Games, online resources and worksheets to the rescue!
Schools are out until March, public facilities are closed for now and some of us have work-from-home policies. On paper, this may seem to be somewhat daunting for parents and families. While many schools are adopting online classroom models and distance learning methods for secondary school-aged children who are mature enough to handle their education themselves, many parents are struggling with their younger ones.
There are, however, several ways to make sure your children don’t forget everything they’ve learned and fall behind while they’re off school. Through various games, worksheets and other home learning activities, you can keep them both entertained and educated (at the same times as keeping them indoors). To help, we’ve compiled a list of games, online resources and printable worksheets for learning purposes, concentrating mainly on literacy and numeracy for children from 4 to 10 years.
Read more: Best Indoor Activities For Kids
Home Learning Activities: Literacy Skills
Education.com is an excellent free, online resource for all sorts of home learning activities. It provides games that cover multiple English language skills such as phonological awareness (hearing rhymes, hearing beginning sounds, blending syllables) as well as spelling, grammar, punctuation, word meaning and more. The games are fun and very interactive and provide plenty of entertainment. What’s more, the website allows you to filter these online games by age, ranging from preschool to 5th grade.
TeachersPayTeachers provides some brilliant free worksheets. Simply create an account for free and gain access to a large number of resources. One of the best is its Phonics Battleships. It is played just like the classic game Battleship. Kids take turns making words from the initial sounds along the side and short vowel finals along the top. To save on paper, you could always laminate a couple of copies and use dry erase markers so they can be used again. This is a great way for kids who have already grasped basic sounds to begin blending. This particular one uses “a” sounds, but perhaps kids can make their own copies (with a little help from you!) and use “e”, “i”, “o” or “u” too.
TES is an excellent website for free resources. In particular its Phonics Snakes and Ladders is a great take on a classic game. Children work their way through the board and must make a word using the letter or letter combinations they land on. This can either be at the start, in the middle, or at the end. Instead of snakes and ladders, this resource uses rainbows and water droplets, aeroplanes and hot air balloons, and rockets and shooting stars. This is a great way to get children thinking about how and where letters appear in words.
To work on spelling, reading and word families, why not invest in Phonics Snap! As kids race to build words at record speed, this card game provides fast-paced fun as well as a lot of mental concentration. It’s best suited for ages 6+.
Home Learning Activities: Numeracy Skills
As the name might suggest, Maths is Fun is a superb online resource that provides a high number of educational and fun worksheets. Covering topics from addition and subtraction, to decimals, fractions and percentages, there’s something for everyone on this site. You can target different home learning outcomes or let your children decide based on what they’ve seen or heard about at school. To save on printing, children can reference the worksheet on their screen and simply write down their answers.
Another great resource is this one from TeachersPayTeachers. Log in or create an account for free and download this extensive pack of worksheets covering addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills. They are styled using different animal themes making them friendly and fun. The level of difficulty also varies meaning there is something for all ages.
For the younger mathematician, Activity Shelter is an excellent resource to help your child with his or her number recognition. There are fabulous worksheets that develop simple counting or number order skills. These can be printed off for free and younger learners may even enjoy colouring them in once completed.
Board and card games
For something a little more long term, consider purchasing the fun maths game, Proof! from Amazon. It allows children to mix magic and mental arithmetic. Great for single or multi-player and for ages 9+, with adaptable rules for younger players too, it’s excellent for brain training and improving creative mental math skills. Kids can practice multiplication, division, addition, subtraction and square roots.
Home Learning Activities: Stories And Song
Sometimes, all you want to do is put on a video for the kids to watch (we’ve all been there, no judgement!). After all, a lot of home learning activities rely on screentime anyway. Here’s a list of educational YouTube channels that will tell exciting and engaging stories for your kids, often asking them questions to think about at the end. These videos work on information retention and comprehension.
This is a great children’s educational and learning platform. Choose from simple alphabet songs and vowel games or even videos on synonyms and antonyms, similes and metaphors or different styles of writing, if your kids are at a higher level. There is something for all ages, abilities and interests on this channel.
Curious George is an adorable African monkey who can’t help but always run into trouble. Your little ones may be familiar with this character because of the books. If you don’t mind the screen time, this channel provides videos that show George navigating his problems and subtly bringing into question themes of learning, forgiveness and curiosity. Funny and informative, this is a great channel for educational videos and stories.
This is a superb channel for storytelling. From classic Disney tales to stories with a moral, Kids Hut conveys messages in a fun and entertaining way. Most of them are over 30 minutes, so you could stop the video periodically to encourage active listening by asking your child questions about the story.