Free online courses, activities and resources for children in lockdown
Faced with another prolonged lockdown at home with the children as Coronavirus wreaks havoc, this list of activities and amazing free learning resources could save your bacon!
It’s been compiled by teachers and parents who usually homeschool, covers a broad range of topics from maths, geography, science and literature to fun craft activities, cookery and exercises you can enjoy with your kids at home.
We are gobsmacked by the quality of learning resources available online – and free!
Head to Facebook too, where a brilliant page: Family Lockdown Tips and Ideas has amassed thousands of followers.
For children who don’t have access to WiFi or technology at home, most schools have laptops pre-loaded with resources for those in need.
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RESOURCES FOR PRESCHOOL AND EARLY PRIMARY
Dr Chris and Dr Xand will be live on Facebook every weekday at 2.30pm taking questions: https://www.facebook.com/vantulleken
Check out The Imagination Tree for brilliant arts and craft ideas: https://theimaginationtree.com
CBeebies Radio has lovely listening opportunities for younger ones: https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio
If you have access to some outside space during your lockdown, give Nature Detectives a go. Fun outside activities to help them learn about nature. https://naturedetectives.woodlandtrust.org.uk/naturedetectives
Oxford Owl for Home has free e-books and phonics guides for young primary children.
RESOURCES FOR SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
Khan Academy (primary and secondary)
This educational platform is based on the US system but there’s lots of common material and great videos which help teach a broad range of topics. It’s especially good for maths and computing.
BBC Bitesize (Primary, Secondary and 16+)
This resource covers pretty much every topic. The language sections are great – your kids could return to school with a good grasp of French, Spanish or German! There are plenty of videos and games on this site to make learning more fun. https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize
All in One Home School has a free online curriculum covering everything from preschool to 12th grade. The site is pitched at Christian homeschooling: https://allinonehomeschool.com
Scholastic has created a free learn-from-home site with 20+ days of learning and activities.
National Geographic Kids (Primary)
Facts about the world and nature, competitions, quizzes and games.
Geography Games is also pretty good – learn the flags of the world, capital cities and where every county is in a series of fun games. https://world-geography-games.com/world.html
Travel and Leisure offer an opportunity to pretend to travel the world..Go on a virtual tour of 12 famous museums. https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours
Excellent print outs of activities for younger children. This site usually charges but is offering a month free to parents in the event of school closures.
Ted Ed (Primary and Secondary)
More engaging and educational videos than you can shake a stick at.
The Kids Should See This (all ages)
This site blew us away! It’s packed full of excellent educational videos, offering an enjoyable way to reinforce much of what they learn at schoool.
DK Find Out: A place for children to see, learn, explore and find out about almost everything. A brilliant, high quality learning resource.
Mystery Science (Primary and Secondary)
Enjoy free science lessons with great videos or pay a membership to unlock more resources.
Crest Awards (Primary and Secondary)
Managed by the British Science Association, these awards encourage problem solving and learning through hands on challenges. You pay a small fee for this and it typically involves eight one-hour sessions.
https://www.crestawards.org Crash Course (Primary and Secondary)
You Tube videos on numerous subjects. Visit https://thecrashcourse.com for older kids or
https://m.youtube.com/user/crashcoursekids for a younger audience.
For Primary Maths, we love:
Maths Gametime http://www.mathgametime.com
Prodigy Maths https://www.prodigygame.com
Cool Math4Kids https://www.coolmath4kids.com
Beast Academy https://beastacademy.com
Duolingo (all ages)
Learn pretty much any language for free.
A great introduction to computer programming. You’ll need to explain what it’s all about but Blockly has fun, basic games to give little ones a grasp on how to pro
Scratch (Primary and Secondary)
Program your own interactive stories, games and animations and share with others in the online community. This is a really fun website and an opportunity for children to create something that can be enjoyed by their friends.
Tinkercad is a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. It's used by teachers, children, hobbyists, and designers to imagine, design, and make anything. It takes a little getting used to but stick with it – once you get the hang of it you won’t be disappointed.
Educational YouTube Channels worth looking up include: Science Channel, SciShow Kids, Free School, Geography Focus, TheBrainScoop, SciShow, Kids Learning Tube, Geeek Gurl Diaries, Mike Likes Science, Science Max and SoulPancake
FREE TIME ACTIVITIES
We've been trawling the net and quizzing early years teachers for ideas and these are some of our favourite ideas for fun activities: build a den (find blankets and cushions and use furniture like tables and chairs!), make salt dough jewellery, pom-poms, bake, decorate pebbles and leave them in your neighbourhood for other kids to find, practice drawing around shadows (toy animals are great for this), go on a nature hunt, make a table football set, learn to dance! Check out Sophie Ellis Bextor's Kitchen Disco! each Friday and celebrate getting through another week!
RESOURCES FOR SECONDARY AND HIGHER EDUCATION
Futurelearn (Secondary and further education)
Enjoy free access to hundreds of courses and only pay to upgrade if you need a certificate.
Seneca (Secondary and A-Level)
Free revision content for those revising for GCSEs or A-Levels. You can pay to access higher level material.
Big History Project (Secondary)
Big History tells the story of the Universe starting from the Big Bang, the formation of stars, planets, life on Earth, modern civilization — and what might exist in the future. https://www.bighistoryproject.com/home
Complete a range of digital projects and gain an award at the end. https://idea.org.uk
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