We know that Coronavirus-associated school closures are a huge disruption to both teachers and parents around the world. That's why we put together this list of enriching activities that can be done at home, including some at-home lesson plans for educators to use. Hopefully we can lesson the burden just a little bit.
1. Story Pirates' Creator Club - Story Pirates is a free podcast that can be found on any streaming podcast story. They take bring stories submitted by young listeners to life. To help entertain home-bound kids they've extended their free trial (currently to 30 days). Not only can only kids work on a story to submit based on "story sparks", but all ages can do Story Karaoke or complete the activities available on the site.
2. Nikki Durant and the Terrible Can't will be available for FREE from during coronavirus school shutdowns. You'll be able to access it on your computer, tablet or phone with this link. For kids in grades K-3 we have free lesson plans that include suggested read aloud questions for parents AND a monster/story creation activity depending on your student's age. For all the teachers out there- we even adapted our lesson plan to a parent-friendly message so you can just copy and paste for convenience, just check out our lesson plan link and view the versions marked "At Home".
3. Learn to code with Scratch - Scratch is a free drag and drop coding platform designed for kids by MIT. What's great about this site is that it's always free and is loaded with resources for parents and educators. This is a great middle ground for families that limit screen time. Kids can use a computer or tablet to focus on a coding project or building a game for themselves instead of being idly entertained by videos (although there's nothing wrong with that for families that embrace the screen!). Kids do need to be able to read a minimal level, but as long as they can identify a few key words they can start to create their own characters, make their own games and more.
4. Visit a museum! (virtually) - Over 250 museums are now available to tour virtually on Google Arts and Culture. You can view the pieces of art individually or you can do a building tour (personally, we think this is way cooler for kids). Try doing a scavenger hunt where your little learner has to find a specific painting while looking through the museum floors. Show them the work of art first, and then set them loose.
5. Enter an art contest! - For teens who have a knack for art, we're going to be launching an illustration contest for our next book, "Purple Rules" starting March 30th. Now is the perfect time to get started on a 2-page spread to submit once the competition begins. Anyone, anywhere in the world, can submit an image based on a section of the book's text. The winner will get a $2,000 illustration contract (or the equivalent payment of their local currency). We also have a free lesson plan for art students that art teachers are welcome to use.
6. Anything on Kahn Academy Kids - We use the Kahn Academy Kid's reading games on our mobile devices, but the original Kahn Academy also has free activities for every age and subject. Check it out online, on your phone or tablet. This one is great even after the Coronavirus bug passes because it can be used for free enrichment and tutoring activities.