This page is dedicated to providing parents with resources, ideas and inspiration for keeping kids engaged, entertained and learning while school is out due to the coronavirus.
Most of this is aimed at children in preschool, since students in elementary school and above have online learning through their teachers at school, but the thoughts and inspiration can apply to everyone.
If you have additional resources, ideas or inspiration you’d like us to share with the community, please click here. All links will be vetted.
One main takeaway, though, is that every family is different and has different needs. Local mom Jane Hray, who has a master’s degree in early childhood education, shared these resources with The Sumter Item.
Not everything has to be planned out all the time. Simply being around each other and spending quality time is educational and valuable. Hray shared this link she was sent from a friend as an alternative to her in-home “school” set-up. A totally different approach, which is good too, she said. No one way is perfect for everyone.
WEBSITES FOR HOME-BASED ACTIVITIES
Watch celebrities read books. www.storylineonline.net
GoNoodle® engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free. https://www.gonoodle.com/
Activities from one mom with a goal to make it to naptime. www.busytoddler.com
Getting children to play on their own. Fun preschool at home. www.dayswithgrey.com
Sumter School District is sharing different schools’ activities and resources. https://www.facebook.com/SumterSCSchools/
A Google Drive with resources for all school-age levels. bit.ly/SCDEresources
Facebook Group: Online Activities for the Quarantined
WEBSITE WITH FREE SUBSCRIPTIONS
Clemson’s 4-H@Home program offers free daily educational activities via email that can be completed using common household materials with lessons for elementary, middle and high school students. Hosted by S.C. 4-H Midlands Region, the program is open to students 5-18 regardless of location or 4-H membership status. Topics will include Animals and Agriculture, Healthy Lifestyles, Civic Engagement and Leadership, Natural Resources, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/4-h-home-registration-100006161120
Epic! is the Leading Digital Library for Kids 12 & Under. https://www.getepic.com/
Starfall Education Foundation is a publicly supported nonprofit organization that offers free and low-cost experiences where children learn through exploration. Teaching through positive reinforcement to ensure children become confident, intrinsically motivated, and successful. www.starfall.com
Free gamification of education. Play and learn for preschool through middle school. www.abcya.com
Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking and growing. For ages preschool through ninth grade, plus resources for families and teachers. www.scholastic.com/learnathome
A team of educators and lifelong learners who wake up every day thinking about igniting students’ passion for learning and solving the challenges teachers face in making it happen. Seesaw helps educators engage all learners, transform family engagement, and save time. https://web.seesaw.me/
From The National Wildlife Federation, uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. Free because of the coronavirus through June. https://rangerrick.org
INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS WITH IDEAS
FACEBOOK LIVE OR IGTV READ ALOUD
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
Pete the Cat: @petethecatofficial
Josh Gad (Actor who plays Olaf in Frozen): Live reads on Twitter Live @joshgad
@sumterscschools (Instagram IGTV) or Facebook
Trevor Ivey (Educator in Sumter): Live reads and interactive activities on Facebook
DAILY IDEAS: What can we DO now????
9 a.m. – Read
10 a.m. – Play outside
11 a.m. – Lunch
Noon – Have a dance party!
- Build forts (inside or outside)
- Do all the things you don’t normally have the time to do!
- “Plan, Do, Review” (They tell you their ‘plan’ for playing, they go play, then you meet back and discuss what they observed, encountered. Help talk-through situations for next time)
- Go off of their interests (trucks, spoons, shoes) and learn/explore the topic/idea
- Post yourself reading for others to watch / Have grandparents and family friends send videos of themselves reading books
- Exchange stories with others, guest readers
- Spread positive messages with sidewalk chalk around the neighborhood
- Make an obstacle course outside with chalk (good for big siblings to do with little siblings)
- Shaving cream is super fun on a cookie sheet (draw shapes, write letters, take pictures, or just play in it – the house smells great and clean up is a breeze)
- Paint in the shower
- Dump some large Lego blocks into the tub for bath time
- Popsicle bath (literally, just eat popsicles in the bathtub, easy clean-up)
7:30 p.m. – Flashlights make anything fun!
- Use hands to make shadows on the wall with a phone flashlight
Live readings are special because of the “Power of reading together at that moment in time” (Stephanie Seay)
There are lessons at home in the day-to-day of cooking, folding laundry, doing taxes, talk about them with your child and have them join you when you can!
Magna Gerber would say to “Do less, observe more, enjoy most,” and to “really pay attention.” – We can use this time to listen and learn with and through our children.
Parents don’t need masters’ degrees in teaching, and hopefully, they can be reassured that someone with a master’s in early childhood is ALSO going, “This is different and hard. What do I do now?”
There are lots of resources out there, but don’t forget that sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy each other (don’t stress, family time is more powerful than we think).