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Scrambling to come up with distance-learning and enrichment ideas for the kids? Don’t worry. So is everyone else. Here are some resources to help you out.
Pre-recorded video tutorials
Kids who love art will get a kick out of the instructional videos that rainbow-lovin’ art-teacherin’ Cassie Stephens is posting on her YouTube channel. (Last week, each video lesson had a robot theme and this week is all about scientists.) My seven-year-old is so pumped about this because she loves Cassie’s Instagram videos, which highlight her zany personality and wacky wardrobe.
Science Buddies – This YouTube channel posts step-by-step videos to get you exploring hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Whether you’re looking for a great science-fair project, quick STEM activity, or NGSS-aligned science lesson plan, this organization has it. For written instructions and additional science projects, see their library of more than 1,300 science experiments at http://www.sciencebuddies.org.
Math Antics – More than 70 lighthearted, short videos designed to make math easier to understand.
Other educational YouTube channels
Debunked – My family loves this light-hearted investigative series. It tackles the world’s biggest myths; the misconceptions that so many people still think are facts. The ‘What ifs’, the ‘What happens when…?’ and other ponderings that may cause some people to stay awake at night. (“Have I had too much sugar and caffeine?”, “Is it safe to fly?”, “What actually happens if throw a penny of the Empire State Building?”) If you’ve ever wondered – or had debates about – questions like this, you’ll enjoy this series.
I’ve been signing my kids up for online courses through Outschool, and it’s working out really well. There are classes for different age groups and various subjects.
Kids get to interact with their teachers, and share their ideas and final products with the group, which I love – particularly during this time of social distancing. Real-time conversations and connection are so important.
Most of the courses take place via Zoom meetings. (What I wouldn’t give to have stock in that company right now!)
Here’s a small sample of what Outschool offers:
- Wile E. Coyote Physics
- Digital Escape Room: Adding & Subtracting Fractions
- See the USA: Join the Traveling Teach on 6 Virtual Field Trips
- U.S. History thru the Eyes of the American Girl Dolls: Meet Samantha
- Hop, Skip, and Jump into Writing with Rabbits
- Animal Show and Tell: Intro to Public Speaking
- What is an “Ish” Picture? and What Can I Create With A Dot? (also, see my interview with Peter Reynolds)
- Hogwarts Writing Camp
- Writing a Thesis Statement
- The Greats – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Origami Animals
- LEGO Engineering Challenges
- How to Care for Kittens
Outschool also has instructors who teacher courses that build on each other. For example:
- Adjective Cards: Build your own deck of Describing Words to make better sentences! and Adjective Cards Part 2: Use your Deck of Adjectives for a Sentence Game with Friends!
- Python Programming for Beginners (Part 1) – Harry Potter Sorting Hat Edition and Python Programming for Beginners (Part 2) – Harry Potter Coding Cauldron Edition
BitsBox is a STEM education subscription that teaches kids how to code. Every month, a new coding project arrives – each with a different theme (e.g., animals, robots, flight). In addition, projects arrive in a specific sequence, so that they build on skills taught in previous shipments. As a result, kids are able to code more complex and exciting apps. Some projects teach:
- Coordinates and basic commands
- Variables and the BitBox’s move, rotate and size commands
- Conditional statements and Bitsbox’s tap and drag functions
- Custom functions
Each delivery includes a Grownup Guide too, with details about that month’s new coding concepts and commands. In addition, BitBox has unlimited email support. 🙂
Little Passports is known for its virtual trips abroad, but they also now have an awesome U.S.A. edition. It comes with a:
- U.S. field guide
- scratch book
- wall-sized map
- photo scavenger hunt
Each monthly delivery also includes: a 32-page activity-packed State Journal, postcards and stickers, featuring two new states.
Little Passports also has subscriptions that help kids explore the world of science! Science Expedition (below, left) is designed for ages 9 and up, and the Science Junior subscription box (below, right) is for ages 5 to 8.
Distance-learning Pinterest board
My distance-learning Pinterest board contains an ever-growing list of digital and downloadable products that would be easy for parents to use. Many of them come from the Teachers Pay Teachers online marketplace. (Think Etsy, but with lesson plans, STEM challenges, project-based learning activities and more.) They’re created by school teachers, counselors, speech-language pathologists and other educators. During the pandemic, many TpT creators are offering at steep discounts – and, in some cases, for free.
In addition, I’m saving other types of resources to this distance-learning Pinterest board as well. They include educational workbooks, educational board games, step-by-step instruction (like the origami fidget spinner below), and other ideas.
Also, don’t feel left out. There are plenty of distance-learning resources for grown-ups, too! 🙂 If you’d like ideas for you (fun or career-related), I list a bunch of them in my distance-learning and enrichment for adults article.