Our Favourite Coronavirus Activities
With all the schools closed for the past few weeks, parents have been inundated with suggestions for ‘homeschooling’ resources. We live in a time when we are lucky to have so much online content available, but it’s hard to weed through all the suggestions. Especially as many are specifically aimed at children doing school work at home in a ‘normal’ situation.
As homeschoolers, we too have abandoned our normal routine. Some children thrive on routine and enjoy completing worksheets and assignments. Some… do not. My children are not big fans of doing worksheets at the best of times. Right now they are about as motivated as I am to do anything that seems like work. So I have been looking for things are are novel and enjoyable for them to do during this period. For me, the best ones involve very little parental involvement because frankly, we’re all too busy and exhausted from the stress of the situation. Who wants to have to figure out how to do all the kids activities with them?
Below is our collection of ‘coronavirus activities’. This is not a lengthy list. They are all resources we’ve actually used ourselves and would recommend to others. I would say that all of these contribute to children’s learning in some form – just not necessarily the traditional learning done in school. It only covers up to end of Primary/Elementary school. I expect older students already have their regular schoolwork to study themselves.
For the littlest kids
For the preschool ages, the Lonely Beast apps (sadly only available on ipad) are free right now. There’s The Lonely Beast ABC and The Lonely Beast 123. These are lovely for learning basic numbers and letters, or just to play with. Based on the books by Chris Judge (which are firm favourites in our house).
All age groups
Mo Willems Lunch Time Doodles (YouTube)
15 episodes that are up to half an hour long. Mo Willems has a vast number of early reader books. Elephant and Piggie is the first series of books my eldest was able to enjoy reading himself. Mo has the loveliest calm manner, and even kids too young to participate will be entertained watching him draw characters and show how some of his books have evolved from start to finish.
Oliver Jeffers storytime (Website)
Another popular author of books for younger kids in our home. Oliver has been reading one of his books each day on instagram, and also chats a bit about how he made his books and what his life is like right now. The sessions are then available to play on his website.
English / Maths
Reading Eggs & Mathseeds (Online Curriculum)
English and Maths are ‘core’ subjects for us. I usually use Reading Eggs and Mathseeds to cover the basics, and supplement with additional resources. For kids that haven’t used them before, the games and videos will be new and entertaining. This definitely counts as educational material and is for ages about 3 or 4 up to end of Primary or Elementary level. There are free trials of 2 weeks (right now it’s a month). You’ll need a tablet or computer for these.
Teach your Monster to Read (Online Curriculum)
This is an alternative to Reading Eggs. I find my younger child is not quite ready for it yet and will need to get a bit further on Reading Eggs Junior before being able to tackle it.
Monster Math Squad (YouTube)
This series is based on the JUMP math program and covers the concepts for grades 1 to 6 in Canada. For kids that don’t enjoy doing worksheets or more structured lessons, this will ease your guilt on the amount of screen-time and still cover material they need to know.
Justin Davies Monster Mayhem (YouTube)
This relatively new children’s author is reading a chapter a day from his two books, and providing some writing and drawing prompts. My 7-year-old is enjoying the book so far.
David Walliams Elevenses (YouTube)
A favourite author of our 7-year-old. Stories from his book The World’s Worst Children are available each day to listen to. The previous week is also available as a catch-up. Available for a limited time only.
Audible Stories (Audible)
A selection of audiobooks are currently free to listen to without a login. Lots of classics and some new ones in here. I’m a big fan of audiobooks for kids that are too young to read the book themselves yet (eg. Treasure Island, Journey to the Centre of the Earth). This selection is very limited, but most local libraries have online access to a bigger variety of audiobooks. Available for a limited time only.
Social Science/History/Geography (YouTube)
Once Upon a Time Life is a quirky blast from the past for many of us. One of many educational tv shows my children enjoy watching. This one covers lots about the biology of the human body and has aged better than some of the other series in the collection.
Operation Ouch has twin doctors who experiment with medicine and biology.
Kids Learning Tube covers many different topics. If the autotune songs don’t get on your nerves too much, the kids will love them. Start with the planet songs!
Crash Course Kids is a youtube channel with lots of different educational content.
The Magic Schoolhouse, Wild Kratts, The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot about That and Brain Child have all been binge-watched here.
Astro at Home (YouTube) is an Astronomy for Kids series aimed at ages 8 to 12.
Where to start? There are so many to choose from. Our top picks are:
Cosmic Kids (YouTube)
Cosmic Kids yoga has always been popular in our house from baby stage onwards. We will put on the bunny hop, washing machine song and my name is Joe when we need a more energetic option. Otherwise there are tons of kids yoga adventures based on stories kids love.
Pancake Manor Shake Break (YouTube)
Perfect to get the smaller kids up and moving for a short burst of exercise. Catchy music, colourful puppets and kids will get everyone’s feet moving.
Ring Fit Adventure (Nintendo Switch)
This one is not technically for kids, and has low availability right now. Luckily we got it a few months ago and are using it more regularly as I’m suffering from the lack of normal exercise. The kids enjoy the game and do the exercises alongside me (minus the equipment). There is no trainer as effective at nagging you to exercise as your children who want to see what the next level will be. We tried PE with Joe but frankly, the potential for pulling muscles was too high. We would recommend trying to get this game if you can’t get outdoors much and you want to exercise along with younger children. Older ones will want to actually play it themselves.
We’ve been breaking out the classic musicals lately like Annie (Netflix) and the Sound of Music or Mary Poppins. Anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Speaking of whom…
The Show Must Go On (YouTube)
Making Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals available to watch for 48 hours every Friday. Next up is my favourite – The Phantom of the Opera. Available for a limited time only.
I will add to this list as we come across other resources that we’ve actually used ourselves and are enjoying.