Looking for ways to keep your kids engaged in learning outside the classroom? It might be time to let them have that phone or tablet.
In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended no more than two hours per day of screen time for children. Yet they’ve recently revised their guidelines as more new educational apps and websites become available. In fact, the AAP now believes that e-learning has a lot to offer — as long as parents find e-learning activities that challenge their child’s brain.
All technology is not the same, all media is not the same. There’s consumption, and there’s creation, and there’s communication.
- Dr. Ari Brown, chair of the AAP committee that investigates children’s media use.
We agree. Educational apps and websites have a lot of benefits for children because they let kids own the learning process. The greatest benefit of technology is how it empowers students to learn on their own—at home, in the classroom or even in the car.
If your child loves technology and “screen time,” here are some websites that we recommend because of their educational content and potential to engage kids in learning.
6 E-Learning Activities for Kids
1. Khan Academy
Focused on subjects like math, science, computer programming, history, art history, and economics, the Khan Academy is a top e-learning resource full of practice exercises, educational games and instructional videos. We love how the Khan Academy develops lessons in partnership with institutions such as NASA, The Museum of Modern Art and The California Academy of Sciences. We also like that it features a parent dashboard so you can see at a glance which subjects your kid is excelling in and discover where they may need extra guidance.
2. E-learning for Kids
Another non-profit organization dedicated to helping kids learn, E-learning for Kids offers short, fun classes for kids in Kindergarten through Grade six. They offer more than 200 science lessons ranging from the forces behind volcanoes to weather patterns and cover subjects from math, science, language arts, and computers to English as a second language, health and life skills. We really like how their 300 lesson math program is based on the standards of the International Baccalaureate..
3. Everyday Mathematics
Another great online program is Everyday Mathematics, which was developed by the University of Chicago’s School Mathematics Project for Pre-K up to Grade Six. Based on the Common Core State Standards, Everyday Mathematics uses real-world examples to help kids practice abstract math concepts.
4. Duolingo for Schools
Language learning is another way for kids to get a lot out of their screen time. At Whitby, students begin learning Spanish before they enter Kindergarten. E-learning through language apps such as Duolingo for Schools, however, can compliment their language immersion. Recognized as a top language app by both Apple and Google, Duolingo uses games to encourage kids to practice speaking and reading foreign languages. It’s a perfect way for students to practice their Spanish, or even tackle a new language.
5. Scratch & ScratchJr
Why should your child learn to code? For one, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for software developers is expected to increase by 17 percent in the next 10 years, much faster than most professions. That’s not the only reason, though: researchers at Tufts University found that children as young as 4.5 years old can learn to program a robot, and that learning to code helped them perform better at cognitive tasks.
At Whitby, we introduce students to the basics of programming as early as kindergarten through toys such as KIBO Robotics. Some of our first and second graders begin using ScratchJr during our cocurricular programming and graduate to Scratch in 3rd grade.
If you’d like to give your child a chance to try programming at home, Scratch and ScratchJr are downloadable apps that teach kids programming concepts. Both apps were designed by MIT to engage children in coding by challenging them to create stories, games and animations.
6. Code Academy
Once your child develops some coding skills, they can learn more at Code Academy, a top free e-learning resource to learn software development. Code Academy is a favorite resource of professional web developers and has projects ranging in difficulty from basic to advanced. Your child can practice coding by opening up a free account, watching training videos and completing a real project.
Ignite a Passion for E-Learning
We’ve found that the key to helping children become lifelong learners is to let them drive their own education and pursue learning activities that interest them. E-learning is a great way to get them engaged — especially since many kids love to play with technology.
So the next time your child wants to play with a computer, phone or tablet, encourage them to dive into one of the e-learning activities above. Who knows—they might just become hooked on coding, Portuguese or practicing abstract math!
What are your favorite e-learning resources? Please share your recommendations in the comments.