Disclaimer: At ages 3.5 and 21 months, my kids are not on the computer much at all. My recommendations here are sites that help pass the time when you’re desperate: in the waiting room at the doctor’s office; when you’re out at a restaurant or stuck in traffic; or those few minutes before dinner when all hell breaks loose. Bookmark these on your smartphone and save them for emergencies. Just make sure you have a strong internet connection, though, or you, too, will have two small children chanting, “Buffering . . . buffering . . . buffering . . .”
Cullen’s ABCs — This YouTube channel features “Cullen” singing lots of nursery rhymes and kids’ songs and doing the accompanying hand motions. It’s almost like going to storytime at the library!
PBS Kids — This site has games, coloring pages, and videos featuring your favorite characters “as seen on TV.” Again, my kids don’t watch TV, but they know about Clifford, Curious George, and The Cat in the Hat from reading books.
Pigeon Presents — For fans of Mo Willems’ “Pigeon” books, this site is great. Click on the pigeon in the party hat to go to the Fun page. My kids especially like watching Piggie and Elephant dance and putting gross stuff on the hotdogs.
Poisson Rouge — Poisson Rouge means “Red Fish” in French, I believe. This is an interactive French website for kids that’s so, so cool. I can’t really even describe it and I have no idea how I originally found it, but it’s really amazing. The main page starts in a child’s playroom and each item in the room is a link to some kind of little game. It’s fun to just explore!
Super Coloring — There are tons of sites out there with coloring pages you can print out for your kids, but this is one of the biggest and best organized ones I’ve seen. They have an especially good selection of pages featuring cartoon characters.
Super Simple Songs — This is another YouTube channel of old kids’ songs and nursery rhymes. This time, though, the videos are beautifully animated. Our favorites are “Bingo” with a floppy-haired sheepdog, “The Skeleton Dance” (“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dancing bones . . .”), and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with the adorable owl featured on the home page.