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Guilt Free Screen Time: 12 Educational Apps to Keep Kids Busy 

During the first lockdown, for many of us, kids screen time guidelines went out the window. But with these educational apps, there’s no need to feel guilty about letting them learn online.  

By Holly Grattan

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With new restrictions and a second lockdown underway, many of us working from home will be faced with difficulty of how to entertain the kids in the afternoon. If you still have that report to write for your 9 am zoom meeting or those sales calls to make to ensure you meet your targets and deadlines, then you will love these screen time options, featuring things that children can do alone with minimal supervision. During this time, we absolutely shouldn’t be feeling guilty about a few extra hours in front of a screen, especially if it allows you to get through this difficult time. 

I have handpicked just a few free resources with added educational value in English. 

FOR YOUNGER KIDS


Storyline Online https://www.storylineonline.net Reading aloud to children has been shown to improve reading, writing and communication skills. This digital library contains 57 books. You can stream the videos from the website or via a free app. My daughter and I really like “If I ran for president” and “zombies don’t like veggies”. 

 

SciShow Kids is a YouTube channel with Jesse and “Squeekz”, her little robot-mouse. Lots and lots of facts about hundreds of different scientific topics. 

 

National Geographic Kids – videos https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/videos/ Find really fun and educational videos about animals, history and culture, science, how things work, weird but true facts and exploring different jobs and careers, when you grow up and lots of other great topics. They also have a game and quiz section with loads to do. 

 

BBC Earth KIDS – YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/BBCEarthKids/ What an incredible find. This channel is made purely for kids. Learn about endangered animals, Deadly 60 with Steve Backshall's, a series on how to draw different animals, meet scary bugs and fluffy pedigree pets.  

 

New Horizon – Sleep Stories and Guided Mediations for Kids If your kids find it hard to get to sleep, these bedtime sleep stories, meditations, and breathing exercises by New Horizon are a fantastic find. These guided meditations are about unicorns, space-dinosaurs and nature. There are even mindfulness meditations for teens and music guaranteed to send you off to the land of nod. Accessible on the app or YouTube. In the app Only 7 of the stories are free. You can access the rest through in-app purchases. 

 

Crash Course Kids https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcoursekids  is an educational YouTube channel. Learn about Gravity, Volcanos, Weather Systems, Matter, Habitats, Food chains, Engineering, and Space. 

 

FOR BIG KIDS


CrashCourse https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse is the parent educational YouTube channel of CrashCourse kids. It is completely free and aimed at older children. It covers algebra, AI, thermodynamics, mural networks, philosophy, mechanical engineering, statistics and much more. It is aimed at Secondary school and college level. I am so impressed by the level of accuracy/depth of this channel, it is absolutely fantastic. 

 

What Do We Do All Day? https://www.youtube.com/c/whatdowedoallday/featured This YouTube channel is packed full of creative ideas for curious kids. Maths, art, easy science, DIY games, and snazzy arty play ideas. We loved the paper art videos and scientific experiments you can do in your own kitchen. 

 

Netflix documentary 

“Our Planet” https://www.netflix.com/title/80049832  is a nature documentary series (8 episodes and bonuses) made for Netflix. The series is narrated by David Attenborough who also created the famous BBC documentary series “Planet Earth”. Videos feature rarely seen animals and address humans’ impact on the environment. Suitable for children 7+. 

 

BBC Earth – YouTube videos https://www.youtube.com/c/bbcearth/videos  is the official channel of well-known Sir David Attenborough series such as Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, and Blue Planet https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL50KW6aT4UgyS95_lha3MOL81rFJ4IaxP. You can also find fantastic nature and wildlife documentaries such as Life of Mammals https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD941E65FBD70DB46  and classics like Planet Dinosaur.  

 

Bear Grylls has a YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/beargrylls/videos My kids loved his survival series which we have on DVD and although you cannot watch full episodes on the channel, you can see some of his survival tips and workouts which are great! 

 

TED-Ed videos https://ed.ted.com  is TED’s youth and education initiative. Short 5-minute animated videos teach about a vast array of subject matter such as the rise and fall of history’s first empire, the future of food, and human evolution. They also have a learn to read program with phonics. Suitable from primary school to University. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have introduced TED-Ed@Home https://ed.ted.com/daily_newsletter   video-based lessons emailed on a daily basis for free. 

Author : Holly Grattan

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