By: Erik Taylor

Keeping Your Kids Busy (and learning) While Schools Are Closed

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Everyone is looking to find things to do while at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.  
Whether it’s catching up on chores, reading a book, or just having fun, it’s important to stay busy.
Below is a list of resources for parents looking to add some fun education to their child’s daily routine. Try these activities out with your little ones. 

Scholastic courses
Starting Monday, Scholastic is offering learning journeys for grade levels ranging from pre-kindergarten to Grade 9. These activities explore a wide range of subjects and culminate in reading quests that can be done alone, or with a parent.

Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a nonprofit educational organization that offers free courses for children and adults at all learning levels. Subjects range from math and grammar, to engineering and art history.

Raz-Kids offers reading resources for students from kindergarten to Grade 5. Hundreds of online books spanning 29 levels of difficulty are available to kids on the site as part of a 14-day free trial.
Live reading (courtesy of Olaf)
Actor Josh Gad, who voices the beloved Olaf in Disney’s Frozen, has been sharing videos of himself reading popular children’s books on his Twitter page. As part of the #GadBookClub, he’s already read stories like Olivia Goes to Venice, The Giving Tree, and Dr. Seuss: Hooray for Diffendoofer Day.
Kids Activities Blog
Visit for a collection of educational YouTube channels for kids, dozens of online field trips they can take to different parts of the world, and an exhaustive list of educational organizations offering free subscriptions as a result of school closures.
Prodigy is a free, curriculum-based math game to help kids refine their analytical skills. Activities cover a wide range of math topics taught in Grades 1 through 8.

Designed for children 12 and under, CoolMath4Kids features a range of math lessons and games designed to make the subject entertaining. Kids can also find a variety of quizzes, brain teasers and more throughout the website.

Busy Toddler
Busy Toddler is a website full of hundreds of fun activities for kids. While geared towards younger children, the page offers ideas for kids up to 12 years old. Exercises include creating a toy washing station, making a literacy bin and designing a comic book.

At-home science experiments
For the mad scientist in your child, here are some suggestions for science experiments that can be done at home, using materials typically found around the house. Ideas range from soap-powered boats and musical straws, to ghost bubbles and instant ice cream. Each idea features a YouTube video demonstrating the experiment as well as a PDF with step-by-step instructions.

National Geographic for Kids
This website offers a series of adventure games, quizzes, educational videos and more to keep your child entertained and informed. Activities range from educational articles and videos to science experiments and writing your own adventure.

Math story time
For kindergarten to Grade 2
Using stories to explore simple math concepts, engage children in math and make learning at home fun, this resource is designed to spark conversations about math and its connections to the world of a child. You may be prompted to download the free Math Storytime app. No accounts or passwords are required.

TVO Kids
For kindergarten to Grade 6
Award-winning, advertising-free videos, games and content that supports the Ontario curriculum.
TVO Kids offers educational programing throughout the day for school-aged children. Check out their broadcast schedule to what is on and when. h

TVO Kids also has YouTube Channels dedicated to STEM and literacy programs.

Supports the Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 core science curriculum. Kids can learn from fun science experiments — and even try some of them at home.

Support the Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 core curriculum. Kids can learn math in a way that is intriguing and fun!

Join in an imaginative world where learning language is paramount. View any of the specially chosen videos on this YouTube channel and witness the growth of language skills and the love of reading.
TVO mPower
For kindergarten to Grade 6
Free, award-winning online games that support the mastery of math concepts and bolster understanding of STEM and the social sciences. Boost foundational math skills and inspire a love of math. Sign up can easily be done by a parent. With a free account, students can track their progress in the games. Check out a sample preview of mPower.
TVO Mathify
For Grades 6 to 10
Free, one-on-one online support provided by Ontario Certified Teachers, is available to help students improve their math skills. Now accessible Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm, and Sunday from 3:30pm to 9pm. Build math understanding and confidence with the help of a math tutor!
Free art lessons
If your child is looking to explore their artistic side, free art lessons are a great option. YouTube channels like Wild Free and Crafty are sharing videos of drawing tutorials, demonstrating how to draw things like donuts and sea turtles. The channel also promises to post arts and crafts ideas that are fun for parents too.
See upcoming lesson plans here.
Lunch doodles
Looking for other ways to express your creative side? Try a lunch doodle, courtesy of author and illustrator Mo Willems. In a YouTube series, the artist-in-residence at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts takes viewers into his studio each day for lessons on how to doodle, making arts and crafts, and more.
Skinnamarink live reading
Sing along with the creators of the popular preschool song “Skinnamarink” through videos posted on Facebook. One of the group’s original members, Sharon, often joined by her daughter, Randi, sing well-known children’s songs that you and your own children can sing along to as well.
Virtual museum tours
A number of museums across Canada have closed in response to the spread of COVID-19, including The National Gallery of Canada, the Canada Science and Technology Museum, and the Royal Ontario Museum. Fortunately, these galleries and others have virtual exhibits and tours that can be viewed online. Families can travel through time from the comfort of their own home.