COVID 19 has closed schools and left parents wondering how to entertain their school-aged kids and keep them learning. Here is a list of free resources and tips you may find useful.
1. First, Come up with a Schedule
For parents with elementary school children especially, sticking to a schedule can be helpful. Your child is used to a schedule at school, so this can help structure their day. Get them up by a certain time, get out of those PJ’s, and ‘get them ready’ for the day just as you would on a school day. Adding this structure can help them adjust to the new normal of being home and also prepare them to go back when it’s time.
To create a schedule that makes everyone happy, ask your child:
- How long are your classes at school?
- What is your typical day like
- What is your favorite part of the day?
- What is your favorite school activity?
This is a great way to get to know your child better and collaborate on what their day could look like now that they’re at home. Getting buy-in and crafting the schedule together can help make this transition easier.
2. PE: Burn some Energy
If you have really young kids, get them moving with fun workout videos such as Pop See Ko.
For those older kids and teens, they may like working out with The Body Coach. The Body Coach gets folks into shape with no equipment necessary. He’s doing free 30-minute P.E. with Joe workouts Monday through Friday.
3. Release Anxiety
There is also another free resource called Cosmic Yoga on YouTube that practices mindfulness and Yoga at the same time. GoNoodleGames also has a video called Melting that can be really useful to help release tension and anxiety. Pending how your day is going, you may like to join your child!
If your kids favorite activity at school is art, this resource may be right up their alley! Every day at 1pm EST, Mo Willems takes to YouTube and offers free lunchtime doodle classes for kids at home. Depending on your time zone, this could be a before or after lunch activity! Then, right after Mo’s doodle, Jarret Krosoczka takes to YouTube and offers free drawing lessons starting at 2pm EST.
5. Reading (or Listening)
Any Age: Audible is offering free audiobooks for kids while school is paused. Audible also lists books recommended by age as well. You might be able to suggest that your child connect with one of their friends and listen to the same book, then connect each day to talk about it. Listening to the book and discussing it can be one part of their schedule.
Reading Help: If you’re worried your child may fall behind on their reading, there’s a company called Reading IQ that can help. It’s not free, but there is a free 30-day trial.
If your child loves science, another resource is MysteryScience.com. MysteryScience.com is currently offering free resources for anyone and they are organized by grade level to help you out.
7. Foreign Language
Rosetta Stone is offering a free 3-month subscription to students to take their immersive foreign language courses. Visit the Rosetta Stone for Students page for more information.
8. Virtual Field Trips
For those students that love animals, nature, and exploring, WildEarth offers Live Safari’s from South Africa twice a day and you’ll get to learn about conservation while along for the ride. Make sure to look at the times of the safari to ensure you are watching live in your time zone. The sunrise safari starts at 05:30 local time, which means start times of 23:30 EST, 20:30 PST, 03:30 in the UK [GMT], 04:30 in Central Europe, and 14:30 Sydney time. The sunset safari starts at 15:30 CAT local time, 09:30 EST, 06:30 PST, 13:30 in the UK [GMT], 14:30 in Central Europe, and 00:30 Sydney time.
While the Cincinnati Zoo is closed, they are bringing the Zoo to everyone via Facebook live at 3pm EST. Just visit the Cincinnati Zoo’s Facebook page at 3pm EST to watch.
9. Educational Resources
There are a host of K-12 educational resources you can leverage. One resource that is very popular (so you may already know about) is Khan Academy. In fact, Khan Academy even has daily schedules for learners 2-18 to help you out! Khan Academy is completely free and offers video tutorials on just about every scholastic topic your child may need. Check them out at KhanAcademy.org.
One resource for younger children is ABCmouse.com. Though not free, they are offering a 30-day free trial like many other K-12 resources right now.
If you have toddlers, you may really wonder how to keep your little ones entertained and learning! The website BusyToddler.com has you covered with the (very appropriate) tagline, Making it to Naps, One Activity at a Time.
If you have a child with differing needs, there is a website that lists out over 30 iPad Apps for students with special needs that you may find helpful.
10. Free Courses by Top Universities
If your child loves to learn, they may enjoy learning how to code (for free) through Codecademy.com. For teens, they may enjoy exploring topics they may be interested in exploring and try their hand at a free course offered from a top-notch university. These free courses are offered on EdX.org.
Bonus Resource: Amazing Educational Resources
Last but not least, though this page lists resources, there is a website (appropriately) named Amazing Educational Resources. Have to give this site a lot of praise for listing a ton of resources for parents with kids at home. It will take a bit of time to sift through these resources as this site does indeed list a ton of resources you can use for your child!