As more and more schools make the decision to close for long periods of time in response to the COVID-19 global health pandemic, I think it would be an understatement to say there is significant anxiousness especially among educators and parents in this time of great uncertainty and ambiguity.
I put together this post to share an abundance of resources for teachers, students, and families who are looking for fun, engaging, accessible, and interactive ways to keep learning together while home from school. There are countless excellent ideas here, so please check them out and share this post. AND, if you have more resources to share, please feel free to send them my way and I will keep adding to this post.
And be sure to follow my Facebook page Ms. Cronin Reads where I am sharing even more read alouds, educational websites, videos, and resources to support our teaching and learning! ♥
Before we get started, a couple notes (or keep scrolling to get to the collection of resources)
- There are many websites and online resources to explore, but I did try to be intentional about including a lot of activities that do not require the internet to be mindful of those who may not have consistent access to internet connection and make this resource as inclusive as possible.
- Most of the activities that require supplies can be done with materials you have around the home, and all of the resources are free to use. Some of the online sites may have the option to pay for a subscription or pay to upgrade to a premium version, but I made sure that every online resource has plenty of free versions as well. I do not pay for any of these sites, but I use all of them for free, so I can guarantee there is a lot of accessibility at no cost.
- There are several assumptions made by this post. For example, my idea to make a map of your apartment or home assumes that you are living in an apartment or home, and my idea to cook or bake together assumes that you have access to a kitchen. I still chose to include these ideas because I think there is a lot of valuable learning that can happen there, but I do want to name that I recognize not everyone has access to all of these ideas. I tried to be as inclusive as possible, and I still wanted to offer most of the ideas that came to mind knowing that people could pick and choose which activities can work for them. I do acknowledge that there are a number of assumptions made by these recommendations, and I truly hope everyone is able to access enough of these activities to create meaningful learning experiences together.
- No worksheets will be found here! Have fun, get moving, go outside for fresh air when you can, and keep reading lots of great books! Many of my book reviews also include extension activities, educator’s guides, and resources for enrichment, so always be sure to check them out!
Here are some great resources for educating your kids and talking to them about COVID-19 from PBS Parents and Kids Health. You can also watch this BrainPOP about Coronavirus and view this accompanying lesson plan.
Now onto the fun part. Enjoy!
- Make cards to send to people staying in hospitals and living in nursing homes.
- Write letters to send to family and friends, and write thank you notes for special people who support you and make a difference in your life.
- Plant a seed, research how to take care of it and help it grow, and record your observations. Learn more about gardening from Kids Gardening and Better Health Channel.
- Keep a daily weather report. Here are some resources for learning about weather from Weather Wiz Kids and Weather for Kids.
- Go on a shape hunt or color hunt around your home or neighborhood. See how many triangles you can find, or see how many yellow objects you can find.
- Sort household objects by shape, color, size, etc.
- Learn how to measure then use a measuring tape or ruler to record your measurements. How far can you jump? How far is it from the door to the window? How wide is the cover of your favorite book?
- Measure the perimeter and find the area of rooms in your house, your dining room table, your bed, etc.
- Make a map of your neighborhood, apartment, house, or living room. Be sure to include a title, key, and compass rose! Here are some resources for learning map skills and making maps from National Geographic.
- Research a topic that interests you then draw and write about what you learn. Is there an animal, planet, or special person you want to learn more about?
- Use what you learned from your research to make a Venn diagram where you compare and contrast two different animals, two different people, two different countries, etc.
- Play board games and do puzzles.
- Play cards! “Playing cards can help children learn strategy, arithmetic, shape recognition, and social skills.” Here are 15 Simple, Easy, and Fun Classic Card Games for Kids to learn and play.
- Write poetry! Here are some amazing resources to get you started from What We Do All Day, Read Write Think, and Scholastic. Have fun exploring all the different types of poems you can write!
- Make up math stories, draw and write an equation to go with them, and have someone solve them.
- Cook or bake with an adult. Here are some great places to find recipes for the whole family:
- Make a timeline of your life. Draw pictures or write about each event such as when you were born, the birth of your siblings, when school started, when you started playing a sport or instrument, special occasions, etc.
- Draw, color, paint, play with play dough, and create art. Here are some craft projects, lesson plans, and art techniques from Crayola for Educators.
- Keep a daily journal, or respond to these journal prompts to get you started:
- What is your favorite holiday? What makes this holiday special?
- If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why?
- What do you love the most about yourself and why?
- Write about someone who has had a powerful influence in your life.
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?
- If you could be a character who lived in the world of any book, which book would you want to live in and why?
- Describe a time you felt proud of something you accomplished.
- What does courage mean to you?
- What would life be like if children ruled the world?
- Imagine we could communicate with animals. Which animals would you most want to talk to and what would you ask them?
- If you could travel to space, what would you want to see?
- Who is the kindest person you know? What makes them so kind?
- Tell a story about a world where the grass is orange and all the lakes and rivers are made of pudding. (Or imagine your own silly world! What would it look like? Feel like? Taste like?)
- Write about your earliest memory.
Podcasts and Read Alouds To Listen To
- Highlights Kids Podcasts
- Brightly Storytime Podcasts
- Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Podcast
- Storyline Online Read Alouds
- Story Time from Space where you can watch astronauts read to you from space!
- Learn how to draw something new with a wealth of fun ideas from Art for Kids Hub Directed Drawing
- Get moving and practice mindfulness with Cosmic Kids Yoga
- Give your brain a break and get moving with GoNoodle
- Get moving and dance it out with Zumba Kids from GoNoodle
- Discover science experiments, research questions, and explore curiosity with SciShow Kids
- Learn how to make gorgeous origami creations with Origami Tutorials
Free Educational Online Learning Games
- Funbrain Books
- Funbrain Games
- Funbrain Math Zone
- Math Playground
- PBS Kids
- Kid Citizen games from iCivics
- Starfall math, language arts, music
- Education.com math and sight words
- Room Recess math, reading, sight words
Awesome Online Resources and Websites to Explore
- National Geographic Kids
- Highlights Kids
- Explore Google Earth! “Zoom over the Sahara desert. Take a tour of the Eiffel Tour. You can do it all with Google Earth, the tool that makes the world feel a little bit smaller with its map-generating capabilities. If you’re new to Google Earth, these tutorials offer a great introduction.”
- Lakeshore Learning offers an abundance of free lesson plans, activities, crafts, printables, templates for writing practice and flashcards, writing prompts, and more.
- Scholastic Learn at Home “Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin!”
- Scholastic’s Write Your Own Myths, Folktales, and Fairytales
- Scholastic News Current Events
- Time for Kids News Articles
- Book Creator where you can create your own books and stories including text, illustrations, table of contents, voiceovers, and more!
- Who Was? Book Series Interactive Website
- Science Bob website and easy science experiments
- Mystery Science designs engaging K-5 science lessons and they are offering their best content for free during this time of school closures and remote learning. They have both digital mini-lessons and full lesson plans with hands-on activities.
- Purple Mash is offering free access to their abundance of learning opportunities for publishing, story creation, game design, concept mapping, collaborative writing and art, spelling and grammar, math, and more during this time of school closures.
- Wonderopolis where you can explore questions and curiosities such as “How do you find a sunken ship?” and “What is Gallium used for?”
- Centervention provides free resources, lessons, activities, and printables for social emotional learning including “communication, cooperation, emotion regulation, empathy, impulse control, and social initiation.”
- Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems from the Kennedy Center
- Smithsonian for Kids
- NASA Kids’ Club
Virtual Field Trips
My incredible teacher friend Devin McDermott created this incredible collection of virtual field trips. Even when we are stuck at home, this resource can take us all around the world. Follow this VR Field Trips link, then click on any of her blue links to start your trip to a different continent, big city, national park, and more!
Here is another resource for virtual field trips that can take you all around the globe from the comfort of your home. These virtual field trips include Yellowstone National Park, U.S. Space and Rocket Museum, The Great Wall of China, and even the surface of Mars! Click on the following link to Over 30 Virtual Field Trips with Links!
Museums from around the world that offer virtual tours and online exhibits thanks to Google Arts and Culture’s Collection
- British Museum in London shows how our histories are interconnected and invites virtual visitors to discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.
- National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. has two online exhibits, one about American fashion in the 1700s and 1800s and one is a collection of works from Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.
- National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea displays contemporary art from Korea and all around the globe.
- Pergamon Museum in Berlin is a historical museum home to an abundance of ancient artifacts.
- The Museu de Arte de São Paulo is Brazil’s first modern museum packed with extraordinary art.
- Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is home to the largest collection of paintings, drawings, and personal letters by Vincent Van Gogh.
- The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is an art museum full of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, and photographs.
- The National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City is dedicated to Mexican history, archaeology, and ancient artifacts, including some from the Mayan civilization.
Here are some educational online learning websites that are offering free 30 DAY TRIALS…
- ABCmouse early learning
- Raz-Kids for reading and literacy
- Epic! digital library
- Vooks storybooks brought to life
- Phonics Hero with interactive phonics lessons
- IXL for personalized learning is offering a free 90 day trial to gain fluency and practice math, language arts, science, social studies, and Spanish skills
WOW! This is quite the list. I really appreciate all the incredible educators and organizations who create and share valuable resources for safe, meaningful, lifelong learning. I hope you and your families find ideas that work for you, and I hope you can make some special memories along the way.
As we all do our best to navigate this chaotic time in our world, I am sending an abundance of peace and comfort to you and yours! Please let me know how I can support you.
Take care and be well,