When schools shut down in March, caregivers were on the receiving end of a boatload of resources for how to manage: e-learning tools and homeschool schedules and language apps! “Easy” crafting suggestions (ha). Educational toys. Well-intentioned, sure, but as we wrote recently, it was also overwhelming.
Over the last nine-plus months, we’ve tried to cut through the clutter and offer up only the stuff we think is worth your precious—and limited—time. But we know it’s still been a lot to keep track of. So here’s our top 15: a round-up of our very favorite tools for learning, parenting, living, and occasionally having fun. We hope this list will make your 2021 a little bit easier.
E-learning for All Ages
For Elementary and Middle Schoolers: Our team loves BrainPOP for its engaging animated content across various subjects, and we recommend it frequently for elementary and middle schoolers—whether or not we’re in a pandemic! (It’s also available in Spanish and French.)
For High Schoolers: Khan Academy is well-known for its free tutorials and lessons across all subjects and grade levels, but did you know it also offers great test prep for high schoolers who are looking ahead to the SAT and AP exams?
Extracurriculars and Entertainment
For Littles: Your house is not a daycare center. But maybe it’s starting to feel that way? Follow Busy Toddler on Instagram or check out her free summer camp offerings for all the activities to keep small humans busy.
For Artists: Outschool’s virtual courses aren’t free, unfortunately, but many of them can be accessed for $10. The arts offerings are awesome, but you can find courses on everything from sports to science and more.
For Scholars and Storytellers: Founded and led by former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Reconstruction is a new platform offering real-time, small group instruction online, with a focus on Black people, history, culture, and contributions. Reconstruction charges $100 per 10-class course, but schools in some regions are offering discounts for interested families.
For Everyone: We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our very own Camp Kinda. We’ve got more than 200 hours’ worth of totally free, kid-enticing adventures on topics from movie-making to graphic novels to bugs to fort-building and way, way more.
For Astronomers and Astronauts: NASA is just as cool as you would expect it to be. They have tons of virtual offerings from space shuttle tours to behind-the-scenes videos to science experiments you can do at home.
For Zoologists: Learn all about the natural world and the people and animals that inhabit it with National Geographic Kids. We can’t get enough.
For Armchair Tourists: Atlas Obscura will take you around the world and back without leaving home.
For Culture Vultures: Google Arts and Culture offers up virtual tours of thousands of museums and cultural sites. (That’s plenty of adventures to keep you busy until you can go to an actual museum again.)
For Bendy People: Alo Yoga for Kids offers free yoga classes on unique themes, from dinosaurs to nature.
For Couch Potatoes and Gym Rats (and everyone in-between): Meet Coach Joe, also known as The Body Coach TV, a friendly British PE teacher who started the pandemic offering daily workouts for kids from his living room. Now he’s got tons of at-home workouts for everyone, whatever your age or fitness level. Lace up your sneaks and get moving!
For Screen Support: Everyone’s on screens more these days. We trust Common Sense Media for their reviews of television, movies, apps, and games. They’ve also got useful advice for families on screen use, cell phones, internet safety, and when and how to set boundaries.
For Education Expertise: Got worries? Ask a Navigator. Seriously, send us your questions about everything from preschool to college applications, and a member of our team will get back to you and help you sort it out. And if you don’t mind sharing (anonymously), your experience might be relevant for other Kinda Guide readers, too.
“Here’s our top 15: a round-up of our very favorite tools for learning, parenting, living, and occasionally having fun. We hope this list will make your 2021 a little bit easier.”
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