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If your kids are out of school because of the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be looking for ways to not only keep them busy — but also keep their minds sharp.
Unlike summer vacation or spring break, these school closures are severely cutting into the normal school schedule. One way to keep children engaged during this unusual time is by taking advantage of free online resources, including Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a service that provides access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, games and premium Alexa skills aimed at kids that are compatible on Fire, Fire TV, Kindle, Android and Apple iOS tablets or phones.
While it starts at $2.99 per month per child, the first month is free for Prime members. To check it out, go to Amazon’s website and click “start your 1-month free trial.” Be aware that after the trial period ends, your credit card will be charged $2.99 per month until you cancel, but you can cancel anytime, including before the trial period ends, to avoid any fees.
If you choose to keep the service, now through April 15, you can get a three-month family plan (which provides content for four children) for 99 cents. That’s obviously a much better deal than the regular price of $6.99 per month for a family plan.
Through March 31, you can also buy a full year of the FreeTime Unlimited family plan for $19.99 and you’ll get a year of the personalized education system Homer Reading for free. Considering a year of FreeTime’s family plan would normally cost about $84 on its own, that’s a great deal for anyone who thinks the program will be good for their kids and help them stave off the boredom that comes with sitting at home.
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited also includes hundreds of ad-free radio stations and playlists, plus Audible books. Content is broken down by age, with groups for ages 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
As a parent, you’ll have access to your child’s activity and be able to manage settings, like adding content from your personal library, setting daily time limits, modifying web browser behavior and pausing the device.
If you do not have Amazon Prime, the monthly cost per child is $4.99. For a family of up to four children, that $6.99-per-month price tag for Prime members goes up to $9.99 per month for non-Prime members. These prices do not include the deal running until April 15 and only apply if you choose to get the service after that date, or when that three-month discounted period is over.
There are also other services offering free content in response to the disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic. They range from classes to free books and even entertaining shows to help kids learn. Check out our list of six services you can take advantage of right now to help your kids keep learning while they’re stuck at home.
If you have specific needs, like a teenager who was in advanced placement courses before the closures, there is also a website called Fiveable that offers a free social learning platform for both high school students and teachers specifically focused on AP prep.
If you’re not looking for classes and just want some fun videos your kids can watch, a service called Moonbug provides content for kids from infancy to 12 years old that allows them to learn cognitive, emotional and physical life skills. Moonbug‘s shows are available on a number of major platforms like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, so as long as you have any of those services, you’ll have access to the shows.
PBS also offers 24/7 content with its free PBS Kids Video app. There is no subscription required for the app, which offers live streams and on-demand episodes of acclaimed educational PBS television shows like “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”
While your kids are busy learning with these apps, you can check out our list of 10 online fitness classes that you can join from your living room for easy ways to stay fit and engaged during this rough time.
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