Teaching resources for K-12 families

Although some schools are returning to in-person instruction, many families continue to tackle the challenging but important work of educating their students at home for at least some of the week. As you plan for the school year, consider how you might incorporate a few of the resources below.

We have created or compiled a number of resources across grade levels and content areas, including sample schedules that might help your family find some predictability during these uncertain times.

Of course, the ultimate goal is keeping you, your kids and the community safe. Please practice physical distancing, and don’t do anything that puts anyone at risk.

For more information on talking to young people about the coronavirus, check out this guidance from the National Association of School Psychologists.

Teaching resources

We’ve created schedule templates and example schedules for younger and older students, based on what some of us at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College are using with our own kids. Each template recommends blocks of time in which learners can do activities from the tables that follow. These are just a starting place and are hopefully inspirational as you create a schedule that works for your family. If possible, involve your kids in the creation of the schedule.

Schedule template for younger students
(Ages 5-11)
Google Doc
Microsoft Word

Schedule template for older students
(Ages 12-18)
Google Doc
Microsoft Word

Example schedules for three families
Google Doc
Microsoft Word

As you build daily schedules for your kids, what activities should you put into the learning blocks? There are thousands of resources flying around the internet right now, but it can be hard to know which ones are good. With that in mind, we have gathered what we have found to be the best-of-the-best (so far!) and put them all in one place below.

Pressed for time? Here are our top (free) picks:

  1. Khan Academy (all subjects)
  2. Prodigy (K-8 math) or Zearn (K-5 math)
  3. Scholastic Learn at Home
  4. Reading for pleasure / reading with your kid (and Lexia if you can get it for free)

All subject areas

Resource

Device required?

Description

Price

ABCMouse.com

Ages 2-8. Step-by-step curriculum in a program of more than 850 lessons in ten levels.

1-month free trial

Adventure Academy

Ages 8-13. Multiplayer online game with thousands of learning activities in a fun and safe virtual world.

1-month free trial

BrainPOP

Range of K-12 videos and activities about varied topics. Kids love Tim and Moby.

1-month free trial

IXL

For ages PK-12. Helps students master essential skills at their own pace through fun and interactive questions, built in support, and motivating awards.

Varies, all subjects = $19.95/ month

Khan Academy

For ages PK-12+. Practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace. Includes all major subjects and other things like computer programming, art history and economics. There is also a mobile app for young learners.

Free

MobyMax

Ages 5-14. Award-winning e-curriculum in all subjects. Widely used in U.S. schools.

Free

Outschool

Ages 3-18+. Spark your learner’s curiosity with access to 10,000 small-group, live video classes—created and taught by inspiring teachers.

Varies; as low as $5/class.

Outschool

Ages 3-18+. Spark your learner’s curiosity with access to 10,000 small-group, live video chat classes—created and taught by inspiring teachers.

Varies; as low as $5/class.

PBS Kids

Ages 3-8. Great videos and games.

Free

Reading IQ

Digital library and literacy platform with picture books, graphic novels, chapter books and more.

Offering free full access for schools.

1-month free trial

Scholastic Learn at Home

Articles, stories, videos and challenges in one-day chunks for twenty days. Organized by grade level.

Free

There are LOTS of exciting things that kids can do at home that don’t involve the internet or devices. Find inspiration from a few sites here and here and here.

Literacy

Resource

Device required?

Description

Price

Comics

 

Learners can create comics about their own lives, video games or book characters. Great way to encourage high-interest, low-pressure writing. Printable paper here.

Free

Language worksheets

 

Hundreds of downloadable worksheets to practice grammar and spelling

Free

Lexia

An excellent (and expensive!) phonics-based reading program for students in grades PK-5. Lexia is now offering free licenses through June 30, 2020, but schools must request them.

$175/year for one child, $110/year for each additional

Reading Eggs

Ages 2-13. Supports each child’s learning by offering individual, online lessons that allow the learner to progress at their own rate, gradually building their reading confidence and rewarding them at every step of the way.

Free 2 weeks, no Credit Card

ReadWorks

Grade-leveled reading passages with comprehension questions.

Free

ReadWriteThink

Check out the Book Cover Creator, Comic Creator and all-time student favorite Trading Card Creator tools.

Free

Readers Theater

 

Great way to have learners practice reading fluency in a purposeful, engaging way. Students read from the script as they perform. You can add a maker component by making it a puppet show. Scholastic has free and low-cost options.

Free or low cost

Reading Rockets: Top 10 Resources for Reading Aloud

 

Reading aloud to your child for 20-30 minutes DAILY is the best long-term investment you can make in your child’s learning. Choose the book together.

Free

Math

Resource

Device required?

Description

Price

Bedtime Math

 

Printable, engaging games and materials. Also available as an app.

Free

DreamBox

Adaptive, online K-8 math program

Sign up by April 30, 2020 for free 90-day trial

Free 90-day trial

Prodigy

Engaging, curriculum-aligned math platform for 1st–8th grade. Designed as a game, learners can work through topics based on their levels, or you can assign specific skills for them to complete.

Free

ST Math

Game-based format builds deep foundational understanding visually. JiJi the penguin leads the way.

Free until June 30

Zearn

Top-rated K-5 curriculum builds deep understanding and a love of learning math for all students.

Free

Science and social studies

Resource

Device required?

Description

Price

Adventures in Chemistry

K-8 easy experiments to do at home and online games.

Free

ASU’s Ask-a-Biologist

Simulations, activities, experiments and coloring pages about biology-related topics. Virtual reality tours here.

Free

Cheetah Cub Cam

Echo gave birth to four cubs on April 8. Peek into their first weeks of life with this livestream. Adorable!

Free

Curiosity Stream

Thousands of on-demand documentaries. Read about an animal, part of the world, or moment in history and then watch a related documentary.

$2.99/month or $19.00/year

EdHeads

K-12 science-related interactive activities like designing a cell phone and investigating a crash site.

Free limited access; full access $20/year

Exploratorium

The website of The San Francisco Exploratorium, this site offers hands-on experiences of complex, scientific principles.

Free

Liberty’s Kids

Learn about the American Revolution over the course of 40 YouTube videos.

Free

Mark Rober

Explore science & engineering concepts with a former NASA engineer in this YouTube series.

Free

Mystery Science

Science lessons with exploration and activity components. Mini-lesson and full-lesson options.

Free for limited access

National Geographic for Kids

Games, videos and short slide shows about animals and places around the world. Beautiful images.

Free

Article: Virtual field trip via zoo websites

Webcams broadcast kid favorites like Fiona the hippo (Cincinnati Zoo) and the jellyfish cam (Monterey Bay Aquarium).

Free

Wow in the World

NPR podcasts exploring “the wonders of the world.”

Free

Foreign language

Resource

Device required?

Description / Subject(s)

Price

Duolingo

Learn 30+ languages online with bite-size lessons based on science.

Free

Maker activities

Resource / Activity

Device required?

Description

Material(s)

Price

Finger knitting

 

Easy to learn, and kids love it.

Yarn

$2-4

Science Buddies

 

Ten easy projects that kids can create; some require specialized materials.

Varied

Varied

Scratch Jr.

Coding app for ages 5-7. Learners program their own interactive stories and games.

Device w/ app

Free

Scratch

Coding app for ages 8-16.

Device w/ app

Free

Physical movement

Resource

Device required?

Description

Price

Article: 30 Classic Outdoor Games for Kids

 

Remember Kick the Can and Capture the Flag? Great games that require few, if any, materials.

Free

Cosmic Kids Yoga

Yoga, stories and fun.

Free

Games, play, art

Resource

Device required?

Description / Subject(s)

Price

Article: Board games for families to play together

 

Recommendations for great board games to play as a family.

Varies

Creating a Masterpiece

First month of access to the online Drawing Program is free (code: Corona2020).

Free with code

Scholastic free printables

 

Fun printable activities.

Free

As you build daily schedules for your kids, what activities should you put into the learning blocks? There are thousands of resources flying around the internet right now, but it can be hard to know which ones are good. With that in mind, we have gathered what we have found to be the best-of-the-best (so far!) and put them all in one place below.

Pressed for time? Here are our top (free) picks:

  1. Khan Academy (all subjects)
  2. TEDEd (all subjects)
  3. Duolingo (learn a new language!)

All subject areas

Resource

Device required?

Description

Price

ASU Prep Digital

Online materials for 15 high school courses broken down into digestible units. 

Free

BrainPOP

Range of K-12 videos and activities about varied topics. Kids love Tim and Moby.

1-month free trial

IXL

For ages PK-12. Helps students master essential skills at their own pace through fun and interactive questions, built in support, and motivating awards.

Varies, all subjects = $19.95/ month

Khan Academy

For ages PK-12+. Practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace. Includes all major subjects and other things like computer programming, art history and economics.

Free

Outschool

Ages 3-18+. Spark your learner’s curiosity with access to 10,000 small-group, live video chat classes—created and taught by inspiring teachers.

Varies; as low as $5/class.

PBS Learning Media

25,000+ videos, interactive lesson plans, media galleries and more.

Free

Reading IQ

Digital library and literacy platform with picture books, graphic novels, chapter books and more. Offering free full access for schools.

1-month free trial

Scholastic Learn at Home, grades 6+

Articles, stories, videos and challenges in one-day chunks for twenty days. Organized by grade level.

Free

TEDEd

TED-Ed is a library of 1,000+ educational videos on a wide range of topics. Use the search feature and start exploring a topic.

Free

Literacy and English language arts

Resource

Device required?

Description

Price

Language worksheets

 

100’s of downloadable worksheets to practice grammar and spelling.

Free

Read

Finding a great book goes a long way. Check out your local digital library for these 100 outstanding young adult books.

Free 

ReadWorks

Grade-leveled reading passages with comprehension questions.

Free

ReadWriteThink

Check out the Book Cover Creator, Comic Creator and all-time student favorite Trading Card Creator tools.

Free

Shakespeare’s Globe

 

Globe Theater 360 app, videos, podcasts and blogs.

Free

StoryCorps App

Empower students to document this pivotal time in our history. The StoryCorps app guides students from start to finish as they record high-quality conversations and upload them to the Library of Congress. Listen. Honor. Share.

Free

Math

Resource

Device required?

Description

Price

Illustrative Mathematics

Simple, engaging mathematics activities for K-12 organized by grade level or domain for easy access. High school content includes algebra, geometry, functions, and more.

Free

Science and social studies

Resource

Device required?

Description

Price

ASU’s Ask-a-Biologist

Simulations, activities and experiments about biology-related topics. Virtual reality tours here.

Free

ASU’s Ask an Anthropologist

Lifelong learners of any age can get answers from ASU anthropologists.

Free

ASU’s Ask an Earth and Space Scientist

Experts from the School of Earth and Space Exploration are on call for questions.

Free

Big History Project

Free, online course that combines social studies and science learning. Students draw mind-blowing connections between past, present and future through a big picture look at the world.

Free

Chem Matters

Short videos describing chemistry content with additional articles for reading.

Free

EdHeads

K-12 science-related interactive activities like designing a cell phone and investigating a crash site.

Free limited; full access $20/year

Exploratorium

The website of The San Francisco Exploratorium, this site offers hands-on experiences of complex, scientific principles.

Free

The History Chicks

One-hour podcasts hosted by two mothers, each telling the story of a famous woman.

Free

National African-American History Museum

Objects, stories, videos and resources that tell American history through the African American lens. Includes well-known and lesser-known moments of history.

Free

National Geographic

Articles and videos about our planet and cultures. Beautiful images.

Free

NOVA’s Planet Earth

Stream short and long videos ranging from “Ancient Arctic Animals” to “What It Is Like to Live in Antarctica.” Other science-related topics also available.

Free

Foreign language

Resource

Device required?

Description / Subject(s)

Price

Better Chinese

Online learning program for all levels.

Free for 30 days

Conjuguemos

Activities, games and quizzes for Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Korean and Latin.

Free

Duolingo

Learn 30+ languages online with bite-size lessons based on science.

Free

Maker and STEM

Resource / Activity

Device required?

Description

Price

Curiosity Machine

Explore, play, and build with artificial intelligence as a family. Free, hands-on artificial intelligence education competition. Parental consent required.

Free

Defined Learning

Project-based learning units such as Entrepreneur (grades 6-8) and Architect (grades 9-12).

Free for 60 days

Hour of Code

Free computer science coding education. Make games, apps and art with code. No experience required; can run on any device.

Free

Microsoft Certifications

Earn certification for technical job roles. Offerings include Data Scientist and AI Engineer.

Free online;

instructor led requires fee

Science Buddies

 

Ten easy maker projects that learners can create; some require specialized materials.

Varied

Scratch

Engaging coding app for ages 8-16.

Free

Music and other arts

Resource

Device required?

Description / Subject(s)

Price

Chrome music lab

Innovative music lab with interactive activities

Free

Creating a Masterpiece

First month of access to the online Drawing Program is free (code: Corona2020).

Free with code

Article: These twelve famous museums offer virtual tours

Twelve famous museums offer virtual tours that learners can take from home. Destinations include the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., and the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Free

College preparation

Resource

Device required?

Description

Price

ACT / SAT practice tests

Online support to prepare for college admissions steps including sample essays, ACT/SAT test practice.

Free

Whether it’s because you don’t have enough technology to go around or you want your learners to have a break from screens, there are lots of ways to learn that don’t involve devices. Learning happens in lots of ways, and we have collected some of our favorite ways for learners to explore their passions, stay entertained, and practice some skills that will serve them well for years to come.

Perhaps the hardest part of device-free learning is getting kids started. Our secret tip: Start doing the activity yourself. If a child sees you making it or doing something, they will want to join in.

Above all: Try new things. Have fun.

Pressed for time? Here are our top (free) picks:

  1. Reading (we especially like graphic novels)
  2. Math games with cards
  3. Treasure hunts
  4. Gardening

Math

Activity

Description

Resource(s)

Geometric nets

Students love creating 3D solids by cutting out and folding geometric nets. Bonus: Decorating the nets before folding becomes an art project.

Try Maths Mentality free printables.

Krypto

Combine five number cards using the four arithmetic operations (+, –, ×, ÷) to arrive at a "target" number selected at random. The chance of being dealt a hand without a solution is about 1 in 3,000...so keep trying!

  • Regular Krypto uses the numbers 1-25.
  • Primary Krypto uses the numbers 1–10 only. Write numbers 1-10 on index cards to play.

Krypto instructions from NCTM (National Council for Teachers of Mathematics), or you can purchase Krypto cards.

Math games with a deck of cards

Did you know “Speed” helps younger students develop fluency with counting forward and backward? Play games. It’s hidden math.

Eureka Math offers instructions for 12 games using a regular deck of cards; English pdf or Spanish pdf here.

Math games with two dice

More games = more hidden math. That’s a good equation for learning. These games require two dice, paper and a pencil.

Newark Schools provides instructions for Pig, Dice War, Block Out, and more.

Math Dice Operations

Roll the 12-sided dice and multiply them to get a target number. Roll the three scoring dice and combine these numbers using +, -, x, / (or exponents!) to build an equation that gets closest, or equal to, the target. Mentally challenging dice game that sharpens math skills in a fun way.

Purchase the game at ThinkFun Math Dice,

or make your own six-sided dice and twelve-sided dice (aka dodecahedrons) from Tim’s Printables.

Literacy

Activity

Description

Resource(s)

Audiobooks

Audiobooks allow students to hear fluent reading, which is important modeling, and students can focus on listening to the story, which helps them build comprehension skills. Technically, this requires a device, but since kids aren’t looking at a screen, we consider it device-lite. Pull out the Lego bricks, turn on the audiobook, and you’re all set. For a while, at least.

Scholastic’s Free Audiobooks and Why You Should Try Them includes links to four free sites for audiobooks. Audible is more expensive, but you can get one month free.

Comic creation

Learners can bring their imaginations to life through comic strips. Less intimidating than “regular” writing, students can make comics about their own lives, video games, books or movies. Great way to encourage high-interest, low-pressure writing.

Download Printable Paper’s comics pages in varied formats here.

Concrete poems

Also called shape poems, students create concrete poems by arranging words on the page to convey the meaning of the poem.

Find inspiration in Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka

Graphic novels

Okay, this is technically the same as reading -- but graphic novels really do deserve their own category. Yes, parents, it’s okay for your students to read graphic novels. It’s a gateway experience that will get them hooked on reading and coming back for more. Try it. You’ll see.

Our favorite authors:

Cece Bell, Svetlana Chmakova, Ben Clanton, Ben Hatke, Victoria Jamieson, Kazu Kibuishi, Jeff Smith, Raina Telgemeier...and so many more!

READ!

If we could choose just ONE activity for students to do at home, it’s reading.

How: Self-selected independent reading, adults reading aloud, or both.

Why: Supporting vocabulary, background knowledge, comprehension, critical thinking, cognitive development and social-emotional awareness...to name just a few.

Tip: Let learners choose the book. Ninety-one percent of children ages 6–17 report that “my favorite books are the ones that I have picked out myself” (International Literacy Association 2018).

Find outstanding, high-interest titles from the International Literacy Association:

100 children’s books

100 young adult books

Secret codes

If you’ve never written in secret code, now is the time to try it. This is an amazing way to get kids writing. Write a letter in secret code and send it via email (or snail mail!) to a relative or friend.

Start with these simple 5 Secret Codes for Kids from KidsActivities.com, or try more sophisticated substitution cipher wheels from Exploratorium.

Word games

You can play the 3-letter word game while making dinner or taking a walk.

  • Start with a 3-letter word. Example: cat
  • Play rotates with each person changing any one letter in the word
  • cat → cot → lot → let → leg
  • Play until you run out of words...then start again with a new word.

Great family word games:

Bananagrams

Boggle

Scrabble

Arts and making

Activity

Description

Resource(s)

Cardboard arcade

We suspect you may have cardboard laying around your house. Get inspired watching Caine’s Arcade on YouTube together, then make a plan, build, and test, test, test.

Check out The Weird Teacher’s cardboard arcade examples for ideas and materials.

Design squad

Design a building that can survive an earthquake, build an instrument, or create a confetti launcher (and then learn how to vacuum). Clear instructions and lists of materials for hours of designing.

PBS Design Squad activities are printable and free.

Finger knitting

With just your fingers, yarn, and a pencil, even young children (5+ years) can make simple bracelets and scarves. Kids love this quiet activity that helps develop fine motor skills.

The Spruce provides clear beginner instructions with photos.

Origami

Origami helps students develop 3D perception, spatial visualization and fraction sense. Younger students (ages 6+) can make simple origami, and older students can make complicated pieces of paper art. A warning: It’s addictive, and you may find your home buried in paper cranes.

Try Origami Way’s instructions for beginners, and read Edutopia’s article about why origami is great for your child’s brain.

Puppets

Puppets inspire imaginary play and storytelling. Use paper bags (or envelopes cut in half) for the puppet’s body. Decorate with construction paper and markers.

Visit DLTK's for paper bag puppet examples. Older kids love Make and Take’s envelope hand puppets.

Paper quilling

Great for older students (ages 10+), quilling is a finely-detailed papercraft that has been around for hundreds of years. Although it requires specialized materials, quilling will provide your child with hours of peaceful creating.

Check out The Spruce’s Tips for Beginners. Basic quilling kits like this have everything kids need to get started.

Watercolors

Give your young artist watercolor paints, paper and paintbrush. Done. If you want to get fancy, you can use salt, glue, straws and more...but not required.

Visit The Artful Parent for the fancy stuff, like pointillism for kids and bubble printing.

Zentangle

Zentangle is a great place to start for people who do not see themselves as artists. Accessible and easy, it’s like a combination of art and meditation. Give it a go, and maybe the kids will join you.

Zentangle.com offers easy-to-understand steps for getting started. My Modern Met extends Zentangle as coloring pages.

Music and movement

Activity

Description

Resource(s)

Dance party

Turn on the tunes and shake it like a Polaroid picture. Go on...you’ll feel so much better, and you’ll all get some exercise, too.

Feet

Hips

Your favorite playlist

Play an instrument

Whether it’s the ukulele, recorder or bongos, playing an instrument is good for your soul. What’s that you say? You’ve always wanted to learn an instrument but never had the time? Now is your chance! Play with the kids.

Homemade instruments? Try Red Tricycle’s Cereal Box Guitar or an old-fashioned Kazoo…a great way to use the empty toilet paper rolls.

Scavenger hunt

Grab a pillowcase for kids to collect their finds, or have them check off items on a list. Gets kids moving indoors or outdoors, and after a few rounds, kids will love making scavenger hunts for their favorite adults. (Literacy in disguise.)

Find free printables for younger kids at Buggy & Buddy’s; all ages at Hands On As We Grow.

Treasure hunt

With a treasure hunt, one clue leads to another (more literacy in disguise) until a hidden “treasure” is discovered at the end. Ask a long-distance tween or teen to help you create clues.

Example: I have four legs, but I don't have feet.
I come in handy when it's time to eat.

Check out these ready-made clues at The Spruce for inspiration.

Life skills

Activity

Description

Resource(s)

Cook or bake

It’s a life skill. It’s math. It’s an invitation to learn about other places and cultures. (And you have to put dinner on the table anyway, right?) Younger kids will love prepping fruit and veggies with a wavy chopper knife -- supervised, of course.

For ideas, check out Baking with Children from The Spruce Eats, Food Network’s Cooking with Kids, and BBC good food’s Recipes for Teenagers.

Laundry

Pre-K kids love to help move the laundry from machine to machine, press buttons, and match socks. And children of any age can find satisfaction in a careful fold (just ask Marie Kondo).

See The Spruce’s How to Teach Your Teen to Do Laundry for ideas for toddlers on up.

Mindfulness

Activity

Description

Resource(s)

Breathing exercises

For young children, the instruction "pay attention to the breath" can be hard to follow. In this Edutopia video, Daniel Goleman describes a second grade "breathing buddy" exercise: Each student grabs a stuffed animal and lies down on their back with their buddy on their belly. Students focus their attention on the rise and fall of the stuffed animal as they breathe in and out.

Parent Co’s article describes three strategies for breathing with young kids. (Equally helpful for we parents who need to breathe deeply.) Older kids may prefer Childhood 101’s free printable cards.

Walks

Take mindful walks. As you stroll through your neighborhood, designate one minute for only listening to the sounds around you. Then share with each other what you hear.

Check out additional tips from Omega.

Yoga

Mindfulness, movement and breathing. We could all use more of that these days.

Childhood 101 offers free printable yoga pages, or purchase Yoga Pretzels for ideas.

Outdoor adventures

Activity

Description

Resource(s)

Camping

Pitch a tent in a local park (provided it’s open) or your backyard. Cook over a campfire or grill. Don’t forget your hiking shoes or bikes!

Check out REI’s guidance in Camping for Beginners or see Taste of Home’s The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Camping.

Gardening

Invite your children to help you plan, plant, tend and harvest from a container or a garden bed. You might do it...

  • Frugally: Use an old milk carton as your planter, and re-plant root ends of scallions instead of throwing them out.
  • Whimsically: Use poles to trellis peas or beans into a tent shape (new playspace!).
  • Lasagna-style: Cover existing turf or weeds with cardboard, then soil, compost, and mulch. Plant it!

Required resources will vary, but at minimum, you’ll need a trowel, seeds or plants, and a pot or patch of soil.

Hiking

If you’re new to hiking, start small and focus on making it fun. (Tip: Don’t forget the trail mix!) Whether it’s the park down the street or a new trail outside your local environs, lace up your sneakers or boots, and get walking.

Check out AllTrails for trails near you, including reviews and photos sourced from fellow hikers.

Sun Devil Learning Labs

Every year, ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College places teacher candidates in internships and residencies in hundreds of schools. If your school was one of them, you may already be familiar with some of the faces behind Sun Devil Learning Labs. Through this online platform, MLFTC teacher candidates deliver live streaming lessons, with supervision and coaching from faculty members, to learners from pre-kindergarten through grade 8.

These free, online lessons are available several days a week for you and your learner. Schedules vary by grade level. Learn more and find links to join live educational broadcasts at education.asu.edu/sdll.

Updates and inspiration

We will continue to add to and refine this set of resources in the coming days and weeks.

We’d like to thank the following individuals / organizations who provided inspiration to us as we created this set of resources (linking to their specific resources/sites, when possible). In no particular order: MLFTC staff & faculty, Mike Goldstein, Instruction Partners, Liz Faria, The Together Group, Altura Prep, and Khan Academy.