Need some help talking with your kids about COVID-19? These resources can help: Talking to children about coronavirus, Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus and Talking with Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks. Also, for slightly older kids, check out BrainPop’s short video on the Coronavirus.
And here’s a great, simple video showing the effect social distancing can have on the spread of the disease.
Books, Books, Books!
Audible – Children’s audiobooks are free on Audible!!
Authors and Illustrators – A great collection of children’s authors’ and illustrators’ websites from Great Sites for Kids
Authors Everywhere – A YouTube channel with authors sharing their books and work, as well as writing workshops and art demos – crazy cool!
BookFlix from Scholastic – What a fun site! The site pairs picture book videos with related nonfiction ebooks (that you can either read, or follow along as they’re read to you), then adds puzzles and games. Highly recommended for those learning to read!
Dr. Seuss Raps over Dr. Dre Beats
Were Dr. Seuss classics written to be rapped? It seems so when you watch Wes Tank’s versions of Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Socks, The Lorax and more. If you haven’t seen these, you’re in for a real treat!
EPIC! – A huge digital library for kids 12 and under, EPIC! offers 40,000 ebooks and audiobooks, learning videos, quizzes and more, and they’re offering 30 days for free (they do require a credit card).
GadBookClub – Josh Gad of Frozen live on Twitter @ 7pm every night
KidLit TV – explore the world of children’s literature
ListenUpVermont! – Hundreds of books for all ages are available for download to your mobile devices and computers. Once you have the Libby app (available for both Apple and Android devices), all you need is the last four digits of your library card number. If you don’t know your number, email Shana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maple Sugaring Storytime – from the Joslin Memorial Library in Waitsfield. Oliver Jeffers’ Stuck and maple sugaring – lots of fun on a rainy day!
Mo Willems’ Livestream Doodle – Mo Willems virtually invites “learners of all ages” into his studio and encourages them to draw and write with him. He will livestream a new “Lunch Doodle” video each weekday at 1 PM.
Publishers’ Online Resources – From fiction to non-fiction, STEM books to graphic novels, book publishers have created a wealth of content to support educators, librarians, booksellers, parents, and caregivers. Compiled here are links to various publishers websites where you can find these free resources.
Read, Wonder, and Learn – authors sharing lessons, excerpts, etc. from their books
Ruby the Reading Red Panda – Follow Ruby the Reading Red Panda to see which animals she’ll read about next!
Save with Stories – A collection of celebrities reading children’s stories. These are filmed, often with cell phones, in celebrities’ homes during the pandemic. There’s a lot here, but why not start with Jeff Goldblum reading Horton Hears a Who?
Stimola Live is a website of live stream events (storytimes, art starters, craft and illustration tutorials, writing workshops, etc.) for kids, tweens, and teens by professional authors and illustrators who are represented by Stimola Literary Studio agency. Events are streamed live from a variety of platforms and archived on the site, as well as on the Stimola Live YouTube Channel.
Storyline Online – Videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. (Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more.)
Story Time from Space – Children’s books sent to the International Space Station. While in space, astronauts videotape themselves reading to children on Earth.
Teen Lit Rocks – The site celebrates young adult literature with reviews and favorites, online book clubs, author Q&As, and more.
Learning to Read
Reading Bear – Reading Bear teaches beginning readers vocabulary and concepts while systematically introducing all the main phonetic patterns of written English.
Starfall – Starfall started as a free public service to teach children to read. Since then it has expanded to include language arts and mathematics for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade. Starfall’s emphasis on phonemic awareness, systematic sequential phonics, and common sight words in conjunction with audiovisual interactivity has proven effective in teaching emergent readers.
Arts & Crafts
ArtisTree Community Arts Center – ArtisTree in Woodstock, VT has created a YouTube Channel with art projects, including a reading of Frederick by Leo Lionni followed by collage creation inspired by the illustrations!
ArtisTree’s Exploring Self through Expressive Arts – Teens are invited to explore arts processes and discover new sides of themselves in a monitored, safe environment. This weekly peer-led group allows high school students to discover creativity in a variety of art modalities found at home. No experience necessary, just openness to finding creative things to connect with while in quarantine. Anyone interested email Ben Fox to be sent the Zoom meeting link. Meetings are at 5pm on Mondays for about 90 minutes.
Draw with Rob Biddulph – Rob Biddulph, author and illustrator of Odd Dog Out posts a new DrawWithRob video every Tuesday and Thursday.
Easy Origami for Kids – Engaging videos of easy origami projects
Fingerprint Alphabet Art – Use your fingerprint to create a picture for every letter of the alphabet: dogs and jellyfish and unicorns – oh, my!
Jarrett Lerner’s Comics Activities Page – Blank Comic Book Pages, “Finish This Comic!” Comics, and Drawing/Writing Prompts
Justin Hillgrove’s Imps and Monsters coloring and activity book – Have a printer? These are some uber-cool coloring pages!
Mandalagaba – Developed by Sharon resident Ben Servoz, Mandalagaba lets you create your own mandalas! What could be more calming (and entertaining!) than creating mandalas? Just draw and breathe….
Origami-Instructions.com – Lots of great, easy-to-follow, not-too-difficult tutorials
Quarantine Art Club with Carson Ellis – Children’s author and illustrator Carson Ellis posts a fun new art assignment every weekday morning.
Tate Kids – The Tate Museum in London has created an incredibly cool art website for kids filled with games, videos, activities, silly quizzes, and much more!
Vermont Art Online – A resource that lets families, students, educators, and the public enjoy Vermont’s museums and galleries from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Virtual Museum Tours – Here’s a collection of some of the best.
History & Social Studies
Ancestry K12 – With school closures in effect across the U.S., Ancestry has made its AncestryK12 lesson plans available for free for anyone to download while they are educating children at home. The lesson plans target a number of core subjects, with educational topics ranging from the American Revolutionary War to the suffrage movement to haunted houses!
Great Scott! – Lessons in Egyptian Hieroglyphs
Native Knowledge 360° – From the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Native Knowledge 360° (NK360°) provides educators and students with new perspectives on Native American history and cultures. Most Americans have only been exposed to part of the story, as told from a single perspective through the lenses of popular media and textbooks. NK360° provides educational materials, virtual student programs, and teacher training that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories, and accurate information to enlighten and inform teaching and learning about Native America. NK360° challenges common assumptions about Native peoples and offers a view that includes not only the past but also the vibrancy of Native peoples and cultures today.
Being in Nature
How to Teach Nature Journaling – This free pdf of John Muir Laws’ and Emilie Lygren’s book How to Teach Nature Journaling is beautifully laid out and bursting at the seams with great ideas. You’ll need to add the book (and, if you like, its free companion book Opening the World through Nature Journaling: Integrating Art, Science & Language Arts) to your cart and then input your name and address (even though it’s a digital download). No credit card is requested. This resource is highly recommended!
Ideas for Families : Exploring Nearby Nature Together – A list of nature-centered activities for families.
iNaturalist App – iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over 750,000 scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What’s more, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature.
Northern Woodlands Tic Tac Toe Treasure Hunt
Northern Woodlands Magazine (located in Lyme, NH) has been posting a new series called “This Week in the Woods” with spring sites you can find right here in the Upper Valley. Take a look and see how many you can find!
4H VTeen Science Pathway Cafes – Scientists share their work, followed by an informal discussion.
Animals of the Florida Everglades – This resource was sent in by an enthusiastic follower of these resources – and it’s a good one! If you’ve ever been to Florida, you may have seen some of these incredible creatures – or maybe not! Did you know there’s a semi-aquatic rabbit? Or a raptor that eats only snails? Or an alligator fish?
Climate Kids by NASA – Launched in 2010, NASA’s Climate Kids website tells the story of our changing planet through the eyes of the NASA missions studying Earth. Targeting upper-elementary-aged children, the site is full of games, activities and articles that make climate science accessible and engaging.
DadLab – Dad & sons sharing their science experiments
FourScienceVT – VINS, ECHO, Fairbanks and Montshire museums have come together to offer science- and STEM-based resources to Vermont kids. There’s a LOT to delve into. Create giant bubbles or learn to sprout seeds with Montshire’s video tutorials, inflate a balloon with baking soda or try your hand at an engineering design challenge at ECHO, take a virtual visit to the Fairbanks planetarium, or learn about the descendants of dinosaurs at VINS – and much, MUCH more!
Mystery Science – Mystery Science has opened its most popular science lessons for grade K-5 for students and parents to access for free. Lessons range from short mini lessons that are completely digital, to full lessons that include a hands-on activities.
NASA Earth Day 2020: 50th Anniversary Toolkit – NASA is providing a wealth of science resources from across the agency for outreach to young people. The programs, games, videos, books, images and posters are free for teachers, students, parents and anyone.
NASA eClips – eClips brings together exciting video segments and resources to inspire and educate students to become 21st Century explorers by introducing them to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts and providing teachers with engaging resources and tools to support teaching and learning.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – DIY STEM projects, video tutorials, games, links, and more
NASA Kids Club – games of various skill levels for children pre-K through grade 4
NASA Space Place – NASA Space Place’s mission is to inspire and enrich upper-elementary-aged kids’ learning of space and Earth science online through fun games, hands-on activities, informative articles and engaging short videos.
NASA STEM Engagement – Activities and opportunities selected by NASA STEM experts
Ology – Biodiversity, physics, paleontology, climate change, and much more – all for kids! Check out the videos, play the games, try your hand at the activities, and learn something amazing!
Science News for Students – Articles highlighting ongoing research in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology. Stories are reported by experienced science journalists, many with PhDs in the fields on which they write. There are also experiments to perform, a series that explores cool STEM jobs, and articles highlighting the intersection of science and fiction.
Shedd Aquarium – Penguins & otters & fish, oh my!
Zooniverse: Citizen Science – The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. Participate in research of all kinds, from classifying galaxies to counting penguins to transcribing manuscripts. Whatever your interest, there’s a Zooniverse project for you.
Like the name implies, this site is filled with free math games – everything from addition to spatial relations to calculus.
Created for kids in grades Pre-K through 8, Funbrain offers hundreds of games, books, comics, and videos that develop skills in math, reading, problem-solving and literacy.
A free online math games site. Founded by a middle school math teacher, Hooda Math offers over 350 Math Games.
Math Game Time
Designed for students from pre-K through 7th grade, Math Game Time offers fun, educational games focused on critical math concepts.
This site has just over a dozen free games, but each lets you choose the grade level and math skill.
Games to play related to logic, number skills practice, geometry, algebra, probability, fractions and more. There are also math word problems and video instructions to help students remember how to solve them. You can find games by grade or math skill.
For the younger crowd, PBSKids has a great math games website. The games are cute and engaging, and for those who know the characters, there’s an extra incentive. (You don’t need to know the characters to enjoy these, however.) Highly recommended!
The American Library Association (ALA), in partnership with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, has released a collection of free online games to teach children basic financial skills related to earning, saving and spending money. The four interactive games are designed for children ages 7 to 11 but are appropriate for other ages as well. Games include:
• Earning It: Follow the paths of characters Grace, Emma, and Kenji to see how their childhood interests translate into successful careers and opportunities to “give back” by volunteering.
• Balance My Budget: Make choices about how to meet basic needs and treat yourself with a splurge here and there, while sticking to a monthly budget.
• Money Trail: Starting with $500 in your bank account, make decisions about how to earn and spend.
• Let’s Deal: Hear from buyers and vendors at a farmers’ market as they swap goods and learn about money.
Postcrossing – Allows you to “send postcards and receive postcards back from random people around the world.” The service is safe and free (well, except for buying the cards and stamps, a wonderful way to help our struggling postal system).
Rescuers in the time of Covid-19 Vermont Student Essay Contest – To acknowledge the heroism and sacrifice of Vermont’s essential personnel in the fight against COVID-19, the Vermont Holocaust Memorial (VTHM) has launched a comparative essay competition that challenges Vermont students to reflect on those neighbors, relatives, and workers on the front lines against this historic threat and how their values reflect those rescuers of the World War II Holocaust. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three entries in each of four grade categories (from 4th-12th). Deadline: November 10.
What to Write When You Don’t Know What to Write (And You Don’t Think You’re a Writer – Middle School teacher Ann Braden (The Benefits of Being an Octopus) invites virtual students of all ages into her online thee-part series “I always tell students that if I can write, they can write — it’s just about breaking the process down into small manageable steps.”
WriterSpace – Looking for some writing inspiration? River Valley Community College’s WriterSpace is now meeting online Mondays and Wednesdays at 6pm and Fridays at 9am for teens’adults. For the weekly link, more questions, and to learn about WriterSpace Kids, send an email to RVCCWriterSpace@ccsnh.edu
Young Writers Project Virtual Workshops – Online workshops and quick pop-up writing challenges and activities.
Book Club for Kids – A free, 20-minute podcast devoted to middle grade books and readers. Each show features a trio of students discussing a favorite book, an interview with the author, and a celebrity reading. The Times of London named the program one of the “Top 10 Podcasts for Children” in the world.
Brains On – An award-winning science podcast for kids and curious adults from American Public Media, Brains On has already produced over 100 episodes. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world with topics like “Can you dig to the center of the earth?” “How scientists are working to stop the coronavirus” and “Mary Shelley and the science of Frankenstein.”
Eleanor Amplified – An adventure series for the whole family. Listen together as our hero, the world-famous radio reporter Eleanor Amplified, foils devious plots and outwits crafty villains, all in pursuit of the big story… Eleanor will spark laughter and conversation the whole family will enjoy, while preparing kids to appreciate journalism and make smart media choices in the future.
Ear Snacks – Andrew & Polly and their friends consider music, science, art and culture in a fun-filled family-friendly podcast that parents enjoy and younger kids eat right up.
Peace Out – These short stories are meant to help children calm down and relax by guiding them through visualization and breathing exercises. Peace Out was created as an accessible resource to teach children about their emotions and social skills as well as finding calm and peace in their daily lives in a fun and relaxing way.
Short & Curly – A fast-paced fun-filled ethics podcast for kids and their parents, with questions and ideas to really get you thinking. It asks curly questions about animals, technology, school, pop culture and the future.
Class Central – Discover thousands of free online courses from top universities around the world like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard.
Education.com – Basic (free) members have access to a monthly sample of 3 (very slick) items. You can select from worksheets, lesson plans, games, activities and other resources. If you’re willing to pony up for more content, this is a pretty incredible site.
Khan Academy – A non-profit educational organization that provides free video tutorials and interactive exercises, the Academy’s declared mission is “changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.”
Learning at Home Resources from VT School Library Association – This resource is curated by Vermont School Library Association (VSLA) librarians along with some Vermont public librarians and educators. Aimed at teachers (so not every resource will be available to individuals), it’s a big list and encompasses everything from learning to read to science experiments to career readiness.
The Learning Network by The New York Times – TLN publishes about 1,000 teaching resources each school year, all based on Times content — articles, essays, images, videos, graphics and podcasts. Most of the resources are free (only the lesson plans are limited to five per month for non-subscribers). The intended audience is middle and high school teachers and students.
National Geographic Kids – Articles, activities, games, quizzes, videos experiments and more on subjects ranging from Native American and women’s history to animals and physics.
PBS At Home Learning –While school is out, PBS is showing educational programming with accompanying interactive lessons and suggested activities at their website. Vermont PBS Main Channel will offer programming starting each weekday at 7:00 a.m. with programs for pre-K to 8th grade students. Vermont PBS Plus Channel will offer science, history and English language arts programming for students in grades 6 through 12. Both channels are broadly available on all cable systems, and available for free over the air through a digital antenna without the need for cable subscription or broadband internet access.
Smithsonian Edu – the Smithsonian Institution has created an array of distance learning resources, from STEM webcasts to American history podcasts. This link showcases eight of these offerings, but there’s so much more to check out at the Smithsonian Learning Lab.
Wide Open School – Wide Open School is a free collection of the best online learning experiences for kids curated by the editors at Common Sense. With categories like Live Events, Emotional Well-Being, Special Needs, Life Skills, and Field Trips, as well as Reading & Writing, Math, Science, History and the like, Wide Open School is, perhaps, the most helpful resource for “Crisis Schooling” I’ve come across. Highly recommended!
Other Fun Stuff
4H QuaranTeen Distance Learning Socials – Join Vermont 4-H each week on Mondays, at 3:00pm, as long as schools are closed. Each week a different topic in science, healthy living, and civic engagement will be introduced alongside fun take home challenges. We will meet back up on Thursdays at 3:00pm to share out our findings. Open to all youth ages 8+.
Billings Farm at Home – Download “Bag of Fun” kits and watch videos featuring book readings, farmhouse tours and virtual visits with Billings’ farm animals.
Chess Kid – Learn and play chess with other kids!
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens – Daily Home Safari at 3pm EST
Jigsaw Explorer – A site filled with thousands of beautiful puzzles, all available for free. You can even create your own! You decide how difficult each puzzle will be by choosing the number of pieces and whether the pieces have the ability to rotate.
Harry Potter at Home – A free online collection of child-friendly activities, videos, puzzles, illustrations, quizzes, creative ideas, articles and much more, that will help you bring the magic of the wizarding world into your home.
Krokotak – children’s activities & coloring pages
NETFLIX – Free Documentaries – Netflix is making a handful of documentaries available for free on its YouTube channel. At the moment, there are 10 documentary films and series available. Each comes with educational resources, like discussion questions, ways to take action and more info. Netflix says it plans to add Q&As with some of the project creators soon.
Podcasts for Kids – An article linking to many of the best kids’ podcasts out there.
Special Needs Support Center – Parent to Parent Peer Support Groups reduce loneliness and isolation, buffer the stresses associated with parenting a child with disabilities, foster relationships, and increase happiness! The Special Needs Support Center has a weekly virtual parent to parent peer support group using Zoom which will take place on Monday’s at 4pm. SNSC will provide a welcoming, safe and open space for parents to share struggles and triumphs, form relationships, and gain resources. For more information or to register, contact Laura, and once you are registered, Laura will send you the Zoom link.
SNSC at Home Snow Series – Starting January 25th, join the Special Needs Support Center for their next
10-week series of program, including book clubs, cooking, art, and fitness. To learn more or sign up, email email@example.com.
TFP Playgroup at Home – The Family Place (Wilder, VT) will be hosting a virtual playgroup through Zoom on Monday and Friday mornings at 9:30 am. Open to all parents and caregivers, content geared for children aged birth to five (siblings welcome).