We know these are challenging times for *Compass Card families, so we’re gathering useful information to help you find things to do while Covid 19/Coronavirus is restricting our movements. We’ll be updating this page regularly as new information comes in.
*The Compass Card is a free leisure discount card run by the Sussex-based charity Amaze for disabled 0 to 25s living or going to school in Brighton & Hove or West Sussex. To find out more about the card and how to apply, click here.
There are strict curbs on going outside the home now, but going out for daily exercise is still permitted. People who live together can go out together, but otherwise groups of more than two people is off the agenda. Remember when you’re out to keep a distance of at least two metres (about a cars width) between yourself and others. Government advice has banned contact sports like football. Remember to stay local!
Compass Card Partner Weald and Downland Living Museum near Chichester has now closed its entire site. You can stay up to date with what’s happening on the Weald and Downland Facebook page. The National Trust has closed its gated grounds and parks. Its countryside and coastal locations remain open, but National Trust car parks are now closed to discourage visitors. Find out more here. Although Tilgate Nature Centre (see their Facebook page for fun learning challenges!) and the Walled Garden Cafe is closed, Tilgate Park in Crawley is also still open Sussex Wildlife Trust’s events may be cancelled, but its reserves across the county remain open. Woods Mill nature reserve public toilets, Pop-up Cafe and the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve Information Cabin are closed. The organisation will be providing regular updates on its Facebook page and there are lots of nature-based activities here if you’re staying in.
If you’re not familiar with local parks, click this link for more information about spaces in Brighton & Hove, this link for East Sussex and this link for information about spaces in West Sussex.
You may just feel like turning the TV on, streaming a movie and getting the popcorn out – but if you want more ideas, we’ve got plenty!
Creating calm in a crisis. UK children’s charity Childline has created ‘Calm Zone’, a really useful online toolbox that’s designed to help children cope with the current crisis. It includes ways to cope videos, breathing exercises, activities and tools, yoga videos, games and more. Find out more here. Relax Kids, a company that specialises in child relaxation training, has produced a free ‘Calm Pack’ which includes relaxation exercise cards, affirmation cards and activities. You’ll find the Calm Pack here.
If you’re not a member of Brighton & Hove or West Sussex library services, now’s the time to join! Libraries may be closed currently, but they have a wealth of online resources. Joining online is simple and membership will give you access to e-books, e-comics, e-audiobooks and more.
Brighton & Hove: see what the online library service offers here. To join the library service as a new member, click here. The library service is also starting to run online storytelling – the best way to keep in the loop about that is to follow them on Facebook.
West Sussex: you can find out more about the eLibrary Service here. To join up as a new member, click here. Keep in touch with West Sussex libraries via their Facebook page.
Unexpected fun online
There are lots of things you can do online and as the crisis bites, you’ll find more and more organisations finding ways to entertain people in this way.
Go Kid Music: Compass Card holders can learn to play the ukulele for free with Al Start’s online tuition. Find out more here . Other children who love a good sing song can sing and sign with Go Kid Music Club, Al’s online subscription-based service. Compass Card families pay just £3.96 a month and you also get two downloadable albums of Al’s children’s songs. Find out more here. Go Kid Music is also doing fun live streaming on Facebook, so make sure you like or follow the page to stay in the loop.
The 30 Day Lego Challenge. If you’ve got some Lego lying around, this one’s lifesaver. Imaginative daily challenges include building a new tardis for Dr Who and constructing a rocket for NASA. Click here.
Tomfoolery live stream Wednesdays. Compass Card Partner Tomfoolery, a children’s entertainer based near Crawley, is hosting ‘The Foolery Family Isolation Session’, an hour’s fun and games at 4pm on Wednesdays. Find out more here.
Live video with Nick Clark. Local magician and entertainer Nick Clark is doing live video links from his front room. The Bognor-based entertainer is a favourite with West Sussex charity PACSO. You can find Nick’s Facebook page here.
Captain Fantastic: these children’s entertainers from Uxbridge are quickly making a name for themselves by running free online children’s events including Online Toddler Group, Fantastic Fitness for Kids and Magic and Wellbeing for Kids. You’ll find more info here.
Brighton Ballet School: this Compass Card Partner is planning online dance lessons you can do from home during the week commencing 23 March. The service will be free to Compass and Carers’ Card holders. More information will be available soon, but in the meantime, you could check Brighton Ballet School’s Facebook page.
Joe Wicks (aka ‘The Body Coach’). Joe, already well known for his YouTube workouts, cookbooks and C4 TV show, is planning to be the nation’s PE teacher by running free 30 minute live workouts for kids (and their grown-ups!) at 9am each week day on his YouTube channel ‘The Body Coach TV’. Find out more and subscribe for free here.
Jump Start Jonny. Aimed at primary school children, there are lots of free workouts to choose from, as well as printable downloads and a bit of mindfulness thrown in for good measure! Click here for more info.
Cosmic Kids Yoga. Yoga and mindfulness could come in useful in the coming weeks, so here’s some online yoga for younger children. Cosmic kids has a YouTube channel and you can dip into the sessions as and when. You can subscribe for free here.
The World of David Walliams. Fans of David Walliams books for children will love this website. There are readings from David and lots of free activities too.
Take a trip in the virtual world. Fancy a livestream at Cincinnati Zoo at 3pm every day, a webcam at San Diego Zoo, or a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel? You can take a virtual trip to places you can only dream of visiting in the real world. This link shows you a fuller range of options. Compass Card Partner Marwell Zoo also has live webcams.
Ideas for the great indoors. The Scouts have provided some ideas for stuff you can do indoors, mainly with primary age children. Find out more here.
Free kids’ audiobooks. Audible, a part of Amazon, is providing free streaming of children’s audiobooks during the crisis. You can listen to these on your phone, desktop computer, laptop or tablet. Find out more here.
Sock puppets and more. If you’ve got an old sock or a bit of material hanging around, you can make a sock puppet or a finger puppet and put on a show! We think some of the ideas here over-complicate things a bit, but there’s loads of inspiration to get you started.
Education and learning
If you want to encourage children and young people to learn at home, there are absolutely loads of free resources. See above for online services from local library services.
The Sensory Project. There’s lot of free resources here, including ways of explaining Covid 19/Coronavirus to children and young people with additional needs and a range of content suitable for those with PMLD too. Click here.
Learning for disabled children and young people. HelpKidzLearn is offering a 14 day free trial during the current crisis. There are lots of apps and computer programmes. Click here to find out more.
Bag Books storytelling. If you have a child with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD), you’ll be pleased to know that Bag Books, which publishes multi-sensory stories for people with PMLD, is sharing stories on its Facebook page here.
Free learning packs. Orchard Toys is a toy retailer for young children, but they have lots of free learning packs too and they can work well for older children and young people with learning disabilities. Find out more here.
BBC Live Lessons. The BBC is providing video lessons for children and young people up to the age of 16. The 30 to 40 minute lessons feature collaborations with Doctor Who, Blue Planet Live, Radio 2’s 500 Words, the Royal Shakespeare Company and others and are linked to the National Curriculum. Find out more here.
Book Online. This American company has made its collection of over 3000 e-books and e-audio books for available for free. The books are fiction and non-fiction and suitable for all ages. Use this link.
Learn to code for free. Kids can build their own games using drag and drop coding. You just need to register on the site to get the two free lesson plans. Click here to find out more.
Teach Your Monster to Read. The computer version of this reading game is free. It’s for kids who are in the early stages of learning to read as well as older children who need more practice. Find it here.
Chatterpack. This website has learning tools specifically for children and young people with additional needs. Some content is paid for, but scroll down the page to see free resources. Click here.
Primary school maths online. Carol Vorderman’s Maths Factor for 4 to 12s follows the National Curriculum and is free during the crisis. Find it here .
Secondary school maths online. A London maths teacher, Colin Hegarty, is in the short list for the international Varkey Foundation teacher prize, but number geeks might be more interested in his free online tuition at Hegarty Maths.
Free guitar lessons. Guitar firm Fender is offering 100,000 free three month online subscriptions to its online guitar lessons (until 20 April, or until 100,000 people sign up). Find out more here.
And there’s more. Ok, breathe. If you’re up for it, this US mum’s website reckons they’ve got a list of all the education companies offering free subscriptions while schools are closed. There certainly are a lot here – and there’s some fun stuff at the end too. Click here for more info.
Other educational resources we’ve found
This list, which came from an education professional via the excellent Facebook group Brighton Covid 19 Mutual Aid, is described as ‘a non-exhaustive list that might help those affected by school closures, compiled by home educators’. Thank you to Ruthanne Mofidi Croall Garrett who shared it!
Especially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the U.S. grade system but it’s mostly common material.
This site is old and no longer updated and yet there’s so much still available, from language learning to BBC Bitesize for revision. No TV licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer.
Free to access 100s of courses, only pay to upgrade if you need a certificate in your name (own account from age 14+ but younger learners can use a parent account).
For those revising at GCSE or A level. Tons of free revision content. Paid access to higher level material.
Free taster courses aimed at those considering Open University but everyone can access it. Adult level, but some e.g. nature and environment courses could well be of interest to young people.
Learn computer programming skills – fun and free.
Creative computer programming
All sorts of engaging educational videos
National Geographic Kids
Activities and quizzes for younger kids.
Learn languages for free. Web or app.
Free science lessons
The Kids Should See This
Wide range of cool educational videos
You Tube videos on many subjects
Crash Course Kids
As above for a younger audience
Science awards you can complete from home.
Digital enterprise award scheme you can complete online.
Paw Print Badges
Free challenge packs and other downloads. Many activities can be completed indoors. Badges cost but are optional.
All kinds of making.
Is in U.S. grades, but good for UK Primary age.
Listening activities for the younger ones.
A lot of these can be done in a garden, or if you can get to a remote forest location!
Resources for English language learning
Oxford Owl for Home
Lots of free resources for Primary age
Big History Project
Aimed at Secondary age. Multi disciplinary activities.
Blue Peter Badges
If you have a stamp and a nearby post box.
The Artful Parent
Good, free art activities linked to from this Facebook page
Red Ted Art
Easy arts and crafts for little ones
The Imagination Tree
Creative art and craft activities for the very youngest.
Educational online games
DK Find Out
Activities and quizzes
This is more for printouts, and usually at a fee, but they are offering a month of free access to parents in the event of school closures.
More information for families
Amaze has put together some useful FAQs, packed with information on health, mental health, education, support from Amaze, social care, appointments and meetings and money. There are FAQ for families in Brighton & Hove here and FAQs for families in East Sussex here. In West Sussex, the West Sussex Parent Carer Form and Reaching Families have joined forces to provide information on care, education, health, wellbeing and more here.