

1. Hooda Math

Hooda Math is a free online math game site that includes over 700 free math games. Founded by a middle school math teacher, Hooda Math has math games for all ages, K through high school.

2. Spatulatta

Spatulatta is a culinary site for kids that offers easy, kid-friendly recipes and basic kitchen info, such as metric conversion tables and the correct way to slice an onion.

3. Mommy Maleta

Maleta is the Spanish word for suitcase. If you’re looking for an outside-of-the-box, kid-friendly look at the big world we live in, Mommy Maleta is a great site to check out.

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4. PBS Kids

PBS Kids probably needs no introduction. It’s a great website chock-full of fun and learning. Also check out PBS Parents for great tips and activities.

5. Fun Brain

A variety of math, reading and just-for-fun games. Most of Fun Brain's games are in an arcade-style format. Kids can also read excerpts from popular chapter books, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

6. Brain Pop

Count yourself lucky if your school district or library system gives you login access to Brain Pop. Family plans are available for purchase, starting at around $9 a month. Brain Pop is divided into subject areas (e.g., math, science, social studies) and includes a special module for ESL students. Brain Pop Jr. is available for kids in grades K-3.

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7. National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids has all kinds of cool facts and games. The section on animal sounds is amazing and the site has loads of videos.

8. ABC Mouse

ABC Mouse is full of online early-learning curriculum for ages 2-7. The subscription prices start at $8 a month, but they offer a free trial month.

9. Farfaria

Farfaria is an interactive reading app. Kids can explore a world of stories through an interactive map. Farfaria is Common Core-aligned and takes the guesswork out of finding the right reading level for your young reader.

10. Sesame Street

Geared toward younger children, Sesame Street’s website has video clips and games that teach letters, rhyming, animal sounds, colors and more.

11. Kidz Page

Kidz Page has more than 5,000 pages of learning games and activities. Online coloring pages, jigsaw puzzles and word games are just a few sections of this massive site. Each holiday also has its own section of activities and games.

12. How Stuff Works

Kids ask questions. How Stuff Works has answers. This site is organized by subject area: autos, culture, entertainment, science, money, technology and more. How Stuff Works also has games, quizzes and videos.

Next Up: TIME for Kids

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