Free Resources for Families & Kids During School Closures

The coronavirus outbreak has prompted serious closures and shutdowns across the state of Florida, leaving lots of parents at home with their kids

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In recent days, Florida counties have implemented stricter and stricter guidelines for schools, businesses and residents in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

As of Tuesday morning, the Department of Health reported 192 confirmed cases of the virus in the state and sixth deaths – with 173 from Florida residents and 19 belonging to out-of-state persons.

School district officials in Miami-Dade and Broward announced the cancellation of classes at all of their schools, and on Tuesday Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis added remote learning should be implemented for the rest of the semester for all state universities.

With no more physical classes and an increasingly severe shutdown of operations in the state, parents and families will now have to manage their children's schooling and spare time with a limited availability of resources to count on.

Below, you can find a list of free resources available for anyone interested in keeping kids learning and engaged, from online courses to virtual parks and museums.

Classes & coursework

  • Scholastic has rolled out a free "Learn At Home" program, which offers three hours of classes per day with up to four weeks of instruction. It does not require sign-up or printing, will remain free and open indefinitely, and covers four grade spans: pre-K and kindergarten, first grade and second grade, third grade through fifth grade, and sixth grade and above.
  • Outschool is offering $100 worth of free classes for families affected by school shutdowns at public schools. The company has more than 10,000 live, online classes for students from ages 3 to 18, all conducted via video chat, with teachers that are background-checked and curriculum that is carefully vetted. (Outschool is also asking for donations in order to continue offering free courses to those who need it most during the outbreak.)
  • Khan Academy is a free online educational platform that offers free content for students on a range of subjects, as well as specialized content from organizations like NASA, the MoMA and MIT. In response to the coronavirus, Kahn released free daily learning schedules with plenty of links to online resources for students from pre-K to twelfth grade to follow along with from home.

Activities & engagement

  • In response to schools shutting down amid coronavirus concerns, PBS Kids launched a new weekday newsletter with activities and tips parents can use to "help kids play and learn at home." PBS also has video and games applications that can be downloaded and accessed with no subscription required.
  • The San Diego Zoo has a free page for kids filled with educational activities related to animals and the environment, including games, videos and virtual stories.
  • The National Park Service offers a variety of virtual tours of Yellowstone National Park, from the Grand Canyon to impressive geyser basins.
  • While the outbreak may call for people to stay home, you can still explore the surface of mars with a virtual tour developed with help from NASA and Google.
  • Raddish Kids, a culinary subscription kit and cooking club for children, is offering free recipes that can be made with pantry staples, at-home cooking camp curriculum and other daily cook-a-long activities via social media. The company is also made 25,000 free cooking kits available to families.

Reading & entertainment

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