Monday, 11 August 2014

3 Top Nature Websites for Kiwi Kids

As a writer of children's books I spend a lot of time reading and researching, using books and websites. I keep an eye out for websites that I can recommend to children and their parents. It's amazing how many websites there are that fall into the New Zealand nature category. Check out my Pinterest board New Zealand Nature Online to see some of them. Most are written for general audiences but many are specialist sites that focus on one geographical area, such as a sanctuary, or one species, such as yellow-eyed penguins.

Here are my top three nature websites for children interested in New Zealand nature. 
My criteria are: easy navigation, informative and interesting content that children can grasp, a range of media (not just text to read).

Number one is the Kiwi Conservation Club website

The site isn't restricted to members of the club (although children might want to join when they see what's on offer!). It has a good range of information about New Zealand wildlife, habitats and conservation issues. There are quizzes to do online as well as hands-on project ideas. And it's written specifically for children

Second is New Zealand Birds Online
This site gets top marks for easy navigation. It's easy to find information about a particular bird or to identify a bird. Each bird has its own page with audio files as well as lots of photographs. It's not written for children, and so children may need some help interpreting the information. Adults or older children helping out will probably get hooked on this site too!

And number three is the Marine Studies Centre website
The highlight of this site is the Marine Life Database which has undergone some recent improvements, making it easier to search for sea creatures.

Aside from the database there is a link to a YouTube channel and there are some children's games and downloadable resources.

The organisations responsible for these websites - Forest and Bird, Te Papa, Birds New Zealand, DOC, Otago University - deserve our congratulations and support. They're helping make the internet a rich resource for kiwi kids.