In an effort to keep my busy five year old engaged during our COVID-19 quarantine, I’ve been doing a deep dive online for fun and educational sites. Some have come highly recommended from friends, others are time-tested favourites that we’re now exploring more than usual.
In the process of trying to ‘curate’ the best mix, that incorporate a range of subjects and interests, I’ve discovered a ton of amazing interactive kid content that even I enjoy (I never thought I’d find myself doing Pokemon yoga poses, but here we are).
While you’ve likely seen many of these ideas circulating in your FB parenting groups, I figured amalgamating into a big list would be helpful for those difficult moments when everyone is feeling a bit desperate for a break.
Fun learning activities sorted by age group and subject.
Whether you’re looking for quality educational programming, games, or a fun exercise on how to become a hand-washing artist, CBC Kids is a terrific site to explore for hours on end. Beloved shows in our home include Addison, Wandering Wenda (Margaret Atwood is an executive producer), and Wild Kratts.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
We haven’t tried this yet, but plenty of friends have been enjoying this daily drawing exercise with their kids. Mo will show you how it’s done, and provide you with step-by-step instruction.
Cosmic Kids Yoga
Spider-Man, Frozen, outer-space or under water, this is a really well executed kid yoga site, that makes stretching really fun. Let them choose which world they want to enter, and do some hilarious character-inspired poses with them.
Story Time From Space
If you’re seeking some quiet time for your kiddo (or yourself) my son enjoyed hearing and watching astronauts read storybooks from the international space centre. Great choices of books, but also fun to watch them float around in zero-gravity!
Want to keep your kids continuing their French language skills? This Canadian website combines history and french in a series of educational videos and articles. Photo above is from the lesson titled,”Les femmes Canadiennes qui on fait changer les choses”.
Explore the planets! NASA has made their entire library available, so that space lovers can take a trip around Planet Earth, or fly through the Milky Way.
Another kids site from a local television network with amazing programming! Shows, games, tutorials, and lots of Canadian content. Check it out.
Live Animal Cams
Cuuuuuuute. From a hippo watering hole in Kenya to a grizzlies catching salmon in Alaska, live cams are an interesting way to observe nature up close, and talk about each scene with your kids (maybe pull out a map to guide you on your virtual eco-tourism journey!)
Shark quizzes, science experiments, ‘weird but true’ games, and much more!
IXL (for serious homeschooling)
If you want to get your kids working on their curriculum while they’re missing school, this is an award-winning e-learning site that follows academic standards and offers learning from JK to Grade 12. There is a free trial (for like one exercise) but the monthly subscription is reasonable, starting at $12.95/month. Kids are emailed certificates once they complete assignments, and they definitely walk away having learned new skills.
Energy, electricity, astronomy: Inside the Perimeter is a Waterloo-based educational site for science lovers of all ages, but they also have a robust section for kids and educators. There are some free resources, but mostly lessons that you purchase.
Blank Canvas Art Class
A Toronto-based art school is offering socially distant art classes for kids at a 11am and 2pm, daily. Classes are $20, and you sign up in advance. There are lots of options to try out, and families can prepare ahead of time with the material list they provide. More info here.
My kid adores Art Ninja. This is a BBC Kids show that combines ninja moves with wacky art projects, but the host also has a YouTube channel with lots of colourful arts & crafts tutorials.
Mindfulness Class for Kids
Feel like a bit of calm could drastically help your household? Sign up for a free morning mindfulness class from the pros.
Knowledge Kids is a BC station with similar values and programming to TVO. See what the west coast kids are doing.
Betty White Reads
If all else fails, let 98 year old Betty read to your kid. If it doesn’t entertain them, it will most definitely make you smile.