Many parents will be anxious about their child’s lack of education this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The media doesn’t help with stories that say missing out on education is going to send them rocketing back to the womb in terms of intellectual ability or their lifetime earnings will be reduced to paltry pennies and they’re destined for a lifetime of breadline poverty.

Of course, this is overstated but it does illustrate how pandemic hit education is being viewed through a lens of doom. Those kids who are studying for exams have largely had schools guide them through reams of online work. The smaller kids have by and large been doing some level of online learning. 

Education is clearly a foundational cornerstone for a fulfilling life. But all the news stories, research, and punditry seem to miss an obvious point. The world of work is changing and is very much underpinned and driven by technology and it will become even more so as the years unfurl.

And kids love tech. They’ve grown up with it, it’s a social life tool and it’s a great way to play and learn. Tech is second nature to them, it's in their blood and the 'informal' learning it imparts and digital skills they acquire will help position them for future careers. There are critics that say tech is destroying the art of communication, it leads to errant behaviour and has a negative influence. The same was said about radio when it was introduced over 100 years ago.

With that here are some fun learning websites that will keep the younger kids, from the age of 3 to 11, occupied in a smart way, keep their education on point, and at a subliminal level help them develop their digital skills.
  • Legends of learning
    Curriculum-based free educational games aligned with US education standards for science and maths. Kids won’t care about this, it simply makes learning fun.
  • The Doctor is in the House
    This YouTube series covers dinosaurs, humans, and cats and will get the little ones excitedly participating by revealing what sounds dinosaurs really make and posing lots of fun questions such as 'why do cats like boxes?'
  • Speak another language
    The Duolingo app can get the kids charged up with a new language including Greek, Spanish, French, Korean, and Swahili if that’s your thing. You can move through different levels in the app by collecting hearts or make in-app purchases.
  • Scholastic
    This free site provides three "exciting learning experiences" for 20 days and features virtual field trips, projects, author interviews, and so on.
  • Learn English Kids
    Learn English provides resources to improve English for adult non-native speakers. Created by the British Council, a kids version has been created for those who are missing out because of school closures.
  • Oxford Owl
    Helps children practice their maths and reading skills with fun educational games and activities and designed specifically for 3 to 11-year-olds.
  • Free Amazon Kindle
    Amazon Kindle Store offers some free children's classic stories for free such as Peter Pan and The Secret Garden. You'll find some adult classics too.
  • NASA online
    If you’ve got children who are NASA nuts interested in things to do with outer space then this is the ideal website for them. It's packed full of games, challenges, and info that any would-be astronaut will find enthralling.
  • Budding engineers
    Rolls Royce provides an instructive website for 7 to 11-year-olds on careers in engineering with various activities and interactive games. It's also suitable for older children (up to 19) who have already set their minds in this direction. 
  • Our Planet
    For many years, Netflix has allowed teachers to screen documentaries in their classrooms but with schools closed this has been temporarily halted. However, the streaming giant has released its 10 programmes of Our Planet documentaries for free on YouTube. These educational programmes make mesmerising and compelling viewing for children of all ages… and adults too.
Further recommendations

At BullGuard we also recommend using a VPN when connecting to the internet and also parental controls. A VPN keeps the kids anonymous online, it makes sure that websites can't collect data about them and also thwarts the threat from hackers.

Parental controls also allow you to get on with what you’re doing while also helping you keep an eye on the children to make sure they don’t wander onto inappropriate websites. You can also limit their time online and if the need arises block adult, sexual and controversial content.