They made the official Coronavirus school cancellation call here last night. As of 3:40pm on March 13th, we are officially in e-learning/homeschool mode for at least a month. While we are lucky I work from home, school cancellations add a whole new level of responsibility for parents as far as not only educating kids but all entertaining them. As a former librarian, I know how important it is to keep little minds busy during scary times. And as a mom, I know I can’t be the only one panicking about being locked up with all of my kids for over a month. I’ve compiled a list of resources to help parents who are trying to figure out how to survive long days when the weather outside isn’t yet warm and communal inside activities are discouraged.
I will continue to update it as more companies offer free resources to parents during the COVID-19 school closures.
Apps & Websites
These apps and websites either have a free trial or are offering something to help parents and teachers during school Coronavirus school closures.
- Reading Eggs: Free Trial
- Brain Pop
- Go Noodle : This website is great for getting little bodies moving and my kids beg me to put the songs on during our after school dance parties.
- Mystery Science
- Near Pod
- Microsoft Education
- Reading IQ : 30 Day Free Trial
- Breakout EDU
- Book Creator
- Puppet Master App
- Enchanted Learning
- ABC Mouse : Free 30 Day Trial
- Twinkl : 30 Days Free
- Circle Fun Time : Use the code homefun1
- Board Maker: Free for 30 days
- Science Simplified
- Classroom Secrets: Free until April
- Purple Mash : Games involving everything from writing to coding.
- Scratch Jr by PBS: Apps where kids can learn age appropriate coding and make their own games using their favorite PBS characters.
- Spelling City: Spelling and vocabulary app with a free tier option.
- Sushi Monster: Super cute math game with fun characters. Free or premium options.
- Duolingo: Start learning Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Portuguese, or Japanese. Free app.
Screen Free Activities
When the kids are running amuck losing their minds and you’ve lost your’s it’s hard to think of an activity that doesn’t require Netflix. Here are some activities that are fun and keep kids hands busy and out of trouble. Amazon links are affiliate links meaning if you buy through this link I receive a small commission at no cost to you.
- Wash your hands. Hahaha but really. Wash your 10. 20 seconds and I’m talking Mississippi seconds. Soap, warm water.
- Play-doh: Spring colors play-doh to scare off winter so we can actually all get outside and run off some energy, and also this firetruck is a huge hit in our house. And I added these dinosaur tools to my Amazon cart today.
- Legos: Some of you might be saying duh, but I didn’t think of this until my kid started begging to open up a new set as soon as she jumped off the bus today.
- Etch-a-Sketch: We always take one of these with us when we travel and my two oldest kids fight over it. For the younger ones, a magnadoodle is a little easier to manipulate since they haven’t developed the dexterity required to really utilize an etch-a-sketch. We sometimes play pictionary with ours and people guessing what they’ve drawn is hilarious!
- Dance party. Need I say more?
- Build a fort. Will it be boxes or blankets? Choose your poison.
- Color. If you can’t trust your kids with a real marker, try out Color Wonder. Otherwise there are free coloring sheets at Crayola and Coloring 4 Kids. And these grown up coloring books are legitimately cathartic.
- Make slime.
- Facetime all the people you are missing.
- Bust out some board games (but make sure to stuff Candyland in the back of the closet because it sucks). Classics like Life or Clue, or some of our family favorites like Sequence (for kids 7+ ) or Sequence for Kids (for the 3-6 year crowd), Qwirkle and The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. Or play Quick Cups which has been wildly popular with grade school and middle school aged kids.
- Send a letter to a friend from school or church.
- Match everything. We do this with all kinds of stuff, Tupperware with lids, silverware in the tray, lots of socks, but of course my kids also love these matching games.
- Bake all of the things. Brisher house faves include these chocolate coconut cookies and these vegan pumpkin scones!
- Listen to a kid-friendly audio books. Free options can be found at Story Nory, International Children’s Library, or Lit2Go. If you have a valid library membership check out their website. You can probably download audio and ebooks through their website as well.
- Go for a walk. Yes, bundle up and brave the cold. Fresh air really does help.
- Try some yoga or a workout video. Check youtube for lots of good and free options.
- Have a tea party and read some poetry aloud.
- Paint rocks and then hide them for someone else to find. This kit is great if you don’t have access to rocks or other painting supplies. Also, check Facebook for a local rock hiding and finding groups to watch your rock travel around your area.
- Write and record you’re own radio show.
- Build elaborate Hot Wheels tracks.
- Take a hike. Literally.
- Write hopeful messages on the sidewalk with chalk.
- Start a garden. Here’s a video on how to grow lettuce in a bag of soil.
- Film your own episode Chopped with your own basket of weird ingredients from the pantry.
- Try geocaching. Plentiful information over at Geocaching.com
- Fashion show time. Break out that dress-up box and see what the kids come up with.
- Check out a new podcast. Some kid friendly podcasts my kids love are
Free Homeschooling and Learning Resources
- Sample Daily Homeschool Schedule
- All in One Homeschool
- Education.com : lots of free printables
- Arcademics : Math games. Harper is obsessed because it doesn’t stress her out like ExtraMath.
- Khan Academy
- Typing Club: Games to teach kids how to type home row
- National Geographic
- US Forest Service
- Hippocampus : Educational videos on pretty much everything
- Handbook of Nature Study
- Free Virtual Museum Tours
- Conjuguemos: Foreign Language Studies. Use the try without account option for the free version.
- CMU CS Academy: Free high school science curriculum
- Storyboard That
- Prodigy : Math game for kids from 1st through 8th grade.
- Minecraft Education
- CommonLit: All kinds of free reading materials for a range of ages
- PBS Learning
- Teach Your Monster to Read: Reading game for new or struggling readers. Desktop version is free.
Reliable Sources of COVID- 19 Coronavirus Information
Since there is so much racist, xenophobic, and just plain wrong information flying around, it’s best to get your updates from one of these two websites, or sites they feel comfortable linking to.