• Stephanie Drax

Our Essential Guide to Happy Lockdown Learning

Updated: Mar 23

Only a month ago I was listening to a parenting podcast episode about a woman who had home-schooled her kid. I remember being in awe, knowing I’d never have the ability (or – let’s face it – patience) to educate my kids.


So here we all are, living in The New Normal. If we have kids (and we aren’t key workers) then we are facing a loooong stretch of home-schooling. But there’s good news: the podcast interviewee said it had brought her closer to her son, and the Paediatric Mental Health Association implores us NOT TO STRESS.


“Read, read, read. Take turns reading. Read them your favourite novel (yes, you can read novels to kindergarten age kids). Do a puzzle. Build a fort. Bake. Watch TV together. Paint. Get out the lego and build together. Set up a tent in your living room and camp out. Look at photos of when you were a kid. In other words. Don’t stress about them forgetting. Don’t stress about home-schooling them. Just spend time together. Though this is a scary time, it could very well be a time they remember as the best time in their life.”


So, at Storytellhers we’re putting the emphasis on quality family time but have rounded up some inspiration that intersects education with entertainment. A home-school teacher we talked to said: “Make it rowdy and fun to learn. Flip everything on its head: what should be “work” treat as a game. And remember to stop "playing" it way before they stop having fun."



READING

Audible has made all their children’s books free to listen to for as long as schools are closed. We salute you, Audible.


Storyline Online has a collection of stories read by movies stars…we’re talking Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek and Oprah Winfrey. The US take on CBeebies Bedtime Story, if you will.


Oxford Owl is offering free tablet-friendly eBooks for kids aged 3 - 11 (also a bunch of English & maths games, and activities too).


LEARNING

Twinkl is the world’s largest collection of teaching materials, and they’re all created by teachers. They’re offering School Closure Packs for free that are bursting with plans, creative activities and resources, for stress-free lesson planning and teaching. For preschoolers to 11-year-olds.


Crest Awards is perfect for kids aged 5-19 who are into the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). There are activities and hour-long challenges that’ll keep them occupied (and thinking) from just £1 per student.


Seneca sets fun tasks for GCSE and A level students and is proven to help them learn 2x faster.


Scholastic is a top American publishing company and they've created a free learn-from-home site with 20+ days of learning and activities for kids aged 3 - 13.


EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS

TED Talks can only be a good thing, right? Sure its screen-time, but these TED videos are designed especially for kids (but chances are we're probably going to learn something too....)


The Kids Should See This bills itself as 'Smart videos for curious minds of all ages" - from technology and space to food and nature. There are also videos about how germs spread and the importance of handwashing that might be worth a view...


SCHEDULES

The Play At Home Mummas have a range of themed activities for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers (and a very unscary suggested schedule) – follow them on Insta and you’ll have daily inspiration. Your muffin tray is about to get some regular action!



Busy Toddler founder Susie has a schedule that shapes the day into manageable 30-minute chunks. Be flexible, and for God’s sake don’t interrupt if it’s going well. This is survival mode, she says, so cut yourself – and the kids – some slack.


CULTURE

Little Bird has pulled together virtual tours of your favourite museums in London, but also virtual visits zoos around the world and streamed theatre, opera and symphonies while theatreland is dark.


Travel & Leisure let you travel the world by going on a virtual tour of these 12 world-famous museums.


CRAFTING

The Best Ideas For Kids is a community of craft ideas for kids of all ages. Scratching off a couple of the following ideas every day might actually keep us sane : )



The Woodland Trust has 10 fun "Nature Detectives" crafts and activities for the park or at home. The Trust's Tree Tools for Schools has puzzles and quizzes with a more educational slant.


Pawprint Badges is a resource for a multitude of craft ideas, printable quizzes and games for early learners.


Dr Seuss is a family favourite, and their website has a load of quirky craft activities and printables for parents to help kids get creative.


GAMES

The Science Museum may be a no-go these days, but its website has some brain-teasing puzzles, games and apps especially for kids.


Nat Geo Kids has got a very well thought through platform for early years and primary school kids to soak up science, history, geography and maths through competitions, games and activities.


PBS Kids has a bunch of free video games that you can use as a screen-time treat – like digging up dinosaur bones and trick or treating on Halloween.


Toy Theatre has free games for mobiles, tablets and computers for kids aged 5 - 13.


EXERCISE

Cosmic Kids is a yoga and meditation youtube channel designed to relax and focus young minds - perfect for the pre-bedtime chill. Breathe in…breathe out….



Glow Yoga is offering yoga classes for your children. Aimee is streaming LIVE from her house to yours on Facebook (where each video will live for you to do at your own leisure…) It happens at 09.30 am on Monday mornings for 20 mins.



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