Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Britannica Kids

Britannica Kids

Fall 2017 Website
Ages: 5 - 18 yrs.

Britannica Kids is a new product from Encyclopedia Britannica that promises to let your kids explore "uncharted" topics, find "infinite" facts, and help complete homework assignments "in a snap." Hyperbole aside, the website is massive, offering more than 100,000 articles spanning three reading levels; more than 60,000 images and videos; text-to-speech functions; an excellent dictionary; and a lot more.

The opening screen provides reading-level choices: "Up to Grade 3," "Students Grade 6-8," and "Scholars Grade 9 and Up." Pick the appropriate one for your child and, thereafter, Britannica Kids will automatically open to the right content.

So, click on "Kids" (5 and under), for instance, and you immediately get an idea how comprehensive Britannica Kids is. Available choices include Articles, Images & Videos, Biographies, Animal Kingdom, World Atlas and a Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Your child can also browse the massive content alphabetically. Try Images & Videos and you get nine more categories-from Animals and Fine Arts to World Religions and Sports & Hobbies. Click Fine Arts and there are categories from Architecture & Buildings to Theater. Choose Painting and your choices are a dazzling array of amazing artwork that includes prehistoric artists, Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam," and Vincent van Gogh's famous "Self Portrait."

Go to Biographies and choose alphabetically what you want to view: "C" biographies, for instance, get you everyone from Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca to George Armstrong Custer. Under Articles, you can choose from nine categories, and then even alphabetical links to stories from Alligators to Huldrych Zwingli (a Swiss Protestant reformer). The interactive Atlas enables readers to zoom all the way into street maps of specific locations worldwide.

Switch over to the "Students" or "Scholar" portals for higher-grades content and you find longer articles covering topics from Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's political comeback to the biography of American painter Edward Hopper. Many of these articles are written by Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel Laureates, and leading educators, as they were in the Britannica bookshelf days.

This impressive site offers vast content where kids can "run wild" on their own exploring a fun and enriching environment. It's an easy-to-navigate website compatible for all devices, smart phones and desktops; a homework-relevant resource covering the span of curriculum subjects through all grades; and a safe environment learning resource for even the youngest students.

Try the free trial first. Although there's no debate whether this site is encyclopedic, parents, will have to decide if, with all of the free online educational resources available, a first-year subscription that costs $74.95 is right for their family.

Don Oldenburg   ©2017 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.

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