Cooped up at home with your little one? You’re not alone (just ask any parent across the country right now), and we’re here to help. At NeighborSchools, it’s our mission to arm parents with the best possible guidance and resources to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our kiddos. In addition to connecting parents to quality home daycares, we’re working to curate the best ways to care for your kids while they’re home.
In our first post of a three-part series, we’re sharing 7 of our favorite virtual learning & play programs to help engage children at home.
1. Virtual play dates (free): If your toddler is getting restless or missing their friends or family, open up a video chat app to bring that loved one into your home. Facetime and Google Hangouts are great for casual video calls, and you can leave it open for hours to feel like you’re in the same room. Caribu , a virtual play date app for family (currently free), can also let your child’s grandparents read from a library of popular titles.
2. Science-based activities for kids 0-4 with Kinedu (free): Kinedu offers thousands of fun, science-based activities personalized to your baby’s age and needs. Track your baby’s milestones and stay on top of their development.
3. Audiobooks for kids from the Boston Public Library (free): B+ Boston’s Leslie Pearlson says “it turns out they have a GREAT selection of short audio books for kids. I always envisioned it being for older kids, with only chapter books like Harry Potter. But they have an entire section for “Beginning Readers” which are about 10-15 minutes long, have sound effects and music in the background, and are perfect for my three year old.” They’re engaging, educational, and don’t really count as screen time!
4. Children’s books & learning videos with Epic (30-day free trial): Epic’s digital library offers unlimited free digital access to 35,000 books. Learn the ABC’s with Curious George or listen to the Splat the Cat audiobook on repeat! Look out for the books from NeighborSchools’ list of best winter books for toddlers.
5. Support your child’s development with play through Baby Sparks ($3.99/mo.): The Baby Sparks app, designed by child development experts, includes a daily play program of activities for your 0-2-year-old child. Each activity supports different development areas (e.g. cognition, language, motor skills) and is accompanied by a brief instructional video.
6. Educational videos & games with PBS learning media (free): See your favorite Sesame Street friends in “Super Grover” and “Cookies of the Caribbean” or learn about opposites through “Chocolate or Vanilla!” Build foundational skills with videos, lesson plans, and games, designed for educators to use with their classrooms.
7. Music from Greg and Steve (free): Greg and Steve are musicians whose songs are favorites with some of our Providers! The catchy tunes and movements will keep your kids entertained for hours.
For even more ideas, see these 21 Online Learning Resources, Apps, and Games for Kids from Mommy Poppins.