Integrating children into your work environment has become essential during our current crisis. Anyone who says their kids will ‘just look after themselves while I work’ has very very special children. Most of us are trying to balance video conferences and phone calls with food spills and toy chaos.
The key here is to not take it too seriously. Kids belong in their home, it’s their space, and they need the creative freedom to explore and feel safe in it. Clients and managers will simply need to become accustomed to parents juggling dual duties, and acknowledge that sometimes the balancing act won’t work well. While your work colleagues know that finger paint is not generally used to colour in a laptop screen, toddlers don’t necessarily recognise those same ‘creative boundaries’.
Rather than see this as a battle, work with the kids, communicate (age appropriately) to explain the difference between work and home, even though both are occurring at home. A dedicated space will definitely help if this is possible in your house or apartment. Having established this, get ready to be flexible and bend the rules to accommodate the challenges of the day. Just like employers, parents need to be flexible, agile, and willing to look at new models with good humour if we are to all get through this together.
Here we compiled websites where kids can find activities to play and learn at the same time, while giving you a few hours to work in peace.
VIRTUAL TOURS – Zoos
If your kids loved weekends at the zoo then they will definitely enjoy the virtual tours now available online. Let them virtually roam around and watch animals and you can all talk about your favourites at the end of the day.
- Virtual Field Trips: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SvIdgTx9djKO6SjyvPDsoGlkgE3iExmi3qh2KRRku_w/mobilebasic
- San Diego Zoo has a live webcam for animals: https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams
- Melbourne Zoo also has live webcams: https://www.zoo.org.au/animal-house
- Live video of the National Zoo and Smithsonian Learning Lab: https://www.si.edu/kids
VIRTUAL TOURS – Museums
Let your kids appreciate art and history with these virtual museum tours. Through these tours they will be able to see famous works from artists all over the world, and hopefully be inspired t to create their own masterpieces.
- Visit museums. Google Arts and Culture partnered with over 2,500 museums and galleries around the world to offer virtual tours of their spaces. Some of the options include New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en
- The British Museum, located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies: https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/
- The Louvre, based in Paris, is also offering its own virtual tour online for free: https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne
With work, chores and all the other things you have to accomplish within the day, you may not have the time to read to the kids. Here are websites that can do that for you.
- Children’s books read by famous- people: https://www.storylineonline.net/
- Young Explorers is a magazine designed specifically for young children. Children can listen to the magazine being read to them as they follow along with the highlighted text: https://ngexplorer.cengage.com/ngyoungexplorer/index.html
- Science podcasts to listen to with your kids: https://medium.com/kidslisten/19-great-science-podcasts-you-can-listen-to-with-kids-6fe46ac506b8#.rb23iuaw6
- Listen to astronauts read stories from space: https://storytimefromspace.com/library/
A lot of schools have closed down because of the pandemic but learning for kids doesn’t have to stop. There are a lot of educational websites out there that can help school age kids learn and feel like they never left school.
- Educational games K-12: https://www.breakoutedu.com/funathome
- Projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing: https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
- All sorts of online classes for kids: https://outschool.com/#abk7vott3k
- ABC- Educational resources: https://education.abc.net.au/home#!/home
- The Kid Should See This: https://thekidshouldseethis.com
HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
For your kids who love history and geography, here are fun ways to learn and discover new places and cultures. Who said we have to go outside to see the world?
- Tests kids’ geography skills. Using images from Google’s Street View, it puts players down in the middle of the street and asks them to figure out where they are: https://www.geoguessr.com/
- Online history classes for all ages preteen through adults: https://school.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive
- Geography with National Geographic: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/
- 35,000 pages of online content on the different cultures and countries of the world: https://www.countryreports.org/
- Type in any city, state, or country to view an archive of historical photographs and other documents. It’s a unique way to help children learn about history: http://www.whatwasthere.com/
Kids still need to be active while at home. And after hours of watching movies on the couch, they will want to run around and play. Clear up a space for them in the living room and let them follow the fun exercises in these websites.
- Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts: https://www.gonoodle.com/
- Kid-friendly workouts — choose from Strength for Kids, Agility for Kids, Flexibility and Balance for Kids, Warm-Up for Kids, Cooldown for Kids, Stand Up and Move for Kids, OR create your own custom kid workout: https://app.sworkit.com/collections/kids-workouts
- Yoga and mindfulness for kids: https://youtu.be/0ImHIWzP49
- Live PE lessons at 9am Monday to Friday on this YouTube channel for children of all ages: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyCLoPd4VxBvPHOpzoEk5onAEbq40g2-k
ARTS AND CRAFTS
Yes, this might mean you will have paint or glitter everywhere and that’s okay. By practicing creativity, kids are provided with the opportunity to try out new ideas and discover new ways of thinking.
- Fun games, recipes, crafts, activities: https://www.highlightskids.com/
- Crafts and activities: https://www.allkidsnetwork.com/
- Help children learn to appreciate the arts by providing them with the opportunity to play games, conduct investigations, and explore different forms of art: https://artsology.com/
- Carson Ellis’ Art Club- Carson Ellis, author and illustrator will be posting art assignments on her Instagram page every weekday morning. If you want to share them, you can use the hashtag #quarantineartclub. She’ll also provide individual hashtags for each exercise so everyone can see each other’s work: https://instagram.com/carsonellis?igshid=1urg2g0rg5r4b
- A wonderful detailed way to get kids engaged in the world of art: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features/metkids/
- Red Tent Art- step by step instructions on art projects including origami, 3D cards, clay pots, etc: https://www.youtube.com/user/redtedart
SCIENCE IS FUN
For the overly curious kids who asks us about everything happening around them, here are websites where they will be able to discover the answers on their own. We love them but honestly, who remembers the whole water cycle and why it rains?
- Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover: https://accessmars.withgoogle.com/
- This NASA initiative covers a wide range of topics including weather, climate, atmosphere, water, energy, plants, and animals: https://climatekids.nasa.gov/
- For budding Marine Biologists – take a deep dive into ocean life: https://ocean.si.edu/
- Lots of science experiments that you can do at home: https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/
- Google Earth. All sorts of incredible learning here: https://www.google.com/earth/
LANGUAGE AND WRITING
Help kids express themselves through writing or other languages. Studies show that children who practice creative writing more often are generally better in other subjects too like math, science, and languages.
- Learn a language: https://www.duolingo.com/
- Short videos and texts that answer various burning questions for children. There are vocabulary challenges and comprehension questions: http://wonderopolis.org/
- Grammar- Work on the 8 parts of speech: https://www.grammaropolis.com/
- Boost writing confidence with Storybird: http://storybird.com/
Unleash that little rockstar and let the kids dance to music they create. Just make sure you’re not holding a video conference in the same room.
- Music is for everyone: https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/Experiments
- A large selection of fun songs to help teach preschool students: https://www.songsforteaching.com/preschoolkindergarten.htm
- Lets kids play instruments online. Instruments include the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, and bongos: https://www.virtualmusicalinstruments.com/
Because after the four basic operations, we don’t understand most of it either.
- Short videos about numbers that help kids explore complex math topics and make math more fun: https://www.numberphile.com/
- Kids numbers: http://www.kidsnumbers.com/
- Maths Frame: http://www.mathsframe.co.uk/default.aspx
- Math as a fun part of your daily family routine: http://bedtimemath.org/
- Math games galore: https://gridclub.com/