The education of children is extremely important, it sets them up for life. What they learn at a young age with stay with them and hopefully help them turn into well-rounded adults. Over the past year, due to the worldwide Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, education of children from nursery school to university has been severely disrupted with some getting very little or even no education.
Learning at the moment has vastly changed, school children have been, and some still are, attending school full time, some have been doing blending learning (a mixture of attending school and learning from home) whilst others have just been learning from home. Whatever way children are currently learning, it will not replace being in school properly and learning face to face with qualified teachers.
As parents and carers have little choice in how their children are being educated, supporting their education at home is a must. Schools will set work that needs to completed as even whilst home learning the children still have a legal minimum amount of work supplied. But as we are not teachers, home learning is never going to be as good quality as in a classroom, but we can supplement their schoolwork with extra things like educational toys, games, apps and websites.
One of the best ways to supplement home learning is to learn through play. We have been using the Busy Things website to supplement the kids schoolwork and brush up on areas that we feel they need extra help with. BusyThings.co.uk is an award-winning educational website that has lots of fun educational games, quizzes and projects covering the school curriculum in England, Scotland and Australia. It is suitable for children aged 3 to 11 years old, covering everything from nursery to the end of key stage 2. It covers:
- Nursery (age 3-4)
- Reception (age 4)
- Upper Reception (age 5)
Key Stage 1
- Year 1 (age 5-6)
- Year 2 (age 6-7)
Key Stage 2
- Year 3/4 (age 7-9)
- Year 5/6 (age 9-11)
The Busy Things website offers a vast array of subjects to learn, covering:
English, Maths, Science, Computing, Art, Geography, History, Religious Education, Languages (French and Spanish), Music, Citizenship, Cooking & Nutrition, Design and Technology, Physical Education, Special Events and Just for Fun.
There is a lot to like about the Busy Things website, but I love the fact that you can have up to five child profiles under one subscription and they can be used simultaneously (if you have a school subscription there is no limit on the number of users). With some other educational apps and websites that we have used in the past we have had to have a subscription for each child or have them sharing a profile. Having five profiles is excellent, especially with kids of different ages and abilities and it is perfect for home schooling.
Sign up is quick and easy and if you take them up on their FREE 7 day trial you DO NOT need to provide any payment details and there is no obligation to purchase. If you want to have a look around at the way the interface works and the content before deciding to take out a free trial or subscription you are able to do so without entering any information, but to play the games you will need to take out the free trial.
When adding a child profile, a date of birth is optional (doing so will automatically select the relevant content level), if you are not comfortable added a DOB you can select the content level yourself based on your child’s age and year group at school. When creating the children’s accounts you can select funky images for their profile and background pictures (there are quite a few to choose from to suit early years, KS1 and KS2). You can even customise the content / subjects for each individual profile (for example, if the art section was being used all the time it can be disabled on the account for individual users).
Once you have signed in and created your children’s accounts, you can set them up to log in with their own username and password so that they only see the content relevant to them, they will have unlimited access to 100s of games, activities and quizzes. Busy Things can be used on a on computer, laptop or tablet but not as an app.
As a parent or carer, once you sign in you can customise the content for each child including. You also have access to the Parent Tools which comprises the Curriculum Browser, Search function, Special Events and the Printable Resource Maker.
The Curriculum Browser lists the subjects of the national curriculum, all clickable, giving you bullet points of what the children should be learning at their age / year group and linking to games to play on the site that can help with that specific topic. This helps you find relevant content that they should be learning.
You also have access to the search function to search for content that would be appropriate for the different child profiles.
The Special Events section is quite interesting. It is a calendar of events, month by month, that links to activities suitable and themed for events like Easter, Mother’s Day, European Day of Languages, Children in Need and lots more.
The Printable Resource Maker for phonics and maths is fantastic. Here you can customise and print worksheets for the children to use. What I particularly like is that you can customise the region (England, North or England, South) to allow for the way in some words are pronounced between the regions (as I am from London now living in the North and my partner is from Yorkshire there can be a big difference in pronunciations even to the point of some rhyming books not rhyming for one or the other depending on pronunciation). All customised worksheets can be saved within the website to go back to.
The Latest Releases page lists the latest additions to the website, which is what you would expect, but also tells you what child profiles you have set up each activity is suitable for. This is also the same for the top 40 activities page.
When the children log in, they are greeted with a slightly different screen (if you have set them up with their own username and password) – it just shows the content relevant to the age and school year group. Here they select a category that they want such as maths or English and then they can select interactive worksheets in the form of games, interactive quizzes, writing projects etc. They work their way through them and with the quizzes they drag and drop labels to give their answers and click mark when finished to see how many are correct and have the opportunity to correct them. With the games you can even put on a timed version to make the gameplay that little bit harder. They also have the ability to save work for printing and are able to export as image file (JPG) and PDF files, these can then be accessed from their My Files folder within the website.
We absolutely love this website. The kids are loving the interactive games and quizzes, as are us adults (we are even learning new things as very as brushing up on long forgotten knowledge). Children learn through play and the games and quizzes on Busy Things are engaging, entertaining and information. It covers the whole curriculum with a wide range of learning resources, a comprehensive one stop portal for home learning.
For us, this has to be one of the best online learning websites we have used, not just because it is entertaining and educational but because of the range of content available across lots of subjects.
You can sign up for a free 7 day no obligation trial and because schools are closed can get your first month for £1.
If you your child needs some extra educational help at home, whether because of school closures and home learning or just in general, Busy Things is definitely the place to start.
Cost: Families £34.99 per year (Fixed 1 year period). No automatic renewal) / £4.49 per month (Renews automatically. Cancel anytime) / Nurseries and Schools call 01332 364963 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote.
For more information, to take out a free trial or subscription, visit www.busythings.co.uk.