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September 2002

Kids Castle
Smithsonian Magazine offers a fun, educational Web site for kids
Grade Level: 1-6


Kids Castle is the online Smithsonian Magazine for Kids. The home page offers links to the Cool Link of the Day and Photo of the Day. In addition, links to all the channels (subject areas) are available here. Channels include Science, Personalities, Sports, Animals, Worldwide, History, Arts, and Space. Each channel provides questions and answers, pictures, and information about the subject.
The Web site has a bright yellow background that could be distracting. Text is black and easy to read. Picture menus make this site more child-friendly.
The home page for Kids Castle offers links for each subject area. Each page also links to games and the message board through links at the bottom of every page. A Homelink makes it easy to get from any page back to the Kids Castle.
The Castle Club page offers links to the newsletters and a cartoon -- at this time, there is also a link to coloring pictures featuring animals from the National Zoo. There is also a moderated message board available -- based on the Discus program from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. The message board includes a reminder for students to leave only a first name and last initial and not to give any personal information such as address, phone number, or e-mail address. The main page at Kids Castle offers picture links to all the channels. Each channel has a Whats New section, scrollable links to message topics (questions and answers), facts and photos, and feature articles about that subject. Each channel is hosted by a character -- for example, Animals is hosted by a safari-clad character named Jane. Children can find interesting material here on many subjects, and many of the articles have links to outside sources of information on the same subject.

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