Need some resources to keep your young child occupied during social distancing? Try these.

March 20, 2020 | Emily Ford Sytsma

You’re making a heroic effort to balance work, distance learning, and family life. And sometimes you just need resources to keep your young child occupied so that you can take that Zoom meeting, clean up after the constant meal prep, or catch your breath for a minute. Teachers in the Mustard Seed School Early Learning division have compiled this list of websites that you can try.

And let us know if you have anything to add to the list!

Name of Website/App



Wet-Dry-Try Handwriting Without Tears app teaches proper letter formation and coordinates with curriculum for preschool and K Only for iOS.  Costs $4.95 App and other resources are being offered for free from the company 
Epic! -Kids Books and Video Subscription-based ebook service for kids age 2–12. Kids and parents can choose from more than 35,000 books to explore online or offline, on the Web, or on mobile devices.  iOS and Android

Free 30-day membership but will cost after that. Offering free access to games and activities for K-3 that children could click through by themselves. (Some preschoolers could manage this as well). Free registration required.  Parents sign-up and make a password in one step. 
StorylineOnline Celebrities and authors read favorite and current children’s books aloud.  
Khan Academy Kids  Fun academic-based games. Individualized to meet your child where they are academically.  iOS and Android, free

Parents do need to log in, quick and easy set-up

Duck, Duck, Moose Math Math practice app used in kindergarten classroom so K students will be familiar with the format.

Actually, most Duck, Duck. Moose apps are great.  

iOS and Android, free
Duck Duck Moose Reading Basic phonics skills are practiced in a fun and child-friendly way.  Actually, most Duck, Duck. Moose apps are great.   iOS and Android, free

You can turn off the background music. 

Study Clerk Website required a quick, free sign-up.  Very engaging dance-long activities and other physical activities (mindfulness and brain-body challenges included). iOS and Android, offered free by the company during the COVID-19 crisis
A Big List of Podcasts for Little Kids Setting up your podcast app with a playlist for your child is one great way to keep them engaged while they play or color.  Wow in the World is especially recommended by Ms. Sytsma’s daughter!  It will take a few minutes to set this up and to teach children how to listen but there are so many podcasts with engaging stories and STEM facts presented in fun ways.
Scratch, Jr. Coding app: “As young children code with ScratchJr, they learn how to create and express themselves with the computer, not just to interact with it.”  iOS and Android, free
Highlights Magazine apps and online Several of these free apps would interest children who are 3-6 years-old.  

Online games are available.

As well as informational videos at a young child’s level. 

Also videos of jokes for those who need a laugh! 

Bugs and… apps by Little Bit Studio Playful games including pre-academic concepts  (numbers, letters) geared toward preschoolers.  iOS and Android, $2.99 each Available as an app or web format Separated by grade level and curriculum focus. Great math and phonics games that are engaging and fun for kids. 
Storytime from Space NASA astronauts read STEM-centered picture books from the international space station!   Some have better quality than others. 
30 Days of Legos Calendar Downloadable Lego challenges for 30 days. Not screen-based after downloading.  Must have Legos at home. 
Scholastic Learn at Home Scholastic is providing daily activities for PreK-K level students.  A different theme every day. This does require a little adult help to maneuver. 
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Videos, stories, songs, games. Covers topics like friendship, feelings, self control, routines.

Sign up for daily free newsletter with activities and tips for play and learning at home.

Free website

Many PBSKids Apps for Andoird and iOS – $2.99 each

EduPrintables Thousands of free printables, games, quizzes and fun stuff For PreK & elementary
Enchanted Learning The Enchanted Learning website has over 35,000 K-12 pages (with a focus on elementary school) covering a wide range of topics — information pages, printable worksheets, crafts, coloring pages, etc. They are providing temporary free subscriptions to teachers whose school is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
eSpark Learning eSpark differentiates instruction in reading and math with activities kids love. Recommended by Ms. Postema who is home-schooling the grandkids in Michigan!
Beanstalk Beanstalk Interactive, a Denver-based interactive educational pre-school children’s content company, announced today that it will be offering free membership during the Coronavirus outbreak. Free membership

20-30 min long videos of activity

Bedtime Math Bedtime Math is a national nonprofit that ignites kids’ curiosity and learning by unleashing the fun in math. It offers playful online math problems for parents to do with their kids every day, as well as lively hands-on games. Research has shown that both offerings reduce kids’ math anxiety, increase their love of math, and lay the groundwork for greater math achievement. Good site for K and up

Great activities without screen.

Activity Village Activity Village provides thousands of colouring pages, crafts, puzzles, worksheets and more, for parents and teachers. Free themed bundles of printable activities for children – including puzzles, coloring pages, fun worksheets and more.
ABCMouse is a subscription-based, educational for children ages 2 through 6 years.  Children learn about a variety of subjects through online books, games, songs, puzzles, online art projects, and printables that cover six different academic levels.
Anywhere Teacher by School Zone Publishing Online Education Learning App (Ages 2-8) – 2,000 Activities, Preschool Learning Path, Playzone One-Month Free subscription with code ATHOME
broom We’re a multi award-winning network of play libraries empowering families to connect, talk and play together at home Early childhood

Needs to sign up but free

BrainPOP BrainPOP’s animated movies, creative thinking tools, interactive quizzes, and playful assessments have made a difference for millions of students. K-12

Videos of emotional support

Breakout Edu Math, science  k-2
Club SciKidz Daily free science or cooking experiment to do at home K-2 video lessons and  experiments
Coloring Nature Attractive line drawings (including scientific, artistic, whimsical) for coloring Printable coloring pages of the natural world
Lakeshore Free Resources Lakeshore Learning offers TONS of free craft and activity ideas, worksheets, lesson plans and more. Many printables. This free resources area is available to all.  The rest of the website is fee-based. 
Libby App Download digital books and audiobooks from local libraries. Anyone with a library card (at least in whatever cities/states use Overdrive) can access it. Always free

Need to have a library card to use

Little Twisters Yoga & Emotional Wellness Free at-home kids yoga lesson plans 100% discount for coronavirus time
Madeleine Editions Madeleine Editions presents beautiful, immersive story experiences for modern families. Their mission is to help children ages 3~8 cultivate an ear for languages and a taste for the creative arts We’ll be offering the entire Madeleine Editions of multimedia, multilingual stories for children 3~8 completely FREE until March 27th. (Books are in english-chinese or english french)
Kids Do Piano Online piano lesson Free month of lessons with coupon code PIANOATHOME


Emily Ford Sytsma

Early Childhood Director

Ms. Sytsma began her career as an educator working in inclusive classrooms in the state of Hawaii but found her roots began to grow here at Mustard Seed School when she came to teach in 1996. She joined the preschool team in 2007, after teaching for many years in the Middle School. She finds delight in the preschool’s approach to teaching and learning, inspired by the preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. As Early Childhood Director, she seeks to support teachers in their work helping children learn about thinking and creative expression.

Ms. Sytsma’s the mother of a MSS alum and a current student. When not at school, Ms. Sytsma enjoys traveling with her husband and two children. She tends a very simple rooftop garden in Jersey City Heights and on long Saturday mornings, she may be seen taking long walks along the Hudson River and listening to audiobooks or podcasts while organizing her thoughts and getting her heart rate up.

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