W.C. Fields famously said ‘Never work with children or animals’ and there are numerous blooper reels around to show just how difficult it can be to work with kids. It can be just as difficult to produce work for kids: they are a very tough audience, and pretty unforgiving if you get it wrong. Adults may persevere with a poorly presented site if they have to, kids are much less likely to bother if they just don’t like the design.
Of course, some of the themes collected here are actually aimed at parents, but adults with their parent hat on are often harder to impress than without. Design for a school or daycare centre can be particularly hard, because it needs to portray professionalism, caring and efficiency to the parents, while still engaging the kids.
The difficult audience may explain why there are so few themes for kids and child-related businesses. Here we’ve collected some of the best, but there’s definitely more than one gap in the market if you’re up for a challenge.
A fun theme aimed at childcare centers, daycares and preschools. Alexandra has 5 color schemes, 3 border options and multiple page layouts.
Alexandra is widget ready, responsive, has several color options, a customizable logo, works with Google fonts, has an image slider, WordPress 3.0 menus, includes a layered PSD, custom call to action boxes and social icons.
Peekabo is a fixed layout theme designed for daycares, pre-schools and other child oriented small businesses. It comes with several useful handy plugins such as Colorbox, Tiny Carousel, Nivo slider and AddThis as well as shortcodes for easy editing.
Includes the colorbox lightbox plugin, shortcode editor, an image slider, breadcrumbs, a filterable gallery, the AddThis widget, sub-page navigation, a localized theme, a contact form with validation, theme options panel, a Google maps modal window, a fullscreen resizeable background and is WordPress 3.0 ready.
Child Care Creative ($55)
Powered by the Jigoshop e-commerce plugin, Child Care Creative would be suitable for an online shop for kids toys, arts or crafts as well as for the child care industry.
Includes the Jigoshop plugin, custom widgets, a slideshow, a newsletter system, header options, shortcodes and has 10 widget areas.
A fun kids theme with a retro feel with an emphasis on slideshows, galleries and social networking. Kiddo comes with 10 skins, including 6 new Christmas designs.
Includes the FancyBox plugin, 3 gallery layouts, a shortcode editor, sliders, a theme options panel, a localized theme, custom widgets, a contact form with validation and a custom testimonials page.
Kids Toys ($55)
Kids Toys is a bright, colorful e-commerce theme using a simple shopping cart which connects to PayPal and Google Checkout.
Includes a simple shopping cart, newsletter plugin, widget areas, different background options, and a contact form.
Cute & Sweet ($55)
Cute and Sweet is, as you might expect from the name, baby-tastic. Designed to sell booties and really cute little stuffed animals.
Includes a simple shopping cart, slide show, news summary, a newsletter plugin, custom widgets, contact form, and header options
Kid’s Voice School ($40)
Designed primarily for schools and childcare groups, Kid’s Voice School has a fun, hand-drawn feel with 10 color schemes, 3 blog layouts and 3 gallery layouts.
There are multiple color variations, a shortcode manager, custom widgets, built-in sidebars, multiple gallery options, an AJAX contact form and Kid’s Voice School is SEO friendly.
Babysitters (from $65)
A bright colorful design, Babysitters is aimed at child-related businesses.
Babysitters is widget ready, includes a gallery, contact form, and Google maps.
Babysitter (from $55)
Babysitter is a colorful, uncluttered theme designed for use by child -oriented businesses or groups.
It is widget ready and includes a sidebar, blog and admin panel.
Kidz Store (from $65)
An e-commerce theme aimed at businesses selling products for children. Kidz Store has a pretty comprehensive list of features including shipping options and tax management, while the visual design is bright and clean.
Features both drop-down and breadcrumb navigation. Kidz Store is SEO friendly, widget ready, and includes auto-resizing of images. The front page is fully customizable, it includes a digital shop which is WooCommerce compatible and has the option of multiple payment gateways. User registration and one-click install are also included.
Kids Website ($17)
The Kids Website theme is designed to suit parents’ groups or schools. It has a drag and drop page composer and a highly intuitive options panel to make things easy for inexperienced users.
The main features are the drag and drop page composer giving you full control over site layout and colors, the blog page, and contact form. It is SEO friendly and includes shortcodes, a slider, and custom icons.
Childreness is a blog theme, with a choice of either 3 or 1 column layouts. It has child friendly styling, complete with cuddly panda, and the design is responsive.
It’s widget and shortcodes ready, includes a social share bar, custom menus, multicolor related posts, a dynamic post loader, translation options, and is SEO friendly.
A blog theme designed to appeal to kids, WpCartoons has social sharing, advanced post formatting and menu text that looks very much like a certain mouse’s handwriting, if you catch my drift.
WpCartoons is widget ready, responsive, and SEO friendly. It includes a social share bar, shortcodes, a contact form, translation options, custom menus, an anti-spam feature, and custom sidebars.
Mommy Blog ($55)
Mommy Blog is a sweet little theme which would suit a mums or mums-to-be blog with a pregnancy counter among its custom widgets. Or, by implementing Jigoshop which comes included, it becomes an online baby shop.
Featuring multiple header configurations, 2 background options, a sidebar manager, custom widgets, header slider option, Jigoshop, Google maps, and photo gallery support.
Balita is a bright and cheerful theme for a baby and child store with a feature rich e-commerce solution.
Includes custom widgets, a theme panel, facebook page integration, BuudyPress support, and is SEO friendly.
Stretch of Houses (free)
Stretch of Houses is a simple, fixed layout blog theme with child friendly illustrations.
It is widget ready, has a 3 column layout, and a blog template.
Wooden Fence Kids (free)
Wooden Fence Kids is a charming rustic theme straight from a child’s toy box.
Included are an RSS feed option, a tag cloud, post listings, and a post hierarchy.
Baby (from $115)
A cheerful, bright online Baby store theme, powered by the ever popular Jigoshop eCommerce plugin.
Main features are the Jigoshop plugin, and an image slider, it is also widget ready and responsive.
Baby Blog (from $55)
Baby Blog is a simple, clean theme with cheerful colors and a straightforward layout.
It’s widget ready and features an admin panel.
Kid’s Coloring Book ($13)
Kid’s Coloring Book is a little fun extra for adding to your kids’ blog, it’s a great little coloring app for WordPress. You can even use your own images with it.
Have you built a site for kids? What features did you find were most important? Let us know in the comments.
Featured image/thumbnail, kid’s internet image via Shutterstock