The ultimate list of distance teaching and learning activities for teachers, home educators, and parents in the event of school closure. Provide quality learning opportunities for kids when they are away from school!
The Ultimate List of Distance Teaching and Learning Activities
Distance teaching and learning is a new realm for educators, parents, and students right now. To better serve you during this challenging time, here is an organized list with tools and resources to help navigate the current challenges. If your school is closed due to Covid-19, I hope to support you! These tools will open up a new set of opportunities for you, which can ultimately inspire both you and your students.
Distance Teaching and Learning Activities
There are so many excellent distance learning websites to help with at-home learning. Teaching and learning from home can be easy and fun All it takes is some imagination, creativity, and activities! Here are a few great options you can do with your students.
- Virtual Field Trip – Go on a virtual historical/national park tour and see something new (suggestions are listed below, so keep reading!).
- Social-Emotional Learning – Social-emotional activities can support distance learning at home. Use these ideas to support your lessons online and encourage families to make SEL a priority at home.
- Write or illustrate a Book – Get families to work together to write and draw a book. Use Book Creator online (free for a limited time). Or you could try making a family newsletter.
- Spirit Week – Assign each day or week a fun theme and do activities related to the theme (superheroes, pirates & princesses, pajama day, stuffed animal day, etc.). Kids can dress up or bring objects to your virtual class based on the theme.
- Storybook Theme – Set up a weekly storytime – pick a storybook to read aloud, live, virtually, or else have parents read to their children. Suggest a craft or snack activity that relates to the story. See links below for narrated stories and coordinate activities based on those books.
- Make a family movie – Write a story or play, and film it. Allow students to share their videos with their classmates if they want by uploading the videos to your class website (be mindful of any legal/video release permissions to take into account, of course).
- Book Charades – Play charades using picture book titles. This could be a fun activity to do together on a video call.
- Photo collage – Students create a collage of pictures of their family, activities they’ve done, items they’ve seen on a nature walk, or other topics. These would be fun ways for students to document the events during the quarantine.
- Design a Bookmark – Design and color your own bookmarks.
- Make a Family Tree – Families do research and learn about their relatives (Face Time, Skype, send letters) and make their own family tree.
- Learn something new – Encourage kids to try something new like origami, a magic trick, writing jokes, a bug collection, bird watching, etc.
- Be a Spy – Kids make up their own secret codes to send messages. They can have their classmates solve their hidden messages using their codes.
Literacy Activities for Distance Teaching and Learning
Here are some websites with a focus on reading and language arts. As a convenience, many membership sites now have FREE access due to Covid-19.
- Khan Academy Kids – Free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere.
- Brain Pop Jr – Brain Pop uses short videos to teach students about a variety of skills.
- Starfall – Kids read, play, learn, and grow.
- Learning A-Z – Learning A-Z is an education technology company dedicated to expanding literacy through thoughtfully designed resources.
- Reading Comprehension Passages – This distance learning tool for practicing reading comprehension can be used digitally but is also print-and-go for classroom use.
- ABC Mouse – Reading, math, science, art & colors ages 2-8.
- Writing Prompts Practice Mats – These are digital (use them now!) or printable for future classroom use.
- ABCya – Educational games for kids.
- Kids Discover – Science, social studies, and ELA.
- Alphabet Activities – This is a HUGE bundle of 17 resources that can be used year-round as well as for distance learning.
- Magic Tree House Kids – Games themed around The Magic Tree House book series.
- Highlights for Kids – Activities, jokes, and games for kids.
- Seussville – Explore, watch, and play with Dr. Seuss-themed activities and crafts.
- Teach Your Monster to Read – A game that incorporates everything from letters and sounds to reading full sentences.
- Read Every Night Package | Distance Learning – FREE subscriber series to teach you how to begin a program to track reading at home.
- IXL Learning – A comprehensive curriculum that covers five basic subjects.
- Reading Eggs – Online games and activities to help kids learn to read.
- Reading Fluency | Distance Learning – FREE subscriber series to help you build reading fluency with a weekly poem.
Online Book Resources for Distance Teaching and Learning
Check out these free book resources to share with your students and their parents. Most importantly, some students don’t have access to books. For example, their local library may be closed or limited, or they can’t otherwise get a copy of a book. As a solution, you can choose books that are available in these places for free.
- Global Digital Library – Free books for kids to read as well as online games.
- Vooks – Animated storybooks, which are popular among teachers everywhere.
- Storyline Online – Books read by famous people – how awesome is that?
- Epic! – Digital library for 12 and under, making books easily accessible.
- Barnes & Noble FREE Ebooks – FREE ebooks for the Nook tablet.
- Storytime from Space – Astronauts offer an exciting take on read-alouds.
- Reading IQ – This site is a digital library at your fingertips.
- Rivet – 3,500 free books for students in kindergarten through third grade.
Math Activities for Distance Teaching and Learning
Here are some math games and activities for the younger set. In most situations, interesting math games make learning at home fun for all!
- Mathseeds – Math and related fun for kids, especially great for home use.
- Math Blaster – Cool math games for all ages. Kids love these!
- Splash Learn – Companion K-5 math program for at-home learning.
- Math Playground – Math and logic games, arcade, and videos.
- Toy Theater – Interactive educational games for elementary grades.
- Math Chimp – Games, videos, and worksheets that align with Common Core standards.
- Number Sense | Distance Learning – FREE subscriber series to help you support students struggling with basic number concepts.
- Math Play – These are math games that offer a wide variety of entertaining education for elementary and middle grades.
- Math Game Time – Dozens of math games for Pre-K and up.
Science Activities for Distance Teaching and Learning
Lessons, experiments, and videos will spark the imagination when kids are stuck at home. Get them off their screens and engulf them in science! As a result, kids will ultimately be curious, asking questions, and learning.
- Mystery Science – Access mini – and full – science lessons for grades K-5.
- Steve Spangler – Experiment library for completing science investigations at home.
- Wonderopolis – Engaging videos that answer questions for curious minds.
- Science for Kids – A selection of science experiments, games, facts, quizzes, projects, lessons, images, and videos.
- Science Bob – Experiments, science fair projects, research help, videos, and more!
- Animal Planet – Shows from the television station Animal Planet. This website is a hit with kids who love to learn about animals.
- The Magic School Bus – Experiments and printable related to the Magic School Bus books and TV series. Watch an episode on Netflix or read the book, and then work on the related activities.
- Backpack Science – Hands-on science concepts for elementary level, sure to engage any kid.
- Girlstart – An Instagram account that empowers girls in engineering – ages kindergarten and older. Use Instagram with caution, and recommend parental oversight.
Virtual Field Trips from Home
Travel to distant places, even from home! These virtual tours give access to places that can’t be visited in person right now. In addition, many of them are not typical “field trip” locations because they’re not local. However, they have tons of educational value!
- National Aquarium – Check out the live webcams and see the animals in action at the National Aquarium.
- Smithsonian Natural History Museum – Take a tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
- San Diego Zoo – Check out the live webcams and see the animals in action at this excellent zoo.
- Pyramids Virtual Field Trip – Travel through time and around the world with these virtual trips of pyramids.
- Colonial Williamsburg – Travel back in time to colonial Williamsburg with this virtual tour.
- Google Arts and Culture – Visit museums around the world from your home, with a wide variety of images and historical information for well-known places.
At-Home Art, Music & Dance
The arts can be calming at home with this Covid-19 quarantine. Therefore, give kids these options to explore and express themselves. To do so, bring Art, Music, and Dance into the safety of their own home.
- Art for Kids Hub – Kids learn to draw, paint, and do origami.
- National Gallery of Art – Interactive activities inspired by works in the collection of the National Gallery of Art.
- Virtual Music Instruments – Learn about the various types of instruments and play them online.
- Classics for kids – Composers, music, and games for kids to explore and study.
- Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems – Drawing lessons with author Mo Willems are fun and entertaining for kids who love this favorite author.
- PBS Music Games – Music games for kids with well-known characters.
- Creative Movement – Creative movement games and activities for kids, especially suitable for little ones.
- Drawing Templates for Distance Learning – Join the FREE subscriber series to build drawing confidence with free templates from the Directed Drawing Mats Bundle.
- Circle Time – Videos that include sing-alongs, beginner yoga, cooking, and storytime.
Additional Activities for Distance Teaching and Learning
Educational videos can inspire and educate young minds. As a resource, here are some suggestions for you:
- 28 Social-Emotional Activities that Support Distance Learning at Home – with a FREE Social Emotional Learning Email
- 8 Best Educational Shows for Kids of All Ages – Experts chose popular educational TV shows for toddlers, preschoolers, and teens, so you know what’s worth some screen-time.
- America’s Test Kitchen – Resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.
- Listening Activity Mats Bundle – this resource is perfect for at-home learners to practice essential listening skills so that when they return to the classroom, they can easily pick up from where they left off.
- 11 STEM & STEM Educational Shows – Scholastic’s list of 11 STEAM & STEM favorite shows – this is an excellent resource list.
- Morning Meeting Ideas & Routines – includes a FREE planner as well as lots of ideas for hosting online “morning meetings,” including Social-Emotional Learning Slides.
- Go Noodle – A free online resource that provides tons of ways for kids and families to be active, stay mindful, and keep on learning!
- iCompute – Ages 3 and 11 can have free access to its computing content for one month.
- Raddish – Free recipes, activities, and an at-home camp cooking curriculum.
- Rockalingua – Spanish games with a music-based Spanish program.
- State of Kid – Live streaming classes in the arts and so much more.
- Time for Kids – Free editions of all of its magazines and online edition of Your Money.
- Vroom App – Daily brain-building activities to get kids actively thinking and stretching their minds.
Distance Teaching and Learning Communication Tools
After scouring the internet for great resources, I’ve come up with this list of practical, user-friendly tools to incorporate in your distance learning.
- Flipgrid – Flipgrid is 100% free for all educators, learners, and families. Engage and empower every voice in your classroom or at home by recording and sharing short, awesome videos…together!
- Screencastify – The safest, most straightforward video creation tool for teachers and students. Teachers make learning more personal in their blended and flipped classrooms by recording full or bite-sized lessons, assignment solutions and explanations, verbal student feedback. Make student voices heard and thinking visible through activities like speech and language practice, comprehension and reflection exercises, interactive slide presentations.
- Google Classroom – Classroom (free service for schools, non-profits, and anyone with a personal Google account) makes it easy for learners and instructors to connect—inside and outside of schools. This resource saves time and paper and makes it easy to create classes, distribute assignments, communicate, and stay organized.
- Boom Learning – Interactive, self-grading, paperless exercises that are gamified for students while providing data the teachers want.
- Seesaw – A powerful learning loop between students, teachers, and families. Students use built-in annotation tools to capture what they know in Seesaw’s digital portfolio. Teachers deeply understand student thinking and progress — enabling them to teach better. Families gain a window into their student’s learning and engage with school happenings. Uses all devices.
- Class Dojo – Tool for parent communication, sharing information, and portfolios provide a platform for teachers to assign and students to complete and submit work online.
- Remind – Two-way, simple, and effective communication for updates, instruction, and more—at every level.
Don’t let the frustration of distance teaching and learning discourage you from making positive growth and progress. For example, use the tools and resources above! Along with these resources, add some creativity and imagination. As a result, your students will blossom. It’s a new territory for educators. Interestingly, this time in our lives can open up so many doors for the kids and even us teachers. You are creating tomorrow’s memories today. Therefore, now is a perfect time to focus on love, learning, and making education accessible for families.
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