Cool Kindergarten

About CoolKindergarten

Cool Kindergarten was created and designed to be a kinder-friendly “home” for students to use to get to hand-selected, free standards-based games and activities online. It is the creation of a public school kindergarten teacher and is free to use.

How to use

Decide what content you want students to use to match your current standards. Students navigate to the page you want and play the listed games in order. The picture icons and number-based format makes it easy for students to navigate around the site, remember which games they’ve played in a single session and can work at an independent pace.

>> Continue Reading: How CoolK Works for Teachers with Bonus Downloadable Posters

How we got here

CoolKindergarten was created by Leslie. She has been a Kindergarten teacher for 10 years and is the author of She believes in teaching kindergarten students how to be incredible people, along with teaching them to read, write and think for themselves. She is passionate about learning new ways to communicate what kids need to know and sharing what she’s learned with some of the planet’s most important people– teachers. When she’s not having adventures of the kindergarten kind, she enjoys living life in Tennessee with her husband and four children.

When I started teaching in a non-Title 1 school in Indiana, I found out that there was no option to have subscription based programs for my students to use on the computer. There just wasn’t funding for such a thing.

I knew that my students would be using the computer lab once a week and here I had no resources. Well, there may have been a few CD-based programs – but they ran slowly and not all students could be using the same one at the same time.

I needed a solution that would allow me to work smart and still accomplish our learning goals!

Together, with my school’s technology assistant, we started a basic list of a few websites that had decent, free games online for kids. I started dissecting that list, scouring the internet and amassing an even bigger list to work from. I figured out how I could break from the normal routine of just sending kids to one large website – where they generally just spent time clicking around, playing random things.

I could finally put together an ordered list of specific activities from these sites that lined up with my quarterly and weekly goals.

This was a project that took an entire school year since I created it as I was teaching… and has taken on new life with lots of improvements each year. I had to work around common issues like how to keep students from deleting links, not worry about having to use the back button for navigation, and {ahem} keeping them on task.

What evolved was a large set of weekly lessons in pdf form and the Computer Lab Lessons were born. At first, they were just used by me and the other kindergarten teacher in our building. A few years later, they became available through an open marketplace for teachers and helped many others who needed a smart solution too.

Since that first project, I acquired some donated laptop computers for my classroom. I was thrilled. It didn’t matter that the keys fell off or were missing in many places – this was more technology for my class than I’d ever experienced! I was excited to get the 6 laptops into the daily lesson plans and get them into the hands of my students. Where to begin? I chose the same successful recipe and just applied it to our reading/literacy centers time. The next year, I created a set to use during our math center time too – focusing on Common Core math skills that grew as my students did. Those endeavors resulted in the making of the Reading Centers and Math Centers weekly lesson plans.

CoolKindergarten is a way for me to take what I’ve learned about creating a successful and kinder-friendly navigation system and share it for free

While it’s not as robust, rigorous or laid out with an entire year’s worth of curriculum like the paid products are – it is a fun, kinder and teacher-friendly way to use online learning time effectively.

I hope that if you use it and love it – you’d share it with another teacher or give us a shout-out on Facebook so that the word spreads and more can find it helpful too.