Being stuck at home with kids isn’t always easy, but RNZ is here to help. Here’s our complete guide to online resources for kids to learn, have fun, and explore at home.
See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19
Stories / books / podcasts
Story time is RNZ’s collection of free audiobooks for children, all written and produced in New Zealand for preschoolers, children and young adults.
The best of Storytime can be found here and in any podcast app.
RNZ’s Not for Children collection has 13 stories for young adult readers, parental guidance recommended.
Wilding Books launched a free reading of the best-selling children’s book Way of Aroha during the 2020 closures, in hopes that it will help children with fear and anxiety around Covid-19:
Or you can watch New Zealand celebrities and notables, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, read bedtime stories, or listen to children’s books read aloud by well-known Hollywood actors.
Freechildrenstories.com has a wide range of stories to explore and you can search by age or style.
Readingeggs.co.nz offers a one-month free trial and is a great tool to help kids keep track of their reading and spelling while they can’t go to school.
Most New Zealand libraries also offer e-books through their websites, and the Auckland Library also has a variety of podcasts
Nanogirl Michelle Dickinson is running live science experiments at 3.30pm on weekdays in her Facebook page, and also submits free experiments through your website. Listen to Nanogirl’s podcast and watch her experiment on the RNZ.co.nz website or any podcast app.
Explore the Earth from your own home through the Globe Program – a science and education program for children and adolescents around the world.
the Science for kids The website is a one-stop-shop for science activities, quizzes, projects, and lessons.
Daddy’s lab shares almost daily videos of science experiments to do at home, usually using items found around the house. With 3.5 million subscribers, he is doing something right. The experiments are also shared on Youtube.
From nasa Mars exploration program allows you to move across the surface of Mars in the Curiosity Rover.
Learn about space, the human body, the moon, and more at National Geographic Kids website (It also has a section on Covid-19).
Whether it’s an egg drop challenge or learning how to clean coins, this website regularly publishes scientific and culinary challenges.
MOTAT has a variety of fun science activities to do at home. Look at them here.
There are many activities, games and math challenges in nzmaths.co.nz
Funbrain has many math games for kids to keep thinking. (Note: a six-year-old is usually in Grade 1, a seven-year-old in Grade 2, and so on.)
Math games for kids online has a variety of math resources for kids, including number and geometry games, facts, videos, and more.
Mathscore has a variety of math tests for a variety of age groups.
Subtraction, counting, algebra, decimals, fractions, arcademic has it all.
Take a photo on your phone, upload it to the Words app and see it translated into Maori tea in real time.
Whanake you has textbooks, videos, study guides, and a dictionary for learning the Maori language.
If your child is learning German, Mandarin, French or Spanish, they might be interested in the language resources, including videos, available on the BBC’s Bitesize website. The website also has lessons for new entrants learning about words, letters, and sounds.
Reo Māori.co.nz has a wealth of resources to help people along their Maori Te Reo journey, including videos on how to learn a kaikōhau and mihi, as well as helpful phrase cards.
Or go to the maori dictionary to learn some new Maori words. Just think of a word you want to learn, write it in English and hit Enter. Click on the sound icon to hear how it is said.
Arts and crafts
watch this ready from The Guardian for the top 10 virtual tours of museums and art galleries around the world.
New Zealand Professor Matua Whaitiri Poutawa started teaching kapa haka to kids on his Facebook page during the 2020 lockdown, and continued when New Zealand returned to the lockdown in August.
If you’re feeling crafty, here you go 50 quick and easy crafts to do from home.
Upon DOC website, make your own kākāpō out of cardboard boxes, create your own nature scrapbook, or become a bird for the day by making one of the masks.
the Arts for Kids Youtube Channel has step-by-step videos to guide kids on how to draw different subjects. Keep going, pausing when necessary so you can go at your own pace.
Or watch artist Mo Willems teach kids how doodle during the confinement.
There is also a video guide for how to draw flowers.
Do you have a hand? Do you have a pen? This is how you can draw 32 animals using your hand as an outline.
Do you have a box? Put on a puppet theater show.
Music, movement and mindfulness
Kid’s Hour offers children’s classics for the young – and the young at heart – at 11 am on weekdays at the RNZ concert. Some of the stories, including Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals, and Tane the Kiwi, are also collected here on our website.
Cosmic Yoga describes its videos as “healthy screen time for children of the 21st century” and offers yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed for children ages three and up.
Many kindergartens and nurseries are sharing stories and activities on their Facebook pages.
Here are some free daily meditations for kids.
In the kitchen
Try one or all of these 10 easy snacks kids can make.
BBC Goodfood has a selection of easy-to-make and delicious recipes.
Jamie Oliver has a great section for cooking with children, including how to get them involved, the best equipment to use, how to make pasta, healthy snacks, and much more.
Chef and TV host Theo Michaels posts video sessions to his Instagram page and Youtube channel.
The Heart Foundation has a free online book about easy and tasty meals that children can cook.
Here are some simple and delicious recipes that children can make on their own. Check out this selection of 20 easy recipes to make with kids, or take a look at Spatulata, which is dedicated to helping children learn to cook.
Check out this wonderful resource for ideas on how to explore the creatures and nature in your neighborhood and backyard.
The San Diego Zoo has an online program for children, with stories, activities, games and videos, including live videos of the animals at the zoo.
the Sounds of Science Podcast from the Department of Conservation discusses how DOC cares about native species and New Zealand’s natural environment.
Take a virtual tour of Kelly Tarlton Aquariumand check out the great educational resources when you’re on the website.
Learn all about hippos, anacondas, penguins, and other animals and watch interviews with animal experts at National Geographic Kids website.
OR go here to see live animals with cameras worldwide.
Learn all about birds, count the ones you see, and be part of a citizen science project.
RNZ’s The Aotearoa History Show covers New Zealand’s history from its geological formation to the 1980s. It can also be found on any podcast app or on Youtube:
Discover some fascinating historical facts and learn about people from our past at National Geographic for kids.
Are Lessons from ted ed They are not always in the story, but they enlighten students on important topics.
The Auckland Museum occasionally hosts live talks for kids – follow it Facebook page for details.
the Big Story Project explores the universe, life on earth, humans, and the future, for students ages 11 and up.
You can always browse Te Papa’s online collection of 800,000 works of art, objects and specimens to learn more about the history of Aotearoa.
And finally, New Zealand Geographic Together at home The series has a bit of everything, including science, nature, history, and art. The magazine has published a story or video every day of the confinement, from how to research monarch butterflies to learning how sunlight can power things.