Top 5 Online Educational Resources for Children 2 and Up
I know many of my fellow super-moms, like myself, have had to take on the challenge of becoming a "home-school teacher" on top of being a mom, wife, and for a lot of you also maintaining your jobs from home. Luckily for me, I have just one, 2-year old (2 going on 20, to be more exact) out of daycare who I have to worry about keeping stimulated, learning, and entertained during the day. I know for some mothers out there it's far more difficult with more than one child at home and in different school grade levels. I can't even begin to imagine how challenging it must be to try to help more than one child with school work and making sure they are continuing to learn while they are temporarily out of school.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, what I have learned during this time with my daughter being home is that an educationally filled day usually works best when I go by the flow of her day. In other words, I don't do any pre-planning or try to stick to any specific schedules when it comes to learning time. Of course meals, naps, and bedtime is a whole other area, with less wiggle room for schedule changes. Basically, as we go about our day together at home, I kind of add learning experiences to whatever we are doing together. For example, at the moment, we have been going over the octagon shape and the color red. On our daily walks outside, whenever we pass a stop sign I will ask her the name of the shape and the color. Another example, if she decides she wants to play with her Minnie mouse kitchen sink, I will gather a couple of different weight items for her to drop in the water and do a "Sink or Float" lesson with her. Or if we decide to read a book from her shelf, I will come up with an arts & crafts activity to do immediately after relating to the story, followed by a viewing of the movie if it's available. (In my opinion, screen time is never a bad idea especially if it's a movie or show that has to do with a book that was just read together. I feel it enforces the lesson that was taught during reading time and reading comprehension.)
Besides doing these spontaneous on the spot learning experiences, there are a couple online resources that I've been using to make sure my daughter is being educationally stimulated every single day. I have compiled a list of resources that in a short amount of time, my daughter has grown to love and always looks forward to working with.
This resource has been very beneficial in so many ways during this time. Since my daughter is only 2 years old, I use the "Pre-K-K" weekly lessons. Currently, scholastic has set up 4 weeks of daily educational material for you to use with your child from home, completely free of charge! Everyday is setup exactly the same however, the themes change with every new lesson. Each day includes:
-a video of a story
-a digital story read along
-word matching activity based on the stories
-fact or fiction online questions
-sequence of events online activity
-a video clip based on the theme
-a hands-on activity based on the theme
I love that they offer the option to have everything in Spanish as well as English. I am bilingual and it is very important to me that I raise my daughter speaking both Spanish and English. Now that we are both home, I have been trying to really implement the Spanish language in to her ever day dialogue.
Celine has grown to really love using this as what she now calls "her homework time". She gets so excited, that she goes and finds the laptop on her own so she can get started on the lesson for the day. She quickly learned how to navigate through the stories and activities all on her own. As far as the difficulty of the material, my husband or myself always work together with her this way we can explain certain things to her that may be at a higher level of comprehension. For the word matching activity, we use it as an opportunity to teach her colors instead of focusing on her understanding of the vocabulary terms. By asking her to select the colored box of the correct answer, she is practicing her color recognition. The best thing about this is that I can use the theme of what she has learned from each lesson as inspiration for other activities that we do for the rest of the day. For example, there was one day where the theme was Spring flowers. After we finished the online lesson, we went out to our backyard and planted some flower seeds. I can always find ways to relate the lessons to other things we do together during the day even just around the house, that is what's really great about it.
This can be easily downloaded on your child's tablet or ipad or can be used from a computer. What I love about this resource is that it has an immense variety of learning activities to choose from, even for children as young as my daughter. They have all subjects ranging from numbers and counting, reading books, and even fun activities such as digital coloring. There is a monthly subscription fee but, it's totally worth it. With all this program has to offer, I can guarantee your child will never be bored. Most importantly, your child will be motivated to learn and be academically stimulated. Not to mention, the program allows parents to keep track of their child's academic achievements so, that you can actually see how much your child has been learning while using the app.
(FYI: There is a sale going on right now, click the link above to be directed to their special discounted subscription offer.)
This is another application that can be downloaded on to your child's tablet or ipad. The great part about this one is that it's completely free of charge! Like abc mouse, this program has a ton of different educational activities designed specifically for your child's age. This program has everything from books to read, numbers, letters, social emotional development learning, logic, and so much more. One thing that really stands out to me about this app is that it includes many of the fun "Super Simple" learning songs music videos that my daughter has been watching since she was an infant on youtube.
These two applications can also be downloaded on to your child's tablet or ipad, completely free of charge as well. My daughter loves watching the PBS live channel because it has a lot of her favorite educational cartoon shows such as, "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood", "Pinkalicious & Peterrific", "Super Why!", and of course "Sesame Street". The game app is a perfect way to get your child to have some fun playing games with characters from their favorite shows.
Getting your child physically active and exercising their bodies during the day is just as important as exercising the brain. There are many great Youtube channels that I have come across during this time at home to get my daughter moving during the day. Let's not forget, all that daily energy toddlers wake up with needs to be tended to in a way that won't have us pulling our hairs out. One thing we have been trying that my daughter has liked is yoga with "Cosmic Kids Yoga". What really is great about these yoga videos is that they are very bright, colorful, and every yoga practice or session is basically a fun story that is told in combination with yoga movements. They also have a lot of great movie themed sessions such as Moana, Trolls, and so much more kid movies.
My daughter has grown a love for ballet mainly because of watching "Fancy Nancy". A fellow super-mama I follow introduced me to "Sam Cam" toddler dance classes on Youtube. Like Cosmic Kids Yoga, this dance teacher uses a lot of kid favorite movies such as Frozen, Moana, Coco, and many more as themes for each dance session. Whenever I put this on for my daughter I know I can just leave her on her own to dance along while I get other things done around the house. She always runs to her dresser to get a tutu on right before she starts dancing, it's so much fun to watch her excitement and how much she enjoys it.
Lastly, although this is not specifically a physically active instructional channel, I have to mention it is a great sing-along channel for bilingual children. When I was first told about "Canticos" sing-along videos by Nick, Jr., I was so surprised to hear nursery rhyme songs that my parents used to sing to me as a child in Spanish which I always thought were so specific to the Hispanic culture. I love that I can now share those songs with my daughter in both the English and Spanish language. They also include many other well-known nursery rhymes and educational songs, always in both languages. Like I mentioned, it's more of a sing-along channel but if your child loves to dance as much as my daughter does, they will almost always end up dancing to the songs and moving their little bodies.
I hope this list of great educational resources helps you offer some hassle-free educational experiences to your children while their at home. During this time, the last thing we need as parents is to give ourselves more work on top of everything else we have to worry about. Remember that learning especially for children at a very young age can happen at any given moment and in any situation. It's up to you to make every experience of your day together something they can learn from...
...Sew This is Life!
*If you would like some tips on easy arts & crafts while learning project ideas for toddler aged children, click here.