With the kids at home for the near future, there are only so many books and board games you have at home to keep them busy. You will have to rely on other resources to get you through until they go back to school. Don’t worry, because there is an entire internet filled with free resources to support your needs and keep them busy. The kids can use these sites to reinforce subjects they were already learning in school, find something new to learn about or just have some fun.
Scholastic Learn at Home: Scholastic announced its launch of their Learn at Home website, a free online resource with activities divided up by age group. For the youngest, each day is themed and includes a video, book and activity. Older children have a variety of articles, activities, virtual field trips and quizzes each day.
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PBS Kids: Your kids favorite PBS Kids characters can help to teach them. First, sign up for a daily newsletter of activities and then check out their website for games they can play, such as Hero Maker, Hero Activities and more that teach science, math, and reading. Head on over to Nick Jr.’s website where little ones can play games with Peppa the Pig, Paw Patrol and more.
ScienceFlix: Another free Scholastic site, older students will appreciate ScienceFlix, where they can click on a wide variety of science topics to watch short videos, read books and dive deeper into a favorite subject matter.
Virtual storytelling: Take a break from storytime, because now kids can sit and listen to some of their favorite authors read books to them. For example, Oliver Jeffers, the author of such books as The Crayon’s Christmas, The Moose Belongs to Me and Up and Down is reading on his Instagram account and will also post these videos to his website in case your kids want to hear them again and again.
Ben Clanton, the author and illustrator of Narwhal and Jelly Books, will do two Facebook Live streams, where kids can draw with him, and talk about waffles and mermicons. These events take place on March 18th at 2 p.m.and March 20th at 5 p.m. Children’s author Mac Barnett, author of Extra Yarn, Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, will read on Instagram Live, every weekday at 3 p.m. (Eastern Time), until he runs out of books to read. Go to his Instagram page and you should be able to find the streams.
Making Music! Mr. Jon & Friends Mr. Jon & Friends writes and performs music just for kids! Their Facebook live stream events run at 10:30 a.m. from Monday, March 16th to Friday, March 27.
Library resources: Most libraries are closed, but if you have a library card, you can still sign in for access to their free online resources. For example, in New York, there is DaybyDayNY, a family literacy site that provides free daily books to read and Tumble Book Library, where kids can read books right online. Many libraries subscribe to Hoopla Digital where you can borrow up to 6 digital movies, music, eBooks and more per month.
Beanstalk: Free for the duration of the crisis, Beanstalk is also offering interactive classes for kids ages 1-1/2 to 6 on how things work, including rainbows and love. They offer classes where kids can work solo or others, such as making smoothies, where they need some parental involvement. Sign up for their beta membership (free for now) for access to more on-demand classes.
Instafun! How about some cooking classes for the kids? Check out Instagram classes from The Pixie Box Bakery, who closed their brick-and-mortar temporarily and decided to pass the time by doing cooking classes for kids on their social media.
Mystery Science: For kids kindergarten through fifth grade, Mystery Science is making their website free too. They offer science and engineering lessons and they are divided up by age. Youngsters can learn why woodpeckers peck wood and how germs get into their body.
Worksheets: Prefer that the kids work at the kitchen table and not stay on the screen all the time? Print free worksheets from home at 123Homeschool4Me. They offer music note flashcards, alphabet worksheets, telling time puzzles and more.
Aquarium Fun: The Tennesse Aquarium has a collection of live 24/7 webcam streams, such as otters romping and diving in the Appalachian Cove Forest, penguins rocketing through the waves in Penguins’ Rock and the massive Secret Reef exhibit. Watch the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater while sheltering in place, including: America’s Musical Journey (via YouTube for free as well as Apple TV and GoUSA TV via Roku), National Park Adventure (via Vimeo on Demand) and more. There are also engaging activities and pose thought-provoking questions that turn each viewing into a more interactive, educational experience.
Apps: Kids love screen time, we know that, and we recently compiled this list of great apps to help keep them busy.
What’s your favorite free online resource for kids? Feel free to share in the comments!