There’s good news and bad news. Things are finally starting to open up a bit. That’s great! Unfortunately, many summer camps, amusement parks, and other activity centers simply won’t be available this summer. Most parents are going to have to go look online to keep their kids engaged in learning in constructive ways.
So, how do you do that and keep things interesting? We’ve got some great ideas! Check out our list of online learning resources and ideas for your kids to do online.
Tour a Zoo or Museum from Your Couch
Since many zoos and museums have stopped or limited in-person tours, they’ve been offering virtual tours instead. Kids can hop on the internet and explore the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, tour several exhibits at the Louvre, check out the Sistine Chapel, and even check out online exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
For a fun diversion, check out Disney World’s virtual tours. Kids can enjoy walkthroughs of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. Take a look at a fuller list of options here and here.
Take Online Music Lessons
There’s nothing like learning to play an instrument to cure summer boredom. Not only do music lessons give kids something to do, but they can also boost self-esteem and creativity. Kids who play an instrument tend to do better academically.
Contact local music schools. Many have already created options for online learning. And many private music studios and voice studios have moved their lessons online, so your child has a much larger variety of options from which to choose. The music teacher at your child’s school may also have some suggestions.
Get Ahead With an Online Class
Even before the COVID outbreak, there were several online learning resources for kids. For example, Khan Academy has classes designed for kids of all ages. Ted Ed is a great source for kids that are in late grade school or older. Scholastic has learn-at-home programs as well.
And don’t forget the resources that are local to you. Check with nearby community colleges, universities, and park districts. Many have summer programs for kids that they have now moved online.
Do you have older kids at home? Some online courses may even offer dual credit opportunities for college or high school. Do a bit of research to see what’s available for you. Then, make sure your kids have tools and resources to succeed in getting their writing and other assignments done, such as Grammarly, Grab My Essay, and BestEssaysEducation. Now, make sure they have a (relatively!) quiet place to work, and they will be set up for summer success.
Download Some Cool Coloring Pages
There are undeniable benefits to coloring. Kids who color build creativity, improve their motor skills, learn spatial awareness, and even improve their writing skills. Coloring is also a great way for visual learners to better understand a variety of concepts. Parents can find coloring pages covering a variety of themes ranging from animal and plant identification to anatomy to the solar system.
Our Life As Mama staff parents needed some screen-free activities for their kids, so we were inspired to offer you plenty of free printable coloring pages! Older kids can even use online tools like GIMP or MS Paint to create their own coloring pages or pages for younger siblings.
Become a Maker
What’s a maker? A maker is a kid who makes cool digital and 3D stuff. Makers create video games, remote control airplanes, birdhouses, butterfly habitats, robots, replica buildings, and more.
For coding programs, try something like Code Monster. It’s free online learning and teaches kids the basics of writing code by showing them what each command does. Instructables offers a free robotics class, too!
Are your kids interested in doing something outdoors? Check with your state’s Department of Natural Resources page or Conservation Department. Many have dedicated pages with instructions on a variety of projects. Your local hardware store may also offer printable plans for making birdhouses and other projects.
Learn to Cook
Adults have been using their downtime during the lockdown to bake sourdough bread and master a variety of other recipes. There are absolutely no reasons that kids cannot spend the summer picking up this valuable skill as well.
Check out Tasty Junior on Buzzfeed. This popular website is home to a variety of cooking videos and other instructional content. They’ve helpfully included recipes that kids can create on their own, as well as ones that require adults to help.
This is also a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen to help out their busy parents (aka you!). Lindsey Miller, a writer at Trust My Paper, and mom of three says, “It’s been a real stress-reliever knowing the kids can now make smoothies and other simple items for themselves. I can get right to work in the morning knowing they have breakfast taken care of. Some days, they even pitch in and make dinner.”
Challenge a Chess Master
Kids who play chess develop their ability to think logically, strategize, and improve concentration. Even better, it’s an activity they can engage in online or off. To get them started, take a look at ChessKid. This online chess resource allows kids to play against a robot or another player. No worries about safety, because chat is restricted and parents can download an activity report. The site works well for beginners and experienced players. It’s gamified, so kids can “level up” as their playing skills improve.
Pick Up Another Language
Kids who learn another language expand their world. They can communicate better with people from other cultures. This is also a practical skill that can serve them well in the future.
Best of all, you have lots of free and inexpensive online learning options to choose from. Whether your kids prefer to learn via a website or mobile app, there are plenty of language learning resources for them to try.
Borrow an eBook
Now is the perfect time to start working on those summer reading lists. If your local library is closed or you’re nervous about going back inside, don’t panic. There are so many free options available to you. All you need to do is know where to start. The best place to begin is your local library website. If they’re online, chances are they offer free books online. Although, you might have to download Hoopla or another app.
You can also try Oxford Owl, the International Children’s Digital Library, and other sources. Older kids can enjoy literary classes and other books that are on the public domain through Project Gutenberg.
It doesn’t matter what will or won’t be open this summer, there’s no reason to have a boring school holiday. Instead, give these online learning resources above a try. There’s plenty of stuff out there to keep your kids creative, productive, and busy.