When kids are home, there’s only one thing on their minds: having fun. Whether you’re facing a house filled with kids during summer vacation or need ideas to entertain your youngsters over school breaks, finding activities that are both fun and educational isn’t easy. Even the best-intentioned educational tools can leave kids of all ages feeling bored.
But not every learning-based activity has to be dull and dry. With increasingly more organizations creating online learning tools based around having fun, there are plenty of options available to try. No matter your kids’ ages, you can find a variety of different activities that offer exciting learning opportunities online.
To keep your kids engaged, entertained, and focused on education when at home, give these five online educational tools a try.
1. Scholastic Learn At Home
Scholastic is a company that’s well-known for its school book fairs and educational content. And if you’re looking for ways to keep kids entertained and still learning, you’ll want to check out the host of online resources available from Scholastic.
The company offers a special interactive online learning curriculum called Scholastic Learn At Home. The Scholastic Learn At Home program offers activities and courses for kids in PreK and kindergarten as well as students in grade 1 through 9. Each grade-specific program includes engaging online content and fun activities that last for 20 days. Your kids will walk through a daily lesson that includes projects like age-appropriate writing exercises, reading, and enrichment activities.
And kids of all ages will really enjoy the interactive learning opportunities included in the Scholastic Learn At Home curriculum. There are Virtual Book Fests, where young readers can interact with their favorite authors via live video feeds, Watch and Read Pods that combine reading with fun videos, and even the chance to “travel back in time” via video tours.
2. Lunch Doodles With Mo
All kids love doodling, and some are artists in the making. If your kids prefer art class to history, science, or language arts, schedule a time to get hands-on art instruction from a professional artist – Mo Willems, the creator of a number of popular children’s illustrations.
Mo Willems hosts a YouTube series called “Lunch Doodles With Mo” through the Kennedy Center. The Kennedy Center uploads videos regularly, usually at 1PM Eastern time, so kids can follow along with Mo as he draws something special. The famous illustrator walks kids through the step-by-step process of creating some of his most memorable characters, and he talks about his artistic process too. It’s a wonderful way for kids to indulge in their creativity, learn about the life of an artist, and hone their drawing skills.
3. Virtual Museum Tours
Another way to bring educational subjects to life for kids is via virtual tours. Kids of all ages can virtually “walk” the halls of some of the world’s most famous museums, browsing works of art along the way. These virtual tours bring art to life – and you can get up close to incredible artwork without leaving home.
Kids can tour the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, viewing exhibits and works of art like oil paintings, modern art, art from France. For a deeper education, the museum offers an in-depth look at the Impressionism and Post-Impressionism periods. Or, they can “walk” through New York’s Guggenheim Museum, browsing the artwork right from the couch. It’s also possible to check out exhibits happening at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. like “Fashioning a Nation” and “Masters of Genre” painting, which cover both history and various art movements.
Virtual museum tours are a great choice for older students. They can create self-guided tours by browsing each museum’s collections virtually. Or, kids can follow along with changing exhibitions and lesson plans online.
4. Research Quest Live
Do you have budding scientists at home? It might be tough to organize science projects at home, but scientists are making this easier with Research Quest Live. Designed to provide both education and entertainment for middle school students, Research Quest Live is offered by the Natural History Museum of Utah.
Research Quest Live is a series of weekday online classes that start at 9:30AM (MDT) and run for one hour. If your kids can’t tune in live, each lesson is recorded so you can check them out later.
Daily classes cover all kinds of cool science topics, from the origins of dinosaur bones to archaeology to paleobotany. The program covers a wide expanse of scientific material. It helps young students learn about different types of research in the field. But classes aren’t the only feature – students can actually participate in Q and A sessions with real scientists conducting research, curators at the Natural History Museum, and laboratory experts.
5. The Cincinnati Zoo Home Safari
Zoos are the perfect combination of education and fun – but sometimes, you just can’t make it to your local zoo. Fortunately, one of the top U.S. zoos now brings the animals right to your computer and anywhere in the world.
The Cincinnati Zoo hosts “Home Safaris” every day at 3PM (EST) on Facebook Life. During these Home Safaris, zookeepers highlight one particular animal from the zoo. Kids get to learn the animal’s name, discover facts about their environment and lifestyle, and are assigned a fun learning activity to do at home once the show ends. Can’t make it to a live show? All of the shows are recorded and uploaded to the zoo’s YouTube page, where you can check out informative sessions at any time.
How to Find More Ways to Inspire At-Home Learning
Trying to balance fun and entertainment with education and learning concepts is difficult. Kids of all ages simply want to have fun – but ensuring they’re engaged with educational ideas is also important. And when your kids are at home for long periods of time, you need tools that can suit their interests.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options available online. As increasingly more educators think up innovative ways to combine technology with learning, there will be more exciting tools available.
Search online for different educational activities. See what options you can find that combine fun activities with a little bit of learning. You can search for age- and subject-specific activities based on what your kids enjoy. And you can encourage education while your kids have fun, no matter how long they’re away from their classrooms.