Now that we're spending all our time at home thanks to the circuit breaker, why not hop online and learn a thing (or two) from these educational sites?
In this circuit breaker time of self-isolation and social distancing, all this working from home is pretty tough with kids around! Some days, we realise it’s much easier to just let the little folk watch TV or use the computer to entertain themselves while we smash those deadlines. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Thankfully, the internet has tons of sites to keep the kids entertained for hours… and these ones we’ve rounded up are pretty educational, too. If you’re in need of some recommendations, read our favourite kid-friendly things to do on the internet.
1. Personalised home-based learning with Kidzmatters
With more than a month left until the circuit breaker ends, finding home-based learning activities is definitely a lifesaver for most parents. After all, there’s only so much toilet roll and delivery box craft we can handle, right? Well, thank goodness for the folks at KidzMatters. Created by the early childhood experts from SEED Institute, it’s filled with fun home-based learning activities from five pre-school anchor operators and an MOE Kindergarten that’ll get your kids (from ages 0-6) inspired and thinking! We’re talking fun fishing games, songs to sing, making your own finger puppets, easy-peasy recipes and more. What we love about the site is that it’s age-based, which means you’ll just need to zoom into the age your child is in and pick an activity to do daily. The best part? It’s absolutely FREE and new content will be updated daily during this circuit breaker period – awesome!
2. Guess where in the world you are
Bummed to be missing that long-awaited family trip this school break? No fret, because the Internet is here to save the day. Thanks to Google Maps, you can literally explore the world from the comfort of your couch or bed. And why not make a challenge out of it and test the kiddos’ geography by playing GeoGuessr? It’s simple: using Google Street View, you’re dropped in the middle of nowhere and have to guess where you are. The closer you are to the answer, the more points you get. It’s addictive – you’ve been warned.
3. Go on a virtual tour
Ever wanted to explore NASA’s Houston Space Center, the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland or even hike The Great Wall of China? Well, now you can… and all in one day! Not only that, but there are also tons of museum gallery tours, zoo exhibits and outdoor places you can visit virtually without ever leaving your home. Perfect while we’re all stuck at home! The best part? No crowds and you don’t have to struggle to find a bathroom for the kids if they ever need to pee.
Here’s a list of some of our favourites if you want some adventure and fun:
- Explore five U.S. national parks, including Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska and Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida with The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks.
- Marvel at the geysers and hot springs at Yellowstone National Park.
- Take a trip to Disneyland or Disney World! You can definitely roam around the park for free. Don’t miss the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, too.
- Psst, you can even take the rides virtually! Just hop onto YouTube to go on a virtual roller coaster ride. Here’s our favourite – but check out the other roller coasters at the different Six Flags Parks.
- Want to opt for a slower pace instead? Go on a virtual walk through London’s Royal Botanic Gardens.
Hop on a museum tour or two:
- Learn about history from the British Museum’s extensive collection of artefacts from around the world.
- Walk the famous staircase of the Guggenheim Museum in New York and see all its galleries.
- See famous paintings from French artists like Monet, Gauguin and more at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
- Love marine creatures? You’ll want to watch live cams of the animals at Monterey Bay Aquarium.
- If you prefer land animals, head over to San Diego Zoo’s website to look at them in their habitats. Psst, there are even activities and games to do, too!
- Check out the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. and its exhibits: think dinosaur fossils and ocean creatures!
For more arts and culture:
- If you fancy getting the kids into opera, now’s the perfect time. The Metropolitan Opera in New York City has free nightly live opera streams.
- Visit the Museum of Modern Art and look at famous paintings like Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and other current exhibits.
- Visit the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida to learn more about the famed Spanish artist Salvador Dalí.
- Explore the Picasso Museum’s historic courtyards and explore its interactive tour.
- Want to see artworks from Dutch artists Rembrandt and Vermeer? Hop online to explore the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Psst, the museum also has a free app to help you learn more about its exhibits!
Want more arts and culture recommendations? Google has a curated list of museums around the world that have virtual tours to allow you to explore whenever, wherever you want – the Internet is truly saving the day with this one!
4. Work the mind while playing fun games
Over on Fun Brain, the kiddos can play games, watch videos and read books all day long. This kid-friendly website has activities for kids from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade and features various topics from history to science and spelling. There’s even a math zone where the littles can play math-related games to train their mind and have fun at the same time.
We also love Prodigy, an engaging set of games suitable for kids and recommended by educators worldwide… including some international school teachers here in Singapore.
Need more recommendations? Here are some of our favourites:
- Keep the kids entertained and learning with BrainPop – it has more than 1,000 short animated videos to teach the kids topics in English, science, math, arts, music and more.
- Love documentaries? Catch up on your favourite science, history and nature programmes at Curiosity Stream. Endless options!
- Teach the kids how to code with Tynker – and maybe you’ll learn a new skill at the same time!
- Watch your favourite Dr. Seuss books come alive on Seussville, where you can play fun interactive games or watch short animated clips inspired by your favourite stories.
Is your little one a visual learner? Perhaps they’d prefer learning a thing or two from these educational videos on YouTube instead. Either way, we’re just happy they’re learning something new!
5. Work on your creative skills
Here at HoneyKids HQ, we love working on a good craft. Thankfully, the Internet is chock full of ideas for us to try – all you’ve got to do is search the web! Personally, we love learning a new craft from the folks at DIY – its instructional videos are easy enough for the kids to follow, and they’re pretty fun, too. We also love Creative Bug’s many classes online… the kiddos can even learn how to sew!
6. Read your favourite books and discover new stories
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Aw. Love this! Thank you for sharing. And yes, the rumors are true. Join #GadBookClub every day as we gather round and read a book for the kids as you parents take a long needed break or for you parents as you kids take a long needed break. Love you all. Stay safe. Pic credit to @artbykristengavula – see you tomorrow.
Is your kiddo a voracious reader like ours? If so, you’ll want to check out Epic! to get your fix. Epic! has plenty of books for the little ones and is a great digital resource for kids aged 12 and younger. Want more book recommendations? Check out Storyline Online for tons of kid-friendly books.
Psst, Disney and Frozen fans will definitely want to tune in to Josh Gad’s Stories with Olaf every day (above)! Great for some much-needed rest while the littlies enjoy a story from Olaf himself.
7. Go crazy at home with these science experiments
Having kids at home during this crisis is a great opportunity to get the kids learning about science. There are tons of science experiments that are easy to do to get the kids interested in the subject. Check out Steve Spangler’s range of fun, science experiments just for the kiddos – there are more than a hundred so the young ‘uns will definitely be entertained and kept learning for hours. Science Kids is another great resource on the Internet for learning about science through experiments, games, quizzes, videos and activities.
Budding scientists will also enjoy the activities on EdHeads – psst, it’s free to sign up from now till early April, so take full advantage of that, parents! And inquisitive minds can learn complex science principles with The Exploratorium where you can find free learning materials and resources to boost your child’s learning.
8. Learn how to draw from these artists
We don’t know about you, but the kids in our household love to draw and colour. Give them a box of colouring pencils and some paper and it’ll distract them for hours on end! And thanks to the coronavirus, many artists and designers are self-isolating at home and forming art clubs where kiddos can draw and learn a technique or two.
Here are our favourites: The New York Times’ bestselling illustrator, Wendy MacNaughton (@wendymac) is currently holding a drawing class for kids every day on her Instagram stories. They’re fun, easy to follow and make drawing entertaining for the little ones… and even us, too! American illustrator Carson Ellis (@carsonellis) also has a quarantine art club where she challenges followers to draw simple, everyday objects using prompts. It’s super easy to follow along with the sproglets, and will help them learn drawing techniques. Lastly, we love Illustoria Magazine (@illustoria_mag) – it’s a creative magazine for kids and kids-at-heart alike. In light of Covid-19, the magazine has started its Illustoria art club on Instagram with prompts to help children think creatively and make art easily. No need to head to a class when you can learn from artists on the Internet!
And lastly, just for us parents…
9. Attend a virtual concert
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Social distancing is important, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. I did a little at-home performance to help lift your spirits. @Miguel, @CharliePuth – you want next? Learn more about how you can take action to help slow the spread of coronavirus with our partners at @WHO and @GlblCtzn globalcitizen.org/coronavirus #TogetherAtHome
Perhaps one of the best things to come out of this worldwide pandemic is getting to enjoy a free concert from your favourite singers. While we might not be able to catch them live in person, you can definitely enjoy them crooning ballads from the comfort of your own home. Our favourite thus far? John Legend’s hour-long home concert – with a special appearance from Chrissy Teigen and daughter Luna. It was so good, you could say it was legend-ary.