Keeping Your Children Occupied While Schools are Closed (#3)
With schools closed and social contact limited, parents and caregivers have to face a new daily challenge...how to keep their children occupied while at home. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information being shared online in response to this challenge. Our plan has been to highlight some of the best ideas and resources available to help keep your children busy and engaged.
Check out our prior two blogs in this series at Healthy Minds...and be sure to stay up to date on FCPS's Distance Learning Plan for Continuity of Learning. At the end of this blog, please consider sharing any of your ideas for keeping children engaged while at home.
Visit the National Zoo and National Aquarium Virtually
Zoos and aquariums across the nation are closed, but that does not mean the animals are locked away. There are many free live cams available to see animals in action.
- The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. offers four webcams so children can view naked mole-rats, elephants, lions, and of course, giant pandas. They have also created the Virtual Zoo School to provide educational activities to engage learners in grades pre-K to 12 with science, the natural world, wildlife, and conservation.
- The National Aquarium in Baltimore offers three webcams for children to view the underwater world of the Blacktip Reef, Jellies Invasion, and the Pacific Coral Reef. They also offer some aquatic activities that can be completed at home by children.
Practice Math and Language Arts with Freckle
Freckle is an online learning platform that allows students to practice Math and English Language Arts at their own level. Freckle continuously adapts to each student’s individual skills, so each student is getting the appropriate challenge, whether they’re working at, above, or below grade level.
Freckle was designed to be used by teachers, and there is not a specific parent/family app at this time. However, you can sign up for a teacher account so that your children can access Freckle from home for free using an iPad or computer.
Explore Content Provided by PBS
The PBS website provides a wealth resources for students.
- PBS KIDS has a variety of free resources to support families of children ages 2 to 8. Parents can sign up for the PBS KIDS Daily Newsletter to receive activities and tips to keep children playing and learning even when school is closed.
- PBS has created a collection of resources organized by grade and subject area. Find videos, lesson plans, and activities that support learning at home. Create a free account to save and organize content.
- PBS provides interesting classroom-based content for teachers as well.
Get Free Access to Time for Kids
Time for Kids publishes a weekly magazine for elementary school students. They are now offering free access to a library of four grade-specific digital editions of TIME for Kids and Your $ financial literacy magazine. These digital editions contain lots of information for children that explains the world around them.
Discover the World with National Geographic
National Geographic believes there are many engaging, creative, and fun ways to learn at home.
- Dive into curated collections of activities that have been developed for educators, parents, and caregivers to implement with K to 12 learners anywhere, anytime.
- Check out the live broadcasts of Explorer Classroom. National Geographic is now hosting Explorer Classroom every weekday at 2:00 pm ET. Explorer Classroom’s live video events connect students with National Geographic Explorers across all seven continents to bring exploration to life.
Take a Quick Lesson on Science
Crash Course Kids explores the incredible world of science. They cover topics like animals including predators, prey, and food chains, and dive deep into oceans and soar into the atmosphere. New videos arrive every Tuesday and Thursday on their YouTube channel. Videos typically range from 3-5 minutes in length.
Draw Everyday with JJK
Jarrett J. Krosoczka is a children's author and illustrator known for his picture books like Punk Farm and his graphic novel series, the Lunch Lady. He is offering daily drawing lessons on his YouTube channel that will keep budding artists engaged in learning. The webcasts are approximately 20-30 minutes in length and appropriate for all ages. New webcasts occur every weekday at 2:00 pm ET, and are archived for later viewing.
Complete an Outdoor Craft
Scholastic offers ideas for three outdoor crafts to be completed by children using items found in nature.
Trainings that Adults Should Consider Completing
Fairfax County provides free online trainings to address a number of important topics such as suicide prevention, trauma awareness, resiliency, bullying prevention, and supporting military youth. The trainings are designed for educators, parents, and other adults who work with youth through Kognito online simulations.
Healthy Minds would love to hear from you!Many families are trying their own creative ideas at home to keep children active and engaged. Please consider sharing any of your ideas and they may get posted in a future Healthy Minds blog.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) UpdateGet information from FCPS and the Fairfax County Health Department on coronavirus (COVID-19).
What you should know:
How to take care of your child(ren) during the COVID-19 outbreak | available in Korean, Chinese, Amharic, and Spanish
When schools are in session, each school has a school counselor, psychologist, and social worker available to provide consultation, mental health services, and/or referrals to community services. While schools are closed, please use this resource to secure mental health service for you or your children.
Healthy Minds is for parents, educators, and community-based providers who are interested in supporting student mental health and wellness. It represents a collaboration between FCPS’ Office of Intervention and Prevention Services and the Fairfax County Government. SUBSCRIBE to Healthy Minds and receive a monthly digest of our most recent articles.