It’s no secret that the federal government’s organizational model can be confusing for kids. Back in 1790, the Constitution of the United States established a government comprised of three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. Aside from those branches, there are multiple agencies that specifically address certain populations within the United States. To help further kids’ understanding of the agencies and their various functions, some have created special websites complete with games, puzzles, and videos.
United States Department of Agriculture – Kids’ Zone
This site provides kids with ideas for science projects, virtual tours of farms, and games that provide details about things like sheep, milk, and even pizza!
With an entire section devoted to students, the Bureau of Labor Statistics looks to inform students about everything from careers to the national economy. Using maps, charts, and even a glossary, kids can learn more about what the agency does and why it is important.
Ever wonder how the Census Bureau counts people? This site uses an interactive format that allows kids to see how the process works, enjoy free coloring pages and take advantage of a memory game. A separate section of the page focuses on state facts.
United States Government Printing Office – Ben’s Guide
With the help of Benjamin Franklin, kids can choose age appropriate learning opportunities as an apprentice (4-8 years old), a journeyman (9-13 years old), or a master (14 years and older).
Federal Emergency Management Agency – Be a Hero!
The U.S. Fire Administration, part of FEMA, created a site that helps children and their families plan for disasters. With tips on making a plan and even building a disaster kit, kids have an opportunity to feel like they are making a difference for their families.
Mine Safety and Health Administration – Dangerous Places
The Mine Safety and Health Administration’s website focuses on keeping kids safe, providing an extensive list of places that children should avoid. The site also provides a link to “Places to Stay Away From,” a site that explains the dangers that come with an abandoned mine.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA offers kids multiple opportunities to play games that center around space and its exploration. From making a rescue in a black hole to searching the skies for a comet, there are plenty of things to do and see.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Using an interactive story, students learn about estuaries, different ecosystems, and how they can care for the environment. This agency acknowledges that kids today learn differently and strives to provide them with interesting opportunities to explore their environment.
United States Department of Energy
Science education is the focus of the Department of Energy’s website for kids. It offers detailed information about Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla as well as videos on things like classrooms powered with solar energy and summer energy activities.
Italian Citizenship by Marriage
IDC is an American and Italian legal office specializing in Italian dual citizenship by marriage or civil union. The United States allows its citizens to be dual citizens by simultaneously holding two countries passports.
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
While this agency specializes in the overall housing needs of the American population, the website for kids discusses ideas like being a good citizen and provides some information about fair housing.
United States Department of the Treasury – The United States Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change
Aside from setting up a tour to one of the United States Mints, the History in Your Pocket website has games for kids to play, including the America the Beautiful Quarters Game.
United States Fish and Wildlife Service – Plan Some Outdoor Fun
Multiple outdoor activities are listed on the FWS website. Using links to the service itself as well as other non-profit organizations, kids and their families can learn about setting up their own scavenger hunts outside and backyard campouts.
United States Geological Survey – Earthquakes for Kids
What child doesn’t want to learn more about earthquakes? At this site, kids can explore earthquake history, learn why they happen, and get some ideas for their next science fair project.
United State General Services Administration – Kids.gov
The Kids.gov website is filled with a wealth of information, games, and exploratory opportunities for kids online. Many of the departments within the federal government are represented on the site and kids can easily spend hours browsing the activities.
United States Patent and Trademark Office – USPTO for Kids
Kids interested in inventing something will enjoy pouring over this page to learn more about past inventors through different trading cards, flipbook animation fun, and cipher puzzles (PDF). Multiple events that kids may want to attend are listed below, including things like the First Lego League and the Mini Maker Faire.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – BAM! Body and Mind
It’s no secret that kids need to remain active to stay healthy and happy. The CDC offers different descriptions of activities the kids might enjoy, listing out the parts of the body worked and what, if any, equipment is needed.
National Security Agency – America’s CryptoKids
Kids have a chance to make and break codes though America’s CryptoKids website. Information about working for the NSA along with other games and activities are available on the site.
Federal Bureau of Investigation – The Kids’ Page
Age-appropriate games, activities, and stories are featured to help kids and their parents understand what the FBI does. There are separate sections of the site for kindergarten through 5th grade and middle school through 12th grade.
Department of State – Youth Passport
Kids can create their own passport with this printable activity book. It addresses what a person needs in order to get a passport and what should be packed for international travel.
Environmental Protection Agency – Fish Kids
The EPA’s Fish Kids website teaches kids how to determine which fish are safe to eat. Whether camping out or heading to the grocery store, there are certain things that all families should be aware of. Kids can play a fishing game and a memory game as part of the learning experience.
United States Food and Drug Administration – Lose a Million Bacteria
Much like the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, kids compete to answer food safety questions. While the instructions and the game itself are made for the classroom, it is possible to modify things to play the game at home.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences – Kids’ Pages
There are lots of fun and games to be had at this website. From finding hidden pictures to learning more about the climates of the world, kids have plenty of opportunities to explore and discover.
United States Department of the Interior – National Park Service
As a WebRanger, kids can earn rewards, try new activities, and even customize their very own Ranger Station. Kids will actually enjoy learning about the National Parks, Monuments, and Historic Sites.
National Center for Education Statistics – Kids’ Zone
Kids play the game of chance by selecting a certain number of rolls of the dice. They learn about probability and statistics, seeing how numbers change an outcome. There are several other games available on the site.
National Institute of Standards and Technology – Taking America’s Measure
In addition to a word search, kids can learn more about what this agency does and how it affects our lives on a daily basis. It is possible for kids to see all the things around them that are measured, studied or improved by this portion of the government.
Department of Homeland Security – Heads Up: Stop. Think. Click.
This video encourages kids to think about what they are doing when they download items from the Internet. There are other videos on the page dealing with cyberbullying, sharing information online, and protecting your home Internet connection.
United States Energy Information Administration – Energy Kids
With games, activities, riddles and more, this site offers a comprehensive look at energy and how it affects a child’s life. There are quizzes to help check for understanding and suggestions for science experiments that can be done at home.
Central Intelligence Agency – Kids’ Zone
Kids choose between the section best suited for kindergarten through 5th graders or 6th through 12th graders. There are games to play as well as related links and information for both parents and teachers.
United States Department of Health and Human Services – Too Smart to Start
This site, geared more for older kids, focuses on avoiding alcohol and the negative effects it tends to create. There are all sorts of games and movies and visitors to the site can even send out e-cards to encourage their friends to avoid alcohol.
Help with style for shorter men.
Kids learn about how the Peace Corps work and what they do. They learn what problems different parts of the world face and what the Peace Corps do about it.
By Ted Burgess