Lots of lockdown resources seem to focus on school-age kids, but there's plenty to with your under 5s as well! There are loads of great free classes and fun activities that you can do online with your kids to keep their brains growing so you're sure to find one you enjoy. It feels like every day more and more free online resources are popping up, so we're saving you the hassle of navigating it by putting all the info in one place. Read on to find 25 brilliant online activities for your little ones and learn as you play!
1. Find Out What The Ladybird Heard
If you're a family of Julia Donaldson fans, you'll love this brilliant kid-friendly reading comprehension activity based on What the Ladybird Heard and What the Ladybird Heard Next, along with a few other farmyard-themed stories. You'll be encouraged to test your memory, draw animals, learn about the sounds they make and loads more. It's a great way to spend time working on your children's reading.
2. The Birthday Candle Game
One, two three! Work on your child's counting skills with ABCya!'s simple, colourful game. You'll be encouraged to count the birthday candles, repeat the numbers after the voiceover and then find the number on the screen.
3. Read A Rhyme Together
Read simple rhyme Three Little Frogs with your child and do the actions together! Work on repeating sounds, copying actions, recognising rhymes and following instructions.
4. Video Phonics: Learn Your Letters
Join Big Kids Little Learners on YouTube for a musical phonics lesson. Learn about Queen Q and all her letter friends and see if your little learners can remember what all the letters of the alphabet look and sound like.
5. Practise Counting With This Apple Catch Game
Catch falling apples in your basket with FunBrain's interactive game and see how quickly you can collect 10. Not only is this interactive game a fun way to learn your numbers but it's also a great way to practise computer literacy skills.
6. Learn A Dance With Go Noodle
If you're on the hunt for fun activities that'll keep your children active and entertained, you need to check out Go Noodle's brilliant videos. Whether you want to dance along to Katy Perry's Roar or learn the Chicken Dance, you'll definitely find something your family will love.
7. Play Farm Animal Bingo
Learn farm animals with your toddlers with this fun version of bingo. Just download and print the bingo sheet, cut out the cards and start playing! Why not combine it with practising your animal sounds too?
8. Play The Twirlywoos Opposites Quiz
Using the familiar Twirlywoos characters, help your toddlers and younger children expand their vocabulary with the interactive Opposites Quiz. They'll be taught by Great BigHoo, Toodloo, Chickedy and Chick in a totally unique way, with a voiceover encouraging your kids to shout out the answer if they know. They'll get to learn and play at the same time!
9. Join Eric Carle For A Storytelling Session
The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been a childhood favourite for decades - and for good reason! Why not let its author Eric Carle read his iconic story to you from the comfort of your own home, brought to you by Puffin Books.
10. Learn The Alphabet With These Printables
Use Melissa & Doug's free phonetics printables to practise your writing! This is a great way for kids to learn their letters. You'll draw, colour in pictures, trace letters and read and repeat sentences. If you learn a new letter every day, by the end of lockdown you'll be an alphabet pro.
11. Learn French For Kids
Join Amber's Language, Music and Play for a musical French lesson just for toddlers. Every Thursday at 10.30am she does a livestream on Facebook, where she'll be teaching the basics of French to your littlest humans, following a different theme each week. If you've got older kids, she also runs a livestream at 1.15pm on Thursdays for children aged 4-11.
12. It's Time For Maddie Moate's Live Science Lesson
CBeebies' Maddie Moate and science journalist Greg Foot are joining forces every day at 11am for a 30-minute live stream all about kid-friendly science and exploration, with every week following a different theme. Everyone can ask questions during the livestream and who knows, they might answer one of yours. If you don't manage to catch the lesson live, don't worry - it's also uploaded to YouTube afterwards, which means you can go back and watch your favourites over and over!
13. Learn BSL And Sounds
14. Get Inspired By A Nature Hunt
Explore the garden with your child and discover everything that lives in it using the BBC's nature hunt activity idea. You can pick up flowers, leaves and even look at creepy-crawlies. It's a great way to get your little ones to pick up new vocabulary.
15. Download A World Book Day Printable
The World Book Day site has loads of fun activities that you can download and print to make reading fun. We love these DIY bookmark and reading crown crafts, which are brilliant for little ones to add another dimension to their reading experience and let our their creative side, and they're also all completely free.
16. Learn To Read With These Online Stories
Backpack Bear is here to teach your youngest children how to read! With a selection of super short stories available for free, your kids can learn the basics of sentence structure through this interactive storytelling game.
17. Design Your Own Rainbow
It's time to bring out the colouring pencils because Orchard Toys have loads of amazing free printables just waiting to be coloured in. Why not colour in a rainbow or give this giraffe in a scarf funny colours?
18. Play The Hidden Numbers Game
Play The Imagination Tree's Hidden Numbers Game to get your children's number knowledge. It's a great online resource for using your imagination to make learning fun. Bear in mind the activity calls for rainbow rice, which you can find a recipe for here.
19. Practise Your Matching Skills
There are loads of fun free games available on Toy Theater, including this butterfly-themed matching game that'll test your abilities to match pairs and recognise shapes and colours. See if you can get all the butterflies to fly away!
20. Make Maths Fun
Use the incredible Orchard Toys' free downloadable sheets to learn simple maths. Practise counting and see if your child can recognise numbers and match it to a picture in this fun fishy printable.
21. Learn New Words With The Welly Game
This activity idea from NRICH relies on your child thinking mathematically as you ask them questions and give them instructions. They'll be encouraged to try to use and understand positional language, meaning they'll learn how to describe where things are in relation to others.
22. Enjoy Story Time With A Real Author
Join children's author Nicola J Rowley at 11am Monday-Friday for a live storytelling session. Every day she chooses a different story to share with you, telling you why she loves it and giving it a really personal touch. If you've got older kids, Nicola also does live storytelling sessions for 7-11-year-olds at 2pm.
23. Download A Spring Activity Pack
Spring has definitely sprung and Activity Village is sharing free seasonal downloadable packs to keep your youngest kids entertained. You can expect puzzles, drawing how-tos, dot-to-dots and everything in between. Bear in mind it's a big zip file so you'll need to download it onto a computer rather than a phone.
24. Play The Bubble Bath Game
Learn all about estimates and capacity with this interactive game from PBS Kids. Use your best reasoning skills to guess how many containers it will take to fill the bath up with water and see if you can get it right on the first try.
25. Talk To Your Kids About Covid-19
Even though they're only young, your kids will have definitely picked up on the fact something weird is going on at the moment, and we think it's really important to share information with them in an age-appropriate way. We think this video, starring some familiar figures, is a unique way to go about it!