Useful resources for children

Whether you’re homeschooling, looking for kids’ craft ideas or just need something to keep your children occupied during lockdown (or more generally), finding good resources can be hard. There are many great websites out there, but it can be hard to know where to start. The aim of this article is to give you that starting point.

Telling children about COVID-19

The following book has been created to explain the pandemic to children. The illustration style will be familiar to many children and parents, as the artwork is by Axel Scheffler, who illustrated The Gruffalo and many other children’s books.

https://nosycrow.com/blog/released-today-free-information-book-explaining-coronavirus-children-illustrated-gruffalo-illustrator-axel-scheffler/

Overall education resources

The following resources cover a range of school subjects.

Schools:

Your own school may well be setting work for lockdown or offering suggested resources themselves, so be sure to check out what they have on offer.

Twinkl:

Twinkl has thousands of great teacher-created resources providing entire schemes of work, lesson planning and assessments. They also have fun, educational games, colouring sheets and lots more. Many of the resources are free to download.

www.twinkl.co.uk

BBC Bitesize:

BBC Bitesize is a free online study support resource, written by teachers and subject experts, providing support for learners aged 5 to 16+ across a wide range of school subjects. It also supports children and young people’s wellbeing and career choices. From April 20th 2020 Bitesize started publishing daily lessons to help students across the UK with homeschooling.

www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize

Oak National Academy:

This online bank of videoed lessons was set up in just 2 weeks to support schools in educating children during lockdown. Lessons are separated on the site by year and subject.

https://www.thenational.academy/online-classroom/

Reading and writing

Reading books to your child (or having them read to you if they are old enough to) as regularly as possible is great for their educational development. For younger children ask them to practice reading through phonics on everything from cereal packets to TV listings, as well as settling them down at night with a good book. Getting them to create their own books can also be fun and a good way to practice writing as well.

Alphablocks:

Available on CBeebies and via their YouTube channel, these episodes help teach children sounds and spelling.

Phonics Hero:

Currently offering a 7 day free trial, phonics hero offers a fun way for your child to learn phonics:

www.phonicshero.com

Ruth Miskin:

Ruth Miskin’s YouTube channel offers a wide range of videos helping children to learn how to read and spell.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo7fbLgY2oA_cFCIg9GdxtQ

Audible Stories

While the kids are off school Amazon have opened up the Audible catalogue for free, no account/subscription needed, no logon/password required, just go to:

https://stories.audible.com

Libraries

Check with your nearest library online – you may be able to download ebooks and audio books for free.

Maths

Maths can sometimes feel like an alien language. Parents may find that the way some maths is taught has changed from the methods they learnt and some less frequently used maths may have gone from our memories, so these learning resources offer a great starting point for parents:

The Maths Factor:

Normally £2 per week, Carol Vorderman’s ‘The Maths Factor’ is currently offering free resources to help children learn maths at home.

www.themathsfactor.com

Number blocks:

Available on CBeebies and via their YouTube channel, these episodes help teach children numbers and mathematics.

White Rose Maths:

Offering a range of free resources to make maths fun and understandable for children.

https://whiterosemaths.com/

Science

Learning about science can really stimulate your child’s mind. There are lots of engaging videos and books for children and for those who are happy to make a mess there are also some great experiments you can try out at home

Mini Professors:

Mini Professors is a great science class, aimed at children up to 5 years of age. There are Mini Professors classes all across the UK. Normally, pre-school children attend a physical class, but during lockdown these classes are taking place from home. You will need to pay a fee and sign up to a class to join and be ready at the same time each week. You will also need to prepare a list of items needed for the experiments, but the classes are great fun and a brilliant learning experience. Each class covers two experiments, a story and a video on a particular topic.

www.miniprofessors.com

Nat Geo Kids:

National Georaphic offers information aimed at children to help teach them about science and the natural world, as well as exploring outside of this world into space.

www.natgeokids.com/uk/category/discover/science/

Wow Science:

Wow science has a mix of resources, some of which need to be paid for and some that are free. They include a range of interesting science experiments for primary school children.

https://wowscience.co.uk/

Fridge Physics:

For GCSE level children, this site offers free resources until September (then £4.99 for a year subscription), this site helps explain the maths needed for physics exams. 

https://fridgephysics.com/

Zoos:

Many zoos are offering live feeds on their websites or videos of the animals on their YouTube channel. This can be a great learning resource while zoos are closed.

Exercise

It’s just as important to keep the body healthy as it is the mind during lockdown. If you are able to safely do so, taking your child out for regular walks is great and if you have a big enough garden to play sports in this is also good. Even just being in the fresh air, perhaps helping to pot plants for example can be helpful. There are also useful online exercise programmes that you can follow:

P.E. with Joe

Joe Wicks offers exercise videos for all ages, including his P.E. daily exercises for children.

www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyCLoPd4VxBudCnXPQCehUq4iBnmPTKZm

Crafts:

Crafts are not only fun activities, but a really important way to stimulate your child’s creativity. They’re also great for improving fine motor skills and teamwork skillsas you work on projects together.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a site that allows you to ‘pin’ posts on your chosen topics to your own personal pinboard. It’s great for craft ideas for children. Let’s say for example that you have a bunch of toilet roll inserts and don’t know what to make with them. Search ‘toilet roll craft’ and lots of ideas will pop up.

www.pinterest.co.uk

Kirstie: Keep Crafting and Carry On

Kirsty Allsopp has been presenting a range of craft activities, many aimed for children to do, alone or with their parents. Episodes have been aired on channel 4 and are available to catch up on through All 4.

Toucanbox

Toucanbox is a paid for product that you can sign up for to get regular craft boxes delivered to your home, with your child’s name on the box. You will receive all the craft supplies you need for your chosen craft activity, for children aged 3-8.

http://www.toucanbox.com/

Kids Art n Crafts

This Facebook page offers a range of fun craft activities to do with children.

www.facebook.com/KidsArtnCrafts

Victoria’s Crafty Ideas

Victoria, who works for NRAS has set up a YouTube channel with how to craft videos, including this section, on crafts to do with and for kids:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWHOm0RrBRA&list=PL4xjEKZacxR3D8-f7hT4f-JeuvgHerT8o

Facebook groups for parents:

School parenting pages:

See if your school has a parents forum. This can be useful for ideas, keeping in touch and (when schools are open) a great way to ensure you haven’t forgotten something you needed to prepare for, like a dress down day or a deadline to bring something in to school.

Quarantined with toddlers:

This group was set up during lockdown and is a great place to see ideas from other parents, as well as more lighthearted posts about parenting fails and what parents are doing to see them through this period.

www.facebook.com/groups/QuarantinedWithToddlers