As the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to shut down group activities across the globe, you might be wondering how you can keep your homeschooler busy and involved with extracurricular activities. Sports are out of the question, for at least the immediate future. Concerts are being cancelled, museums and attractions are being closed out of precaution, movies are being delayed. Parades, conventions, theatre events…the pandemic is causing more cancellations by the day.
Fortunately, as a homeschooler, you don’t need to worry much about the coronavirus interrupting your child’s education. But, given all of the postponements and cancellations, what can your student do outside of school to keep him or her busy and productive? Here are some ideas (hint: they’re all virtual):
Online Book Club
Nothing passes the time quite like reading a good book. But reading is even more fun when you get to share your thoughts and opinions with fellow readers! Online book clubs for kids let your students do just that. Biblionasium is an AWESOME online book club designed just for kids. Not only does it offer favorite titles and recommendations for kids of all ages, but it’s social! Biblionasium features a safe, secure social community experience for young readers to discuss and compare notes about the books they read, all done from the comfort and safety of home. If kids are going to use social media, Biblionasium is the way to go.
The National Geographic Kids Book Club, in conjunction with DOGObooks, is another great site for kids, filled with book titles, recommendations, activities, and badges for kids to collect. Plus, there’s a comment board where kids can share their thoughts on their favorites. On the DOGObooks site, young bibliophiles can leave reviews and ratings, take quizzes, and so much more.
Game Sites and Clubs
I’m not talking about Fortnite or Overwatch or Mario or Sonic…those types of video games are everywhere. I’m talking about classic board games, except played online with fellow enthusiasts. Take chess, for example. The Chesskid.com website is perfect for young chess players since it’s designed just for kids. Your child can learn how to play chess right on the site and then take on other kids with similar skill levels! It’s safe for young users, since no personal information is displayed, and chats are restricted.
There are tons of other classic board games that can be played with others online, including Clue, Boggle, Trivial Pursuit, Risk, Scrabble, and Monopoly to name a few. These all possess some educational qualities, and they can all be played…yep, from the comfort and safety of home.
If your kids are into science, there are tons of cool online clubs for them to get involved with. Coding with Kids, while not a “traditional” science club, offers afterschool and weekend clubs for young, aspiring coders and computer lovers. This club provides live online instruction and small class groups, so your child gets some individual attention. Kids from age 5 through high school can learn about game development, Minecraft and Roblox, robotics and devices, web and mobile, and even advanced coding.
Another fun science-oriented club is the NASA Kids Club, which is designed for younger kids up through fourth grade. This site is packed with STEM learning in the form of games, videos, and activities that educate students about science and all things NASA. For kids who may be interested in engineering, the appropriately named Engineering for Kids offers children ages 4 to 14 the ability to learn about all types of engineering: aerospace, chemical, environmental, electronic, marine, robotics, and software to name a few. And while this isn’t technically considered a club, Engineering for Kids provides homeschooling supplements and lessons for your classroom. And for nature and animal lovers, Project Noah is an amazing online community that allows kids in grades 4 through 12 (and beyond) to become “citizen scientists” by creating and sharing nature journals, learning about wildlife and how to identify species, spotting and tagging wildlife in photos, and connecting with experts to help young scientists create descriptions for the wildlife they’ve spotted and photographed.
There are so many different online clubs and activities out there to keep your kids busy and their minds sharp, even when familiar sources of entertainment are temporarily delayed. Sure, kids can play video games or watch YouTube all day…but where’s the educational component in that? There’s certainly nothing wrong with a little bit of that activity each day, but in lieu of local recreational sports, in-person clubs, and other larger gatherings, getting your student involved in online learning and reading clubs is a much better alternative.
What types of online clubs are your kids involved with? Share with us in the comments below!