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Source: Univ of Illinois

If weather or other factors keep children marooned at home during the Christmas holidays, University of Illinois Extension has some help to offer.

"We have a number of websites that offer fun, interactive learning experiences for children and at the same time increase their knowledge of science and nature," said Jane Scherer, U of I Extension urban programs specialist.

Scherer focused on four websites:

"A Walk in the Woods";

"The All-Star River Explorers";

"Let's Talk About Insects"; and

"Dr. Arbor Talks Trees"

" 'A Walk in the Woods' provides a virtual tour of the woods plus all the things a child should watch for, such as plants and animals, along with tips for making the experience more enjoyable," she said. "It is illustrated with color photographs and includes links to more sites dealing with the animal and plant worlds."

The development and history of rivers, along with the European and American explorers who navigated these American waters, are covered in "The All-Star River Explorers" website. It shares information in an entertaining manner and at a level easily grasped by youngsters.

"Let's Talk About Insects" provides learning opportunities about the creatures that account for half of all life on the earth.

"The 'Dr. Arbor' site covers the basics of trees, including parts and a fun 'tour' of Dr. Arbor's laboratory," said Scherer.

"All of these sites, as well as other Extension sites geared toward children, can be the answer for parents looking for a way to keep youngsters occupied in productive ways."

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