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e-Briefing | Kids' Internet

2 Web Sites Let Parents Join in 'Edutainment'

March 29, 2001|KAREN JONES | karen@kjnyc.com

Education.com and America Online's Kids Only Jr. encourage parents and children to explore online learning together and provide enough fun and games to make it worth the visits.

Education.com at http://www.education.com is an online component of Knowledge Adventure, publishers of JumpStart and Math Blaster educational software. Both brands are featured, but the site emphasizes an engaging educational environment--not overt product promotion.

Education.com incorporates art, music, games, school projects and monitored online communities.

In the KidSpace section, visitors can catch up on news, science, arts and entertainment as well as post their own artwork and stories. They can have questions answered in the I Wonder Why area and access an impressive encyclopedia found under Homework Help. The Games area and Blaster club offer an array of learning games.

Kids Only Jr., found at AOL keyword "KOJR," offers an "edutainment" environment in which kids ages 2 to 5 can enjoy age-appropriate online activities with many of their favorite offline characters.

The good news for parents is that the site couldn't be easier to understand and navigate. It incorporates content from children's media organizations such as PBS Kids, Nickelodeon's Nick Jr., Sesame Workshop and KiddoNet Jr. and features letter and number games, storybooks, printable coloring pages and musical sing-alongs.

The home page showcases four main characters that change every few months. There also is an A-Z index of the current kids "A list," from Arthur and Barney to Mr. Rogers and "Teletubbies" character Tinky Winky. A click on a character will take kids to its home page.

Karen Jones is a freelance writer specializing in children's interactive media.

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