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Education kids activities

Educational activities and fun things to do with your kids when schools are closed under quarantine

Since schools in our district (Howard County, MD) are closed, I put together a list of online learning / distance education resources, plus other ideas for things to do during the break/quarantine.

If anyone has any additional ideas for activities or other resources, please send them my way and I will add to this list – comment below!

The list is divided into eight topic areas:

I hope all of us who are well, but home, can all use this unexpected time together wisely! If you’re sick, get well soon.

[Looking for virtual birthday party ideas?]

Educational video classes and other learning fun learning opportunities

This break in school is definitely an opportunity for parents to get to know their kids’ academic strengths and weaknesses, in case they don’t already.

The good news is that there are loads of fantastic educational websites — many of which are normally for pay, but are free for now. Some include video lessons and classes, distance learning, others are paid courses.

Here are a few popular sites. I have selected them by hand, so I hope you’ll find something that will engage your child in the list below:

  • Khan Academy – This is very helpful, free website with loads of educational videos on all sorts of topics. It’s “gamified” so your child can earn points and badges as they progress through lessons.

    The videos are broken down into very specific how-to’s so you can zero right in on what you want to learn, or just follow along a given course. I very highly recommend this site. Here is a daily schedule for various grade levels using Khan resources.
    Grades Pre-K and above.
  • Khan Academy (again!) – This is a special mention because I really like this activity – Imagineering in a box. “Designed to pull back the curtain to show you how artists, designers and engineers work together to create theme parks.”
  • Outschool – For a VERY limited time FREE $100 credit for classes (Sign up here) I think this is a great opportunity for kids to learn. They have classes that are prerecorded, and others that have a live teacher that teaches your child along with classmates via video lessons. One of my children is currently taking a language class from this site and it’s really working well. I just signed the other up for an American Sign Language class.
    Grades Pre-K and above.

    You may also want to have a look at Unschool.School because it also offers a wide range of resources for different ways for kids to learn.
  • Varsity Tutors – Free live online classes for K-12. Wide variety of courses.
  • Learn At Home with YouTube – Great list of educational channels on YouTube. I like Crash Courses and It’s Okay to Be Smart.
  • Kids Discover – This website is normally a paid resource, but they’re offering free access to families with kids in districts that have closed schools. Click here to request a free account. Here is a list a librarian created with some other resources.
    Grades 1 and above.
  • Coding schools – Ok, now would be a good idea for kids who may have some interest in learning computer programming to take some courses or improve their skills with practice. There are some wonderful options for kids of all ages to get started. Here are three popular choices:
    • Code Kingdoms – Very good choice to get started coding!
    • HourofCode is a great example, and it is very well done. Honestly, great for any age.
      Grades Pre-K and above.
    • Scratch very good for kids age 6 to 12. Fun, entertaining.
      Grades 1 and above.
    • Code.org also a great option for learning to code.
      Grades 3 and above.
    • CodeAcademy – another great resource with free and paid lessons.

  • Scholastic – This resource goes up to 6th grade. Lots of great materials to keep kids learning.
  • National Geographic Explorer Classroom has some excellent webinars. Definitely check it out.
  • EdX, Coursera, and MIT OpenCourseWare – This could be an option for older kids – free online courses from major universities including Harvard, Yale, MIT, and probably most of the colleges you can think of. (There is even a course about cat and dog behavior from the University of Edinburgh)

    The classes are on just about any imaginable topic. Some are self-guided, others are “live” in that if you pay a fee, you can submit work for grading and you have to complete work in a given time frame.
    Grades 8 and above.
  • Linked In Learning/Lynda.com – Lynda offers a huge collection of online classes, mostly aimed at adults, but older kids/teens would benefit from many of them. For example, they have courses in Photoshop and other digital art tools that kids could benefit from. (Moms or dads would probably also find a worthwhile topic) Howard County Library offers it for free to their patrons, but if your library system doesn’t, the cost to join Lynda is not very expensive and is month to month.
    Grades 6 and above.
  • Instructables – I love this website. Loads of crafts, and other how-to’s on a wide variety of topics. Most kids are likely to find something that interests them–these would be good for parents and children to do together. (Thanks to Milanjali for the suggestion to add this one!)
  • Acheive3000’s Actively Learn Platform – I really like Achieve 3000’s ELA current events platform. I have used it with students for two years when I taught school and thought it was excellent. They are offering their Actively Learn remote learning platform for free for the time being.
  • CommonLit – Reading and writing program. Free. Parents have to go through a verification process, but this is a worthwhile platform with guides for teachers and parents.
    Grades 3 to 12.
  • Learn a language with Duolingo. This is a fun, easy way for your child to learn a language or learn more of a language they already know. You may also check with your local library to see if they have any other online language learning resources. For example, Howard County Library offers Rosetta Stone for free. I like Rosetta Stone for a few reasons, but top among them is the fact that it can listen to your pronunciation and tell you if you have it right.

    I would also mention that one of my kids is taking live online language lessons on Outschool.com. It’s working great even though the teachers and all of the students are in different states.
    Grades 4 and above.
  • Prodigy Math – Math activities for grades 1 – 8.
    Grades 1 – 8.
  • Delta Math – My kids are using this now. Lots of great activities. Create a free account as a teacher to get started.
  • First in Math – This is a great math resource with entertaining games and world-wide competitions. Paid subscription ($20 for 6 months).
  • iCivics.org – Great stuff on this site — this is a link to some excellent social studies games…including a game where you have to get the votes in a run for president.
  • Get out your library card and check to see what kind of electronic learning resources your local library has. (Note that in many places, you can get a access to libraries anywhere in your state and beyond).

    Here are some examples from the Howard County, Maryland library system (click to see them all – You need to go back to the library website and start there to login with your library card and Pin! Forgot your PIN? Reset it here):
    • Kids Infobits Grades Pre-K and above.
    • LearningExpress – Practice tests for AP exams and the SATs. Library card needed to register.
    • Muzzy
    • ScienceFlix
    • Tons of electronic books for all ages to download to your phone, Kindle, or tablet.
    • Bookflix


  • Do a project. This is one of the best ways to learn. Here is an article about project based learning–at the end of it are 15 ideas for projects including things like redesigning your city’s public transport system and solve your parents’ problem of being too busy.
  • Watch and compare/contrast movie versions of Romeo & Juliet and Westside Story. Take it deeper by adding in Rent (The Musical) and La Boheme (Thanks Debra T)

  • StarFall – This is a venerable, popular website for younger kids. Great fun.
    Grades Pre-K – 3.
  • Whizzimo.com – Free until July. Help for different learners including Orton-Gillingham.
  • This Way Up – Great mental health resource. This is a link to their Covid page, but be sure and look at all of their offerings.
  • Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth – Very well reputed online courses. This one is here because it’s a great option for some kids. The courses definitely aren’t free (quite the opposite), and you have to get accepted into the program.

    This could be a problem under quarantine since you have to test into the program.
  • MobyMax and ListenWise – These two are suggestions for schools and school districts rather than individual families: MobyMax helps your child catch up to grade level. This is great for different learners or learners struggling with school. It’s free for the rest of the school year. Call 888-793-8331 to get started. Listenwise offers articles and podcasts about a variety of subjects, and can be effective for different learners.

Random fun

Games and online fun

Here are some ideas for some ideas for fun, some of the suggestions may even be educational.

Worksheets and Learning Packets

Although I am not the biggest fan of worksheets, these free downloads will be helpful for parents who need something quick and easy for their kids to do. Worksheets have their place, but parents who have additional time may want to consider the idea of working on a project with their student instead (or in addition).

Preschool letter tracing worksheets
Phonics worksheets

Handwriting worksheets
Math worksheets

General packets for grades K – 5
General packets for middle school
Middle school math packets

Easter Seals School Closure Toolkit for young students with autism

More advanced kids might take advantage of these algebra, geometry, and calculus worksheet packets with answer sheets.

More worksheets on this Google Drive from KES, and more from education.com and Curriculum Associates.

Do science

Music activities

  • Have a family sing along or a home karaoke session. Use YouTube for karaoke or try one of the a cappella apps to create your own cool arrangements. Look up rounds on the internet and try singing them together. (Thanks Debra T)
  • Take turns playing your favorite songs for each other – the things you used to listen to as a young person, and the things they like to listen to now. Notice similarities and differences in style and production. Then check out a style you don’t usually listen to and try to figure out what people enjoy about it.(Thanks Debra T)
  • Learn to play the Ukulele – Great lessons on YouTube for how to play the uke. Don’t have a ukulele handy? You can get one that’s decent at a low cost on Amazon.
  • Have an iPad or iPhone? Now would be a great time to learn how to use Garage Band. So much fun. Why not have your child come up with a new ring tone for you to use when they call you or a family theme song! Garage Band is free from Apple. Here’s an introduction on YouTube…bonus: the presenter sounds like Shrek.

Physical activities

Baking and cooking ideas

  • Get out that old bread maker. Everyone loves fresh bread, and your kids will enjoy helping to make something the whole family will enjoy. Of course you’ll need to have yeast on hand, but there’s a good chance you have the rest of the needed ingredients. There are loads of great recipes out there…Our challenge this break will be to make rolls that are most similar to Subway Italian bread. TIP: If you don’t have a bread maker, just visit your local thrift shop, there’s a strong chance of finding one there.
  • Make ice cream in a bag
  • Cooking contests. If you have more than one child, hold a cooking contest. Think Kids Baking Championship or Cutthroat Kitchen. Or see who can come up with the lowest cost recipe using staple items from your pantry. Grades Pre-K and up.
  • Make a pizza…from scratch. Here is a link to my daughter’s favorite recipe. It’s Rosanna Pansino making an “Avengers Pizza” but you can just make it “regular.” You’re going to need yeast.
  • Make cookies. Have the kids help you adjust the recipe by doubling or tripling.

Arts and crafts

Virtual field trips

Go on a virtual field trip. For example, this Madden Football by the Numbers field trip is great. Here are some others:

Didn’t find any activities you liked? Here is another list that someone posted on Facebook with more quarantine activities for kids. Definitely has some great ideas for things to do!