As social distancing and school closures continue, we know that many parents are wondering what to do next. There are hundreds of wonderful educational pages online, but it can be a job in itself to sift through them all. We’re here to help you get started.
The ONFE team has gone through hundreds of web pages of educational materials for students from K-12, and we’ve chosen the most easily accessible and interactive pages for you. Where possible, we’ve chosen Canadian content, and sometimes even Ottawa-specific content.
We’ll be releasing several blogs in the coming days, presenting these resources by age group. This first one is dedicated to the K-7s out there.
Do you have educational platforms or pages you love to use at home with your kids? Share in the comments below!
While we have done our best to compile reliable resources, none of the listed resources (except where indicated) are official ONFE partners, and ONFE does not have any control over the content available through any link. We recommend that all online content be reviewed by parents before being accessed by children.
Where to Start:
The first place to begin is the Province of Ontario’s Learn At Home page. Check back on this website as more updates are added.
If you’re concerned about screen time, check out this recommendation from MediaSmarts, Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy: “Social Media & Screen Time During a Pandemic.“
If you have not already done so, we highly encourage you to access the incredible 10-day plans on the Scholastic Learn at Home website. Engage your kids with grade-appropriate videos, articles, and discussion activities provided especially for the school closures.
The Khan Academy is offering free resources for parents during school closures. There are lessons in math, science, and humanities, for kindergartners to early college students. There is also a “Homeroom” live stream on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter for students and parents at 3pm EST every weekday.
Don’t forget about the extensive selection of online resources on the Ottawa Public Library website, available all year long! Have your library card handy to access e-books, magazines, newspapers, and lots of fun things to keep kids occupied in both official languages.
Access videos, worksheets, science challenges, and webinars on a wide range of topics provided by Aurora, an enthusiastic educator with twenty years of experience teaching children, teens, and young adults. Super Charged School!
Structure your kids’ days around a live online class. There is a wide-range of classes for students from K-12, which are accessible once parents create a free account. The courses are not on-demand, so be sure to check out the schedule in advance and enroll your kids in a cool course or two.
Think Indigenous is a Facebook page with content for all age groups provided by Indigenous educators – check it out!
Inspiration & Public Speaking:
In need of some hope for our future in these uncertain times? Get the family together to watch these amazing TED Talks from the new generation.
While you’re all together on the couch, look at some of these other TED Talks curated for watching with kids. Consider hosting a watch party for your kids with their friends using a video chat service to encourage conversation and debate!
English & Creative Writing:
Classroom Cereal features a fun series of short stories for grades 5-7, that double as grammar exercises.
Join comedian Moshe Kasher as he reads “Unstoppable Me” in American Sign Language on Instagram. The book is about not giving up even when you’re scared.
Join famous actors as they read favourite children’s books on Storyline. Brought to you by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. Want to see Betty White read Harry the Dirty Dog? Yes please!
Join in as authors read their books aloud on the Penguin Kids Instagram every weekday at 11am (and saved on IGTV).
The Mystery Science website has videos and articles to check out, no sign-in required! Five-minute mini lessons, longer explorations, and related activities will keep your kiddos engaged and interested.
Parents, you will want to get a look at the interactive tour of the “Curiosity” rover on Mars! Learn about all the features of the rover, access photos of Mars’ terrain, and learn about the geographical formations on the red planet.
A classic standby; have your kids spend some time exploring the videos, quizzes, articles, and games on the National Geographic Kids website. Ask them to impress you with how many “weird but true” facts they can remember – did you know scientists know more about the surface of the moon than the bottom of the ocean?!
We found this link through our friends at the Ottawa Senators Foundation. Get your kids engaged in science with these 6 simple activity labs. Kids will get an introduction to the scientific method with activities like measuring their reaction times, learning about, noticing and keeping track of their vital signs, and testing their muscular endurance.
Featuring science–related worksheets for all grades.
Hungry for more science? Here’s a list of more than 80 different science-related activities for all ages that can be done at home.
Meet the “Hubs”, a charming family on YouTube creating instructional videos to teach kids of all skill-levels how to draw lots of different things. From mythical creatures to well-known cartoon characters, the Art for Kids Hub is the place to access hundreds of instructional videos.
Start in Ontario, and then take on the world! Find interpretation and make connections to other relevant works using Google’s exploration of Arts and Culture, and view thousands of the world’s most famous paintings, sculptures, and artifacts on the virtual tours of the Musee Dorsay in Paris, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. – and anywhere else you want to go.
Easy to use and access, this set of activities teach music in a fun and interactive way! Accessible to kids of all ages.
Read along (in French or English) with recordings of some well-known stories your kids will love. Access free resources and activities to help your kids (or you!) brush up on key French skills.
Create an account for your kids to participate in sim-city-like online educational games. Recommended to us by a teacher in Ottawa!
GAPC Entertainment has been an ONFE supporter for years, helping us to create videos about our School Breakfast Program. This local production company creates educational TV segments for kids, among other things, and their Math Xplosion program is a great one to watch.
For math drills on-the-go, access the Mental Math cards app on your iPad or iPhone.
Fluency and Fitness is offering a 21-day free trial during the school closures – without you having to remember to cancel. Review K-2 alphabet and math concepts with your kids, broken up with physical activity.
Easy experiments to do with supplies from around the house that encourage kids to use innovative thinking in engineering simple models and testing their creations. Options for online sharing are included in the Maker Station pack, helping you connect with other kids creating the same models.
Many institutions and museums have online tours and videos of their collections available to peruse at your leisure. Check out some fascinating videos about life on Canadian farms and in food and agricultural processing plants. One of our favourite tours showcases an automatic milking machine that cows choose to use whenever they want!
Have a look at Ottawa’s own Bytowne Museum from the comfort of your home with the online tour! Use the tour as a jumping off point for research and conversation about Ottawa’s early settlement and history.
The Vancouver Aquarium has 4 live cams featuring some of their cutest residents.
Watch some adorable pandas on Zoo Atlanta’s Panda Cam. And don’t worry, if the pandas are resting when you check in, the site has panda-updates, news, and other interesting animal-related content.
Can’t get enough of the animal cams? Check out the Georgia Aquarium beluga whale cam and links to other animal cameras.
If you’re looking for more virtual museum tours, have a peek at the links on this Ultimate Online Museum Guide.
When you and your kids both need a break:
If you’re starting to go stir–crazy, take the opportunity to get the whole family moving! Check out this link for ideas to blow off steam and get some endorphins flowing (no equipment required).
Fun to make and tasty to enjoy! Let your kids help out at snack and meal-times with these recipes for kids. Put a competitive spin on it by engaging your kids’ friends in a cooking contest through your social media channels.
GoNoodle offers fitness and mindfulness videos for kids, which can help break up the day while teaching children healthy coping skills.
For other ways to combine learning and fun, check out this article on simple S.T.E.A.M activities to do with household items.
Hang in there.
Remember, give yourselves a break when you need it. Not everyone is a trained educator! It may take a while for your family to find the right educational groove.
If you have other resources to share, please post in the comments below!
Stay tuned for our next blog, covering educational resources for grades 8 to 12.