“Home is the first school and parents are the first teachers.”
That’s easier said than done for even the most patient among us. We spend countless hours as parents choosing not only where to send our children to school, but then how to best support them in that system. So then what happens when we are faced, as parents, with having the kids at home all day doing online learning, or we have to support them with home learning?
Online Learning Resources for Kids:
- Academic and Curricular content
- Physical Activity & Dancing
- Free eBooks
- Audio Books & Story Time
- Video and Streaming
- Virtual Museum Tours
- Virtual Tours of National Parks, Attractions & Animals
- Other Virtual Experiences
- Musical Experiences & Performances
- Board Games
- Support & Communities
- Understanding Coronavirus
We are after-all the primary and most important teachers in a kids life as we influence their thoughts, feelings, and experience of the world. If parents support and encourage their learning at home and at nursery, it will have a positive effect on their development.
The past few weeks have shown us that, even in times of global health concerns or political uncertainty, our schools and communities can remain strong and resourceful. With many schools at this time facing closure and moving to online learning due to the COVID19 virus, we believe it is possible for students to keep up with coursework, encourage teamwork and is a good lesson is a resilience as we move into a new generation of learning where virtual classrooms could someday be the new normal.
The closures, however, will impact younger students more than others who either cannot stay at home alone or cannot do online learning by themselves. There are many ways in which parents can extend and support their child’s learning with easy low-cost activities such as regular reading or singing of nursery rhymes which can support their basic language skills. Offering experiences such as exploring their local community can encourage curiosity and build their understanding of the world and support a whole range of areas such as maths and physical development. A good idea is for parents to keep both a reading and development diary in periods of extended home learning so that they can chart progress, make comments on how they use resources and what their kids have learnt during this time. This is also a great way of giving useful feedback to the teachers.
The importance of creating a routine is vital. Check out what Khan Academy has recommended for all age groups. Whilst younger kids will be up and ready for their day, teens will drag their feet and try to sleep until lunchtime! It’s a good idea to start as you mean to go on and create both guidelines and possibly stricter rules depending on the age of the student. No parent wants to be the ‘bad guy’ that’s why we send them to school so we can be the fun guys, but when situations arise that call for home learning, we become both parent and teacher and this dynamic needs clear separation.
Create good habits at this point and set a clear time for breakfast, lunch and mid-morning and afternoon breaks. A good idea is to stick to your kids’ current school schedule as they are already used to these set time frames. Make sure they are up and ready for classes and dressed, as online learning in pajamas isn’t a good way to start!
For teens this can be a good opportunity for them to take on extra responsibilities in the home, making their own bed, preparing their snacks and lunch in advance so that they are ready for each day. Set aside time each day for physical activity, weather exploring in the garden, riding a bike or using the gym if one is available, ensure they get moving at least twice a day and teach them the importance of exercise and how this impacts their bodies.
Remember this can also be a great opportunity to build connections with your kids. Playing games can be a great way of learning. Let the kids plan a meal to include all the food groups, the costs and show them how to read and follow a recipe. Find out what your kids are really interested in and then use that as a basis for study. Have them ‘interview’ their grandparents and then ask them to recount the stories to you, this could help older relatives who are feeling isolated. Let them draw, let them create, let them cut and stick and use their imaginations, this might possibly be a time where you will find out more about your kids than ever before. There are a lot of resources available and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so start with an easy plan and go from there.
For older kids online learning is of paramount importance for schools during crisis situations and many online companies are stepping up to this challenge and are offering their resources online for free. Dreambox is offering a free three months trial and Brainpop has added twice the amount of information to each lesson plan as they previously offered especially to assist students during this period.
Ensure that your kids know the digital learning tool they are using and how to make the best of this by setting alerts and notifications and creating note boards to store and maintain notes during virtual discussions. Teachers will all still be taking class attendance, tracking grades and expect tasks to be completed in the same time frame as if students were in-school. A large part of online learning is accountability as online classes require significantly more attention and motivation, try to encourage kids to study at desks or tables rather than just laying comfortably in bed. Try to ensure TVs and other possible distractions are switched off so they don’t have trouble focusing. Remember to stress the importance to older kids to get together and study or socialize to avoid feelings of confinement.
One of the nice features of online learning is that students can be prevented from seeing other students’ responses to questions until they themselves have responded. In some ways, this encourages the less confident students to have the ability to have their voice heard and not have the fear of making a mistake.
If we can all focus on the positive benefits of home and online learning and target what we can gain rather than what we loose, our kids can adapt and learn resilience during these times of uncertainty. Remember plenty of important work and learning can be accomplished virtually – and is every single day.
Online Activities Guide
We’ve curated a list of resources below to help parents navigate these new-normal situations and would love to hear from you if you find anything extra we can share within our community.
Availability of the resources below may change at any time. Kindly report to us any issues you may encounter.
Free Academic & Curricular Content — General
- Read Along by Google. An early access, Android-exclusive app to help children practice their reading skills using voice recognition.
- Amplify Free Resources. Self-guided video lessons, games and read alouds are available for kids on K-8.
- Age of Learning. Resources for children ages 2 to 8 designed to provide strong foundations.
- BBC Bitesize. Daily lessons on Maths, English, Science, History, Geography, designed for homeschooling.
- Aperture Education At-Home. With a focus on Social and Emotional Learning, the site provides guides, strategies and a webinar schedule.
- Apple App Store Learn and Study From Home
- Khan Academy for home learning
- Sesame Street in Communities
- DreamBox Learning
- Scholastic Learn at Home
- Cambridge University Press Textbooks
- Worldbook Online (requires registration)
- Common Lit
- Illustrative Mathematics
- Switcheroo Zoo
- Fun Brain
- Nat Geo for Kids. Fun interactivity, amazing pictures of nature, videos and a wonderful animal catalogue are waiting for you.
- PBS Kids
- Into the Book
- Star Fall
- Storyline Online
- ABC Ya
- Highlights Kids
- Go Noodle
- Cosmic Yoga
- Story Box Library
- Ivy League MOOCs (Class Central)
- Interactive Lesson Plans and Activities (The Tech Interactive)
- BrainPop access for families
- Boom Cards. Self-grading, gamified exercises.
- Common Sense Media Free Apps for Kids
- Thai Learning. Curricular content in Thai.
- Smile and Learn. More than 5,000 activities for ages 3-12 aligned with curricula.
Art Classes & Resources
- #metkids An initiative of the New York Met to approach students with the Museum’s collections through creations made by students themselves.
- Academy of Art University online events and Virtual Open House. The famous academy in San Francisco has a continuous schedule of performances, talks and academic events. Specially recommended for the older ones wondering what art school is like.
- Learn to draw Disney characters. A video playlist with actual Disney animators showing their craft. (brandinside.asia — in Thai)
- 3 months of free guitar, bass and ukulele lessons (Fender)
- Free drawing and art classes
- Free Coloring Pages (Crayola)
- #ColorOurCollections. Download thousands of coloring book pages from museum collections (My Modern Met)
- Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo coloring pages (Pan Macmillan)
Social Sciences, Humanities, Social-Emotional Learning
- Emotional ABCs. A research-based curriculum described by Common Sense Education as “captivating” in the way it addresses social and emotional competencies, is now free for parents and teachers.
- The Character Tree. Children seem to love technology, but are they aware of the impact of technology in society? The Grey Squirrel videos, now free, tell stories of how empathy or curiosity were so important in the creation of humanity’s greatest accomplishments.
- Colonial Williamsburg Education Resource Library
- Arizona State Ask an Anthropologist provides thought-provoking videos, experiments and activities.
Science, STEM & Outer Space
- Coding at Home Elementary Resources. If your kids love video games and interactive websites, they might enjoy knowing how they happen. Introduce them to the widely popular Scratch platform, that introduces basic concepts through stories and animations they can share with the world. (Dreams For Schools)
- AI4ALL Open Learning. An Artificial Intelligence Education Program aimed at young minds.
- Amazon Future Engineer. A growing list of computer science content focused on practical projects and AP CS exam prep.
- PHET Interactive Simulations. A fantastic project by the University of Colorado Boulder with dozens of free and easy to use simulations. Start exploring with this curated remote learning guide.
- Arizona State Ask an Biologist provides thought-provoking videos, experiments and activities.
- Google Experiments for Learning. Experiments focus on creation, experimentation and digital technologies. Our favorite: 100 Notable American Women
- NASA Educational Resources
- Mystery Science
- Virtual Tour of Mars and Virtual planet tours
- Virtual Solar System Tour
- Scratch. A project of MIT to teach children to code their own games, stories and animations.
- LEGO Kids Experience. Videos, games and building projects with varying challenges, in a uniquely playful website with lots of hidden gems.
Nature, Environment & Society
- NASA Precipitation Education. Understand Rain, Weather, Climate and the applications of satellite mapping on agriculture and natural research.
- NatGeo @ Home. Who said family expeditions mean you must go to the Serengeti? Fun, educational and inspiring adventures to fit in your schedule. Happy Pet Week!
- Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots. The world’s most beloved chimpanzee expert presents a delightful and inspirational portal aimed to educate, entertain, and encourage the next generation of nature lovers.
- James and the Giant Peach family activity sheets (Forestry England)
- Sierra Club The John Muir Exhibit
- Arctic Blast 2001 – An online Classroom Dogsled Expedition
- Kiva U. These exercises will teach your children more about world issues like global poverty, refugees, food safety, clean water, entrepreneurship, the value of family, financial inclusion and more.
- WildEarth safariLIVE.
Physical Activity & Dancing
- Walkabouts Active Learning Platform mix K-2 curricula with physical activity through exercises and games. A free limited trial is available until further notice. Learn more at getwalkabouts.com
- GoNoodle Games. Free family games from a company focused on videogames with “active screen time.” They will move and jump to “wake up their bodies and engage their minds.”
- Chocó to Dance. Learn the flavor of the Pacific moves and help fund education opportunities of Colombian children.
- Online Exercise Classes for Kids
- Hogwarts Digital Escape Room
- Zoo.com Animals Quizzes and Trivia
- Breathe With Me – Guided Breathing Meditation for Kids
Arts & Crafts and Home-Based Activities
- GoldieBlox STEM at Home. Your girls and boys do not have to have a 3D printer to become Makers. Experiment with LEDs, make a mermaid shell phone cases, sparkling soap or donuts, following on GoldieBlox’s mission to challenge gender stereotypes and promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math subjects and careers in girls.
- Make your own origami inspired by Japanese prints. (The British Museum)
- Sesame Street Caring for Each Other
- 101 FUN Things to do in Isolation (123homeschool4me.com)
- Microsoft Office Family Activities and templates
- COVID-19 Time Capsule. (LONG Creations)
- Can you build an indoor mini golf course? It’s a lot easier and more fun than you might think! Perfect for developing critical thinking skills in ages 2 to 6. (Learn As You Play)
- Ice lolly recipes for kids. Healthy, delicious and child-proof, these delights are perfect for Bangkok’s perennial summer. Yes, there’s a mango lolly recipe 😋 (BBC Good Food)
- A Celebration of Women Writers
- Baen Free Library
- Banned Books
- Classic Book Library
- Classic Bookshelf
- Classic Reader
- Famous Poetry Online
- Free Classic Literature
- Free Novels Online and Free Online Cyber-Books
- Free Online Novels
- Google Poetry
- John T. Cullen
- Online Library of Literature
- Page by Page Books
- Planet eBook
- Poem Hunter
- Prize-winning books online
- Project Gutenberg
- Public Bookshelf
- Read Print
- SF and Fantasy Books Online
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
- The Internet Book Database of Fiction
- The Literature Network
- The Online Books Page
- The Road to Romance
- The Spectator Project
- The WWW Virtual Library for Theatre and Drama
- World eBook Library
- Hatch! Hatch! gives young readers a bird’s-eye view into the fascinating world of birds and their unique eggs and nests.
Audio Books & Story Time
- Read Along Mondays with Michelle Obama. In collaboration with PBS Kids and The Gruffalo. (Full Schedule via CNN)
- Celebrities Reading Bedtime Stories – Save with stories (In
- 100s of Free Audio books (Amazon Audible)
- Children’s Authors Doing Online Read-Alouds & Activities (We Are Teachers)
- Happy Right Now by Julie Berry
- Storytime Kits in PDF: Hello Sun, Emily’s Idea, My Dumb Invisible Dragon
Educational Video & Streaming
- Netflix: Free access documentaries. No subscription needed (Spot.ph)
- TED Education
- 150 Educational Shows on Netflix (Homeschool Hideout)
- Common Sense Media
- What to Stream: Forty of the Best Movies on Netflix Right Now. Family recommendations include The Burial of Kojo, Hugo (New Yorker)
Virtual Museum Tours
- The American Museum of Natural History offers videos, galleries, articles and collections, accompanied with an ongoing series of live contests and watch parties. OLogy is the Museum’s corner for the little ones.
- American Writers Museum — My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today exhibit. The exhibit includes sets of educational materials, registration required.
- Buckingham Palace Expedition (Royal Collection Trust)
- Library Of Congress. The largest collection of books, photos, maps, newspapers, film and audio recordings (among other things) are now available and curated online. iOS app available.
- The Louvre
- Explore the British Museum from home. Immersive virtual tours, vintage galleries and audio tours. Check it out on YouTube, With Google and Google Arts & Culture
- Guggenheim Museum, New York
- National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
- Musée d’Orsay, Paris
- National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
- Pergamon Museum, Berlin
- Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
- The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
- Uffizi Gallery, Florence
- MASP, São Paulo
- National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
- Boston Children’s Museum
- Tour The American Museum of Natural History
- The American Museum of Photography Guided Tour
- American Red Cross Virtual Museum
- American Treasures – Library of Congress
- The Ancient Olympic Games Virtual Museum
- Tour an Ancient Roman Villa
- Tour of The Andy Warhol Museum
- The Canadian Museum of Civilization
- Tour The Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo
- Tour The Collection at The National Gallery of Art
- Tour the DeCordova 35 acre Sculpture Park
- The Drop Zone Virtual Museum (WW II Airborne)
- Virtual Tour of Durham Cathedral
- Tour the Ellis Island, NY 1900-1920 Photographic Exhibit
- Tour the Field Museum of Natural History Exhibits
- Institute and Museum of History of Science – Florence, Italy
- German Leather Museum
- Greek and Roman Art Collection
- Tour the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village
- Holocaust Museum Tour
- The International Museum of Horses
- Tour The Jimmy Stewart Museum
- Museum of HP Calculators
- Tour The Museum of Unnatural Mystery
- Faces of Frida Kahlo
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- Museo Galileo
- The Neon Museum Las Vegas. The virtual tour explores the history of certain iconic signs from the Las Vegas Strip (Travel + Leisure)
Virtual Tours of National Parks, Attractions & Animals
- Online tours of 31 national parks on Google Earth.Yes, the real thing will always be better, but the tours are incredibly in-depth, complete with high-quality photos, 360-degree views and detailed information. (In The Know)
- Forestry England on Google Expeditions
- 25 National Parks in the US from Google Earth
- Great Wall Of China
- Polar Bears
- Virtual Farm and Food Tours
- Live animal webcams
Other Virtual Experiences
- Smithsonian Open Access. Download, remix and share license-free 2D and 3D content for any purpose.
- Arizona State Virtual Field Trips. Dinosaurs! Old multicellular organisms, red rocks, early civilization and the Grand Canyon. What ties them all together? The virtual trips from ASU, of course.
- Hogwarts is here. A lovingly fan-made site recreates with amazing detail the Harry Potter educational adventure. Join a house and earn points, take courses and meet friends.
- AirBnB Online Experiences. Join a shared or private cooking session with renowned chefs. Interview Olympians, watch farm animals or learn about vulnerable places while providing essential support.
- Atlas Obscura Wonder From Home. The famous portal for the bizarrely curious is launching a series of live events, from unusual to spooky, accompanying their vast content and video library.
- The iThemePark channel on Youtube has complete tours of Disney parks, timelapses and more.
- Disneyland Walkthroughs (UpWorthy)
- Disneyland 3D Virtual Tours. A site with apps made by fans with an exhaustive tour of DisneyFrance made in 2014.
- Google Lit Trips
- Photo Panoramas
- Reach The World
- Inside the White House, and another one by Google Arts & Culture, and a 360° Video at facebook.com/ObamaWhiteHouse
- PlayStation Free Games to Play at Home
Musical Experiences & Performances
- Wandsworth Arts Fringe Festival In Your Living Room. Dancing, games, challenges, theatre, storytime and more from the iconic London Festival, available online until May 24.
- #Graduation2020. On May 15, Oprah Winfrey. Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X, Simone Biles and Miley Cyrus will celebrate graduates on this concert organized by Facebook and Instagram. (FB.com)
- Here Are All the Livestreams & Virtual Concerts to Watch During Coronavirus Crisis. A frequently updated calendar of live concerts to enjoy at home. Coming up, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey and Sting together for Rise Up New York! (Billboard)
- Berlin Philharmonic
- Broadway Musicals
- Metropolitan Opera
- Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway (The Shows Must Go Online)
- One World: Together At Home. A global broadcast & digital special to support frontline healthcare workers and the WHO. (CNBC)
- CirqueConnect by Cirque du Soleil.
- 10 Amazing Board Game to Play in 2019. Have family fun while exploring Birds, Japan, National Parks and more. (Johnny Lists)
- BoardGameGeek’s Top Games for Children.
- More board casual games at Board Game Arena.
- Board games to play online. If you want to share the fun with relatives afar.
- Print and Play by Asmodee. The board game makes has generously provided instructions for you to print and play some of its classics, completely free!
Support & Communities
- Academy of Active Learning Arts and Sciences’ RTOL – Rapid Transition to Online Learning. This guide aims to help you in a rapid transition to remote learning during sudden school closures.
- Achieve3000 Accelerated Digital Literacy at Home Program. A portal with free content dedicated to strengthen reading skills and literacy. There’s also printable packets.
- ACT Academy Personalized Practice. Prepare for one of the most influential high-stakes assessments with a selection of resources by the team behind the exam itself.
- Always Ready for Learning Network. This consulting initiative is offering one-on-one coaching focused on rapid planning and innovative learning models.
- Comics for Good. The COVID-19 pandemic and other current global crisis will continue to impact our lives. The work of illustrator Weiman Kow and volunteers around the world reminds us that we can bring understanding and peace of mind through collaboration, art and creativity. Draw your own #KidsDrawCOVID19facts comic with your kids and Weiman will share it with the world!
- Discovery Education Social Distance Training. An iOS app built with Augmented Reality, to make sure we all keep our distance and learn about the importance of protecting one another.
- How To See Germs Spread (Coronavirus) with Mark Rober (The Kid Should See This)
- Viruses and Outbreaks (Discovery Education)
- COVID-19 Infocomics (Comics for good, via Design You Trust)
- BrainPOP Coronavirus
- Talking About COVID-19 With Children (Sesame Street in Communities)
- Cleaning and hygiene tips to help keep the COVID-19 virus out of your home. (UNICEF)