ONLINE RESOURCES FOR QUARANTINED KIDS (AND THEIR OVERWHELMED PARENTS)
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is new to all of us and our firm would like to help you navigate through this unprecedented period in any way we can. As such, we are going to serve as a resource for some of the best information we are seeing and for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve heard. We’ll be updating our site regularly and would like to hear your thoughts and any questions you are trying to answer. To get our updates, please follow The Law Offices of Scott Glovsky on Facebook by visiting here and by clicking on the “follow” button. For non-legal questions, since we are not doctors or scientists, we’ll be providing what we feel are credible resources for what we share so you can research further if you like.
For our first post, we are sharing resources for kids learning from home. There are resources in several areas including General Education, S.T.E.M., Reading, Art, Nature, Movement, Language, and Emotional Support/Wellbeing. Click on the titles to get to the pages. Thanks Ashley Parris for putting this list together!
Scholastic’s Learn From Home – The people who brought you all kinds of educational books are also providing free resources to parents trying to educate their kids from home. Each day has up to 3 hours of educational videos, books, activities and projects to keep kids learning. Scholastic has promised to load more content soon, but as of now, there are 10 days of materials separated by age groups and it will remain free indefinitely.
School Lessons from CK12 – Not the most engaging website here, but very well organized (by grade and subject) and covers science, math, and social studies. Best for children who are at least 7 years old and/or can read reasonably well on their own since there isn’t too much for younger kids and non-readers require a lot of parent involvement.
PBS Learning Media and PBS Kids – PBS has videos and interactive lessons organized simply enough for children to peruse. Some of the material comes quite close to just straight up watching tv, but it mostly rides the line between teaching and entertaining safely enough for parents to be comfortable. And because it’s PBS, you know the material will be safe and age-appropriate. Perhaps the best thing on the site is the collection of “Feelings” videos and lessons to help children maintain emotional health and intelligence during this time. Plus, so many of their favorite characters (Daniel Tiger, Sesame Street, Arthur and The Cat In The Hat) get involved.
Printables and Stories on Funbrain Jr. – If you need some non-screen stimulus, this site has hundreds of print outs for math, puzzles, reading, art and more. There is enough for kids to do on their own and the site is geared toward ages 2-6. There are stories on the site as well, but they have no audio, so an adult or older sibling needs to read them.
Khan Academy App – If your child has an iPad (or you let them use yours), Khan Academy is a free, nonprofit learning platform for ages 2 and up. The website is great for older kids (the main focus is STEM with reading thrown in), but doesn’t have much to offer for kids under 7 (math and grammar only) and a parent needs to read the directions to the child for each section. For more, you will want the app. The app is free and there are no ads. The content is outstanding and unlike a lot of other educational apps, this one has emotional learning as well.
American Museum of Natural History – Games, stories, videos, hands on activities all geared toward science and all designed for children. Older kids will love AMNH’s main website which has amazing science videos on everything from galaxies to dinosaurs. There are even activities for small children like printable coloring sheets featuring the animals showcased in the museum.
Skype A Scientist – Free live streams through Zoom where Scientists give fun and interesting presentations on everything from fossils to whales to The Arctic. Sign up on the website for schedules and alerts. The talks occur several days a week.
NASA for STEM – If you are looking for STEM activities, science experiments and NASA’s answers to kids’ questions about the universe, this website has you covered. It’s not as user-friendly as you would hope and younger kids (under 7) will likely need a lot of parent help with this one, but the content is top notch and the information is organized by age group.
Access Mars – Yet another genius Google idea (in collaboration with JPL), this interface lets kids discover the real surface of Mars using images recovered by NASA’s Curiosity Rover by operating the Rover itself. Let’s be honest, there isn’t a ton to see, because Mars is pretty non-descript, but it gives kids a greater understanding of the universe and an appreciation of the planet we call home.
Mikey The Rad Scientist – Created by a Seattle preschool entertainer who found himself out of work when schools closed, Mikey Gervais took his creative songs and science lessons to Facebook where he live streams three times a week. He is charming and the show is very engaging for kids.
Mystery Science Lessons – This clever site has short videos that give answers to the burning scientific questions kids have (Can animals laugh? Why do some volcanoes explode? How do germs get into your body?) The videos include discussion time and bonus content that’s fun and informative. The interface is easy and it is free for the rest of the school year.
Citizen Science Projects – If you are looking for a more long-term science project and to have your children actually contribute to the field of science, check this website out. When scientific research is too vast or cumbersome to do with a small crew or existing funding, many scientists are turning to the community to help finish the research. With nearly a hundred projects across a very diverse range of subjects, you can choose a project that fits your child’s interest and engagement level.
Storyline: Books Read by Celebrities – Some kids just love to be read to … constantly … no matter what you are working on. If you have one of those kids, this website has celebrities read children’s books to your kids, including classics like Stellaluna, The Elves and The Shoemaker and The Rainbow Fish. There are dozens of options on an easy to use website.
Story Time From Space – This incredible project has astronauts reading your children stories about space, FROM SPACE. The astronauts are in the Space Station and read children’s books about space. The video quality is quite good, the astronauts are engaging and there is no lag time at the beginning (I’m looking at you live streams!). Each session (which last about 10-15 minutes) has the astronaut telling the children a little something about the space station and ends with stunning images taken from space.
Teach Your Monster to Read– From our friends across the pond comes this friendly monster-based teaching site that can take your kids from the absolute basics (letter sounds) to reading sentences. Your child creates a monster that goes on space ship-fueled adventures and needs to learn to read along the way so he can repair his ship. It’s one of the more engaging reading tutorials I’ve seen and the website is completely free.
Draw Every Day with JJK – Jarrett Krosoczka is an author and illustrator best known for his Lunch Lady and Hey Kiddo books. Every day he posts a video to his YouTube channel that is half art class, half storytelling class. This is best for grade-school kids who love drawing or making up their own stories.
Jarrett Lerner – Jarrett Lerner (not kidding, another artist named Jarrett) is a comic book illustrator who has placed HUNDREDS of activity sheets on his website for kids. They help kids draw their own characters, complete comic strips, write funny letters to aliens, create new uses for vegetables, and many more really fun and creative things. You can download and print any of them and they can keep your kids creatively engaged for hours!
Tate Museum Children’s Page – This brilliant website is the homepage for one of the greatest art collections in Great Britain and has dozens of artistic endeavors for kids, but the most worthwhile information is the amazing Explore section with Who’s Who and What’s That sections designed to teach kids about the famous artists and art movements, why they were different and what they look like. This is best for kids who can read on their own, but still good for the 4-6 year old set if you are with them.
Art with Mati & Dada – If your kids are too young for the Tate’s website, these adorable videos (originally Italian, but voiced over for English) introduce famous artists by way of a little girl who is passionate about art and gets transported into the lives of the artists through her magical sidekick. Each video is about 8 minutes, which is perfect for little ones.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems – The fabulous author of the Piggie and Gerald books and Pigeon books is teaching a children’s class courtesy of the Kennedy Center. He is kooky and fun and there are doodles, stories and tons of creative process. A new episode is uploaded each day.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Live Cams – If sea creatures are more your child’s speed, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has 10 different live cams so they can watch sea otters, jellyfish, penguins and even sharks!
Santa Barbara Zoo Animal Videos – If you have ever been to the Santa Barbara Zoo, you likely have watched Monty, the 5-year-old Humboldt penguin that was born and raised at the zoo. With the zoo’s closure, Monty is having the time of his life … and the run of the zoo! There are lots of videos of the zoo’s residents on the website, but by far the most charming are the ones of Monty running unencumbered around the zoo and meeting the zoo’s other animals! They are funny and heartwarming and nice to see a creature enjoying his quarantine. The videos are posted to Instagram, but loaded on the website as well.
Atlanta Zoo Panda Cam – When it comes to watching cute animals, nothing brings more joy than panda bears. Find your panda joy on Atlanta Zoo’s live panda cam which is right on the homepage so it makes for quick viewing.
Cincinnati Zoo Home Safari – The Cincinnati Zoo shares a new animal adventure featuring one of the zoo’s residents each day along with an activity for kids to do. Go to the video section of the Facebook page and you will find more than a dozen episodes. Each has a link where you can find the activity of the day, inspired by the featured animal.
GoNoodle – When being outside is impractical, GoNoodle provides kid-themed workouts in the form of simple choreographed dances and games set to fun music that provide much-needed exercise and energy release.
Cosmic Kids Yoga (also on on Amazon Prime) – Yoga instructor Jaime helps kids with yoga and mindfulness, combining yoga with storytelling in a way that is perfect for kids from 3 to 8. The sessions are short – about 15 minutes – and help kids focus on movement and being calm.
Language Lessons – Short Spanish and French lessons perfect for kids are the hallmark of this easy-to-use site. For the next 3 months, all content, including their signature High Five language series, is free, including video “episodes,” a podcast and worksheets.
Kindness 101 – Steve Hartman, the host of a beautiful segment on the CBS Evening News called On the Road, has created a Mr. Rogers-esque live stream appropriately named, Kindness 101. In each episode (approx. 30 minutes), Hartman talks to children about the importance of character, empathy, altruism and caring for others, using video clips from prior segments of On the Road that feature “children heros” who do extraordinary things for others, as well as his own children who are sheltering-in-place, answering questions from his kid-audience and challenging them to show kindness and gratitude during this difficult time.
GoZen – If your child is struggling with anxiety in this uncertain time, Renee Jain is here to help. An expert in child anxiety, Renee has put together a program to help kids cope with the thoughts and behaviors anxiety produces. There are free resources on her website and she also offers web-based programs for a fee if you find that they are really working for your family.
Advice on Talking to Your Kid – The wonderful Child Mind Institute has a number of articles on their website designed to help parents talk to their kids about Coronavirus.
Mindfulness for Children – Author and mindfulness guru Annaka Harris has a series of mindfulness exercises for children. Several are on her website (for free). If you love them, she has more on the Waking Up app, which some of you probably already have. She teaches children how to be mindful with hearing, seeing and breathing, as well as leading lovely kindness exercises like sending good wishes into the world.
Ninja Focus – This app helps kids identify how they are feeling and set out to manage their negative emotions through mindfulness exercises, using (of course) ninjas! Normally a paid subscription, they are offering the app for free for the next 90 days to help kids through the Coronavirus COVID-19 scare.