It all started when brothers Martin and Chris Kratt grew up in New Jersey, went camping, and took some pictures of local wildlife. This blossomed into lifelong love of nature and specifically of documenting it and sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm.
Their first show together was Kratts’ Creatures in 1996. They evolved the concept a bit and ran Zoboomafoo in 1999, Be the Creature in 2003, and Creature Adventures in 2008. They have been making the current incarnation, Wild Kratts since 2011. This more recent version has much more animation, which my kids find appealing. (They aren’t so interested in long-form nature documentaries with nothing but video clips of animals)
The older content, such as the Zoboomafoo series, has aged well (although the brothers themselves are visibly much younger) and I’ve found used DVDs for very cheap. (The hard part about DVDs these days is finding a working player).
There are also several free onlne spinoff games on PBS Kids Games. Monkey Mayhem is my kids’ favorite.
There are also lots of books based on Wild Kratts and even action figures, and even also a live stage show!
The Kratt Brothers’ enthusiasm is infectious and I find myself jealous that these guys can travel the world, making a living from doing what they love.
The videos and everything they do is wholesome, entertaining, and educational. It’s the kind of thing I have no hesitation of letting my kids watch during their allocated screen time.
There are free videos, games, and other activities on the Wild Kratts website at PBS kids dot org.
(The games are all done in HTML5 so they work on all types of computer, iPad, etc. with no need for the now-deprecated Flash plugin.)
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ad for FunBrain but they have been around since 1997 and are one of the best sites for safe, educational games and videos for kids.
Their target audience is pre-k through grade 8. The site is free to use although it pays for itself via ads. The ads are not very intrusive, but do promote products like Lucky Charms and Froot Loops etc. I would have tagged this site as appropriate for younger kids, but it’s too easy for little ones to inadvertently click an ad and then not know how to get back to the site, so I recommend the site for kids who are at least 6.
The site offers games, reading, and videos.
Many of the games seem to use HTML5 rather than Flash, which means they should run on any device, in just about any browser.
The reading section has full books with scanned pages that a child can read on a tablet or phone or other device.
The video section has a lot of original content not available elsewhere, with puppet characters, cooking shows, music, and more.
All in all, a good, free, safe place to let your kid explore and learn while having fun.
ABCYa.com has 300+ kid-friendly games, some of them quite challenging and fun. The site is free, with ads (for things like Froot Loops) or you can pay $7/month to sign in and avoid ads (or just use an ad-blocker).
Most (or all) of the games are made with Flash, which is supported less and less each month. Chrome will soon drop support for the Flash plugin altogether, but you should still be able to get in with Firefox, Opera, or Edge.