By Jamaica Thompson, M.S. – Educational Therapist & Co-Founder of Lighthouse Homeschool Solutions
Let’s be honest, as much as we try as parents to keep our children learning and engaged in non-screen activities during the summer, down-time happens and the screens eventually come out! Whether it’s during a long car ride or a boring layover in an airport, sometimes screen time is a necessity.
But, it doesn’t have to mean that our children are zoning out to “garbage.” Instead, we can provide them with educational and engaging games, apps, and shows that will keep them learning.
As with all screen time, it is important to set boundaries regarding appropriate amounts of screen time and available content. Setting screen time expectations with your kids before you leave on your trip, and making sure that these expectations are clear, can reduce the amount of stress and conflict associated with screen time on the road. Along with setting expectations, visiting the parent section of each program you plan to use to set preferences, allow/deny access to content, or adjust user levels can also help screen time run smoothly while traveling.
Check out the following resources that can help children to stay learning and engaged during summer travel:
PBS Kids Shows – Includes everything from classics like Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood to new shows like Sid the Science Kid. These shows focus on topics ranging from social and emotional wellness to science and reading, and give children the opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy that down time while traveling. Cost: Free!
PBS Games – Provides a range of interactive games based on PBS shows. These interactive games allow children to put many of the things they’ve learned watching PBS shows into action. With interactive games including space rover engineering, creature creation, bringing art to life, and learning about emotional well-being, children have lots of options to keep them busy! Cost: Free!
HOMER – This program is designed for younger learners and provides activities in reading, math, social/emotional learning, critical thinking, and creativity. While the majority of the content is digital and can be accessed anywhere, there are options that include physical materials. Cost: Monthly and annual subscription options available for purchase
ABC Mouse (ages 2-8) & Adventure Academy (ages 8-13) – While these programs are designed as online curricula, the chosen learning path allows students to move at their own pace and engage with many different types of learning activities. Cost: Monthly and annual subscription options available for purchase
Epic! Books – This program allows parents to personalize and structure their kids’ reading. This digital library includes thousands of titles that include dramatized stories, stories that have highlighted text for supported reading, and videos associated with stories and comics. This program is designed to help readers become more confident with their skills, while providing interesting and exciting content at all levels. Cost: Monthly and annual subscriptions are available for purchase
Osmo Educational Games – The Osmo system includes a set of materials and a reflecting device that allow the tablet to reflect the materials on the table’s surface. This reflection allows for an interactive experience where manipulating physical objects can affect the objects on the screen. There are a variety of different kits, which include activities in coding, critical thinking, literacy, math, science, geography, drawing, imaginative play, and puzzles. Cost: Individual games and kits are available for purchase
Don’t let your kids’ screen time cause you stress when you travel this summer! Check out these great online learning resources that are sure to keep your kids engaged and thinking critically during those travel down-times.
Our online educational therapy, tutoring, and homeschool support programming also offer great summer learning opportunities! If you are interested in learning more about the educational programs offered at Lighthouse Learning Solutions, please contact us or submit a Learning Support Inquiry.
An earlier version of this was published in 2021.