With school closures extending through the end of the academic year all across the U.S., many parents are now faced with trying to school their children themselves. All the while trying to balance working from home (if they’re lucky) or trying to figure out how to survive the financial crunch brought about by the pandemic. Schools have been able to transition to remote classes online with varying degrees of success.
To help ease the stress and overwhelm parents may be feeling right now, I thought it would be good to compile a list of resources for finding educational enrichment activities and lessons that can be done from home. There are a wide variety of resources available online, so many in fact that it may be a bit overwhelming to know where to look and what to choose. Some educational sites are offering free resources or discounted resources throughout the rest of the school year. Some require parents to sign up to access materials, while others do not. With that in mind, I tried to stick with ones that are free and don’t require any signup.
Government Agencies and Institutions have also made lessons, games, and activities available for parents and students.
- The Library of Congress: Presentations and Activities to Help Students Learn about History
- The USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) has a wide variety of science lessons, activities, and resources for students K-12
- NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) provides Real-Time Ocean Data to Explore the Environment
- Department of Defense: Learn about careers in STEM fields
- Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics: Kids’ Zone
- Department of Energy: Games and Activities; Virtual Field Trips to National Energy Labs
- NASA offers several resources:
Many zoos and aquariums are closed due to the quarantine. However, zookeepers and staff are still there caring for the animals. Many of them are offering live online experiences daily. Here are a few worth checking out:
- The Cincinnati Zoo hosts a daily Home Safari at 3 p.m. on its Facebook Live Feed, but you can also catch previous episodes right on their website and YouTube Channel as well.
- The Shedd Aquarium has been using its Facebook page to share behind-the-scenes footage of their caretakers and residents.
- The National Aquarium provides a floor-by-floor tour of its exhibits
- The National Zoo Meet the Animals of the National Zoo
- The San Diego Zoo also offers live cam options that allow you to switch between tigers, polar bears, and koalas
- The Atlanta Zoo has a Panda Cam
- The Houston Zoo has live cam views of several different animals
- The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers live streams of many of its aquatic residents.
- The Georgia Aquarium’s live cam has African penguins and Beluga Whales.
Along with zoos and aquariums, there are a few national parks that have online tours worth checking out:
- Tour several national parks, including Carlsbad Caverns, the Kenai Fjords in Alaska, and Bryce Canyon.
Museums also have some incredible virtual tours and exhibits.
- The Louvre in Paris
- The Vatican in Rome
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers an incredible interactive experience
- The Kennedy Center:
- The Smithsonian has multiple offerings:
Another excellent resource for arts and culture-related tours is Google Arts & Culture, which offers limited access to the collections of over 2,500 museums worldwide. Opportunities include art, history, and science museums, along with parks, libraries, and homes of literary or historical importance around the world.
During this time, it’s important to remember you’re not alone in this situation. Many other parents are facing the same challenges. We can get through this together, taking things day by day.
*Please note: Every effort has been made to ensure all links provided are functioning properly; however, be aware that sites on the internet are constantly changing and what works today may not be functioning tomorrow.
Dr. Edward S. Thalheimer is the President and Founder of The Tutoring Franchise Corp. If you would like further information about how to help children who need educational assistance, please go to www.tutoringcenter.com.