Kids Sheltered in Place? Here are some Educational Resources that are great alternatives to Netflix and Video Games
Dr. Kimberly Miller
President NSA Psychological Services Board
With our kids sheltered in place, here’s a list of educational resources that are a great alternative to video games and streaming TV. This list was compiled by Dr. Kimberly Miller, the current president of the National Sheriff’s Association Psychological Services Section.
Jstor is offering tons of free books and educational journals during the crisis.
Start Atlas allows you to explore constellations and the stars
Nepris, which delivers online talks with industry professionals on a wide array of subjects, is making its virtual industry chats available to everyone through April. The schedule is available online:
Out school has opened up its online classrooms to deliver remote courses to K-12 students ages three to 18, affected by school closures. The classes are being made available free through donations for families who can’t afford to pay for the service. There are some 10,000 classes available in the company’s catalog, and each consists of small-group video chats created and taught by vetted teachers.
Babbel is offering three months of free language learning to U.S. students through mid-June 2020 in any of its languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian, and English.
Duolingo offers free language education for 35 languages.
Online Free Spanish offers Spanish learning games, coloring pages and interactive activities for all levels
Panda Tree, a foreign language learning platform for learners two to 17, has launched a free daily Story Time in Spanish and Chinese that any child can participate in.
Education Modified has compiled two “bundles” of research-based information and resources to help families of special population students get through the remote learning experience. One covers how to help children do schoolwork at home; the other offers research-based activities for home-based learning.
Encyclopedia Britannica is offering all schools and students free access to its “LaunchPacks” science and social studies learning content. The sets are intended for students in K-12 and provide articles, images, videos and primary sources of information, presented in an “engaging interface,” optimized for smart devices. The resources are translated into multiple languages.
Kahoot! has begun offering free access to the “premium” version of its game-based learning software.
How Stuff Works offers free educational videos exploring the world around us
Typing offers free keyboarding, digital literacy, and coding lessons for all ages
PBS is offering free educational resources, videos, shows and craft ideas for children.
Across the eight Ivy League schools, there are more than 450 active courses from Computer Science to Art & Design and everything in-between.
Professional Photographers Of America is opening up its entire educational catalogue for free until April 11,2020. This has much more than photography classes.
Arts & Crafts
All Free Kids Crafts has hundreds of printable crafts for kids
DLTK’s Crafts for Kids features a variety of printable children’s crafts, coloring pages, worksheets and activities including projects for holidays, educational themes and some of our children’s favorite cartoon characters.
Teach Starter has over 60 free printable craft templates and activities
Education is offering many free printable art worksheets
Crayola is offering art worksheets and other information for free.
All Crafts offers free craft project ideas and recipes for kids.
It’s Always Autumn lists 50 wonderful indoor activities you can do with your kids.
Morning Chores has over 30 activities you can do with your kids.
Mommy Poppins has a list of 50 fun indoor activities.
Wow In The World is a podcast that guides curious kids and their grown-ups on a journey into the wonders of the world around them. We’ll go inside our brains, out into space and deep into the coolest new stories in science and technology.
What If World is a podcast that takes a “what if” questions from a child and spins it into a wonderful story.
Brain Science podcast has the latest information about neuroscience and the brain. https://brainsciencepodcast.com/
BBC Discovery is a podcast about amazing science facts and fun, unexpected information.
Harry Potter & The Sacred Texts is a podcast that takes a chapter of a Harry Potter book and looks at it through the lens of a universal theme like love, hope, or destiny.
Science Friday is a podcast all about science and the latest discoveries in the world.
The Stuff You Missed In History Class is a podcast about little known history, weird events, overlooked stories, and underrepresented groups.
But Why is a podcast led by kids, who ask the questions and they find the answers. On this podcast the tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.
Star Talk Radio has several podcasts that cover information about outer space, sports and sports science.
The Flyest Fables is a storytelling podcast that centers on a magical book that takes its readers to a world where they find the strength to overcome any obstacle.
Peace Out is a short stories podcast for kids that helps them calm down at the end of the day. Each episode takes young listeners through visualizations on basic feelings like jealousy, anxiety, and fear. The visualizations are paired with easy breathing exercises to help prepare everyone for a peaceful bedtime.
Sesame Street is a podcast that includes all the loveable characters and teaches lessons about friendship, reading, patience, and caring.
Children & Teens
PBS is offering free educational resources, videos, shows and craft ideas for children.
ABCya offers reading and math games and activities for grades PreK-6.
Quill offers free tools to help improve your student’s writing.
Quizlet offers free flash cards, quizzes and games for languages, arts and humanities, social science, computer skills, science and math.
BBC Bitesize offers free lessons covering math, English, science and more for ages 3-16+
Disney Nature has movies (fee) and complimentary educational materials for grades 2-6.
The Kids Should See This is an unprecedented collection of over 4,500 kid-friendly videos, curated for teachers and parents who want to share smarter, more meaningful media in the classroom and at home. Selections are grown-up-friendly, too. And thanks to our members, it’s free for everyone.
Brain Pop Junior offers Learning tools for STEM, social studies, reading/writing, health & arts for grades K-3
Oxford Owl offers activities and tips for a variety of educational topics and age ranges.
Scholastic is offering daily projects to help keep kids read, think and grow (from preschool to 9th grade). There are also additional resources offered to families and teachers looking to ease the transition to at-home learning.
Age of Learning is offering families at affected schools free at-home access to ABCmouse, a learning resource for ages 2 to 8; Adventure Academy, is open for students ages 8 to 13; and ReadingIQ, a digital library and literacy platform is available for children 12 and under.
Educational Insights has compiled a set of free at-home worksheets for young learners. Those activities cover reading and language arts practice worksheets for grades K-2, spelling riddles for grades 4-6 and math for pre-k-2; as well as coloring, crafts and “brain benders” (word searches, riddles, connect-the-dots and mazes, among other games).
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is running a free massive open online course for students ages 8 to 17 on “Aviation is Your Future.” The online program runs for nine weeks, from Mar. 16 through May 31, and requires a total of about six hours of time. The class is self-paced. The contents were produced by the university’s Woman in Aviation International Chapter. Coverage includes a rundown on aviation terminology, aspects of flight such as lift and gravity, the major parts of the airplane, how a helicopter works and why space exploration is important.
The Constitution Center is offering free classes on the Constitution for middle school and high school students. They’ll be led by NCC President and CEO, Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor and constitutional expert, along with other NCC constitutional scholars and educators. The sessions, delivered via Zoom, will allow students to participate in daily lectures and conversations about the basic principles of the U.S. Constitution. Teachers are also able to sign their students up for virtual “Classroom Exchanges,” expanded to go beyond classroom-to-classroom conversations to meet students in remote environments.
Great Minds has made free recorded learning resources available, including daily instructional videos for math (grades K-12), English language arts (grades k-8) and science (grades 3-5). The organization has said it would update its newly recorded lessons daily.
Arizona State University has publicized access to free educational resources it operates for K-12, “Ask an Anthropologist” and “Ask a Biologist.” Activities include teacher toolkits with lesson ideas, podcasts with transcripts and videos showing the scientists in action, articles, puzzlers, experiments and the ability for students to ask experts questions.
Children’s Museum Of Houston is offering free Weather and Science videos and activities for grades PreK-5
ST Math is a visual math program for learners K-6th grade that builds a deep conceptual understanding of math through rigorous learning and creative problem solving.
Exploratorium, in San Francisco, has released a new online learning toolbox with free science activities and materials addressing public health topics around COVID-19 and more general science support activities and materials for virtual classrooms and at-home learning, covering the nature of viruses, the effect of soap on viruses, how we test for and fight against viruses, as well as the science of personal and social behaviors and interactions. The organization has also posted 285 science activities, called “science snacks,” which use “cheap, readily available materials” and can be done at home.
Legends of Learning has opened access to its 2,000 standards-aligned math and science games for free for the rest of the school year to schools and parents. The company is also providing its premium-level custom assessments, scheduling features, data and analytics and training and support for all schools affected by closures.
Imagineering In A Box offers Lessons on theme park design and engineering via Walt Disney Imagineering, Pixar and Khan Academy
Scratch is an interactive story, game and animation design from the MIT Media Lab, designed for ages 8 to 16 but available for anyone
Code Academy offers free data science and coding lessons for high school and college students
Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science Academy offers an interactive middle and high school computer science curriculum that is free.
National Geographic offers free science experiments, videos and articles
NOAA offers free science activities and resources for kids and educators
Hand2mind is making free math activities for home access available. Those include downloadable lessons and “virtual manipulatives” for grades K-8.
Xtramath is a free program that helps students master addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.
Vernier has produced free remote learning solutions to keep students engaged in STEM during school closures. That includes access to Vernier Video Analysis, which lets students use their mobile devices in video analysis work (through June 2020), and Pivot Interactives for allowing students to vary experimental parameters one at a time (for 30 days), as well 80-plus experiments with sample data covering numerous subjects.
RoboKind, which produces “advanced social robots,” has made a virtual coding course from it robots4STEM Avatar Version for elementary and middle school students available through Jun. 30, 2020. The software uses an online avatar that students program rather than programming a physical robot.
Science News for Students has compiled COVID-19-specific content for students in grades 9-12. The organization, which is dedicated to expanding scientific literacy in schools, recently released the “Coronavirus Outbreak Collection,” which includes articles and updates about the virus, freely available resources, and even advice on how to cope with social distancing. For younger students, Science News is promoting experiments that can be done by students at home; a weekly vocabulary lesson, “Scientists Say”; discussion questions, puzzlers and “Let’s learn about,” a new series that offers multiple stories on a given topic, among other resources.
Boolean Girl has launched live, online events to help teach students “to code, build, invent and animate.” The events, which are taking place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern time, introduce new engineering and coding projects to increase interest and engagement around STEM. Each is being recorded so that students can watch the session afterwards if they miss the live presentation.
Unity Technologies is providing free access to Unity Learn Premium, a 3D development platform, through Jun. 20, 2020. Registration provides access to live sessions with Unity experts and 350-plus hours of tutorials, hands-on projects, and courses for game developers, covering topics from “Game Mechanic Design Fundamentals” to “Getting Started with Post-Processing Stack for VR.” Unity is also delivering virtual classes through “Create with Code Live,” free for students, instructors and anyone else interested in learning to code; those sessions kick off on Mar. 23 at 9 a.m. Pacific time or 5 p.m. Pacific time.
UPchieve, a nonprofit that provides free, online math tutoring to low-income high school students, traditionally asks schools with participating students to pay a small fee to keep its service running. In response to COVID-19 school closures, that fee has been waived through the end of the school year. And any student who creates an account during this period can keep using UPchieve for free, forever, the organization said. The service works on any device; students choose the subject they need help with, and UPchieve matches them with a volunteer tutor in a virtual classroom. Students can get as many free sessions as they want.
Learning Resources is posting daily activities for young learners on its website. A recent post covered “nine letter writing prompts for kids”; another offered a STEM challenge: “What makes 10?”
California Academy of Sciences offer Apps, immersive interactives, and engaging videos covering a variety of science topics
NASA Stem At Home offers a variety of STEM articles and activities for grades K-12+
PHET offers free interactive simulations for science and math