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Mixed Media: Websites


World on the Web

by Sierra Club Webmaster Mike Papciak

With the ongoing uproar over protecting children from inappropriate Internet sites, it’s easy to overlook the fact that there are a growing number of youth-oriented Web sites that can lure your rug rats away from the TV and engage their brains—and even prompt them to get out of the house to learn about nature.

Start by visiting some big sites that will help your young ones get used to navigating and reading onscreen. My favorites include Kids’ Planet (, from Defenders of Wildlife. It will keep youth busy for hours, with fact sheets on exotic animals, clever games and quizzes, and a printable coloring book for when the monitor makes their eyes glaze over.

  • For more games and fact sheets, along with a “virtual house” where youth can learn about toxic chemicals, global warming, and endangered animals, check out the World Wildlife Fund’s Kid Stuff site (
  • A visit to Ranger Rick’s Kids Zone, from the National Wildlife Federation (, reveals rich offerings that will tempt your offspring to learn about nature, from tough quizzes to some truly corny (and therefore perfect for kids) wild-animal jokes.
  • Environmental Defense’s Earth to Kids site (www.earth2Kids) displays some captivating youth art and poetry along with a variety of environmental facts and still more quizzes. n Tales of the rainforest, a tropical coloring book, and compelling paintings by young artists in the Peruvian Amazon grace the children’s pages of the Rainforest Alliance at
  • Action for Nature ( gives young people the opportunity to write an environmental story and have it posted for all the World Wide Web to see. Several sites offer suggestions for getting out and experiencing the real outdoors. Among them are Ranger Rick’s Kids Zone (cited earlier), Kids for a Clean Environment (, and Give Water a Hand (, which offers a downloadable guide to watershed- and stream-cleaning projects.

My 10-month-old son is still more interested in gumming the keyboard than in exploring educational possibilities on the Web, but I look forward to the day when I can help him connect with his world by connecting to the Internet.

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