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Tech Tools and Apps for Families Educating from Home

Corie McHugh
March 31, 2020

4 minute read

Distance learning and online educational tools are becoming a necessity among families worldwide, as schools move to online instruction and a myriad of apps, video content, streaming options, and digital resources become available to make productive use of at-home time.

Here are 4 ways parents can utilize technology in distance learning, along with a variety of popular resources for educating and entertaining the little ones.

Educational websites

There’s no shortage of online courses or resources to help build knowledge of a specific subject area or even learn a completely new skill. Here are some popular online learning sites:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Provides at-home learning support information and resources. Parents, students, and educators are given quick access to digital platforms and free online programs, activities, and more.

Scholastic Learn at Home: Engage children with these special cross-curricular projects broken down by grade levels PreK – 9th. Daily learning programs include 4 different learning activities, such as watching a story, reading a book, watching a video, and a STEM activity.

Khan Academy: According to the website, Khan Academy is “a nonprofit with the mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” It integrates a mix of video and exercises in subjects like math, science, economics, humanities, and even computer programming.

Outschool: With a mix of over 10,000 online classes ranging from phonics, to ASL, to basic ballet, to AP calculus, Outschool offers live, online classes for ages 3 – 18.

Adventure Academy: A subscription-based adventure that gamifies learning, Adventure Academy boasts hundreds of hours of educational activities for kids ages 8-13 looking for knowledge and interactive fun.

Virtual field trips

Parents can now plan all sorts of exciting activities by taking their children virtually to zoos, art museums, or even a farm with the help of online technology. Check out the following virtual field trips:

San Diego Zoo: Children can research and learn about a variety of animals, view live web cams, play animal games, or even create arts and crafts activities. There’s also a section of the website dedicated to teaching kids how everyday activites can contribute to conservation.

Le Louvre: This scenic tour allows children to virtually experience panoramic views of the museum’s halls, including exhibits like “Egyptian Antiquities” and “Remains of the Louvre’s Moat”.

Farm Fresh 360: Check out a real life exploration of a Canadian farm and food tours, including everything from raising chickens to how meat and cheese are produced.

Academy @ Home: #MuseumFromHome by virtually visiting some of California’s most popular destinations. Keep your kids engaged through an eclectic array of science-centric games, videos, and DIY projects.

Educational apps

According to the Educational App Store, there are over 500,000 educational apps. Learning apps are readily available for download to help increase knowledge and inspire adventure. Here are a few for parents to look into.

PBS Kids video app offers kids ages 2-8 the ability to livestream PBS Kids television shows all day, with no subscription required. There is also a PBS Kids Games app which includes educational games that kids can play to stimulate their science, math, and creative skills starring their favorite PBS characters.

Starfall features topics like English language arts, math, and anti-bullying activities for grade levels K – 3. Children participate and explore games and activities to help learn colors, numbers, the alphabet, sing songs, or even learn how to begin reading.

DoodleMaths, designed by math teachers, focuses on different math games featuring fundamental skills and concepts.

Epic!, a digital library for kids, recommends books and videos based on reading level and interest. Categories include cars, pets, fairy tales, dinosaurs, sports, and adventure.

Social media influencers

Social media channels like Instagram allow influencers and subject matter experts to share creative educational activities with ease. Here are a few Instagram accounts for creative play.

Days with Grey: Beth Rosenbleeth, a mom with a background in education, introduces her followers to the idea of a “breakfast invitation.” According to Beth, a breakfast invitation “is an easy play prompt that takes less than 5 minutes to put together the night before.” After waking up, kids work on the activity as they eat breakfast, for a great start to the day.

Busy Toddler: Susie Allison, an early childhood education advocate, focuses on bringing sensory and play-based learning back to families via Instagram. She also includes several tips on establishing daily routines for kids.

The Best Ideas for Kids: Kimberly McLeod, a mom who loves to craft, shares fun and easy recipes and crafting ideas for parents to do with their kids. Sample ideas consist of making slime, dying easter eggs with cool whip, and even making homemade gummy bears.

Corie McHugh
Corie McHugh is originally from New Orleans, studied English & Theater at Florida State University, and she received her Masters in Theater Education from NYU. She has a passion for the arts and has worked in the education world for over twelve years. In her free time, she enjoys managing social media, writing, cheering on the Saints, and spending time with her two year old son.
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