So your son or daughter is stuck at home for a while, and they do have access to the internet. (With age-appropriate supervision, of course!)… Here are a few suggestions what they might do online. Many require setting up an account (a good way of seeing progress, so I would encourage it), which should of course be done with / by a parent for underage wizards. 🧙‍♂️

All of these are free, though some offer premium, ad-free versions against payment. Many of those do offer 2- or 4-week free trials (which might tide you over), though, and some of them are, in my view, a good investment. 💸

Learn a language!

I love Duolingo, and I think it’s pretty good for kids, too. It’s free! How about a bit of Spanish or even German? It’s also a great way for catching up on some basics for secondary students, in a gamified and fun way.

There is a premium version that is ad-free, but the free version is enough for most, I think.

Do some coding!

Some examples of Scratch projects created by cccSkerries Scratchers. See them on Scratch.mit.edu!

This one is completely free. If you know me at all, you know what I’m going to recommend, pretty much for all ages: Scratch! It’s a free online coding and graphics platform. Drag-and-drop coding blocks make it easy to program increasingly complex games, animations, stories. There are graphics ready for using, but (and that’s something I like a lot!) there is a very good graphics editor. The Scratch website also has very useful tutorials. Best to explore Scratch first with your son / daughter, before letting them get creative.

Scratch can be done offline (no sign-in required). The online version has the advantage of storing all work in the cloud, so Scratchers can access their things from anywhere. They can also share. Do read the guidance for parents about setting up accounts, staying safe and being a good member of the online community (if you choose for them to do so, and I do think you should as Scratch is probably the safest, friendliest online place for kids I know).

All former and current cccSkerries Scratchers have their own accounts – if there are any issues with log-in, please send me a quick email at Sabine@cccSkerries.com and I’ll help.

Learn how to type

Yes! I do mean this! This could be a great opportunity for you to get your daughter / son started on the way to becoming a touch-typist. The website I’m using in my typing classes is typing.com – you definitely should sign up for an account, or else they’ll start at the very beginning every time they go online.

Student Signup screen for typing.com

When our son was maybe 8 or 9, we started him on touchtyping (at that time, with a program that came on a CD Rom – times have changed!), as a precondition to being allowed the computer for other things (mainly games on disks). He used to have 30 min of computer time a day, and could increase that by doing a bit of typing: 5 min typing practice would buy him 10 min extra other computer time. Worked a treat! And he’s very grateful that he can type so well.

By the way, 5 min or maybe 10 a day is way better than just doing it once a week, albeit for longer. Many kids actually enjoy it!

The secret is to make sure they do not look down at their hands when typing. And also that they always use the correc fingers. You might wish to watch them a bit at first… and maybe you’ll even join them and have a bit of a competition going…? 🤔😀

All former and current cccSkerries Typing and Wizard students should know their login, by the way (do email me if they don’t), and could put in a bit of typing practice every day easily. 5 min every single day and I bet there will be significant progress! Over 2 weeks, that’s just 70 min in total! ⏲

The free accounts have ads, lifetime and ad-free membership is $34.95 (or £34.95 if you change the settings to English-UK before purchasing). The ads are the only difference, as far as I can tell.

Tinkercad for 3D Graphics 🦗

Tinkercad makes 3D graphics (relatively!) easy. You do need to set up an account for your daughter / son! Unless they already have one… my current Wizard students should know their logins. Ask me if not…. Sabine@cccSkerries.com

Tinkercad is great fun, but may need a bit of a helping hand. A great one to learn alongside your kids!

And now for something completely different… move that sofa to the side… online Yoga! 🧘‍♀️🧘‍♂️

Connect your phone or laptop to your TV, or find a kids’ Yoga video online and get moving!

If you search on YouTube, you’ll find some good suggestions. Otherwise, I personally have been using DDPY aka Diamond Dallas Page Yoga for a while, and they also have a number of kids’ yoga videos. You can do a 7 day free trial (this is one where the adults sign up) and try out the Kids or other videos.
There are three DDPY 4 Kids workouts, beginner, intermediate, and advanced, each of them between 28 and 44 minutes long. Worth checking out, I’d say, before the lads get stir crazy!

Learn! Learn! Learn!

One more suggestion… pick something and learn it. Anything. Google it. Find a course. Go to Quizlet.com and use the existing learning decks, or create your own. Learn how to paint. Take Lego to the next level. So many choices!

For older youngsters with a computer-sciency interest: Our son one summer did the CS 50 “Introduction to Computer Science” which Harvard kindly put online for free … a four-week course seems to be starting on 12 March 2020 (you can probably start a bit later, too). Just a thought!

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