School is cancelled, perhaps for the duration, and suddenly the prospect of many weeks to fill with no activities is looming large. We have strict rules about screentime in our house, but in light of recent events, I think it’s time to revisit these rules. There are lots of educational websites out there, so this is only a tiny sampling of fun options that might also promote a little learning as a bonus!
Alberta curriculum: www.learnalberta.ca
Be sure to check out the COVID-19 resources at Gale: www.gale.com/covid19access
Here is a list of educational companies offering free subscriptions: www.kidsactivitiesblog.com
Scholastic Books has come up with day-to-day projects to keep kids thinking: www.scholastic.com/learnathome
Check out these coronavirus relief packs for kids up to grade five: www.havefunteaching.com
A homeschooler has put together this list of educational (free) resources: www.amazingeducationalresources.com
Someone else put together this, for virtual field trips all over the world, plus Mars: www.docs.google.com
The Calgary Public Library has a number of e-resources at the library. They have ebooks and audiobooks, plus resources for shows and read-along books. Try Libby, Kanopy, National Geographic Kids, or TumbleBooks. Don’t have a library card? Sign up online.
Have little ones you need to keep busy? CBC Kids has a cute Daniel Tiger scavenger hunt to print and do: www.cbc.ca/parents
Sesame Street has some games for little kids, too: www.sesamestreet.org
Help keep your kids learning with this ABC Mouse promo code: www.abcmouse.com
Do the kids prefer Blaze to Sofia? Then head to the Treehouse website: www.games.corusent.com/treehouse
Not really a website, but Michaels will be sharing free family activities via Facebook Live every Wednesday at 11 am Calgary time.
And Mo Willems (of Pigeon and Elephant and Piggie fame) will be holding a live-stream doodle every week: www.washingtonian.com
Make time for the arts, with this link of Broadway plays and musicals: www.playbill.com
Math & Reading
Cool Math Games is a classic. My kids want to play it all the time, though, so I suspect it’s not really that “educational”: www.coolmath.com
Starfall has simple math and language arts activities for the younger grades: www.starfall.com
ABCya has a wide range of games, including math and reading: www.abcya.com
Need more math games? Check out Hooda Math: www.hoodamath.com
If your kids love the Magic Treehouse, you’ll want to check out this website: www.magictreehouse.com
Science & the World
Mystery Science has gone through all the elementary science lessons, pulled the easiest ones to do from home, and put them up on this link: www.mysteryscience.com
Want to travel the world? Check out virtual tours of these 12 museums: www.travelandleisure.com
If you have a child into facts, taking things apart, and asking a million questions, they might love How Stuff Works: www.howstuffworks.com
National Geographic Kids is a classic: www.kids.nationalgeographic.com
Or, head to Canadian Geographic Kids, for some north of the border fun: www.canadiangeographic.ca
The options really are endless. At the end of the day, if the screentime is getting a little too much, check out the Mail Order Mystery website. This is not an online site at all, but a place to order, you guessed it, a Mail Order Mystery! This takes money and a tiny bit of planning, but it’s so much fun! All you need to do is choose one of four themed mysteries, and your kids will get packages filled with information on solving the mystery. For Christmas one year we ordered Spies, Lies and Serious Bad Guys and it was a total hit. At this point (March 14, 2020) the company is mailing all six instalments of the mystery in one box, and you can determine how quickly your kids receive the next instalment. This activity is perfect for kids ages 8 – 13.
Have fun, stay healthy, and stay sane!
Looking for more tips on how to keep your kids occupied during the COVID-19 crisis? Find our best ideas, activities and inspiration here!