Educational/therapeutic activities for your child

3 young children in front of laptop computer

Below are some websites and downloads that will work for a short time while in trial mode, that your child might like try to get back into school mode.

One website which might be useful to try out would be www.purplemash.com . You can get a free 30-day trial, and again if your child’s school is using this, you may be able to get a home login. In particular, on this website, I recommend activities such as 2publish, which would allow your child to write creating stories including audio, pictures, and videos. Using 2connect, a mind-mapping activity, they can plan and sequence before writing. Writing personal stories, ie. What I did last week, when I grow up, etc can be very motivating and help maintain attention. Writing about daily activities can be useful in helping establish sequences such as getting ready in the morning, how to make a sandwich etc. this could then be extended to recalling a movie plot for example or recreate a recently read book, paying attention to what happens first, then next and how it concludes.  In the 2publish plus, 2annimate and 2code activities, the child is guided to work on sequence movements of characters and items, which should assist with planning, and when editing, visual memory ie. What do you need to change to get X to turn left instead of right? You can use this to stop the animation and ask what happens next, again to work on visual memory, critical thinking, maintaining attention etc.  There are lots more activities that are worth exploring, mostly aimed at the primary school curriculum. As this is web based, it can be accessed from any device.

www.ixl.com/ie is one of the few websites that follow the Irish curriculum for both maths and English. While it is subscription based, it does allow for up to 10 problems /questions to be solved each day without paying, which is a nice short session, particularly for the summer months, when sitting at a computer may not be the most motivating! It should provide extra support for the maths and English activities your child is doing in school, giving them extra practice with gentle correcting from the website, so they can learn independently. Answers are usually in a multiple choice format, and it covers the curriculum from junior infants through to sixth year. Again, this is web based and can be accessed from PC, Mac, Apple, and Android devices.

The free 30-day trial version of Clicker 7 from Cricksoft.com is a great way to experience this literacy support software. It has lots of features for those with literacy difficulties, including word prediction, where the software helps writers by giving a list of words that can be read aloud by right clicking on them, before selecting with a left click. This software also has a mind-mapping tool, the ability to create books and other activities, but one of my favourite features is the text reader. This will read aloud content (either the whole page or just selected words) with highlighting, so that the text can be followed, which again helps with word recognition. Premade books and activities can be downloaded within the software, so that the child can experience vocabulary and work on comprehension on topics that interest them. As this is a downloadable software, it is not available on iPads or Android tablets.

www.starfall.com has some great activities for those who are starting out with literacy and numeracy skills. Easy to use activities that are self-correcting are appealing to young learners, with the option of buying a subscription to access more activities. Most of the activities are Flash based, so may not work on tablets.

Mathschimp.com is a repository of free maths games, suited to a primary and secondary level. Most take a fun element to drilling maths skills, and a mixture of formats are used, depending on the website linked, so most will work on any device. www.cookie.com focuses on maths and science for the lower end of primary school, with some interactive activities. Literacy based games and stories are also featured. www.coolmaths4kids.com also has some basic maths games that require quick thinking! These last two websites are mostly flashed based, so again may not work on tablets.

For any budding authors, www.storybird.com is a website that will provide a selection of art for use in your own literary creations, be it short stories, novels or poems.

These are just a small selection of games available free of charge online. Hopefully, your child will have fun exploring and playing!