With schools out, how do we prevent our children from being affected by the dreaded “Summer Slide”? Summer is undoubtedly the time for kids to play and relax, but it’s also prime time for academic regression. A 2015 study by the Northwest Evaluation Association found that during the summer, elementary students lose approximately 20% of their school gains in reading and 27% of their school gains in math. As parents, what can we do to prevent this set back in our child’s education? In the past, we have used Summer bridge activity workbooks. These have been a great resource for our family. To help supplement workbooks, we’ve compiled a list of free educational websites that we personally use for our children. Most offer games to keep your children stimulated in a fun way.
We were recently introduced to Varsity Tutors and we have been beyond impressed! Varsity Tutors is the largest provider of live online learning in the US. The site offers Virtual School Days, Virtual Summer Camps, Diagnostic Testing, and Testing Resources. The best part about Varsity Tutors is that a lot of their educational content is completely free! Our kids are already signed up for Virtual Summer Camps. The camps include coding games, dinosaur history, writing improvement, how to draw anime and much more! The kids are very excited for these camps!
PBS KIDS is committed to making a positive impact on the lives of children through curriculum-based entertainment. With a 360-degree approach towards learning and reaching children, PBS KIDS leverages the full spectrum of media and technology to build knowledge, critical thinking, imagination and curiosity. By involving parents, teachers, caregivers and communities as learning partners, PBS KIDS helps to empower children for success in school and in life.
GoNoodle helps teachers and parents get kids moving with short interactive activities. Desk-side movement helps kids achieve more by keeping them engaged and motivated throughout the day. GoNoodle is designed with K-5 classrooms in mind.
PebbleGo is a kid-friendly, searchable database that covers a variety of research topics in both English and Spanish. Five main modules — animals, science, biographies, social studies, and dinosaurs — are divided into topics and subtopics. While there’s normally a fee to access this site, during CO-VID school closures, Pebble Go is offering free educational resources.
Tumble Math is the most comprehensive collection of math picture books you will find anywhere. All in the amazing TumbleBook format complete with animation and narration. The books are accompanied by supplementary materials such as lesson plans and quizzes.
Launched in 2013, Code.org® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Their vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science.
Khan Academy is the gold standard for online learning, and no list of free educational websites would be complete without it. They offer practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. They tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Their math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. Khan has partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.
Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more. Reading aloud to children has been shown to improve reading, writing and communication skills, logical thinking and concentration, and general academic aptitude, as well as inspire a lifelong love of reading. Teachers use Storyline Online in their classrooms, and doctors and nurses play Storyline Online in children’s hospitals.
Created for kids in grades Pre-K through 8, Funbrain.com has been the leader in free educational games for kids since 1997. Funbrain offers hundreds of games, books, comics, and videos that develop skills in math, reading, problem-solving and literacy. Educators and parents trust this site to provide a fun and safe experience both at home and at school.
Nat Geo Kids makes it fun to explore your world with weird, wild, and wacky videos! Your children can play games, watch videos, learn about animals and explore our world. The content is expansive and your kids can spend days learning about every subject imaginable.
Starfall.com® opened in September 2002 as a free public service to teach children to read. Since then it has expanded to include language arts and mathematics for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade. Starfall’s emphasis on phonemic awareness, systematic sequential phonics, and common sight words in conjunction with audiovisual interactivity has proven effective in teaching emergent readers. The program emphasizes exploration, play, and positive reinforcement—encouraging children to become confident and intrinsically motivated.