Navigating the sea of information about online learning is not easy at the best of times, and even less so this week given the tsunami of information that has suddenly appeared in everyone’s social media feeds and emails. There seems to be an infinite range of different activities that can be done from home simply with a good wifi connection and smartphone or laptop. So, where to start and how to navigate this space?
If we can keep learners happy and engaged while exploring the things they love, chances are there is some solid learning happening and the cognitive wheels will be turning. So, we thought we’d share a list of a few key resources for kids activities for the weekend that families can try to ensure that kids stay happy and entertained while at home. We have found these to be a useful source of inspiration as we define how to support online learning and maintain the high level of socio-emotional connection and strong personal relationships with our learners. After all, let’s not confuse online learning with online schooling. We won’t talk about the latter today nor the difference between these two concepts but suffice to say that online schooling is no guarantee that learning is actually happening.
Family Engagement Activities to Try
If you would like to support your children and keep them engaged, here are a few ideas and resources you may find helpful:
1. Travel from your Living Room
Over 2,500 museums and galleries offer virtual tours so there is no excuse not to let your mind travel, even if you are physically confined to the sofa during the confinement period! Many of these tours offer very informative and inspiring visits while at the same time providing a fun learning experience for the whole family. See our pick here.
2. Brush up on your geography with Kids National Geographic’s live video of the National Zoo and Smithsonian Learning Lab.
3. Reading and audio books
Audible is offering free audio books for children and families during the confinement period and a number of authors, such as David Walliams, have shared their top audio books for free.
4. Get Crafty and make your own face masks at home! Kids will find it fun to make and personalise their own masks using only paper towels or oven paper, two elastic bands and a stapler. Or you can visit All Kids Network and Highlights Kids, which provide a range of activities for kids to help them make fun crafts and activities.
5. Learn new skills through educational games for K-12
There's no harm in some educational virtual games for kids as long as they are having sufficient time to "screen detox" and engage in offline, manual activities throughout the day
6. Online history classes for all ages, preteen through adults.
Brush up on your knowledge of history and test your critical thinking skills regarding historical authors, historical accounts and historical learnings.
7. Explore STEM (no lab needed!), NASA and home science lab challenges
- Introduce numeracy as a fun part of your daily family routine
- Learn to code
- Listen to astronauts read stories from space
- Maths games galore
- Lots of science experiments that you can do at home
8. Get your body moving!
Here are a series of movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Or if you want a more cardio intense workout, The Body Coach Joe Wicks offers great family-friendly HIIT and PE classes.
9. Present your Own Creative Project or Idea
For older children and teens, invite them to work on a project or set a specific challenge about how to respond to the current situation and keep people feeling connected while in social isolation or distancing.
10. Become a Music Maestro
Set up your own music lab and record your own songs, podcasts and videos at home.