Here are some ideas to supplement your kids’ learning
Term 2 – and home schooling – is back in full swing, so if you’re home with kids, you might be wondering how to keep them learning and entertained beyond the school curriculum. The good news is, businesses, cultural institutions and government agencies everywhere have pivoted rapidly to meet the demand for digital content in the face of COVID-19. Here are some (just some!) of our favourite activities to keep kids inspired at home.
The ABC has a huge series of educational resources for school kids of all ages, some led by iconic Australians like Bruce Pascoe and Adam Spencer. Khan Academy, a not-for-profit educational organisation in the US offers daily learning schedules for kids aged 2-18, as well as resources for parents and teachers. Free trials are your friend right now – get 48 hours of interactive maths study with Mathletics, or 30 days of ABC Reading Eggs, a digital literacy program that combines games, songs and other techniques to get – and keep – kids reading.
Duolingo is a free language-learning app, while National Geographic Kids and NASA Kids Club deliver facts, lessons and online adventures about our planet and beyond. Got a nature lover on your hands? Taronga Zoo has a wealth of digital programs on offer, including opportunities to engage with conservation, sustainability and animal welfare experts. You can even watch the daily seal show on Taronga TV!
If it feels like the whole world is suddenly going digital, you’re not going crazy. Thanks to Google Arts and Culture, your kids can now tour more than 2000 of the world’s great galleries and museums without leaving home – check out the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, or Sydney’s own Art Gallery of NSW. Passionate about the great outdoors? In Australia, you can take a virtual family holiday to Kakadu National Park or the Great Barrier Reef (with David Attenborough as your guide!), or head overseas to the Grand Canyon, Everest Base Camp, or the Giant’s Causeway, to name a few.
Are your kids glued to Netflix? Give their ears a workout instead. Audible offers a 30-day free trial of the audiobook experience, while the ABC does twice-daily story time (12.00-12.30pm and 7.00-7.30pm). There also TONNES of great podcasts out there for kids. For the little person in your life, But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids sheds light on everything from why people have nightmares to whether jellyfish are actually made of jelly (there are more serious topics for older listeners too). For tweens, Eleanor Amplified is a fun and thought-provoking adventure series about a reporter chasing a big story, while Stuff You Should Know will teach teens the ins and outs of everything from how labour unions work to the science of rogue waves.
If you live with a miniature creative, jump online to access kid-focused art programs. The Sydney Opera House is giving kids a sneak peek into the performance world, from shows and performances to behind-the-scene experiences like meeting the orchestra and seeing how sets are designed, while the Australian Theatre for Young People has an on-demand platform for kids aged 8-18. Marian Street Theatre for Young People on Sydney’s North Shore is encouraging kids to submit their art (drawings, paintings, scripts, poetry, dance etc) to the #nowwemake2020 campaign, and the National Gallery of Australia’s NGAkids Art Zone app is home to interactive, do-it-yourself activities for kids aged 9-11. If nostalgia is more your thing, check out the Learn to Draw series on the Disney Parks blog to get your kids sketching family favourites like Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Tinkerbell and Buzz Lightyear.