With everyone at home for the foreseeable future, parents are racking their brains for ways to cope with the break in education that their children are facing. Whether parents choose to start homeschooling or use this as an opportunity to slow down and embrace a different way of living, there have been a multitude of community-based and institutional resources popping up online.
Note: this article may be updated periodically with additional resources.
Khan Academy is a nonprofit online educational website and app that produces video lessons, SAT practice, and more. Their library of material has always been available for free, but to better serve students, parents, and teachers at this time they have added a host of new resources. Users can now find a schedule template tailored by age range to help provide structure, weekday livestreams on Facebook, and guides for parents and teachers on how to navigate this uncharted territory. In a splash page video message, founder Sal Khan requests that anyone in a position to do so considers donating as the nonprofit was operating at a deficit pre-pandemic and their servers have unsurprisingly seen a surge in traffic as of late.
Educational company Scholastic recently launched a Learn At Home website that has free daily courses for kids pre-K through grades 6-9. Twenty days worth of content is currently available with more updates coming soon.
LinkedIn Learning is offering free online courses to parents and teaching faculty transitioning to online learning. LinkedIn profiles are required to access the classes.
The Oregon Zoo is going live on Facebook every week to go behind the scenes with animals and their care staff. After each video, which will also be posted to their YouTube channel, you will be able to find accompanying at-home activities here. Live-streams will air from 9:30-10 a.m. PDT—check the Zoo’s Facebook page for the latest schedule.
This Google doc provides links to over 30 virtual field trips including the Boston Children’s Museum, the San Diego Zoo, and the Great Wall of China.
Libby is an amazing free app that anyone with a library card can use to digitally borrow books, audiobooks, and magazines. The check out period lasts for 21 days and users can even opt to use the Kindle interface to read. Multnomah County residents have access to around 20,000 titles in juvenile fiction and literature, and over 10,000 titles of young adult fiction.
Girls Who Code, an “international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology”, is producing a free #CodeFromHome curricula with new (online and offline) activities released weekly over the course of the next few months. Sign up to receive updates with the link above.
Popular mindfulness app Calm is providing free resources during this time when we could all use more tools to soothe our frayed nerves. This blog post contains a lot of great exercises and meditations—mostly geared towards adults i.e. parents in quarantine!—but also has a section for kids.
Search the hashtag #operationstorytime or #savewithstories on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to find authors reading from their own work and celebrity hosted storytime from the likes of Amy Adams, Josh Gad, and Jennifer Garner.
Now is as good a time as any to get creative with your littles. I saw a post on Nextdoor that some people are participating in a “bear hunt” based on children’s picture book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. To participate simply place a teddy bear visibly in your window for families going on neighborhood walks to discover!
If you prefer to keep active in the comfort and safety of your own home, check out this roundup of five free kids’ yoga classes on YouTube. Ranging in style, each video clocks in between 20-30 minutes, which is a good portion of the hour of daily exercise that is recommended for adolescents aged 5-17.
Many artists are providing free prompts and materials to keep childrens’ creative juices flowing. Caldecott award winning Portland-based illustrator Carson Ellis has started a “Quarantine Art Club” on her Instagram with regularly posted art assignments designed for both kids and adults. Artist Camille Shu is offering some of her black and white drawings as a mini coloring book on her website.
The idea for kids to start a “quarantine diary” has also been floating around. Acting as an outlet for kids (or adults!) to process their feelings, I can tell you first-hand that this is an extremely cathartic practice. Whether it’s handwritten, typed, or in video format, a journal of this period of life is a tangible piece of personal history that can be revisited in the future.
Janey Wong is an East Portland native and a freelance writer/social media manager. Her work ranges from copywriting to essays on food, culture, and identity. In her free time, she runs a food Instagram—@foodbbpdx, is an avid traveler, and a doting godmother to the best two year old ever.