By Ron VandenBoom
Making the Internet interesting to children usually doesnt go much beyond finding new games they can download or play on line. But what would happen if a subject like science could be made as much fun as playing a game?
Well, it probably will never happen, but at least a few Internet sites have taken a shot at it.
Public Broadcasting, already notorious for combining education with fun, has gotten in the habit of posting some of its best documentary programs on the Internet.
While not exclusively for children, www.pbs.org/wnet/savageearth has placed its Savage Earth Series on the Web.
Savage Earth is a series of programs that discuss the more devastating and ferocious aspects of living on a constantly changing and unpredictable planet that responds to the dictates of nature despite the best efforts of man to tame it.
Dive into the devastating effects of earthquakes or the powerful and fascinating reality of volcanoes. Witness to the destructive force of a tsunami or ask a question from experts on the subject while you wonder at the complexities of our planet.
Children will most likely be impressed by the animations that show graphically what adults have always had to glean out of dry science textbooks. For those who prefer reading, however, articles on each of the subjects are available on the main page that offer greater depth into the subject while at the same time are simple enough for children.
Now for the surprise.
Savage Earth is just one of the topics available from PBS. Type in www.pbs.org and browse the latest in topics and documentaries available to the surfer. History, science, technology, the arts, and more are available the list is almost endless.
The history section contains pages on NOVA programs, The American Experience, and Frontline. Each subject can be found in a drop down menu and pulled from the archive for individual viewing. The same is true of the science section, the technology section and the other sections offered in the menu.
While some of the subjects will be slightly more animated than others and keep in mind I didnt look at each and every page there is enough material offered to fill just about anyones needs.
And rest assured that each of the pages is geared to children with both fun and education in mind.
The site also offers the daily specials that can be seen that day on the public broadcast channel, in Havre KSUM channel 9. Learn whats going to be on before it appears and see it in greater depth.
For those who enjoy getting their news from PBS the Online News and Views section might just be your cup of tea.
From the newsroom to the nursery, PBS has not forgotten that kids are still a most important product and the Kids Page is replete with every PBS character that is currently offered on Public Broadcasting.
Fun and Games, Babble On, TV Sites, and Pre School, are all on the menu. You can also meet Barney, Arthur and Noddy on the site. Its a perfect way to introduce your children to the Internet while at the same time starting them along a road to education that may well turn them on instead of off to learning.
While you have them in the learning mode, send them over to www.havredailynews.com and let them get a look at whats going on in their own back yard. Hey, you can come along, too.