Early Childhood News

Stay at Home, Play at Home: List of the BEST Free Learning Resources

 

COVID-19 has upended the daily routines of just about everyone – no one more so than families with young children.

With no clear end to “safer at home” orders in sight, we could all use some new ideas for entertaining restless little ones. Between caring for children, homeschooling, and keeping up with our own jobs, our lives have never been more hectic – even as we are stuck at home.

In an effort to help, there has been a flood of articles highlighting resources that families can access online to help create an enriching environment for kids at home. Some parents surely find this crush of information helpful – for others among us, it’s completely overwhelming.

That’s why we wanted to create a list of what we think are the best learning-at-home resources to guide you directly to the good stuff.

This all-in-one resource guide from Colorado’s Office of Early Childhood is a great place to start with lists of online and local resources to support families during the pandemic, including:

  • Online resources for learning at home
  • Tips on talking to children about COVID-19
  • Articles on positive guidance and responding to challenging behavior
  • Links to local food resources and connections to people who can help

Here is a list of our favorite, fantastic and free resources for families stuck at home: 

Jeffco Public Libraries offers virtual Story Time every Monday through Thursday at 10:15 a.m. Find details here.

These 30 story time videos, many of which were collected in response to COVID-19, are a great way to keep children happy and learning. Find the stories here.

Famous actors reading children’s books is entertaining for kids and adults alike.  Find tons of videos in English and Spanish here.

This collection of the best virtual field trips for children cuts through the clutter straight to the adventure. Find the field trips here.

Wide Open School is a free collection of the very best online learning resources to help families and educators during COVID-19. Check out this amazing resource here.

These fun illustrated recipe books get kid chefs excited about cooking with mom and dad. Check out the free picture recipes here.

PBS Kids offers educational shows and games completely for free online and through their apps. Find games and videos here.

Children’s artists offering free art classes online include Mo Willems (the author of the Pigeon and Piggie and Elephant books) who has been offering online video drawing tutorials for children who love to draw. Find the videos here.

Apps and text services that offer tips for parents are also a great way to keep the ideas coming. Check out both Vroom for brain-building tips and Bright by Text for learning games and information about resources in our community.

Last but not least, podcasts! They are a great way for children to relax and escape. Here is a list of a few of our favorite podcasts suitable for young children. All of these are available for free.

  • Circle Round – folk tales from around the world told by celebrities
  • Stories Podcast – classic children’s stories and original tales
  • Molly of Denali – an eight-episode series based on the PBS Kids show
  • What If World? – fantastic tales based on “What if?” questions submitted by listeners
  • Earth Rangers – nature and science focused show perfect for animal-lovers
  • Smash Boom Best – a debate between two awesome things (i.e., pizza vs. tacos)
  • Noodle Loaf – a clever, musical and interactive podcast that defies explanation!

The most important thing you can do to support your child’s healthy development and well-being during these uncertain times is to simply connect with them. Carve out at least a few minutes every day to lose yourself in play with your child. Follow their lead and it makes a world of difference because it communicates to your child: “No matter what is happening in the world, I am your special grownup and I am here for you. I love you and I love spending time with you.” You will be surprised at what a calming effect it has to connect with your child in this way!

And don’t forget we’re all in this together and we all need support to raise happy and healthy kids. There are resources in the community to support you with whatever you may be facing. Enter your zip code below to get started.