4 ways to prepare your child for school
Help your child to feel confident and secure about their transition to school.Read more
We hear you. Even with every one of our Try This At Home experiences in your daily armour, the days are long! Fortunately, there are lots of brilliant online resources out there; but with the volume of stuff on offer, it can be overwhelming to know what to choose. Here to help, our N experts have curated our list of what we believe to be the best online educational resources currently on offer for early years.
Based on ‘The Gruffalo’ by much loved author, Julia Donaldson, this app has a series of games that will enthrall young fans of the story. Children can enjoy playing a game of ‘Snap’ with the Gruffalo himself, as well as a series of matching and categorising games that will develop early maths skills.
Based on the award winning book that your child is bound to be familiar with, this app provides the opportunity to interact, becoming one of the key characters from within the story! You can go bug hunting in the long, swishy grass, search for crabs in the rockpools, catch falling leaves in the forest and even interact with the bear, as you enter into the cave! This is a lovely way to extend your child’s interest in the story and could even inspire them to go on a bear hunt with you in the garden/at the local park!
A collection of three apps developed by the British council, ‘Learning time with Timmy’ features a range of interactive games designed for children aged 2-6. The focus is on developing vocabulary with games such as i-spy and matching pairs. All feature easy to understand language and simple instructions, making this an ideal choice for young children’s developing speech, as well as children who may be learning English as an additional language.
A must-have for budding explorers, the Barefoot world atlas sets out to fly you and your child around the interactive globe, discovering the many wonders of the world. Discover new cultures, visit an exciting city or view some of the world’s greatest artistic masterpieces. The atlas features musical soundscapes, interactive quizzes, short videos and beautiful photography. There are countless learning opportunities to be found, as you and your child engage in some co-research.
This app promotes listening and a love for music, as your child enjoys a variety of games exploring the concepts of tempo, pitch, timbre and harmony. Ideal for children aged three plus, these games form a fundamental part of your child’s development in phonics; they offer a great alternative to many phonics resources that miss out these vital skills in their sole focus on letters and their corresponding sounds. There are magical lands to be discovered, and fun animal characters to be helped, all whilst enjoying over a hundred pieces of classical music.
Based on the principles of art therapy, children can use this app to fingerpaint, developing calm, focus and patience. Children can express their mood through their choice of colour and accompanying, calming musical soundtracks. A great way to introduce a mindfulness session to your day.
The popular app for mindfulness tips, meditation and sleep stories, has a special section for children- ‘calm kids’. There are some simple, guided meditations for children aged from three, children’s stories and sleep music. Introducing time for meditation and mindfulness can be extremely beneficial for providing a moment of calm during the busy day, or in helping your child unwind and relax before bedtime.
Follow @magiccatpublishing for ideas on nature-inspired learning and making best use of your time spent outdoors. Or, try some fun family projects to help you live more sustainably and teach your child about environmentalism, such as making your own compost bin or planting your own vegetable patch.
The children’s author, Chris Haughton, is offering a wide range of online resources for families to enjoy. His books feature loveable animal characters, and include topics such as gender equality and climate change. Visit his site to find his #stayathome series which includes video stories and printable resources for your child to create their own inspired illustrations.
It is also well worth visiting his Facebook page for live readings, recorded theatre shows, sing alongs and art tutorials.
The Tate have created a vast array of resources to explore. There’s lots aimed at older children, but a large number of activities for children aged three to five too. In the ‘make’ area, there is much home learning inspiration to be found, such as the Matisse snail collage, or how to create your own sand art. If your child is a budding artist, you can also use the site to explore different artists and their masterpieces, which you can then have fun recreating together.
Award winning author, best known for titles ‘How to catch a star’ and ‘the day the crayons quit!’, Oliver Jeffers books feature stunning illustrations and thought provoking storylines. You can tune in to live story times on Oliver’s Instagram @oliverjeffers every day at 6pm, or find the recordings on his website along with printable activities and pictures of his beautiful illustrations.
Founded by concert pianist, Miaomiao Yu, Bach to Baby put on classical music concerts that welcome both parents and children, offering the opportunity for babies, toddlers and young children to experience top quality music, and see and hear a range of different instruments. Bach to baby have switched to online concerts in the current situation, that you can enjoy as a family, from the comfort of your own home.
The author/illustrator is offering #drawwithrob sessions, where children engage in a guided draw-along, creating their own versions of the characters from Rob’s books. The sessions are every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am.
Follow @susanverde, the author of ‘I am Human’, ‘I am Love’, and ‘I am Yoga’, among others for all the information on her read-alouds, as well as some great mindfulness exercises and meditations for both parents and children, as she has developed some kid-friendly practices on her IGTV.
Okido are offering online learn-through-play workshops, where you watch an episode, discuss the Science featured in the story, complete a make-and-do Science activity and follow up with printable activities. There are a range of Science topics and they’re completely free to download. These would be most suitable for preschoolers.
Chester Zoo are offering regular virtual Zoo days with a live feed showing everything from exotic birds to meerkats and giraffes. If you miss a virtual day, you can find all the filming over on their YouTube channel. If your child is enthralled by Zoo animals, it’s also worth following #bringingthezootoyou where you will find content from zoos across the world.
The creators of children’s books tackling real-life issues, Other Life Lessons, have developed a free to download workbook for parents to explore with their child. The aim is to support children’s mental health and wellbeing during Covid-19. The workbook features drawing based activities that will help children aged over three explore and discuss how they are feeling. This resource would be particularly helpful to any children who may be feeling anxious during this time.
We hope you will find some of these useful and that they will help you in planning out exciting experiences to enjoy with your child.
As ever, if you have any questions on this topic, or suggestions for other topics you’d love us to cover, please do get in touch.