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Free Tools to Use During School Closures

Life is looking very different for many of us. From closed schools to people working from home for an indefinite amount of time, we are all trying to adapt to these new ways of life. Thankfully, many businesses, museums, and organizations are providing free access to virtual tools.

Last week, we gathered some of our favorite things for people to use while social distancing (museum tours, exercise classes, and more!). This week, we are focusing on tools for parents who have kids at home while schools are closed. If you have some favorite resources, please share in the comments! Or find us on Facebook and share with everyone there. Together, we can all help each other.

YouTube Resources

With so many schools needing to close, parents and educators are understandably stressed out! Making a sudden switch to remote instruction isn’t easy. And there are going to be a lot of bumps along the way. Parents are also worried about whether or not their kids will learn everything they need to. And, of course, whether or not the parents will have any time to focus on work!

For parents who still need to physically go into work, there’s the question of handling childcare and education. It’s a lot for anyone to handle. Thankfully, YouTube (in conjunction with Google) is offering their Learn@Home channel. It features dozens of channels aimed toward educating children preschool age and up. It even includes a Duolingo channel so students can learn phrases in other languages.

E-Learning Tools from Educators

Scholastic is now offering a Learn at Home website, which combines daily lessons with prompts to write, draw, and do other creativity activities. This is a quick and easy way for parents to have some tasks scheduled for their children while they check in with work.

ABC Mouse is for younger children, age 2 – 8, and is offering a 30-day free trial period with full access to their content.

Parents should also turn to PBS and their local PBS stations. Many local stations are now offering content either via the radio, online, or the television. And PBS Kids has educational videos and skill-building tasks that parents can easily set up.

For yet more ideas and access to great e-learning tools, check out this comprehensive list from Live Science.

Creative Resources for Kids

All parents know that kids can only focus for so long. And being forced to stay inside for longer than usual means A LOT of extra energy and creativity that needs to get out if bedtime is ever going to happen. To help keep the creativity going, and give you a little time to focus, check out some of these useful tools.

Penguin Random House is offering a virtual story time and sing-a-long! Great for younger kids who miss these class activities.

The Kennedy Center offers a live stream doodle tutorial, called Lunch Doodles, which can be a makeshift art class at home. Supplies can be minimal for this, too, but the activity is still a lot of fun.

Hopefully some of these tools will come in handy. And remember that a fun round of How Do You See The World? is perfect for the whole family! And makes a great after dinner game.

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