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Childrens Online Encyclopedia

Ella Rain
Library computer

A children's online encyclopedia is a valuable tool for students. Free online research tools are readily available, but parents may want to consider investing in a membership to an online encyclopedia for kids.

About Children's Online Encyclopedias

Parents have many choices to consider while searching for online reference tools. The challenge is finding resources that cover a wide range of topics. A children's online encyclopedia is a convenient solution to this problem. Having quick access to reliable information is extremely important. Students can spend less time wading through pages on the Internet and more time finding relevant publications. Free resources may be sufficient for many students, but pupils who want to hone their research skills may require more guidance.

Fact Monster

Fact Monster offers a free searchable children's online encyclopedia. Students have the option of simply entering a term in the site's search tool or they can browse information by subject. The generous list of information includes topics ranging from biographies to psychology. When a search term is entered, Fact Monster produces a list of related terms. For example, if a student enters "atom", terms like electron, proton and atomic weight appear on the list. From there, the student selects a page from the encyclopedia.The resource information comes from The Columbia Encyclopedia. Great features offered by the research tool are the bibliographies at the end of many of the entries. Students who want to explore the topics in-depth can refer to books and articles included in the bibliography.

Encyclopedia Smithsonian

Encyclopedia Smithsonian offers information on topics from art to zoology. Topics are arranged in alphabetical order for easy navigation. The search feature allows visitors to look for information on topics that are not listed on the reference page. is a great resource for children ages 11 and older. The site provides access to millions of articles, biographies, facts and pictures. The research library contains publications focusing on computer, medical and science in addition to general information. The online encyclopedia provides access to information from:

  • The Columbia Encyclopedia
  • Encyclopedia of World Biography
  • Oxford's World Encyclopedia

In order to get full access to many of the articles, a paid membership to Highbeam Research is required. This may be a good investment for high school and college students.

Paying for Reference Tools

Years ago, families invested money on encyclopedias for the home. It was like bringing the library into their living rooms. The Internet has become a valuable research tool that has endless possibilities. Free references are very useful, but for some, investing in subscriptions to organizations like Highbeam is preferred because the breadth of information available.

Encyclopedia Britannica for Kids

Although not a free resource, a prime choice is Encyclopedia Britannica Kids. The website organizes information according to age, with a section for children ages 8 to 11 and a section for children 11 and older. Visitors pay for access to the information and activities. Membership includes:

  • Encyclopedia
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Animated timelines
  • World atlas
  • Statistics
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Research guides
  • Reference tools

Encyclopedia Britannica Kids also features learning activities in social sciences, science, math, English and language arts. Students learn how to research through the guides and they can reinforce learning through the organization's activities. The reference tools are invaluable, especially the Research Help Desk. This feature offers instructions for different types of writing:

  • Research papers
  • Book reviews
  • Science reports
  • Preparing oral presentations

Choosing Encyclopedias for Kids Online

Parents looking for quick access to research information for their kids can benefit from using free online resources. If parents want to give their children access to research tools as well as support for developing research skills in one place, investing in a membership can save considerable time.

Childrens Online Encyclopedia