Helping with homework and trying to maintain a schedule for children during these challenging times is something we understand many parents are struggling with at this time. Now, with the likelihood of extended school closures, parents and educators are scrambling to find educational and free resources to keep their children occupied while at home. Here are 7 free educational and curriculum-linked resources to keep children of all ages (and adults too!) occupied, learning about nature, and having fun:
With schools and after-school programming being cancelled across the world, National Geographic is stepping in to make sure learning doesn’t stop. Their large, curated resource libraries have lessons, activities, games, and crafts for children in kindergarten all the way to grade 12. These lessons require few supplies and offer extensive online footage and content to keep every student engaged.
- Canadian Geographic Online Classroom (K-“grey”)
For more northern examples and case studies, educators, parents, and students can look to the new Canadian Geographic Online Classroom. With new activities, lessons, and resources being posted every day for kindergarten to grade “grey” (learning is for everyone!), students can already look forward to lessons about the Anthropocene, plastic pollution, and backyard biodiversity, to name a few.
- Ranger Rick Resources (all ages)
Ranger Rick is a raccoon character from the National Wildlife Federation, America’s largest conservation organization that gives a voice to wildlife. Because of schools being shut down, the Ranger Rick website is offering their paid subscription content for free until June 2020. This includes free access to educator guides, parent reading guides, free digital subscriptions to various Ranger Rick magazines, crafts, games, recipes, videos, jokes, and a photo contest just for kids.
- Cornell Lab K-12 Education (K-12)
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a leader in bird conservation, research, and education focused on birds. They offer many citizen science programs such as Project FeederWatch and eBird which allows individuals to report their bird sightings to a large database. This data can then be used in policy decisions and academic literature, all while fostering a love of birds in your child. Their K-12 Education library includes lessons, activities, species identification tools. Resources are available in English and often Spanish too.
- Ocean Wise Activity Centre & Learning Resources (ages 2-18)
Ocean Wise is a non-profit organization that is headquartered at the Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia, Canada. Ocean Wise wants to make people “ocean wise” by providing educational workshops and online resources about marine animals and habitats, contributing to research, and leading shoreline cleanups. Their education site includes animal webcams, live streams and virtual classes, crafts, recipes, and complete education kits for educators and parents to use.
- Audubon for Kids (all ages)
The National Audubon Society uses science and education to help protect birds and their habitats across the Americas. Perhaps you’ve heard of John J. Audubon and his foundational illustration work in the ornithology (bird) field. Through the Audubon for Kids page, parents can find curriculum-linked lessons, DIY activities, games, art tutorials, and more.
- TED-Ed @ Home (elementary school to university level)
You may recognize TEDx for their viral 6-12-minute talks on YouTube, but the organization also has an education initiative called TED-Ed. With their recently launched TED-Ed @ Home website, parents, children, and educators can get new video-based lessons, series, and blogs every day, covering topics like literature and language, the arts, mathematics, and social studies. Educators and students can also create and share video-based lessons on the TED-Ed site.
With so much uncertainty about the current academic schoolyear, homeschooling can feel overwhelming. Remember that you are not alone and there are family members, friends, and organizations all looking to pool resources and knowledge to help every student, parent, caregiver, and educator succeed.