COVID-19 has changed how we go about our daily lives—especially when it comes to how our children learn.
With widespread closings of schools and before and after-school programs, students and families are being challenged to continue learning in a very different environment. Educators are finding innovative and creative ways to help students stay on track, and we wanted to join them by sharing some helpful resources we’ve discovered.
As a community, it’s so important that we support our students to continue to succeed academically despite the circumstances.
For students who have yet to enter 3rd grade this is especially important as 3rd grade reading proficiency is a key predictor of high school graduation. Community organizations including United Way of the Midlands are working together to ensure our youngest students are on track to succeed by supporting the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading – locally called Raise Me to Read.
So, whether you’re attempting to keep your toddler entertained so you can get some work done or want to supplement video game/screen time with activities that are more hands on, we hope the online education resources below give you a break, keep your kids entertained and help make learning and education a priority in your household.
This page will be updated periodically with new resources. If you know of additional resources that you think should be featured, please let us know! Just send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free video tutorials for at-home game ideas that get kids moving. Follow them on Facebook for live virtual recess daily!
Scholastic Learn At Home
20 day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking and growing.
Discover fun, educational games and sign up for a daily newsletter with at-home activities and tips for students.
Watch, listen and play games to learn all about amazing animals and their habitats.
Nebraska Game & Parks
Teach your kids about conservation, animals, plants and more. Click here to view a live “Crane Cam” and watch sandhill cranes in action!
Resources for Early Learning
Access “kid approved” videos and interactive games for kids age 3 to 5 years old.
Omaha Public Library
OPL has free online resources for kids and teens. Some activities require a library card.
Omaha Public Schools
OPS has activities available for all families (regardless of your district) with K-6th grade students.
12 Museum Virtual Tours
Explore 12 museums from across the world from the comfort of your couch.
National Geographic Kids
Learn all about animals, geography and science through games, quizzes and more.
Develop reading, thinking and reasoning skills through games, jokes, stories and more.
Have some of your favorite stories read to you by famous celebrities.
Beyond School Bells Virtual Backpack
Explore virtual backpacks “packed” with educational experiences for students at home.
Youth MOVE – Teens
This Google Doc has a list of resources for learning online, staying socially connected, reducing anxiety and more.
Zero to Three
This at-home activity guide has ideas for parents to help keep their baby or toddler engaged at home.
Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media has compiled online learning opportunities for students, as well as guidance for talking about COVID-19 with kids.
Learn about reading, science math and art – now offering a free 30-day trial.
Discover reading resources and ideas to help kids develop literacy skills.
Play games, watch videos and read books while practicing math and literacy skills.
Into the Book
This reading comprehension resource is full of games that incorporate research-based strategies.
Learn numbers, letters and other skills through interactive games and activities.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo
Zoo from Home! The Omaha Zoo is bringing the zoo to you with videos of animals and corresponding acitivites.
Girls Who Code
Learn about coding, do activities and sign up for a newsletter to stay updated on new, free coding projects.
The Wellbeing Partners
Discover screen-free activities and other at-home learning resources.
Crowdsourced Ideas from Parents
Parents around the world submitted ideas for enriching activities to keep kids engaged while parents are working. Activities are for ages 0-18 (and beyond!).
These experts have advice to share on parenting, at-home activities, keeping a routine, managing stress, making the most of meal time and more.
But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
But Why is a show led by you, kids! You ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.
Created and produced by parents of young children, Circle Round adapts carefully-selected folktales from around the world into sound- and music-rich radio plays for kids ages 4 to 10.
The Kids Are All…Home
This new podcast is designed by kids for kids stuck at home because of COVID-19 school closures. The creators solicited homemade podcasts from kids all around the world offering tips on how to stay safe, the activities they’re occupying themselves with and even snack ideas.
Want more ideas?
Click the button below to find the “25 best podcasts for kids” – approved by Common Sense Media.
Partnership 4 Kids
Kids Can Community Center
Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands
Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska
Parenting During Coronavirus: You Are Enough
This article from PBS talks about why it’s normal and ok if you are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, and how to cope.
Ways to Promote Children’s Resilience
This article shares ways you can help your child build resilience and adapt positively to adversity during this difficult time.
Talking about COVID-19 at Home+
This page has tips for talking to kids about COVID-19, self care and staying connected when we can’t be together physically.
WHO’s COVID-19 Children’s Book
WHO and other global agencies created a book (available in several languages) for kids age 6-11 that teaches them how to stay healthy and manage their emotions.
In 2019, the Omaha metro became the first community in Nebraska to join the nationwide Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Known locally as Raise Me to Read, the campaign is a collaborative effort by schools, government agencies, business leaders, nonprofit leaders, and foundations to improve students’ reading proficiency by the end of third grade so they are prepared to succeed in school and life.
Raise Me to Read focuses on three key challenges that can keep young children, especially those living in poverty, from learning to read proficiently. In alignment with its 2025 goals, United Way of the Midlands also invests over two million dollars annually in programs that address these challenges:
Research shows that learning begins long before a child enters kindergarten. By providing early literacy resources and improving access to quality early-care environments, the Campaign ensures that children are ready for school and families are ready to support their children’s learning.
Elementary school children who are chronically absent are more likely to repeat a grade and struggle with grade-level reading. By monitoring attendance data, addressing attendance barriers and developing attendance plans with parents and caregivers, we can reduce absenteeism and keep children on track to succeed.
Summer learning loss, or “summer slide,” can occur when students don’t have access to books at home or out-of-school education programs and can leave low-income students 2.5-3 years behind their peers. By providing quality out-of-school opportunities we can help students maintain their progress toward third grade reading proficiency.
Raise Me to Read is supported by MOEC (Metropolitan Omaha Educational Consortium), Iowa West Foundation, the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, Family, Inc. and United Way of the Midlands.
Share on social how your kids are learning and use the hashtag #CommunityStrong.
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United Way of the Midlands | 2201 Farnam Street | Omaha, NE 68102 | 402-342-8232