Most parents adore their kids most of the time, but sometimes too much of a good thing can just be… too much. TRT World offers a guide to keep your children busy with interesting activities while allowing you to spend some time on chores or work.
Millions of those who can are staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 24,000 lives around the world. Parenting in confinement is especially hard, with mothers and fathers spending much more time with their children and at a loss for activities to entertain and educate them. TRT World has found some options for parents — not to mention traditional activities such as Musical Chairs, Lego and Play Doh — to help make the transition from work to home life easier.
Yesterday, Amazon cancelled the subscription fees for books and audio stories, making it free for children and students on audible.com “for as long as schools are closed”. The offerings include age groups ranging from “littlest listeners” to “tween” and “teen” and come in six different languages, including Spanish, Italian, French, German and Japanese.
Former curriculum specialist and author Susie Allison has been running the busytoddler.com website and sharing daily activities for kids on her Instagram page. On her website, parents can find activities geared towards playing and learning for children of all ages, from preschool age to eight to 12-year-olds.
Brain Pop Jr comes recommended by the mother of an eight-year-old, and features a movie of the week and online activities including science, maths, reading and writing, health, and arts and technology. Brain Pop is offering free access “for schools and families impacted by school closures”.
For physical activity, there is Cosmic Yoga for Kids on YouTube, run by an energetic instructor named Jaime (no last name). She says she will help “your kids become stronger, calmer and wiser”. An irresistible pitch!
Then there is Khan Academy, a non-profit that offers “free resources to keep everyone learning”. It offers courses in maths (including for children as young as preschool age), science and engineering, arts and humanities, and test preparation for entry exams such as SAT, LSAT and MCAT. It also has a downloadable app for younger children called Khan Academy Kids.
CBeebies from the BBC offers animated characters called Sarah & Duck and Nelly & Nora. There are memory games, short animation films, and more on their global website.
If you have Netflix, you’re in luck: Studio Ghibli has made a deal with the streaming giant for 21 films, including many amazing stories by acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki. Netflix has announced that “for the first time ever, this expansive catalogue of Studio Ghibli films will be subtitled in 28 languages, and dubbed in up to 20 languages”.
According to Netflix, subscribers in Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America will be able to “enjoy beloved classics, such as Academy Award-winner Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Arrietty, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, and The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, among others, in their native languages.”
Pinna.fm describes itself as “The only screen-free, ad-free audio streaming service custom-made for kids 3-12.” Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pinna is making its podcasts, audiobooks and music free to stream for 60 days when you sign up with a special promo code available on its website.
Prodigy, a maths game geared towards first to eighth graders, introduces itself as “the engaging, curriculum-aligned math platform loved by over 50 million students, teachers and admins”. It promises not to charge parents or teachers ever.
Mystery Science, founded by Doug Peltz and Keith Schacht, aims to make science and engineering fascinating for children by providing intelligent and exciting answers. It is a paid platform but has – at time of the article being written – 170 free memberships available.
Liz Climo, a cartoonist and a former character artist for The Simpsons, offers free activities for parents and children on her Instagram page. She says she will post daily on the account, including a fun activity each Friday such as colouring pages or a read-aloud.
The self-described “cutting edge powerhouse of British comics” 2000 AD has released a free kids activity pack on its website. It features a colouring page, as well as a board game and make your own comic page.
You can also do what a California school is doing with middle schoolers: picking a “sit spot” once a week and have them write about something for half an hour. An example would be a love letter to nature, mailed to the school once it’s finished.
For young Turkish kids, Egitimde Birlikteyiz (Together in Education) pages offer story books and activities. Initially planned as a resource for children with disabilities, the site prepared alongside the European Union will most certainly help pass the time in a productive way for Turkish families during their self-quarantine.