With the pandemic, kids are spending more time at home when they’d normally be in school. It’s nice to have them home and safe within our reach, but if keeping them engaged and occupied sounds like a difficult feat, this article might help!
Here are some websites, apps, and YouTube channels geared towards kids that you can use to help your child continue to learn, read, exercise and even cope with any big feelings they may have.
Reading apps and websites for kids
One of the great ways to have an adventure – all without leaving your house or pillow fort! Here are some options to help your kids improve their reading skills and get access to thousands of books.
1. ABC Mouse
Subscription cost: $9.95 USD per month (includes a free 30-day trial), $59.95 annually.
Both an app and a website, ABC Mouse endeavours to help kids aged 2 to 8. They have an entire curriculum dedicated to early readers to help them practice and gain confidence. They also have bonus subjects like science and math, along with games, books, printable activities, and more.
Epic! Is a digital library with instant access to over 35,000 books, learning videos, quizzes, and more. The site is free for educators, parents get a 30-day free trial.
Subscription cost: $9.99 CAD per month (includes a free 30-day trial).
Kindle Unlimited is an online library service. You don’t need a Kindle device to participate. You just need to download the Kindle app on your device. If your child doesn’t know how to read yet, Kindle Unlimited has audible books. Although Kindle Unlimited boasts 1 million titles, it doesn’t have all the new books available but it has all of the Harry Potter books. That should help keep you and your child occupied for at least a few weeks.
4. Learning A-Z
Learning A-Z is dedicated to expanding literacy through various programs available on their website. They’re designed more for teachers/educators, but they do offer two programs, Raz-Kids ($118 USD) and Headsprout ($216 USD) that cater to kids. Raz-Kids is a digital library of books divided by levels and also has quizzes for your kids to practice with. Headsprout is an online reading program that adapts to the needs of the reader. Your child will start off with a quiz and based on those results, a program will be created.
Educational websites, apps and games for kids
If you want to make learning fun for your kids, have a look at these options:
BrainPOP is an educational website for kids from kindergarten, all the way to their final year of high school. They cover all the core school subjects, including engineering and technology. Not only do they have material related to those subjects, but they also have quizzes to ensure comprehension. There are also educational games that you can access. They typically don’t allow individual accounts unless your child’s school or teacher has a subscription. You can, however, sign up for a month-long family trial for just a dollar!
BreakoutEDU is offering a collection of digital games that your kids can play at home. They have educational games for kids from the grades ranging from Kindergarten to grade 12. Games are shown with their content area, like science or maths, clearly listed. Similar to BrainPOP, they don’t have subscriptions for parents, so there is no pricing available for individual purchase.
Tip: All games are listed on the same page. There are two scary games for 9th to 12th graders, so please be careful when allowing your younger kids to select their own games.
This is a free website for older students who may be taking, or are interested in taking AP courses. It provides great resources to assist students in developing the necessary skills to thrive and pass their AP tests. The resources are in the form of live discussions with approved educators.
KiwiCo has subscription boxes (starting at $28.95 CAD) for kids aged 0 to 14+. Your child can choose which kind of box they’d like with options ranging from science-based boxes to arts and crafts, engineering, and more. If you’re not up for the subscription boxes, they have a DIY section on their website so you can still do arts and crafts and science projects without registering for any subscriptions.
Tip: Sign up for their newsletter and get 30 per cent off your first purchase.
Why not let your kids pick up a language or two? With Rosetta Stone, there are 24 language courses available for your kids to learn. They’ll learn through immersion and even get feedback and printable reports on the progress they’re making. The courses cost $35.97 CAD per language for three months. Other comprehensive plans include $119.88 CAD annually for unlimited languages and $199 CAD for a lifetime access of all languages.
Mydoh is a great way to teach your kids about money management. The Mydoh money app and smart card helps make the process fun and easy by giving parents transparency and oversight to help kids learn money skills. The app includes Mydoh Play which teaches kids about money basics through interactive money lessons. Your kids will learn about everything from what is money, how to make money as a kid online and the difference between needs and wants.
Exercise and physical activity-based apps and websites for kids
It’s recommended that school-aged kids in Canada get at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a day. Exercise can help kids feel better both physically and mentally. For times that you aren’t able to make it outside or don’t have access to a private yard or playground, here are some programs that your kids can participate in to stay active.
1. Down Dog
A subscription to this app cost $10.99 CAD per month ($66.99 CAD annually). Down Dog offers yoga classes for kids from kindergarten to grade 12.
Circletime offers interactive and on-demand classes for parents and children between the ages of newborn to 6. Sessions include everything from yoga and meditation, to sing-alongs, arts and crafts, and science. Subscription plans start at $14.99 CAD per month and include a 7-day free trial.
3. Cosmic Kids Yoga
A free website for kids in classes ranging from kindergarten to grade 5. GoNoodle’s videos are designed to help kids get all their energy out, so they can focus on their next class.
Mindfulness apps for kids
Studies have shown that mindfulness and meditation can help kids’ resilience in coping with issues ranging from attention to anxiety. In a time where kids may be experiencing a bit more uncertainty and confusion than normal, meditation might help kids feel more in control, or at least feel more confident that they’re equipped to handle what they’re going through.
Subscription cost: $19.99 USD per month, $59.99 USD annually, $549.99 USD lifetime.
Calm offers over 100 guided meditations which all focus on helping reduce things like anxiety and stress, but also improve things like gratitude and self-esteem. The Calm Kids meditation series is a premium feature, which means that you as the account holder will need to have a paid subscription attached to your account. They offer a few sleep stories, lullabies and soundscapes.
Subscription cost: $17.99 USD per month, $89.99 USD annually.
Headspace offers kids guided meditations that help them cool off, stay positive, get ready for bed, and more. Like Calm, Headspace for kids is also a premium feature but they do offer some free breathing exercises for kids, divided by age groups, that help make the meditator feel calm and relaxed.
3. Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind is a free meditation app and website with various meditation programs. They have meditation programs divided into categories for kids between the ages of 3 to 18. They aren’t as targeted as the meditation sessions offered by Calm and Headspace, but there is still a focus on helping to reduce stress. Just a heads up, the people who run the meditation program are Australian, so they have an accent.
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