Towards the end of March, I wrote a blog with some tips on how to occupy your children during the lockdown. Well, here we are, a month later we’re still homeschooling etc and without a clear end date. So I have gathered together further info and helpful sites so I can share with you some more great online resources for children, that hopefully will be of use.
I am a total bookworm. I love a good read and am passionate about encouraging literacy and a passion for reading in children. However, libraries and book shops are obviously closed. So I am delighted that many publishing houses, authors and illustrators are reacting to the school closures by making their books and resources more accessible to everyone.
Help with explaining COVID-19
There are a number of coronavirus-related titles available, which may be useful to help explain the current situation to children. It is a difficult time for us all, and some youngsters may be struggling to process the necessary changes that COVID-19 has caused. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, creators of some the most beloved children’s characters, have shared twelve beautiful illustrations which just may help with the new normal. You can see these wonderful pages on the BookTrust site.
Axel has also illustrated a free digital information booklet, aimed at primary school age children. Written by two headteachers, a deputy headteacher, a child psychologist and a Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, it explains about the pandemic in calm, simple terms. Published by Nosy Crow, it is well worth a read, and a look at Axel’s fantastic illustrations.
Very exciting news for all wizard fans, J K Rowling and her Wizarding World partners have launched Harry Potter at Home. The website has things to read, games to play and quizzes to test your wizarding knowledge. Plus, The Philosopher’s Stone – read by Stephen Fry – is just one of the hundreds of titles that Audible have made available for free during the pandemic, for as long as schools are closed.
Puffin has also launched a series of online activities in response to school closures. As well as daily storytime at 3.30pm on weekdays (on Puffin’s YouTube, Instagram and Facebook channels #PuffinStorytime) they also have a podcast series and a teenagers virtual bookclub. Plus, they have also compiled a handy list of online retailers to let you know “where to buy books during the lockdown.” In May, to celebrate their 80th birthday, they are hosting a Dream Big festival. This will include writing workshops and, drawing classes through the week and a weekend of live events. I’m sure it’ll be worth a look.
Usborne has launched Play and Learn at Home, a digital hub with loads of tips, resources and fun activities for all children, from babies to 11 years old. You can also sign up for their Saturday Activities newsletter which will give you weekly free downloadable activity sheets. You can also ask for book recommendations for your child, according to their age group.
Egmont is offering 14 days of free content for children. This is to coincide with the recommended 14 days of isolation. 14stories14days offers you one free story per day for two weeks, as well as other entertainment and creative resources.
Andersen Press has partnered with Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, to bring us virtual storytimes, providing weekly free of charge story time throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The digital storytime will be broadcast every Friday at 10am will be broadcast on the Seven Stories’ Facebook page.
Fancy a change after all that reading?
Colouring and other mindfulness activities are a great way to de-stress, especially in times of uncertainty. Illustrator Millie Marotta has designed a wonderful heart with the NHS logo, to download and colour in. Her initiative is to get the nation colouring while supporting the NHS at the same time. I’m definitely going to get my three children to colour them in, and then put them in the window to show our support. #ColourForOurCarers
Stay home, stay safe, save lives.
Great Online Resources for Children: Reading during Lockdown