When we launched Connected Parenting back in 2016, we couldn’t have imagined our quiet corner of the kid-friendly Internet overflowing with new visitors because of a global pandemic. Suddenly, it’s much more than tech loving and homeschool families flocking to online learning. Our programs in Minecraft, Roblox, and Esports are oversubscribed with families desperate for virtual learning experiences that are engaging, safe, and social.
In response to skyrocketing need, we extended the hours of our free moderated Minecraft server for kids aged 8-13, are training 20 new counselors and coaches for more courses and camps on Outschool, and expanding our high school volunteer program.
We’ll also be revitalizing our Connected Parenting site. Here is a round-up of some of our most popular connected parenting resources. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for updates.
Digital Tools for Making and Coding
With so many kids stuck at home, parents need new and creative ways to keep kids actively engaged, and digital creation platforms can help. More important than ever is quality rather than quantity in screen time. Don’t forget to give yourself a break from distracted parenting guilt!
- Get started with Minecraft with our Parent’s Guide to Minecraft, The Ultimate Guide to Kid-Friendly Minecraft Activities, How-To’s in Minecraft and 10 Easy Offline Minecraft Activities for Family Fun.
- If you want to level up into the world of Minecraft Mods you’ll get some tips in Top 10 Kid-Friendly Minecraft Mods for Powering Learning.
- Are all Minecraft Videos a Waste of Time? Not if you know what to look for.
- DIY.org offers tons of ideas and instructions for creative projects, including Invent Your Own Machines, which we reviewed a while back.
- Take some first steps into coding learner-friendly tools and apps. Check out our reviews for Scratch, Ready Maker, Hopscotch, App Inventor, and CodeSpark Academy to find one that’s right for you.
Kid-Friendly Online Communities
Kids in the 8-13 range want independence, but still need guardrails as they explore the online world. Safe, moderated, social, online communities can keep them engaged in learning and creating even when they are stuck at home. Here are some of our top guides and tips:
Young people are flocking to Minecraft servers during the crisis because it offers spaces to play, build and hang out with friends.
- Get oriented with our Parent’s Guide to Minecraft.
- Find out which servers are safe for kids in 10 Best Minecraft Servers for Kids and Why.
- Our Ultimate Guide to Kid Club will get you going on our very own moderated free Kid Club server.
Scratch offers another popular online community and creation platform, where kids can code, make animations, and games.
- Get a quick overview by reading Learning to Code with Scratch.
- Our friends from the team at MIT who created Scratch share 5 Ways your Child’s Interests Can Motivate Learning with Scratch
Last but not least – Roblox is another platform that offers a social and creative learning environment for kids. We have a quick orientation to Roblox, including tips for safety and how to get the most out of the platform:
Teen Leaders and Esports Players
Teens are leaders in our online community. High school students are welcome to apply to our volunteer program!
Connected Camps offers coaching for the North American Scholastic Esports Federation, a network of high school esports clubs and teams. Read about how NASEF is changing learning after school. Check out their online programs, open to all high school students during the COVID-19 crisis.