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Coronavirus: Top online learning resources

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With many people taking to home schooling their children for the first time, Dr Ian Turner, @DocWithTheSocs Professor at the @DerbyUni, gives his top online learning resources for children:

I am one of many people in the country who is currently balancing working from home with supporting my own children learning at home.

Though initially there was some trepidation about this new dynamic, it has actually been a really wonderful experience and we have connected together as a family.

We are doing things that we never seemed to have time for before, like completing jigsaws, playing games and spending time in the garden.

One thing that has really helped is the incredible amount of free online resources that are being provided by organisations, charities and professional bodies.

I have been using these at home to help keep the children’s education more varied and fun.

I have found so many useful resources that I have created a list of my favourite ‘Resources for Children’ to share with other parents and carers who have youngsters in their house.

Range of subjects to choose from

Where to start?! Well, since we’re based in Derby, perhaps we should start local. Rolls-Royce has released a massive range of STEM resources under the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ project.

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The resources have been written for children aged 3-11 and are handily divided by year on the website. Not only are they aligned to the National Curriculum, but they are engaging, fun and appropriate for all (my daughters loved them).

Next up, Severn Trent Water has an education zone packed full of word searches, crosswords and paint-by-numbers. I recommend the superb sewer soap recipe complete with a poo made from Weetabix – my kids are going to love that!

Derby County Football Club, through its community trust, has a range of football-themed football resources from maths (Waghorn plus a Rooney =?), to wellbeing, all themed by key stage. It does require registering, but the high-quality resources makes it well worth it.

If you are more focused on curriculum subjects, there are so many fabulous resources. Here are just a few of my top picks:

  • Art – The Art for Kids Hub provides excellent step-by-step drawing and craft tutorials on their YouTube channel. Lots of Easter- themed ideas on there at present. If you would like something more local, check out ArtCool UK
  • Animal Welfare – Check out the RSPCA and its resources for children
  • Maths – The Maths hosted by Carol Vorderman is free (requires registration) at the moment
  • Music – A great site for helping your kids learn about classical music
  • Reading – Audible has a massive range of stories in six languages, so helps with French lessons as well, or check out The World of David Walliams where he is releasing a recording from the World’s Worst Children every day (no one I know has featured yet!)
  • Science – SciberMonkey has loads of science games, resources and worksheets all broken down by age range.

Finally, as we approach the Easter weekend many of us would normally be considering heading out for a trip with the children somewhere nice, perhaps like a Zoo.

Well do not worry, you still can from the comfort of your living room! Chester Zoo, via its Facebook site, is hosting daily tours (10am starts) and there are also loads of videos on the Zoo’s YouTube Channel.

Other zoos, like Edinburgh and Dublin, have lots of webcams so you see the animals. You could also check out the Wildlife Trusts Badger Cam or Folly Farms Lamb Cam.

Dr Ian Turner, Professor at the University of Derby

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