Looking for a Kid-Friendly Search Engine

20 Sep

This weekend at a garage sale (one of the last of the year, probably!), I found, for a quarter, a book from 1993 called 180 Days Around the World by Shirley Cook.  It’s a teacher’s resource that has reproducible masters for 180 locations around the world (countries, provinces, and states).

The idea is to look for one location each day.  There are 4 clues and the kids are supposed to use reference materials to help find the location.  For example…

Location #52

  1. This Southeast Asian country borders Thailand and Vietnam.
  2. The tropical climate here makes perfect conditions for growing rice.
  3. Most of the people here speak Khmer.
  4. The capital city is Phnom Penh.

For this one, KarateKid’s globe and National Geographic atlas would be enough – using clues #1 and #4 – to positively identify the country.  But what about…

Location #79

  1. The national motto of this country is, “Ddraig goch ddyry cychwyn.”  (The red dragon leads the way.)
  2. Charles was investitured as Prince of this country in 1969.
  3. This country has a tiny village with the longest place-name in the world: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwlillandysilio!
  4. The main character in Susan Cooper’s “The Grey King” visits this country.

This one doesn’t have any physical clues, so he’d need to get more information somewhere: looking up the motto, the tiny village, or the plot of “The Grey King.”

So I’m looking for suggestions for search engines that are maybe more kid-friendly, screened results, etc.  Any ideas?  I’d love to be able to just bookmark a couple good sites for him – we can include good geography sites with maps, atlases, population information, etc. – and let him do the research on his own each day.

I like the book because it also includes two or three extension activities for each location.  For location #79, these include…

  1. People throughout the world enjoy an unusual old sport, known by the people of Country Number 79 as Gurning.  The winner of the sport is the player who can make the funniest face.  Experiment to come up with the face you would enter in a gurning contest.  Check it out with a mirror.  Invite a group of friends to join in the competition.
  2. The thirteenth-century Conway Castle is an important landmark here.  Design and draw a castle of the twenty-first century.  List its most important features.
  3. List the qualities that you feel a good leader should possess.  Can you find any famous people from this country who possess(ed) many of these characteristics?  Name them.

I think these would be fun to explore with KarateKid – they are right on his interest and skill level right now, will give us an interesting overview of the world (plus, probably, several insights into how it has changed since 1993!) and some interesting extension activities that he might choose to do.   I just need to build up a little list of good sites he can use in his research.  Suggestions, please!

3 Responses to “Looking for a Kid-Friendly Search Engine”

  1. tinderbox September 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

    I don’t have any suggestions, but what a cool book! I bet you guys will really have fun with it.

  2. Aunt Gwyn September 28, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    Google allows you to turn on varying levels of “Safe Search,” which is also true of its image search. I’m not sure whether this will allow a kid to search for, say, fighting cocks without turning up severely unwanted images, but you could try it sometime when the chibis are in bed.


  1. Mind Games » Blog Archive » Throat Singing - September 28, 2010

    [...] only on day 2 of using the book 180 Days Around the World, but it has already been fun.  Today’s secret location was hidden in these four [...]

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