Social distancing at home? Educational tips to help keep your kids occupied

March 25, 2020
Texas Children’s

Photo: Getty Images

Due to the growing concerns around coronavirus disease (COVID-19), many Houston area schools are temporarily closed. While you are at home with your family, you may be wondering how to keep your children occupied. The good news is, there are plenty of free online resources to keep them busy with creative educational games and activities.   

With COVID-19 keeping us socially distant, many educational companies are offering free subscriptions to those who find themselves stuck at home. For the child who is fascinated with animals, try National Geographic Kids, or find exciting 360° videos on YouTube. For the musician in your life, SmartMusic has access to a large music library.    

If you have always wanted to see Yellowstone National Park, the Champs-Élysées or the gardens of Versailles, you can visit Google Arts & Culture from the comfort of your own living room to explore these amazing sites.   

For the creative child, try downloading the app Do Ink to create frame-by-frame flip books or use their green screen to create your own videos. Featured in “Best New Apps in Education” in iTunes and classroom-tested by kids and teachers, your kids are sure to express themselves in uniquely creative ways within this app. The Sketch-Notes app provides hands-on activities for scrapbooking and creative writing that can be used to journal their feelings and experiences during this time.  

There are always the ever popular sites FunBrainFunBrainJr and ABC YA where kids can learn math and reading skills while engaging in entertaining games. StarFall is also a great resource to learn phonics and early math skills. To play games, read and conduct cool science experiments, kids can hop over to Highlights Kids to explore all the fascinating features they have to offer. Let’s not forget about Seussville, where your child can hang out, read and play games with Dr. Seuss and his friends. 

If your kids need extra help with math, Cool Math is a fun website and Free Rice is an entertaining way to increase their vocabulary. Quizlet is another great resource for your child to create flashcards or to view cards created by others. The website allows you to quiz yourself and play games to study whatever subject you are learning. And, Khan Academy is a great platform that offers personalized help with your child’s study needs. 

Since our public libraries are closed, the Libby app can help you access e-books and e-audiobooks for your devices from home.   

With an extended time at home with your children, this is also a great time to teach them some age appropriate life skills, such as: how to sew on a button, iron a shirt, change a tire, bake cookies, learn to make a change, tell time, household budgeting, how to do laundry, how to calculate a tip and meal planning.  

For apps you can download onto your mobile devices, please see the list below. 

Educational apps

Nutrition 

Awesome Eats by Whole Foods Foundations – Ages 5-10 

Multi Learning 

PBS Kids 

Poptropica 

Language 

Vocabulary Spelling City- Age 6+ 

Duolingo- Ages 6+ 

SAT Word Lam Free- Age 12+ 

Math 

Fish School 

Thinking Blocks Multiplication-Age 7+ 

Pizza Fractions 1 

Middle School Math Planet-Age 10+ 

PreSchool 

Toca Kitchen Monster-Age 3+  

Pet Bingo by Duck Duck Moose- Age 4+ 

Science 

Science 360-Age 12+ (tablets only) 

Scratch Jr.-Age 5+ 

NASA Visualization Explorer-Age 7+ 

MEL Chemistry VR Lessons (In-App Purchase) 

Chemistry & Physics Simulations 

Chemistry Suite Free 

MEL Chemistry 


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Post by:

Alana Moser and Melissa Keeland