If you are like us, you have started wondering what you are going to do during the school closures that are occurring due to the Coronavirus outbreak. We know that school closures and being cooped up at home is hard on your kids; and also the mommies. This does not mean that your kids have to be sitting at home going stir crazy. Occupy them with these ideas on fun ways to teach kids at home.
We have gathered up some great resources for you to use during this time of social separations for your preschoolers through young kids. Here you will find everything from the free best online teaching tools and e-learning resources to fun hands-on activities that we plan to try and experiment with over the next several weeks. Keep up to date with how we are doing by following Mommy And Me Travels on Social Media here:
Fun Ways To Teach Kids About Germs
I’m starting our learning article off with a fun way to teach kids about germs. I also made this our first lesson at home. I find it important to explain to my first grader why he won’t be able to go to school or play with his friends for a few weeks. For this hands-on experiment you’ll only need water, soap, and a few herbs (we used Italian mix and black pepper). Watch Grayson here to see this fun way to teach kids about germs:
E-Learning Resources – Best Online Teaching Tools
Have you started to panic about how to teach kids at home over this unexpected break? Don’t worry, I’ll give you a list of the best online teaching tools that we plan to experiment with over the next several weeks to get to our right curriculum for my toddler and his older brother.
Tip: As more and more schools close, you will probably find a lot more free online teaching tools available for you to use. If your favorite one isn’t offering it 100% free just yet, see if there is a free trail period you can sign up for and that will possibly get you through the time of this unexpected school break.
Hands-On Educational Activities
Today society has us turning to electronics in hopes of entertaining and teaching our kids during this unexpected break. Don’t think this is a bad thing, I’m also using e-learning resources during our absence. However, I have been doing a lot of research to find at least one activity to do that is hands-on each day with my boys. In addition to the best online teaching tools, I’m also going to provide you with the ideas that I have decided on so far and how to do each of them. Now it is time to get into each subject and to arm you with fun ways on how to teach kids at home during this break.
Teaching Kids Math At Home
Math is usually one of those things your kids love or hate. I am fortunate that my both my boys love math. If your kids love it or not, they will love at least one if not many of these ideas.
Teach Math Online
Teaching kids math at home is no easy thing. Below is a list of free online math teaching websites for kids that are geared specifically to helping young kids learn and enjoy math. Grayson has already been trying them out and his favorite so far is Prodigy because he gets to go into wizard battles and win prizes. Every kid gets inspired different ways so definitely have your kids try them out to find their favorite. Once they love a game they will be more inclined to play it over and over.
Prodigy – https://play.prodigygame.com
Khan Academy – www.khanacademy.org
XtraMath – https://xtramath.org/ (this is free on the web but the app has a charge)
Freckle – www.freckle.com
Fun Hands-On Math Educational Board Games For Kids
I currently have come up with 3 educational “board games” for kids that I plan to use to help make learning math fun. I plan to use legos, cards, and cooking. I like having a variety of ideas for math so that my sons don’t get bored and start to fight me about practicing their math skills.
Legos for math is fun because it takes very little set up and can help you teach your kids about fractions while they are home. For this educational activity you will need legos (we use the large/fat ones) and duck tape (or painters tape). Take a long lego piece, example the 4 prong one, and right the number one on a piece of tape and stick it onto it. Next get 2 pieces that are half it’s size and stick the 1/2 on the tape. After that get the single pieces and right 1/4 on them. Now when you stack from bottom to top your kids will learn that 1/4 goes into 1 four times. This not only helps to teach fractions but also basic multiplication.
A deck of cards has many fun ways you can play with your kids to help them learn math. Come up with fun family games that you can do. If you come up with more than one game then you will be able to rotate games throughout the week without kiddos complaining. The ideas I have come up with so far is:
- A version of go fish, but instead of asking for matches have them ask for the number they need that would make up 10. Example: if they have a 3 tell them they have to ask for a 7 so that the “pair” equals 10.
- Teach your kids to play a solitaire game like you use to play before electronics. There are many options here such as standard solitaire where they will count down from 13 then up to 13, or the pyramid solitaire where they have to get cards that equal 10 together and work their way up several rows until out.
Be creative here as only your imagination can hold you back from coming up with games.
Cooking is something that we all will be doing more of while practicing self separation. Why not let your kids in on the meal prep or have them bake some cookies or cup cakes? Kids love the fact that they get a say in the meals and will more likely eat what they have helped to prepare. Cooking is great because they will learn to add measurements, use creativity to come up with receipts, and can begin to explore the science of mixing ingredients. Not to mention all of the fun family memories you will be building together around the kitchen and dining room table.
Discover Science At Home
Science is another tough subject for us parents because we as parents automatically start thinking about periodic tables and dissecting frogs from when we were younger. It is time to move past those fears of science and jump head first into exploring the world with your kids. We use science everyday without evening thinking about it.
Teach Science Online
There are so many great free online teaching tools and the below list is for you to use to teach science online to your kids for free. Grayson’s favorite of the below list is The Concord Consortium because it is an interactive way to teach science. When he finds a lesson that he is particularly interested in, I also attempted to come up with a way to make this our hands-on activity for the day (check out the explanation of germs above).
The Concord Consortium – https://learn.concord.org
Mystery Doug – www.mysterydoug.com
National Geographic – www.kids.nationalgeographic.com
Hands-On Science Activities
Have fun with your kids during the day with hands-on science activities. The list of activities that you can do here is endless. I’m going to highlight a few ideas but don’t limit yourself to this list. Get out there and start discovering the world through science with your kids.
- Learn about buoyancy – make this a scavenger hunt as well as a fun science activity. Have kids run around and gather up different items they find in nature, such as pinecones, rocks, mulch, sticks, etc. Next fill up a large bucket with water. Have your child guess if the items will sink or float before dropping them in the bucket. Explain why each item performed as they guessed or why it didn’t.
- Watch a volcano explode – this can be a fun project that can keep kids busy for hours. Have your kids decide how they are going to build/make the volcano. This could be a simple 2 litter bottle or a massive play dough project. After the volcano is built all you need is a little water, food coloring (optional), baking soda, and white vinegar. Let the eruptions begin. Have them test out different mixture combinations so that they can visually see what happens.
Use your imagination here and the sky will be your limit. However, If you are short on ideas yourself check out this free list to get you started: http://www.sciencefun.org/kidszone/experiments/.
How To Teach Reading and Spelling At Home
Reading is one of those subjects that just takes a lot of time. If you have younger kids start with just recognizing the alphabet. A little bit older kids, have them start with sounds of each letter. This is going to be a building block of activities and depending on your child will depend on how you need to teach reading at home.
Websites For Teaching Kids Online To Read
Are you stuck on ideas for teaching kids to read at home? You just can’t think where to start? Check out this free online list of websites that can get you pointed in the right direction.
Squiggle Park – www.squigglepark.com
Storyline – www.storylineonline.net
Spelling Training – https://www.spellingtraining.com
Storyboard That – https://www.storyboardthat.com
Wonderopolis – http://wonderopolis.org
Starfall – www.starfall.com
Word Game Time – www.wordgametime.com/word-games
Reading IQ – https://www.readingiq.com (there is a free 30 day trial period or you can try code SCHOOL7771)
Fun At Home Reading and Spelling Activities
While learning online is great for many subjects, I find that reading is one of those things that are better as hand-on. Reading and spelling hands-on activities are probably the easiest to think of and perform at home. Have your kids read a book to you or with you. Make flash cards of spelling words and have them learn them then move to making sentences with them. If you don’t have flash cards at home, just cut up a piece of paper into 8 sections and you can easily have make at home cards. Kids can keep journals of what they are doing each day and what was the most fun. This will help them with creativity and hand writing techniques. Get your kids excited about journaling by telling them it will be something they can share with their teachers and friends when they do get to go back to school.
Fun Ways To Teach Social Studies
Social studies is one of those subjects that many of us forget to focus on when our kids are home. Since we are normally traveling around the globe, this is actually one of the subjects I really like discovering with my kids. Teaching cultures and language, check out our favorite 8 Best Travel Shows For Kids.
Teach Social Studies Online
Social Studies is one of those subjects that let you explore cultures, history, and different languages without ever leaving your home. There are several free online resources to help you accomplish this study time. Grayson’s favorite has been the virtual tours that we are taking around the USA and globe.
Virtual Field Trips – https://www.virtualfieldtrips.org/video-library/
History For Kids – www.historyforkids.net
Fun Social Studies Projects
World discovery and history can definitely be fun to study online but you can also find hands on fun social studies projects also. A few example would be printing different Monuments that kids can color like the Washington Monument, The Acropolis In Athens, Great Wall Of China, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and so many more. A way we are exploring history and the world during the time is through a subscription we have with Little Passports (this is not free but we have been members for years and absolutely love it!).
How To Teach Your Child Spanish At Home
During this break we are also incorporating learning a new language. Grayson wants to learn Spanish so I have been researching fun way for the whole family to learn Spanish at home. There are a few resources I have found but am still working my way around how to teach your child Spanish at home as well as adults.
E-Learning Resources for Spanish
There are numerous types of free e-learning resources and we are incorporating a mix of online activities, apps, and tv shows. I find that having a mix of these helps to keep the kids and myself more engaged as we start building our vocabulary. Experts recommend spending at least an hour a day studying a language to learn it more quickly.
TV Shows – You can find plenty of shows on YouTube that are in Spanish. We have been watching Muzzy and Mickey Mouse. However, you can choose any shows that are appropriate for your children’s age.
Apps – We like the Duolingo App because it is free and builds on difficulty as you progress through the fun activities.
Online – If you google “free spanish courses online” you will find a ton of resources. We are in the beginning stages so we are only currently only using IXL Spanish Online, https://www.ixl.com/spanish/. So far this is has been useful for me as a parent to help develop my boys vocabulary.
Practicing Spanish At Home
Spanish is a language I have wanted to learn for awhile but never really found the time. I lived in Germany and found that learning German was easier when I practiced it. I decided to attempt to implement that same mentality at home. While our vocabulary is still very basic I ask my boys simple questions like their name, if they want an apple, and so forth so that the boys and I can continue to practice through the day. I also have googled several everyday items and placed labels on things like kitchen cabinets, doors, windows, tv, etc, as this will help us see the words every time we enter a different location in the house.
Typing Test For Kids
Do your kids still poke and peck when they are typing, I know mine do. I figured this was a great time to start building Grayson’s typing skills. This of course is going to be a completely on the computer activity so you might want to only add this activity in on certain days or after other breaks off the computer. The 2 free e-learning resources we are using for this are as follows:
Typing Club – www.typingclub.com
Typing .com – https://www.typing.com
These are great resources to use as typing test for kids as they continue to progress through the different activities and levels.
Additional Online Teaching Tools
I have separated these tools out either because they are free trial periods or cover more than one subject. I’m including them because even if you just sign up for the free trial periods and then cancel, you will still have received these fun activities for awhile. Hopefully this virus will be under control and the kids back in school before your trail periods expire.
ABCmouse.com® Early Learning Academy – https://www.abcmouse.com/abt/homepage – This is a subscription based program but you can sign up for a free 30 day trial. They also offer it free for teachers to set up for classes. Just send your child’s teacher this link and ask them to enroll – https://www.abcmouse.com/teachers – Update: Age of Learning is offering free home access to ABCmouse, just use code SCHOOL7771
The Good and the Beautiful – https://www.goodandbeautiful.com – The is a free website that is geared towards homeschooling. There is a full list of curriculums throughout the different subjects that you can download and use. Don’t overwhelm yourself, start slowly with just one or two things and build up over the weeks to see what is available.
IXL Learning – https://www.ixl.com – This site has a ton of school subjects that you can use to teach your kids at home. Unfortunately only select things are free and to access it all you have to buys a subscription. The Spanish page above that we are using is very limited but all we need for right now. During this time of closure though you can send a link to your kids teacher and they can sign up the whole class for free. Always worth asking about 🙂 Teacher link – https://www.ixl.com/resources/at-home-learning
Funbrain – https://www.funbrain.com – Funbrain is free miscellaneous games, videos, and books for kids to learn and play. Each section is broken out by grades so that you know the activities are geared towards your child.
Fluency and Fitness – https://fluencyandfitness.com/register/school-closures/ – Fluency and Fitness will get your kids up and moving while they learn. Normally a subscription account is needed but during the school closures the website is giving a 21 Day Free Unlimited Access Pass to all K-2 content.
PBS Kids – https://pbskids.org – This website is more for younger kids, probably 2nd grade and below. PBS Kids has great free videos and free games. Check them all out. One new great item that has been added to this website is that they will provide daily activities and guides if you sign up for it. It is absolutely free and can help you plan your day.
Adventure Academy – https://www.adventureacademy.com – This website is geared towards kids 8-13 with learning games and videos for several subjects. Normally there is a fee but Age of Learning is offering free home access, just use code SCHOOL7771
Scholastic Learn At Home – https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html – This website provides short day by day activities that allow your kids to learn about different things with a short video, a book, word game, and quiz questions. We are following each day path but you and your kids could do the days in any order.
Final Thoughts About Fun Ways To Teach Kids At Home
Normally my focus is on traveling with your kids and providing you tips and tricks to accomplish those family adventures. I composed this article because we are just like you guys and hunkering down until this virus is under control. Take this time to teach your kids life skills that they will need now and in the future. These are great times to build new family memories at home with your kids. We are finding that play breaks are required and make the days much more bearable for us and the kiddos.
I hope this article has given you ideas of ways to make learning at home fun and enjoyable. Remember to take breaks and not get into arguments with your kids. If you or them are upset then learning is not really taking place. If kiddos start to get moody, try one of the hands on activities and make it fun and enjoyable.
I will continue to update this post as I learn about new free resources that are available during this time of social separation. If you discover one that I have missed, comment below so that everyone can benefit. We are all in this together, so lets help each other out!
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