Many of us across the United States, and all over the world, are being faced with social distancing as COVID-19 continues to spread. If you are still unsure why social distancing is being recommended, take a look at this article. While we are individually inconvenienced in the short-term, these recommendations are best for the collective long-term health of all.
Schools, universities, and small businesses have closed, leaving many of us at home for potentially the next eight weeks with our children. If you’ve been following us for awhile, you know we like to do fun, inexpensive, screen-free activities to target language, literacy, physical movement, and other academic skills. I would be kidding myself though if I did not also say there will likely be more screen time taking place in our home than usual.
As we all adjust to this new normal, I wanted to share seven free educational websites and apps we will be using with Maya regularly. While this is week is technically our spring break, I want to keep her on a loose routine so that my husband and I can continue to also get some work done as our courses transition to being online.
1. Florida Center for Reading Research – Student Center Activities
If you’re looking for evidence-based activities to target language and literacy skills, look no farther. These free printables are available for both pre-k and elementary-aged students. Activities and games are divided into categories like alphabet knowledge, vocabulary, comprehension, decoding, and more.
2. Scholastic Learn at Home
Scholastic has provided a free, 20-day curriculum that includes four activities daily. Curricula are divided by grade level and include fun stories, videos, and hands-on activities.
3. PBS Kids Games and PBS Parents Play & Learn Apps
PBS Kids has great educational media for children ages 2-8, including over 35 apps. PBS Kids Games and PBS Parents Play & Learn are two of our favorites. Maya has been using them for quite some time. I love that they can also be used offline when no internet is available. You can see descriptions of each app and download them here.
4. Khan Academy and Khan Academy Kids
Khan Academy has created a blog post that shares how their materials can be used at home during school closures. Lessons can be accessed on computers, tablets, or phones and cover kindergarten through early college material in math, reading, science, history, and more. Khan Academy Kids is another one of our go-to educational apps. It is designed for children ages 2-7 and focuses on early reading, math, language, and social-emotional skills.
I’m a language and literacy professor and researcher, so I have to be very intentional about targeting math skills. SplashLearn is a fun program for children in K-5th grade that features an individualized learning path. The app can also be used without internet connection.
6. Mystery Science
Dad is the king of science experiments around here. He’ll be including some of these fun videos and activities from Mystery Science over the next few weeks. They have provided a site that includes mini-lessons that are made for remote learning, with materials that are likely already at home. Parents can also sign up for a free account to get even more lessons.
7. Storyline Online
This site is new to me, but I have fallen in love with it! Storyline Online features videos of celebrity actors and actresses, like Viola Davis, Kevin Costner, and Betty White, reading children’s books. Each book also includes an activity guide, with suggested grade levels, that can be used by parents or educators. Popular books like A Bad Case of the Stripes, Catching the Moon, and The Kissing Hand are included.