Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.Malcolm X
My top online educational resources
A fantastic site full of teacher-created resources, with both free and subscriber-only resources. It has National Curriculum-linked lessons with worksheets, PowerPoints and interactive games. For the duration of the school closures due to COVID-19, Twinkl is offering one month’s free ultimate membership to parents, carers and teachers. To take advantage of this offer, sign up using the promo code UKTWINKLHELPS.
One of my personal favourite sites for free, interactive games related to the National Curriculum aims. The games are split into age bands for both English and maths, building from phonemic knowledge and basic counting and addition to more complex concepts such as spelling and grammar, and learning times tables.
A particular favourite of my students has always been Hit the Button!
Available both online as a website and as an app on Android and IOS, Duolingo offers free language education which is suitable for children from 7+. With 35 languages suitable for English speakers including Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, and Italian, it’s sure to fit in with your child’s Modern Foreign Language education.
I’m currently learning Welsh on Duo!
A well-known site full of resources for learning split into broad age bands. There are some fab free resources available on BBC Bitesize, and it’s also ideal for keeping knowledge ticking over in older students. My KS2 students enjoy using the karate cats to revise their GPS knowledge.
This is a great site for maths investigations and encouraging children to think more deeply about the concepts they have been taught. Again, the resources are sorted into age bands, and into challenge levels within these. A mixed up clock is an activity which has both challenged and engaged my students.
NASA STEM Engagement
For any budding physicists in your home, the NASA sites has some fantastic resources for developing their science learning. Full of different activities which can be easily done at home, including interactive games such as the Mars rover explorer, and things to make and do like building a miniature Cassini probe.
Developed by the people behind the TED talks (“Ideas Worth Sharing”), TED ed videos are Lessons Worth Sharing! Covering a range of topics from science and maths to literature and modern foreign languages, TED ed lessons share fascinating topics from interesting speaker. Well worth a visit.
Science for Kids
For the budding scientist, the Science for Kids site has loads of easy-to-conduct science experiments which can be done at home without needing dangerous chemicals (or too many open flames!). The site also has games and explains the theory behind the experiments.
With both free activities and a reasonable subscription for full access, Phonics Play is a great way of introducing children to reading and writing, decoding and blending. There are some brilliant (if noisy!) games for encouraging segmenting for spelling and sounding for reading.
Get Body Smart
Brilliant for older children who may be learning about body systems, or keen biologists who want to know how the body works, the Get Body Smart site is full of animated diagrams, narrations and quizzes to test what has been learned. Body systems covered include the skeletal system, muscular system, circulatory system and the nervous system. Great for 11+ who are interested in body function.
The Children’s University of Manchester
A fantastic site which is part of the National Children’s University. The purpose of the NCU is to make the most of the time children spend outside formal education (only 9% of their waking time by the time they are 18 is spent in a classroom!). Children can choose a subject to study and can earn stamps as part of the passport to learning scheme. Brilliant for children of all ages, but particularly children who are motivated by short tasks and immediate rewards. Topics include history, science, maths, languages and art.
The Literacy Shed
This has to be one of my favourite literacy resources, and I have used it with classes from Year 1 to Year 6. The purpose of The Literacy Shed is to use visual and film prompts to promote creative writing and discussion. There are films from a variety of genres to encourage children to engage positively in the visual stimulus and generate different types of writing. I have had a lot of success with The Lighthouse, creating empathetic narrative, description and direct speech. Many of the films on the site are student short films so have not been classified by the BFI. The Literacy Shed has now merged with Maths Shed and Spelling Shed to create Ed Shed – one login allows access to all!
An excellent site with free accounts which can be either linked to a teacher account or used freely by parents and students, Khan Academy covers a wide variety of topics from maths to science, humanities to computing and for a range of ages from early primary to secondary students. The site is clearly organised and delivers curriculum-linked lessons with videos, texts and mini tests. The lessons also link together to form units with an end of unit test. Great for continuing classroom learning and consolidating knowledge.
The Science Museum
Full of resources linked to the displays on show in the Science Museum in London, the Science Museum Learning Resources site is excellent for developing STEM learning. The site brings together resources from the museums including the National Railway Museum, the Science Museum, and the National Science and Media Museum, including activities, games and videos. Discover activities to support a range of curriculum topics for use in the classroom, in museum galleries and beyond.
A lovely site full of games, quizzes, videos and things to make and do. Ideal for when you’re running out of ideas for activities on rainy days or for special occasions. Children can play free games and quizzes, find art activities, explore homework help and share their art with Tate Kids.
A site I was introduced to by one of my students, Prodigy is an online game which combines maths with an adventure story not far removed from Pokemon. In role as a wizard, the students have to help defeat the Puppet Master by collecting resources, beating wily creatures, and casting spells. To do these things, they have to solve maths problems! Great fun, and really engaging. Prodigy is free but has a paid membership option.
Pixton is a site I’ve used with secondary aged students to create comic strips. Brilliant for telling stories without words, building social stories for students with additional needs, and helping less confident writers to world-build and story-tell, Pixton is free-to-use, but does require payment to access the full package. Tell stories about superheroes, historical figures, or travel, or create powerful storyboards on anti-bullying, autism awareness, or climate change.
More online resources! These come recommended, but I haven’t used them personally.
- Switcheroo Zoo – watch, listen and play games to learn about amazing animals
- Nat Geo for Kids – learn about geography and fascinating animals
- Into the Book – go ‘into the book’ to play games and practice reading strategies
- Seussville – read, play games and hang out with Dr Seuss and his friends
- ABC YA – practice maths and reading skills while playing fun games
- Fun Brain – play games while practicing maths and reading skills
- PBS Kids – hang out with favourite TV characters while learning
- Star Fall – practice phonics skills with read-along stories
- Storyline Online – listen to stories read by favourite movie stars
- Highlights Kids – read, play games and conduct cool science experiments
Virtual Museum Tours
Being stuck indoors doesn’t mean you can’t visit a museum – some of the top collections around the world have virtual tours available online! I’ve linked some below.
- Ancient Rome Virtual Tour
- Anne Frank House Virtual Tour
- Atlanta Zoo Panda Cam
- Buckingham Palace
- Discovery Virtual Field Trips
- Dublin Zoo Elephant Cam
- Duke Farms Eagle Cam: New Jersey
- Edinburgh Zoo Panda Cam
- Eiffel Tower Virtual Tour
- Explore.org Live Cams
- Folly Farm, Pembrokeshire Live Cam
- Great Wall of China 360
- Great Pyramids
- Louvre Museum, Paris
- Musee d’Orsay, Paris
- NASA Mission Operations Room
- Natural History Museum, London Virtual Tour
- San Diego Zoo Penguin Cam
- San Diego Zoo Polar Bear Cam
- Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
- Wildlife Trust, Cumbria Badger Cam
- Yellowstone National Park, USA recommended by Aubree with St Paul’s Church Community’s Youth Ministry group (with thanks to Margaret!)
- Further online virtual field trips from around the globe recommended by Luke and Ben (and their grandmother Michele!)