Cartoon lures kids to Conn. site

At Connecticut's new children's World Wide Web site, Colonial Robin — representing the state bird and its colonial past — introduces children to the state's history and government as well as various games.

The ConneCT Kids site aims to attract children to the Internet and technology to show that "it is not just for adults," said Nuala Forde, the communications director at Connecticut's Department of Information Technology. Forde said that the site would help meet Governor John Rowland's goal of having children "cyberready" by the sixth grade.

The site has been in the works for a year. The ConneCT Management Advisory Committee met with children and parents groups, the state Commission on Children, and other organizations to provide input. Children also submitted graphics that are incorporated into the site.

Colonial Robin provides a friendly face to the information, even describing the state's history "as seen by the robins."

"My ancestors passed down these stories to me, and now I can tell them to you," the site says. Forde said it is important that for any children's site there is a "friendly cartoon to wrap his arm around you and walk you through the site."

In addition to information about the state's history, people and land, children can play games, take a quiz on state symbols and emblems and use an online coloring book. Children will also be able to submit personal stories that could be posted.

The site will also spotlight artwork from local artists, and children are encouraged to learn about the art by corresponding with the creators. The site also provides searchable databases of Connecticut schools and public libraries.

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