EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - As social distancing becomes the new (temporary) normal and East Texas school districts shut their doors to help contain the spread of COVID-19, kids are finding themselves with much more time spent at home. They’re going to get bored pretty quickly and it can be challenging for parents to find ways to constructively fill that time. So, with that in mind, we created a list of some teacher-recommended resources – as well as some other fun, creative ideas – to help the littles pass the time in a constructive, active way.
Scholastic Learn-At-Home: Scholastic is a household name for anyone who’s set foot in an elementary school (or a book fair) and they’ve collected a bunch of resources and put them online specifically for kids who are having to stay home due to this outbreak. The content is completely free, and it’s sorted by grade level. At the time of this writing, there were about 3 hours of content available, but Scholastic is working to add much more in the coming days. Click here for more information.
Seesaw: Much the same as Scholastic’s offering, Seesaw’s content is going to be broken down by age group, but where Seesaw stands out is that the content was created by and for teachers. This is material your children are likely already familiar with, as it’s largely intended as a teacher’s resource. So it effectively lets the parent be the teacher during this time away from the classroom, and Seesaw has also added content and resources specifically for the situation we currently find ourselves in. Click here for more information.
Get Epic: Think of it as like Netflix for Children’s Books. A full library of favorites and lesser-known gems, and each book has an accompanying quiz so your kiddo can practice their comprehension and retention. There is a small cost associated - it’s a $7.99 monthly subscription. Click here for more information.
Vooks: Similar to Get Epic, but Vooks trades the quizzes for engaging animations and narration, and includes downloadable lesson plans and resources for parents. It’s also a subscription service, but slightly cheaper than Get Epic, at $4.99 per month. And – bonus - there’s a free one-month trial for parents! Click here for more information.
CoolMath4Kids: This is one of those cases where the name tells you exactly what to expect. Basic Math embedded in fun, creative games that let the kids play while they learn. Content is suitable for kids from kindergarten to sixth grade, and this is another platform that your kids are probably already very familiar with, having used it in their classrooms at school. Click here for more information.
Scratch & Code.org: Coding is the future of technology, and there’s a huge push to get kids into it on the ground floor. Scratch and Code.org are two of the most popular platforms that teach kids the basics of learning a programming language, but delivering those lessons in fun, colorful ways. Kids can create characters, books, games, and more, and learn how to use code to make each project behave like they want it to. It’s great for not just learning to program, but also flexing their imaginations. Click here for Scratch and here for Code.
No doubt you’ll be able to find lots of writing or journaling prompts online, but if you have kids who might be campaigning to spend these extra days off watching their favorite shows and movies, sneak a little learning in by having them write reviews of what they’re watching. And if you’re looking to limit screen time during quote-unquote school hours, you can’t go wrong with a good, old-fashioned book report.
GoNoodle: Obviously nothing is going to be a full replacement for good, old-fashioned fresh air and time outsite. But if the weather isn’t cooperating with your social distancing plans and is forcing you to stay inside, give GoNoodle a shot. Recommended by teachers who use it in their own classrooms, GoNoodle is a great resource for getting kids up and moving with fun, colorful, musical games and activities. Like a lot of other resources in this list, GoNoodle is a platform your kids are already going to be familiar with and love. Click here for more information.
With nursing and retirement facilities working hard to protect their elderly, at-risk patients and residents, those people may find themselves unable to receive visitors. Chances are you already have a house full of art supplies – so call your local nursing homes, see if their residents will still be able to receive mail, and let the kiddos make greeting cards and paintings and other crafts to brighten the spirits of those elderly residents.
Of course these are just a few ideas to get you started, and we want to hear your suggestions as well! Let us know how you and your families are passing the time via e-mail and social media!