Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2019

National Geographic Kids

Stunning photos and in-depth stories of Earth's peoples and wildlife

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Pre-K–8
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Teachers say (20 Reviews)
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Pros: Tapping into an expertise in photography, international coverage, and wildlife reportage, the site provides an amazing array of learning resources.

Cons: Teaching resources are limited; some of the wildlife videos and photos show predators in scenes that could scare very young kids.

Bottom Line: This large collection of multimedia resources teaches younger students about animals, habitats, countries, and cultures.

While National Geographic Kids isn't well-organized for teachers, it is a fantastic resource for students to explore their interests and follow their curiosity. The site would be a great way to introduce the diversity of life on Earth: Encourage students to learn about new animals, watch the science and geography series, and explore the interactive world map. The Homework Help section can provide additional information for light research papers or projects. Teachers can search, themselves, for resources that match topics they're working on in the classroom.

Teachers of younger students will find this easy-to-use educational tool a great way to increase engagement and add extension activities for science and social studies lessons. Note: Though the site content is free, there are abundant links to subscribe to the National Geographic Kids and National Geographic Little Kids magazines.

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By building on National Geographic's reputation for breathtaking photography and in-depth reportage about the world's cultures and exotic wildlife, National Geographic Kids provides an overwhelming number of high-quality visual learning tools. Profiles of animals and countries include videos, photos, maps, and facts. Videos are brief (one to five minutes) and include excerpts from National Geographic's nature films and exploration shows. The reading level is appropriate for kids as young as second grade and might even provide some motivation for reading instruction in class.

In the extensive animal section, students can search for animals by type of animal and/or habitat. They can find animal species from the luna moth and desert tortoise to the caracal and wolverine. Each listing gives overview information, scientific name, habitat, range, endangered status, and plenty of other details. Articles add more text to the site's offerings, and students can travel the world with the interactive world map. Along with the more traditional educational material, National Geographic Kids also has a games section that allows students to explore topics such as code breaking, national parks, settling in Jamestown, recycling, Greek gods, and, of course, animals.

National Geographic Kids is well-organized and easy to navigate, even for young students. They can just browse, narrow their browsing to certain areas, or do a keyword search for something specific. In-depth sections of the site include topics such as the 50 Birds, 50 States video series; How Things Work videos; Brain Games; and plenty of experiments. There are also countless animal videos, articles, and activities on history and culture. Allowing kids to search on their own, as well as using the site for targeted lessons or homework help, keeps students involved with guiding the direction of their own learning, which makes for lifelong learners. 

The section on animals is where this site really shines, with a seemingly never-ending list of specific animals to study. Kids are bound to find a favorite creature among the hundred or so profiled. For social studies lessons, the site also profiles dozens of countries all over the globe. Each country profile is objective and informative, designed to captivate kids with images and video. National Geographic has created a one-stop shop for elementary and middle school kids interested in animals or peoples of the world.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Video clips, regular series, cartoons, games, and hands-on activities are sure to captivate elementary and middle school-age students.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

A vast array of resources provides almost every learning opportunity imaginable, including instructional videos, hands-on experiments and maps, games, and profiles of animals and countries.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Content is accessible to younger students through many resources that don't require reading, as well as lots of age-appropriate guidance throughout. There are few teacher resources, however.


Teacher Reviews

(See all 20 reviews) (20 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Erica K. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School
Point Pleasant, United States
Captivating website to explore the world's beautiful people, places, and animals.
It's a great tool for introducing a new topic or as a way to deeper student understanding of a topic since much of the content is comprehensive and presents a global perspective. I like the video selections and the collaboration features which include being able to vote on opinion questions or post photos of your own.
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