Coronavirus kids guide: Activities and online resources

Schools have closed for the foreseeable future, but children still need to be educated, entertained and reassured. For the majority, home teaching will be new and therefore we have created this guide for you. We hope this will provide some help towards home learning for your child or children. It includes advice, tips and a list of free online resources.

Primary school children

  1. Focus on your child’s wellbeing
    Children will only learn successfully if they feel happy, safe and secure. You need to provide your children with reassurance, encouragement and love.
  2. Set and stick to a routine
    Like adults, children need normality and structure, so it is advisable to stick to a routine. It will help children recognise that home-schooling is not a holiday and it needs to be taken seriously. When creating schedules try simple things like getting dressed in regular school clothes instead of lounging around in pyjamas, because this can help to normalise an abnormal situation. There need to be expectations of learning to some degree. This will help to make home-schooling easier.
  3. Plan and prioritise
    Be realistic. If you’re not a teacher by trade, then trying to conquer the whole curriculum is a little ambitious. If anything, it could make your child anxious. Get creative with your teaching, for example, watch Blue Planet or try baking or painting. Most importantly, try not to worry too much, Ofsted won’t be calling anytime soon. Plan and prioritise and do your best to execute your plan. That’s all you can do.
  4. Give your child some independence
    It can be very beneficial if you let your child create their own structure or timetable for the day, bringing together their ideas for home learning. If, however, your child tries to schedule playing video games all morning, then you should intervene, but it’s important to give them the option first.
  5. Make literacy and numeracy a priority
    Continue to practice essential core subjects such as English and maths. Practice fundamental maths skills such as counting, times tables and addition/subtraction methods. Encourage your child to write, that could be writing what they have done that day, for example. Reading is important too, try to encourage reading every day.
  6. Make learning fun!
    Activities shouldn’t just be literacy and numeracy based. As previously mentioned, try baking, painting, colouring, and even getting out in the garden. These are all essential to reduce boredom. Reducing a child’s boredom will also increase their productivity in essential core subjects.
  7. Limit TV, tablets and phones
    Avoid an unhealthy, over-reliance on screen time because it has negative effects on physical and mental health. It has also been proven to disrupt sleep patterns when it is consumed near bedtime. Variety is key, so be sure to mix it up – exercising, reading and learning new skills.
  8. Frequent breaks
    Remember that the younger the child, the less time they can likely sit and learn for, so frequent breaks are great for productivity. Even better, try to have movement breaks – such as dancing to music, indoor games and star jumps. This will really help with learning and focus.
  9. Consider the situation and social isolation
    Make sure your child gets some time to relax and be independent. This will help them feel less isolated.
  10. Don’t overdo itAccording to teachers, they recommend around two hours learning in total a day for children in key stage 1. Children in key stage 2 would be able to do more; about three to four hours.
  11. Make the most of outdoor space
    This has so many benefits. It allows children to develop an appreciation of the world around them. Of course, don’t forget the benefits for physical and mental health. You could learn about all the plants and trees if you are able to or create your own outdoor circuit.
  12. Praise your children’s efforts and behaviour
    Positive and constructive feedback will help motivate a child. This can be on-target efforts, behaviour and specific aspects of a child’s work. Try to do more than just saying ‘well done for completing your maths work’. It’s more beneficial when you provide an explanation in your appraisal and tell them exactly what they did well. You could give your child a gold star when they have achieved something and after collecting 5 stars, they get a prize.
  13. Bond with your child
    Enjoy the extra time together. You should try to do activities together like creating artwork, playing board games or even completing a jigsaw. Doing activities that are enjoyable for both of you greatly improve the bond you have with your child. It’s also a lot of fun!

Here’s a list of free online resources for primary school children:

  • 123 Homeschool for ME– free printable worksheets, hands-on activities and games (making learning fun). Resources are arranged by grade or subject.
  • The Body Coach(Joe Wicks) – everyday, Joe Wicks provides a home workout aimed at kids. The workouts are fun and suitable for all ages.
  • 2Simple– Purple Mash is a platform that provides activities for spelling and grammar, maths, animation, publishing art and many more.
  • BBC Bitesize– BBC Bitesize has learning for both primary and secondary children. Bitesize is designed to help students with learning and exam preparation.
  • ABDO– ABDO has provided its entire eBook collection free to access at home.
  • Classroom Secrets Kids– a platform for learning grammar, spelling, punctuation, reading history and maths.
  • Activity Village– provides colouring pages, puzzles, worksheets, crafts and more.
  • Artrageous with Nate– videos about art projects to create as well as information on many different artists.
  • Bamboo Learning– Bamboo Learning offers voice-powered (Alexa) education covering a range of academic subjects.

Secondary school children

  1. Stay committed to your existing schedule
    Stick to your school timetable as much as you can. This will help you to vary what you study at home. Structure is great for everyone and makes home learning more effective.
  2. Make the most of the free stuff
    Included in this blog and in our other blog [insert name of blog/link here], are numerous websites that offer premium content at no cost during the COVID-19 crisis. Take advantage of this abundance of content, it will do wonders to curb boredom and enable you to learn too.
  3. Stay positive
    This is imperative for everyone’s mental state during these times. A good way to stay positive is to keep a journal. Each day try to spend some time writing about three things you are grateful for, what you plan on doing to make today great and how you want to improve yourself. Other things that will help are keeping active and eating a well-balanced diet.
  4. Look after yourself
    Try not to worry about the current situation. Whilst it is good to keep up with current affairs, choose your news sources wisely. There is a lot of negativity and ‘fake news’ circulating on social media, so reducing the amount of time you spend on it will do you good.
  5. Challenge yourself
    Try to do something that you haven’t done before like reading a new book. How about making a meal from whatever you have in the cupboards? Or learning a new language? This is the perfect opportunity to learn a key life skill that is very useful for the future.

Here is a list of free online websites for secondary school children activities and learning:

  • Khan Academy– a vast library of online learning courses. Daily schedules for learning during school closures.
  • Virtual museum tours– museums may be closed but this Google Arts and Culture page allows you to explore some of the most famous exhibits in the world, as such as the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
  • Actively Learn– this curriculum platform provides English, science and social students with articles, textbook sections, fiction, videos and more. The great thing about this platform is that you can upload your existing assignments onto it, so you don’t have to transition to new materials.
  • BBC Bitesize– BBC Bitesize has learning for both secondary and primary school children. Bitesize is designed to help students with learning and exam preparation.
  • BBC History– BBC resources and quizzes.
  • Duolingo– this online platform offers fun, bite-sized lessons in learning a new language.
  • Eedi– Craig Barton’s maths resources.
  • Learning by questions– a vast range of resources covering English, science and maths at secondary and primary school level.
  • Seneca – a large range of free online courses and resources covering an array of subjects.

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