At the time of writing, it's just been announced that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools in England will be closed from this Friday, 20th March until further notice. To help provide support for the children of key workers, such as NHS staff, police, and delivery drivers, some schools will be kept open with a barebones staff. The decision, handed down by Boris Johnson in his daily address to the nation, came less than 24 hours after similar measures were taken in both Scotland and Wales.
We've no doubt you'll want to keep your children engaged and entertained if they're going to be stuck at home for the foreseeable future, which can seem like a pretty daunting prospect. But fear not, as we've selected some of the best free educational resources on the web for different ages, abilities, and interests.
Challenge your kids' minds using the sites listed below that teach everything from maths to reading and comprehension skills. (And here's a list of fun indoor activities for play time, as well as a bunch of educational shows you can stream to fill your kids' days).
IXL offers personalised learning in maths and English while covering hundreds of different skills for children in reception up to those in year 13.
2. BBC Bitesize
Want to access learning and revision tools as well as support and advice from other students? BBC Bitesize has your child covered whether they're in primary school, secondary school, or aged 16+.
3. Natural History Museum
Your child may have to stay inside but that doesn't mean they can't get nature savvy. With the Natural History Museum, they can become Naturenaughts, plus learn how to identify different insects, plants, and fossils.
Improve your little one's reading skills with PhonicsPlay, which is offering free access to non-members due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Kids from reception to key stage 4 can flex their number skills with a Mathletics free 48-hour trial.
6. Big Eyed Owl
With everything from songs, craft recipes, and multi-cultural teachings, Big Eyed Owl is a great resource for 5-7 year-olds.
7. A Maths Dictionary for Kids
This comprehensive archive has over 630 simplified mathematical terms along with more than 270 free printable maths posters that you can hang up around the house.
8. Ten Pieces
BBC's Ten Pieces encourages 7-14 year-olds to get creative with classical music and offers resources for those who are hearing impaired.
9. The Great Fire of London
Travel back to 1666 on The Great Fire of London website, which makes history fun using Minecraft maps, a video game, and an interactive timeline of events.
10. LearnEnglish Kids
Brought to you by The British Council, LearnEnglish Kids offers games, songs, stories, and activities for children aged 5-12.
Teach provides a slew of curriculum-mapped videos conveniently arranged by subject and age-group with materials for early years students all the way up to secondary school.
Conquer crosswords, sort your way through different sounds or ace anatomy with Crickweb's 250+ lessons for kids aged 4-11.
13. Get Body Smart
Get Body Smart is an examination of human anatomy, complete with animated text narrations and quizzes that will leave your child in awe of how the body works.
14. BP Educational Service
Inspire your child through the power of STEM with BP's Educational Service. Here, they'll find balloon rocket experiments and learn what happens when sugar dissolves into tea, along with a bunch of other cool experiments for ages 4-19.
15. Science Museum
You can always rely on the Science Museum to spark an interest in learning. And while there's nothing like being there in person, the website is packed full of creative games and activities.
16. Love Biology
Dubbed "the ultimate GCSE biology quiz site", Love Biology is all about multiple choice with 1500 questions for kids to work their way through.
17. ICT games
Created by a UK teacher, ICT games offers maths and English games for children in years one, two, and three.
18. True Tube
True Tube teaches religious education; personal, social, health and economic education; and citizenship through film. The website also has a dyslexia font option for those who need it.
19. Think! Road Safety
Kids aged 3-16 can learn about the importance of travelling safely with Think! Road Safety, including how bright clothes keep you visible, how to map a journey, and what not to do as a pedestrian or passenger.
20. Poetry Zone
Could your little one be a budding writer? The Poetry Zone has been publishing children's poems since 1998 and accepts submissions all year round.
With character quizzes, illustration tutorials, and interactive games, the BookTrust makes story time fun for the whole family.
22. World Book Day
We may have just celebrated World Book Day earlier this month, but thankfully there's still lots of literature to explore online for nursery, primary school, and secondary school kids including activity packs and yummy recipes. Gruffalo cake anyone?
23. Fuse School
Create an account to get free access to the Fuse School for lessons in maths, biology, chemistry, and physics, exploring things like pollution, climate change and magnetism.
24. Tate Kids
You may never have tried soap carving or textile weaving but that doesn't mean your child can't. And thanks to Tate Kids they can access craft tutorials like this and even submit their artwork to be displayed in the online gallery.
25. CBeebies Make & Colour
Waffle the Wonder Dog, Peter Rabbit, and Mr Tumble are just some of the characters you can learn to paint and create with on the CBeebies Make & Colour website.
26. Let's Go Live With Maddie and Greg
Maddie Moate from CBeebies' Maddie's Do You Know? and BBC science journalist, Greg Foot, team up for a daily 30-minute educational live show on YouTube that Moate then uploads to her channel. Each week the pair delves into a different theme — last week was "Garden Week," this week is "Brilliant Bodies" — and thanks to YouTube's comment features, kids will be able to ask their teachers questions in real time.
27. Tracing Ace
Tracing Ace makes learning to draw easy thanks to author and illustrator Peter Reynolds. Simply print out one of the tracing sheets and your child can start practicing straight away.
Whip out the felt tip pens and crayons because it's time to get colourful with these Crayola print outs. There are even some for adults so you can join in the fun too.
29. Wildlife Watch
Think your child would like to learn how to make a bird feeder? How about a snow globe? Or even binoculars? With Wildlife Watch they can do all this and more while learning about animals and the environment.
Step outside of the box with DKfindout!, which lets kids explore subjects as broad as transport, space, dinosaurs, and computer coding assisted by quizzes and videos.
30. The Children's University of Manchester
Designed to support children aged 7-11, The Children's University of Manchester teaches history, art and design, languages, science and ancient Egypt.
31. Jamie Oliver Online Cooking Classes
Jamie Oliver launched a new cooking series called Keep Cooking and Carry On, so you have plenty of simple recipes to try out while in lockdown. Now, he's enlisted his son Buddy for live Facebook cooking lessons. First up: soda bread.
32. Read Along With David Walliams
At 11am each day, comedian-turned-children's book author, David Walliams, will read aloud a story from his World's Worst Children collection. The daily readings, which you can listen to on his website, we be available for free for 30 days.