The internet can be a scary place, especially when you let kids loose for research projects! An innocent search can suddenly turn all sorts of bad with the wrong key word combination or a simple click of the mouse.
It can also be a super cool place for children to construct their own knowledge, explore their interests, and develop research skills they will use for life.
So instead of kicking the internet out of your classroom, use it wisely. I’ve compiled a sweet list of the best research websites for kids, and it’s available NOW in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for FREE.
In this post, I’ll highlight my personal top 6 research websites, and tell you how I use them.
In my classroom, we do a ton of research focused on biographies. For Virginia, there is an emphasis on early American history through the Civil Rights era, and there are just so many very interesting people to learn about.
This is my go-to place to send my students for their research projects. The entries are generally easy to read for fourth grade and above, and they are packed with information without being super overwhelming.
After Biography, this is the next place I send my kiddos. What I like is the multi-media aspect here. There are videos that correspond with almost every topic imaginable. The length of each entry varies, but the information provided is usually enough for our purposes.
The one caution I have is that not all the videos here are suitable for younger children to watch due to graphic violence or discussion of more adult topics (disease, war, rape, etc.). If you think a video would be useful, please preview first and let the kids watch second! Or instruct your children that they need to ask you BEFORE they hit play.
Time for Kids is perfect for current events connections to your units or themes. This site breaks down politics, sports, global news, and national news into child-friendly articles and infographics. My favorite part is that nothing ever panders to our kids, despite the lower reading level. They are treated as the intelligent human beings that they are!
The only downside is that a lot of the site is open to subscribers only. The subscriptions range (right now, with mid-year pricing in effect) from $2.94/student print copy for over 300 students to $4.66/student for the print edition and the app for 10-149 students. The cost can add up quickly! So this might be something to add to your teacher wish list, even to just open up the whole website (printables galore!).
This is basically Google, but for kids. Google does have the ability to adjust search filtering controls in the browser, but this is a site that automatically does the filtering for you!
When I did a quick search, I was directed towards sites that had appropriate information that kids might find useful, without any of the “noise” that might distract them.
The one caveat is that is NOT parental control. There is nothing preventing a child from leaving safe search, and using a regular non-filtered search engine. One way that I solved this problem was constant vigilance. I made sure the kids knew that I had access to web history, including searches and search terms, and that anything suspicious would result in immediate action.
DK is known for their super popular Eyewitness books, but they have so much more to offer! This website is free, but does offer a (also free) teacher sign-up that comes with a myriad of cool features and tools. Like build a lesson plan: build a lesson plan using DK content, then play it on your computer. Essentially, you build your own smartboard lesson! I’m still messing around to see if you could share the lesson to students for flipped classrooms.
This is another subscription site, but I still adore it! My school happens to have a subscription, and I use this site almost daily. If I need to teach something, Tim and Moby are ready to teach it to my class with easy to remember catch phrases and a large dose of humor.
Plus, there are interactive features, quizzes, and tons of other tools that help to drive home the content. The topics and content are Common Core aligned, which is super helpful. My kids loved to use the online quizzes after each video to review as a class, and they could access the site after school using a code/password.
Which websites are your favorite to use with kids? How do you use them?