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We know this time is tough and want to support you, as you parent during the Coronavirus Pandemic. To help you get through lockdown periods, we have collated a list of things you can do at home to learn, connect and have fun.

 Ways to get active indoors/ in your own backyard

  • Try GoNoodle gonoodle.com it’s a great online resource with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts.
  • Enjoy kids yoga lesson plans with littletwistersyoga.com
  • Harness the power of YouTube by learning new skills through tutorials. For example: You could try learning specific stances and basic positions for karate, Taekwondo or another martial art (supervision required.)
  • Create an obstacle course. You can gather up old toys and things you find in storage or your garage and get creative. There’s lots of ideas online too if you’d like some suggestions.
  • Create a fun age-appropriate ‘circuit workout’ for the family
  • Try online workout videos or maybe you’ve got some DVD’s you can try together. You could even design your own exercise class and take turns teaching them. Don’t forget to create a music playlist of your favourite tunes.
  • Set up a tent in your backyard and go camping.
  • Sneaky Cleaning; have a competition to see who can pick up the most dishes/clothes/socks/Legos/etc laying around the house (and putting them back where they belong). The winner gets to pick the next board game or activity you play.
  • Pick a favourite song. Choreograph a dance routine to it. You could also try having a disco in the dark. Cover all the windows, turn off the lights, turn up the music and literally dance like no one is watching- cause they can’t see you!
  • Have a Nerf battle.

Fun things to do as a family:

  • Board games to bust the boredom! If the kids don’t know the joy of ‘Passing Go’ and collecting $200, now’s the time to introduce them.
  • Bust out the paint, glue sticks and the pipe cleaners it’s craft time! There is limitless online resources to give you ideas; but one of our favourites is: allkidsnetwork.com for crafts, activities, mazes, dot to dots and more.
  • Learn the Japanese art of paper folding: Origami.
  • Have a toddler? Keep them busy with these indoor activities www.busytoddler.com
  • Storytime done differently – check out Storytime from Space– hear real Astronauts read books in orbit at www.storytimefromspace.com or head to storylineonline.net to hear kids’ books read by famous people.
  • Use that pile of unmatched socks next to the drier to create Puppets! You can also use paper bags or stuffed animals with their stuffing pulled out. Great ideas and resources on how to create your own puppet show can be found at www.micheleepuppets.org
  • Do your kids love comics? Why not help them create their own comic book. Check out www.comiclife.com
  • Hit the Kitchen; bake a cake, cupcakes and cookies. Try your hand at making pickles and jam (yum). Get competitive: have an untimed Iron Chef/ Masterchef style contest with the whole family. Select an ingredient and everyone needs to create a dish using it. Choose an ingredient, and everyone makes a different dish (and dinner).
  • Card Games; play games you know and learn new games. If you haven’t heard of ‘spoons’ it’s awesome. Once you’ve mastered the standard version of ‘Spoons’ try ‘Ultimate Spoons’ you place the spoon across the room, or at the end of an obstacle course. You can also try building a house of cards.
  • Get old school with salt dough. Recipes to make your own are easily found online.
  • Lego!!! Search ’30-day Lego Challenge’ online- there are tonnes to choose from.  You can also play a modified version of Pictionary with Lego. Make a list of animals and objects, write them on individual pieces of paper, place them in an empty box and draw out one when it’s your teams turn. Set a 5-minute time limit per creation, see if your partner can guess it before time runs out. 1 point scored per correct guess.
  • Upcycled Art; find broken toys or things that need to be thrown away around the house. Get out the sticky tape and glue and challenge the kids to create a sculpture. (This is a fun way to spring clean).
  • Word Scrambles; Pick a sentence from a book. See how many words the kids can make from the letters in the sentence.
  • Create a secret code. Once you’ve got the symbol key, write a letter to someone in code and get them to decipher the message.
  • Have a backyard pool? Why not have a paper boat race?
  • Try making your own musical instruments (there are hundreds of ideas online), then make your own band and create some songs.
  • Read books. Have a prize for the family member who reads the most books during a set amount of time. Did you know your library has online resources like e-books, audiobooks and online magazines too?
  • Love to act? Why not put on a family play? You could stream it to family and friends. Or you could create a home movie with your smartphone video.
  • You’re probably thinking about al the adventures you’d like to be having, so why not use this time to plan your next family holiday?
  • Watch a favourite movie or cartoon on mute and make up your own dialogue.
  • Put that pen to paper; everyone loves to receive a handwritten card or note. Take the time to write a letter to your grandparents or other relatives or friends. You could even make and send a Thank You card to a Community Hero.
  • The classics: puzzles and wordfinds. You can even create your own or play online at www.jigsawexplorer.com
  • Play dress-ups.
  • Play traditional Hide and Seek or change it up with Hide and Seek with objects: One person hides the object in the house, and everyone else tries to find it.
  • Try fostering an animal from your local shelter. Animals are a great way to reduce stress and maybe you’ve been thinking about getting a furry family member for a while and this is a good opportunity for your children to learn responsibility for a new pet.
  • Get creative: Learn to sew or knit or try making jewellery. Order a kit online or use materials from around the house.
  • Start a home garden (indoor or outdoor)

Things to Learn Online

The World Wide Web… gives a window to the Outside World when we need to stay inside: here’s some of the best resources we have found to help you keep exploring and learning;

Take a trip to a museum:

Travel the World (and beyond) Online:

  • Explore the arts, history and foreign places with Google Arts & Culture. There are more than 2500 galleries and museums so that anyone can get a virtual tour and see online exhibits. The collection includes some of the most famous museums in the world, like the Louvre Museum in France, The British Museum and the Uffizi Gallery in Italy.
  • The Hidden World of the National Parks – This is an amazing virtual experience that lets you take virtual tours of National Parks in America, such as Hawai’i Volcanoes and Bryce Canyon. With 360 camera views, a virtual tour guide and educational videos, this is an amazing and easy way to visit some of the most fascinating places in America.
  • Explore geography and animals with National Geographic www.kids.nationalgeographic.com and watch animals (in real time) with EarthCam
  • Tour Yellowstone National Park nps.gov/yell
  • Travel along the Great Wall of China www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china
  • Explore the surface of Mars with the Curiosity Rover. www.accessmars.withgoogle.com
  • Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? You loved playing it as a child; introduce your kids to the fun carmensandiego.com

Zoo’s and More

  • The Australian Reptile Park – now has an educational series, ‘Animal Tales with Time Faulkner’. It’s to help students learn more about Australian wildlife but they also have some great videos introducing us to some of their animals – like their monster Reticulated Python and demonstrations of feeding the crocs. You can watch these videos on their YouTube channel or Tim Faulkner’s Facebook Page.
  • Zoos Victoria – Camera’s live streaming from Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. Animals include lions, giraffes, penguins, zebras and more.
  • Taronga Zoo – This Sydney zoo has animal live-cams of tigers, meerkats, seals and more. They have educational programs too, which you can access here. Toronga Talks is their podcast, which is filled with great stories about the zoo and the connections that the staff develop with wildlife. Check out their Live Animal Cams here.
  • Wild Life Sydney Zoo – Watch livestreams of animals being fed and more while learning more about them. Check their Facebook page for a schedule of what will be happening and for more content.
  • Zoos South Australia: Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park – Animal cams are available from the Zoo and on the Monarto Safari Park website you can learn facts and take quizzes (they often posts videos of their animals on their Facebook page too)
  • The San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world and it has a website just for kids with amazing videos, activities, and games. Enjoy the tour! kids.sandiegozoo.org
  • Zoo Atlanta – They have an awesome ‘Panda Cam’ plus there are videos on their website to help educate kids (such as Animal Tails book readings and Animal Arts and Crafts). Check out their YouTube channel for extra animal content.
  • National Zoo – A Cheetah Cub Cam is just one of multiple webcams that the Nation Zoo currently have streaming. They have also made a download available of educational activities that can be done at home with the webcams, plus an online tour of the highlights at the zoo.

Aquariums

  • Sea Life Sydney Aquarium – Sea Life have educational live streams on Sea Horses, Penguins, Sharks and Turtles. These are great as they are videos done with/by the Keepers, who often get up close with the underwater creatures and teach you all a lot about them.
  • Georgia Aquarium – This is one of the largest aquariums in the world and it now has webcams, including the California sea lion webcam and an African penguin webcam. They also have Deep Sea Learning Videos that comes with study guides and you can explore animal facts and figures.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium – There are 10 webcams to tune into for live video of sea creatures, including jellyfish, sharks, and the open sea. They have set up a program to help kids learn from home – which free (just make an account) and comes with videos, discussions and small projects.
  • National Aquarium (Washington) – Here you can take a virtual tour and see exhibits of alligators, sea turtles and more. There are also fun facts to help you learn about them.

Great Apps to Check Out and Download

Skyview

SkyView app is a free augmented reality (AR) app for both iOS and Android devices, that uses your smartphone’s camera to uncover different stars, constellations, planets, star clusters and other celestial bodies in the night sky. They point the device in any direction and see what planets, constellations, and even satellites are in the sky above them whether they are inside or outside it doesn’t matter.

When they see something on the screen, they can tap on it, and then read a bunch of facts about it. Kids can learn about astronomy and tonnes of sky-related factoids; from astronauts and their missions to distances of stars from Earth. They can build their research skills by tracking and recording the trajectory of their favourite planet. SkyView Universe is well-suited to give kids who are already interested in astronomy the information they seek and also to inspire kids who may not have wondered about the sky to be more curious. SkyView Universe gives loads of science information with some cool features, but the amount and depth of exploration is up to the kids.

Ages: 3+
Cost: free

Duolingo

Learn a language. Duolingo is a great app to learn a different language. Japanese, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Hindi, or Indonesian to name a few. Practice through audio, word identification, and oral exercises for over 30 languages. It’s a great way for your family to learn a new language together.

Ages: 10+
Cost:
 free, optional ad-free Duolingo

Lightbot: Code Hour

Lightbot: Code Hour introduces kids of all ages to the basic concepts of coding and the logic that computer programmers use to write code, all without having to actually code! Instead, the app has kids get Lightbot through different pathways by using functions commonly found in code. This app is a great way to get your kid interested in coding and computer programming, without overwhelming them.

Ages: 8+
Cost: free

Kahn Academy

A world class education for anyone, anywhere and it’s 100% free. It’s suitable for children from 4 years old to teachers. Online classes include mathematics classes like arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus to the science subjects of engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, electrical engineering and even cosmology and astronomy. If your child is into computing, there are classes on computer programming, computer science, and even history, grammar, economics, and entrepreneurship.

Khan Academy will give you personalised help with what you’re studying or help you to learn something completely new. It’s all there, and all free, but donations are really appreciated as it’s a not-for-profit.

Ages: 4+
Cost: free
www.khanacademy.org

GoNoodle

Make screen time active with 300+ dance videos, yoga exercises, and mindfulness activities for kids!

Everything is designed especially for kids (age 4-10). The GoNoodle App only includes content approved by GoNoodle’s team of child development experts and there are no in-app purchases. You can trust your kids are safe with GoNoodle.

Ages: 4-10
Cost: free
Get it for: iOS or Android

Spelling Stage

Kids may usually find spelling words difficult. This is one of the greatest spelling apps created for educational and family entertainment, perfect for users over the age of 4. Whether you’re the next spelling bee champion or just learning the alphabet, this spelling game can help you become the ultimate speller of all time!

Ages: 4+
Cost: free

Quick Maths Jr.

Quick Math Jr. is an award-winning app that covers the essential foundations of mathematics, including counting, addition and subtraction, place value, writing numbers and much more! From the creators of the award-winning Quick Math series, Quick Math Jr. is a fun way to develop mathematics skills and confidence.

Ages: 7-11
Cost: free

Kaspersky Safe Kids

Is an online wonder tool for parents to be able to safeguard and monitor their children online. It allows you to block access to adult websites and content, block harmful YouTube search requests on topics like drugs and alcohol and helps you manage access to games and inappropriate apps and websites. It even lets you manage their screen time by device, so it shuts down after their time limit has been reached. You can add the app on multiple devices, and your phone can manage at the click of a button to see what they are up to online, or cut short their internet time. The app also uses a GPS tracker so you can locate your child’s whereabouts on a real-time online map, and if you like, you can also define a safe area for them to stay in and the app alerts you instantly if they step beyond it. If that’s not enough, it also tells you when they’re running low on battery so you can warn them to plug in.

Ages: 7-11
Cost: free or premium is $19.95

 

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