Schools out, sadly not for summer this time, but something much more serious. All of us are going to have the kids at home for the foreseeable future. But just because there is no school, it doesn’t mean your kids can’t still keep their brains active and learn remotely.
Former primary school teacher Leon Smith who is now Chief Customer Officer at the education website Twinkl, says, “It’s important that children continue practising their skills and keep mentally and physically active, so they keep learning.
“Learning happens in lots of different ways, of course. You can use recipes, activities with money and shopping, start some project work, practise times tables… Online resources are a great way to support all of these – and you will even be able to do curriculum-aligned activities if you want to follow the National Curriculum objectives.”
With this in mind, we’ve picked out – with help from mums in our MadeForMums Facebook community – some of the best learning resources online for primary-school children. You may heard of some of them already from your child’s school but we’ve made sure to pick some that are a bit different. Take a look…
12 of the best educational resources to keep your child learning while school is shut
1. Twinkl (also on app for iOS and Android)
Age range: Birth to Year 6/P7 (and beyond)
Price: Free for the first month, with the code UK TWINKL HELP. After this, you’ll pay from £4.49 a month.
What’s on it? Twinkl covers every primary-school subject in years and offers over 630,000 resources, with new content added daily. There are even specific coronavirus home learning support pages and school closure home learning resource packs that you can download for your kids in different year groups. All resources are created and checked by current and former teachers. You can also print out many of the activities and let your kids get on with the worksheets.
- Worksheets, assessments, augmented reality games – and more
- Topics on letter formation and early years phonics, right through to every subject in Year 6/P7 , including Art and Computing
- Plenty of ‘lighter’ resources, such as colouring sheets and ideas for craft activities such as the ‘Design your own Pants’ worksheet (!)
Age range: 4+
Price: 14-day free trial, then you pay from £2.75 per month
What’s on it: The School Run covers every aspect of your child’s time at primary school, from the best ways to learn times tables to spellings and grammar. There’s information and advice for you as a parent, and thousands of worksheets and activities to boost your child’s confidence, especially in English, Maths and science. We particularly like the explanation guides: great if you are stumped by some of the primary-school-speak, such as ‘fronted adverbials’ and ‘number bonds’. All resources are written by experienced primary school teachers and designed to offer kids fun games and activities to help support their learning at home. There is even a private support group for subscribers on Facebook.
- ‘Learning journeys’ for your child in Maths, English and science, based on what they are currently doing at school
- Worksheets on all subjects, plus interactive tutorials with digital teachers.
- Subjects like Maths are broken down into units like money maths, weights and measurements and telling the time.
3. Tassomai (also on app for iOS and for Android)
Age range: 7+
Price: From £10 per month
What’s on it: Interactive, adaptive quizzing. Tassomai personalises quizzes to your child, giving them more support and more challenge as appropriate each day and aiming to build depth of knowledge and confidence. Your subscription gives unlimited use and access, weekly parent update emails, and live analysis of how your child is doing. There are also tutorial videos on subjects, and children are encouraged to hit a daily goal and rewarded with ‘experience points’ and ‘mastery stars’.
- Reading skills, spelling and punctuation use
- Arithmetic, shapes, number knowledge and sciences.
- Modules for languages, such as French and Latin.
Other great resources to try:
ICT games for Maths and English practice
Oxford Owl for phonics practice
Mystery Science (US-based site)
Staedtler Teachers Club UK (currently offering parents free membership)
4. Study Ladder
Age range: 3+
Price: The basic version is free, although daily access is restricted; the premium version is £4 per month, which includes unlimited access to all subjects, grades and rewards areas.
What’s on it: Created by experienced school teachers, Study Ladder has resources right across the curriculum, from Maths and English to science. You can get everything from videos, tutorials, printables, interactive lessons and drills by using the search tools. As a parent, you can set specific tasks for your kids or just leave them to work at their own pace They get instant feedback on what they need to learn, including rewards and certificates for achievement, while you get lots of information on how they are doing.
- Number games
- Grammar lessons starters for example printable worksheets on capital letters and full stops
- Interactive science quizzes and lessons
Age range: 3+
What’s on it: If your little one is a science, environment or animal fan then this is the perfect place for you with plenty of quizzes, videos and animal profiles. The Kids Club has lots of content written by kids on subjects such as Earth Day and Doctor Dolittle. There is also a primary resources section, which has facts and worksheets on subjects including history, science, geography with guidance on how to use them.
- Factsheets on every animal ever.
- Quiz whiz will test their knowledge on subjects from the moon to great white sharks and honey bees.
- Information on competitions such as the Dopper Changemaker Challenge Junior which challenges kids aged 8 and above to come up with ideas to help save the planet and find solutions to the single-use plastic problem
Age range: 5 to 10
What’s on it: TV time and learning at the same time: it’s a win-win! Kids can sit back and work their way through the archive of Crash Course Kids – strapline: ‘Science with a Side of Awesome’ – and watch hundreds of informative bite size (all around 3 to 4 minutes long) science and nature clips directly on YouTube. Most of them are cartoon-based, colourful and attention-grabbing fun. Your children may also like the continuity of the same host throughout, Sabrina Cruz (she’s really friendly and not over the top!).
- Subjects covered include Earth, Habitats, Space, Chemical Reactions and Engineering
- Individual videos include Fabulous Food Chains, The Dirt on Decomposers and Measurement Mystery
Age range: Preschool to year 6/P7
Price: Free for many resources but you can also take out gold membership for £7.99 per month (with the first 2 months free when you pay for a full year)and gain access to more.
What’s on it: You will find hundreds of free printable activities and worksheets that cover child development and education. All you have to do is download and print out the various worksheets and you are good to go. All subjects are covered from Maths and English, right through to worksheets on religious festivals and national days. The work is all done offline and there are plenty of resources suitable for younger children.
- BABY born worksheets which focus on family relationships, your child’s physical development and understanding healthy eating
- Sheets to help your child practise practical things, such as scissor skills
- Plenty on Maths and English worksheets on topics including grammar, storytelling and spelling
8. Quizlet (also on app for iOS and Android)
Age range: 3+ (Quizlet accounts for children are linked to their parent’s email address)
Price: Free but with some premium, ad-free features available from £1 a month
What’s on it: Quizlet has over 300 million different study sets on virtually any subject you can imagine. This means that children can access virtually any topic they want – and you can even make new ones. Games and quizzes make the whole process fun, whilst the platform supplements traditional learning practices with visual aids and audio features and online/offline features, meaning that it can be used on the go. Think of Quizlet not only as an educational resource for your kids but also as an interactive, fun tool to give inspiration and ideas on new topics of learning.
- Learning colours and farm animals
- Test yourself on the the names of Sesame Street or Peppa Pig characters
- Quiz-based learning of languages, such as Spanish
9. The Khan Academy (also on app for iOS and Android)
What’s on it: Exercises, quizzes, and tests, so students can practise and master skills, as well as instructional videos to help your children learn or review material. It specialises in Maths and science but has content on all subject areas. It’s a US website, so it uses the US grades system but the subject matter totally works for the UK, too. You can work with your child and set tasks, or children can use the materials by themselves. Immediate feedback means if they give a wrong answer, there will be hints, example problems worked out step-by-step, and links to relevant instructional videos.
- Specific Covid-19 school closure activity packs based on subject areas
- Bespoke content from NASA and different US museums
10. Hello Piano (iOS app)
Age range: 4+
What’s on it: If you’re looking for a change from Maths and English, Hello Piano teaches your kids how to play the piano via your phone! The app blends a mixture of games, theory, video lessons, with daily tasks. You can also see how your kids are progressing with skills and performance on the stats page.
- Games mode, where kids can put their rhythm, music reading and melody matching to the test
- Today’s Practice, a daily challenge that trains key piano skills with scores to beat and games to master
- Bird Beat, a quirky rhythm game
11. Duolingo (also on app for iOS and Android)
Age range: 4+
What’s on it: With Duolingo, children can explore and learn many different languages, ranging from Spanish and French to Russian and Vietnamese. The lessons have been broken down into bite-sized chunks and kids can earn points for correct answers and racing against the clock. It’s all done in a gaming style setting. You can choose a daily goal ranging from casual (5 minutes a day) to insane (20 minutes a day) and earn colourful badges and surprise rewards for doing well.
- Vocab tests
- Learning correct pronunciation
- Simple translation tasks
Age range: All primary school aged children
What’s on it: With so much focus on the Coronavirus and the importance of hand washing, this could be a good place to start with your kids once they are out of a school setting. The short video is designed to help parents talk about hand hygiene in a fun and comfortable way, and also help kids understand the importance of keeping your hands clean.
- Click or tap where you think the germs might be
- A guiding to the proper way to wash hands