Top 15 Geography Apps for Kids

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Learning Geography used to be as basic as passing around a globe or pointing at a flat map on the wall. Don’t get me wrong, I love the aesthetic a globe gives a room and we use ours all the time. But these days, there is a wealth of other amazing resources available to help learners of every age master their geography skills. The first 11 in our list below are free, and the rest are super low cost!

1 Google Earth

It doesn’t have games or quizzes, but Google Earth is an invaluable resource for learning about the world. Take off to anywhere on earth with up to date 3d satellite scans of the entire globe! Plus it’s free at the App Store and Google Play.

2 Kids World Maps

More of an interactive map, this app includes many of the world’s most fascinating cultural and architectural landmarks as well as a number of natural wonders, notable explorers, people and customs, music and festivals around the world, wildlife, transportation and technological achievements, inventions and more! It’s available for free at the App Store.

3 Kids Atlas

Kids Atlas features a realistic world map that teaches kids about countries, continents & states. Kids Atlas also features anthems of major countries of the world as well as photos of landmarks. It’s perfect for road trips as it does not require an internet connection to function. Kids Atlas is available for free on Google Play.

4 GeoBee Challenge HD by National Geographic

This one is a little more challenging, making it ideal for 4th – 8th graders. They will definitely learn as they play, with multiple choice quizzes, map landmark hunting, and other game modes. This app is available for free on the App Store and in Google Play.

5 World Geography Quiz Game

Featuring 26 different quiz game options in 8 different languages, this little gem is an excellent resource for free on Google Play.

6 Seterra Geography

Seterra Geography covers info for all age groups, going into as much or as little detail as needed. It offers tons of learning game modes and no internet required, this is a great app for keeping those skills sharp while traveling! It’s available for free in the App Store and on Google Play.

7 World Citizen: Country, Captial, and Flag Trivia

With features like a global score leaderboard, learning becomes a game to motivate young learners! Learn countries, capitals, and flags of the world with this highly-rated trivia app! Available for free on Google Play.

8 TapQuiz Maps World Edition

Your kids will fill in the blanks on the map as they master each new part of the world. This is also great for learning state names! You can find it for free in the App Store.

9 Countries of the World

The Countries of the World app helps kids learn about what makes each country special! From flags to languages, your students will learn not just geography, but culture too! Find it for free on Google Play

10 Planet Geo – Fun Games of World Geography for Kids

With bright colors and easy to understand games, this app perfect for all ages. IT’s chock full of fun map puzzles for learning about countries all over the world. Planet Geo is available for free in the App Store.

11 Learn World Geography

Using the latest in cognitive science techniques, the developer Brainscape promises faster and easier learning of world geography. This very well-reviewed app is available for free in the App Store.

12 Stack the Countries

Stack the Countries is what you get when you mix geography and Tetris. Here, the more you learn, the more you get to play! Build a tower of countries to reach the finish line. Find this one for $2.99 in the App Store and on Google Play.

13 Kids Maps

Make geography fun for younger learners with this educational U.S. map puzzle game. They can master states and their capitals and the easy drag and drop function and colorful maps make learning accessible to kids as young as 2! Available for $1.99 in the App Store.

14 Tiny Countries

Younger students can save the world with their ever-improving geography skills in this educational game. It’s available for $3.99 in the AppStore.

15 Geography Drive USA

This app is focused on the geography of the United States, but has tons of information for your students! “Travel” around the US learning about the location of states and their geographical landmarks. Find it for $2.99 in the App Store and on Google Play.

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

FREE Virtual Escape Rooms!

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Being stuck indoors when you’d rather be out and about is never ideal, especially with kids who want to go, go go! Luckily there are some boredom-busting ways they can spend their time while flexing their problem-solving muscles!

Digital Escape Rooms

These engaging puzzle games allow players to run through scenarios to solve the puzzle. The clues are completed by solving digital locks. Typically, these are just locks in a form that must be answered correctly to unlock the next clue or set of clues. There are varying degrees of difficulty, so grab a pen and paper to jot down clues as you click through each page!

There are some really fun escape room games out there with very recognizable themes. Minecraft was popular around my house not long ago, and Hogwarts is still very high on the list of fandoms! This Jumanji: Escape Room follows the themes from the popular movies, and this Escape From Wonderland Digital Escape Room is as whimsical as the Lewis Carrol novel. You can even try your luck and Unlock Disney World, without the price of admission!

If mainstream isn’t your style, test your skills at Spy Apprentice Digital Escape Room Adventure or this cool concept based on a comic series, Dog Man Digital Escape Room.

If you’re looking for games with a more educational bend, there are some great choices. For a fun historical challenge, checkout American Revolution Digital Breakout. Science buffs will get a kick out of the States of Matter Digital Escape Room. Even the literary scholars can join in the fun with the Romeo and Juliet Escape Room.

Virtual Escape Rooms

The premise of a virtual breakout room is essentially the same as in-person breakout room: you are locked in a themed room and you have to solve a series of puzzles and questions in order to successfully go free.

The virtual escape rooms offer a more immersive experience to your puzzle-solving, with games like Enchambered and The Escape Game. 365 Escape Games is an entire site with multiple puzzle-solving games in several categories.

If you’re looking for an escape room experience that’s as close to the real thing as possible, Puzzle Break is a high-quality option at a reasonable price. They’re currently offering a version of their popular game, The Grimm Escape and so far virtual game slots are selling out within 12 hours of availability. Guided groups can range in size from five to more than 100 players. Normally $35, they are offering a $25 deal right now.

The experienced puzzler in your house can even build their own digital escape room with this nifty tutorial!

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

Top 10 science experiments for kids on YouTube!

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I love the flexibility to teach my kids in non-conventional ways. Sometimes that means “going” on virtual train rides. Sometimes it meansYouTube history lessons! We are constantly on the hunt for different ways to introduce or reinforce concepts and information. So I’m really excited about this particular collection of really cool science videos! There are so many experiment ideas for you to try with your kids, using mostly everyday items from your pantry or garage. Plus, they are fun to watch!

Safety Disclaimer: We have selected experiment videos that are kid-friendly, but some of the other content on the channels mentioned may not be child-appropriate, or safe enough to do in your home. So, as with all content on YouTube, adult supervision is recommended.

1. Twenty-five COOLEST Science Experiments You Can Do at Home by Spacebound

From crystal egg geodes to “fairy jars” made from glow sticks and glitter, this collection of experiments is neatly condensed to one video and will definitely give your little scientists plenty of cool ideas to try at home!

2. Thirty-one Simple Experiments by 5-Minute Crafts

5-minute crafts is a fantastic channel, chock full of super interesting and fun things to do, using everyday items you already have lying around. This video gives you 31 different experiment ideas and it’s just fun to watch!

3.  Easy Experiments You Can Try at Home by 5-Minute Crafts Family

In the same vein as #2, this video has fun things to try, using everyday items that are easy to find. It’s sure to give your family some great ideas!

4. Sesame Street Science by 5 Facts

5 Facts channel is a really neat channel with videos about science, history and pop culture, all made to be funny and engaging to young viewers. Their sesame Street Science videos have gems like 5 Fun Science Experiments for Kids with Grover, and 5 Hidden Worlds Revealed Under a Microscope

5. Five Mind-Blowing Food Science Experiments to do in the Kitchen by The Dad Lab

The Dad Lab is another great find! The entire channel is full of fun experiments and tricks to do with kids. I love kitchen experiments because clean-up is easy!

6. Thirty-three Science Experiments That Will Amaze You by 5-Minute Magic

Another fun collection of easy experiments to do with ’round the house items. You can even make your own magic sand in a cup!

7. Ten Easy Science Experiments That Will Amaze Kids by Raising Da Vinci

With another fun video full of easy, kitchen experiments Raising Da Vinci is another great source of kid-friendly content and fun things to learn.

8. Ten Amazing Science Tricks Using Liquid by Brasspup

Brasspup is a super interesting channel with all kinds of science-themed videos. Check out these cool videos with anamorphic illusions! I especially loved these 10 amazing science tricks using liquid!

9. Awesome Science Tricks Using Static by Brasspup

Another stand out video from Brasspup, this one is all about static electricity and all the fascinating ways you can use it!

10. Top 10 egg Tricks and Experiments by Mr. Hacker

There are so many cool videos featuring all kinds of neat experiments and tricks here. This video with fun balloon tricks is awesome. But the egg tricks video is extra exciting and fun to watch! Just don’t try that exploding eggshell trick in your kitchen!

Have fun with your rubber eggs and color-changing paper towels, and be safe!

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

Virtual Train Rides! Enjoy scenic journeys through beautiful destinations from home!

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If you’re anything like me then you have a LONG list of places you’d love to see someday. Well, this may be the next best thing. You can now take virtual train rides through some of the world’s most beautiful places! Skip the packing, airports, and train fare,  and enjoy the views while you relax from the comfort of your couch.

1 Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado

This 3 part tour takes guests over the three-foot-wide narrow-gauge heritage railroad as it travels the 45 miles from Durango to Silverton. Part one traverses the narrow ledge cut into a sheer cliff face above the Animas River. Part two takes you high into the Colorado mountains. And part three brings you to Silverton, with its quaint storefronts and old west charm.

2 Nordland Line, Norway

Journey to the Norweigian Arctic circle through a snowy wonderland on this 9 hour trip from Trondheim Fjord in Trondheim to the municipality of Fauske.

3 Bernina Railway, Switzerland to Italy

Enjoy the scenic views on the highest railway alpine crossing in Europe as you travel from  St. Moritz, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy on the picturesque,  high-mountain Bernina pass.

4 Belgrade-Bar Railway, Montenegro

Begin your journey in the town of Bar near the Adriatic Sea. 102 tunnels and 96 bridges later, you end in Bijelo Polje, but not before crossing the highest railway bridge in Europe!

5 Southwestern Railway, England

Enjoy the London skyline before moving into the vibrant, green countryside on this virtual trip aboard the London Underground, from London Waterloo station to Southampton Central station.

6 Wengernalp Railway, Switzerland

The stunning route from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg takes you passed pretty Swiss villages and tree-covered slopes as you virtually climb up into the mountains, eventually passing views of snow-covered mountains and deep valleys. Cue Sound of Music soundtrack!

7 Sarajevo–Ploče Railway, Bosnia and Herzegovina

You can explore the Balkan country of Bosnia and Herzegovina by train, thanks to this virtual train-cab video.  beginning your journey in Čapljina, you’ll dip into Croatia quickly before crossing back over the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina and ending on Sarajevo, the country’s capital.

8 North Wales Coastline, England to Wales

This virtual excursion begins in the city of Chester, England. You pass quickly over the border into Wales, where you can take in the lush countryside before hitting the coast.

9 Pike’s Peak Cog Railway, Colorado

Jump onboard North America’s highest train for this fast-motion virtual tour. The trip starts at the station in Manitou Springs and climbs the 14,115-foot peak in a matter of minutes.

10 Geibi Line to Fukuen Line, Japan

Traveling virtually from Hiroshima Station to Fuchū Station on the Geibi Line turned Fukuen Line, you will pass through the mountainous area of the Chūgoku region, so expect to see stunning bridges and long, dark tunnels cutting through mountains.

11 The Flåm Railway, Norway

This 12-mile route takes you from the end of Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the Sognefjord, up to the high mountains at Myrdal station. Along the way, you’ll pass waterfalls, deep ravines, snow-capped mountains, and high-altitude farms on what is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world.

Happy virtual trails!

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

FREE Homeschool Planning Resources

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Peace of mind and organization live side by side in the homeschool world. Goals are important but easily lost if not written down and followed.  Through the years I have flip-flopped between not keeping track of anything to having a daily checklist.  Despite my wishy-washy organizational skills, my children thrived.  However, during the years with no planning, I grew frustrated.  Take my advice and give planning the ole college try.  I suggest trying a free planner before buying an expensive one that may not fit your needs.  You have nothing to lose!

Five J’s

Joy over at Five J’s has several helpful resources for planning out your year. Here are a Weekly Assignment Planner and a gradebook for free download. You’ll definitely want to print out anything that Joy made herself – she is an excellent graphic designer!!

Homeschool Skedtrack

Homeschool Skedtrack is a free online lesson planner, scheduler, and tracking system rolled into one. One of the main features is their automated scheduling of activities. If you miss an activity, Skedtrack frees you from the headache of rescheduling everything. I think this is something worth paying for, but it is FREE! It meets so many needs in one place. You can keep track of high school transcripts, courses, grades (by automated calculations!) and so many other things. You really need to check it out if online planning is for you.

Donna Young

Donna Young doesn’t just give you printable forms, she has numerous tips and advice on how to plan, how to use a planner, and how to assemble her free planner pages to make it useful to you. I have mentioned DonnaYoung.org several times now in this series of How to Homeschool for Free. This site has an incredible array of forms and other necessary things for the home school family. I love Donna Young! I use it all the time, year-round for more than my homeschool needs.

Highland Heritage HomeSchool

Highland Heritage HomeSchool has two sections where you can find planning forms. The first is the teacher planning section. It has schedules, calendars, attendance, grade logs, report cards, conference records, co-op planners, lap book rubrics, and many more things for your planner. Print the ones you will use and leave the rest. The second section you will find useful is the Student Portfolio forms. It has checklists of things you can plan to assess and record in the student folders. I also found a student self-evaluation form that I think I might use for my kids.

The Homeschool Mom

The Homeschool Mom is a go-to for any homeschooling mom for advice and help. The planning pages are thoroughly comprised and will meet the needs of many home school moms. It is free for personal use. Weekly planner and menu planner pages include FlyLady compatible weekly and menu planner pages, Calendars, High School Course Planner, Chore chart, Weekly Planner page for use with Weekly Assignment page, or Unschooling Record Keeper, Assignment Sheet, Reading List, and several more choices for your planning pleasure.

New Beginnings

New Beginnings has a free curriculum planner. The moms here will show you 7 steps to customizing your planner to suit your needs. It includes Lesson Plan Pages for ALL your children, Calendars, Attendance Charts, Class Schedule, and Teacher Schedule. Again, print the things you need and don’t bother with the rest. I like how the moms here don’t make you feel like you have to do it their way. Personalization is important and they tell you how to do it and make it work for you.

Homeschool Tracker

Homeschool Tracker is Microsoft Windows-based planning and organizing software designed to track your lesson planning and records. It allows you to keep track of field trips, grades, assignments, and attendance. You can even generate report cards and a few more things. Their Homeschool Tracker Basic Edition is free, and they offer more advanced options with reasonably priced membership at $8 per month, or $65 annually. It will not work on Mac computers unless you have Windows Parallel.

Happy Planning!

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

Amazing Homeschool Finds on Prime {Organization, Teaching Tools, Discounts, Games, and More}

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Who doesn’t LOVE Amazon Prime? It’s a miracle when you need something fast, or when you need an item that stores near you don’t have! There are some pretty incredible finds on Prime for homeschoolers to take advantage of right now.

Prices in this post are subject to change at any time.

Some Amazon basics: A standard membership costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month.  If you don’t already have a Prime membership, you can sign up for a month-long free trial

Even without a Prime membership, you can still shop Amazon and get standard shipping times. These vary quite a bit from order to order, and many items offer free shipping, but the average is 4-5 days. Prime shipping times are typically 1-2 days, which is just so nice when you need it quickly! Plus with Prime membership, you get access to their extensive library of movies and show titles, which include many educational shows for kids like this one about Greek Mythology Tales For Kids on Prime!

While we’re discussing memberships, Kindle Unlimited is an amazing resource for reading at every level. With a plethora of titles for all ages, and a subscription costs $9.99 a month. It’s an inexhaustible and invaluable resource for your young readers!

Discounts

Now, let’s talk about discounts. If you are or have a student, then Prime’s student discount is definitely something you should take advantage of. You just need to provide proof of enrollment to bring the membership cost down to $59 per year, or $6.49 per month!

There is also a discount for qualifying EBT/Medicaid cardholders. This reduces the price to $5.99 per month. It’s definitely checking to see if you qualify for this discount.

Supplies and Necessities

We’ll start with the basics. Local stores have some great deals on back to school supplies once a year and that’s a great time to stock up. But if you don’t feel like fighting crowds then school supply shopping online is a fantastic option. You can get everything you need and nothing you don’t, delivered right to your door, without navigating congested supermarket aisles

Schoolroom Amenities

Flexibility is one of the many gifts of homeschooling, and that means custom fitting your schoolroom to your specific needs and interests. Whether you’re looking for this cute clock at $21.97 to teach telling time, or flashcards to learn math facts, ($24.84) you can find what meets your needs.  I think this inexpensive globe at $19.99 makes a great addition to any schoolroom. And speaking of flashcards, there are a variety of options for every level, from sight words ($2.67) to blank cards you can customize. ($19.99)

 

Dry-erase boards ($7.49) make learning new writing concepts easier for everyone. You can even find lined versions ($9.99) for younger students learning how to make letters.

Educational posters like these ($19.99 for 8 large posters) are a great visual tool for younger learners. And multiplication charts like ($11.99 for 2 large) are hugely helpful to my kids. Map posters like these for ($11.99 for 3 large) are great for instruction and they just look cool hanging on the wall! There are also lots of options for kits targeting specific age groups like preschool ($18.95 for 11) or elementary. ($17.88 for 12)

 

Organization and Furniture

I’m all about conserving space, so I love finding items that give me storage options without taking up a ton of floor space! There are so many options here, the sky really is the limit and it’s all up to your taste. We love folder organizers like this one or this one because they are inexpensive (both are under $12!) and make such good use of space. My daughter uses this organizer cart ($39.99) for storing her art supplies and it would work great for school supplies! And this desk organizer is a great find for $20.88!

      

When it comes to desks, there are a lot of options at quite a varied price range. This one at $99.96 is a good option for younger learners.

And this is one is compact and reasonably priced at $43.15.

Educational Games

Games are a great way to reinforce new skills! You can find a ton of great options here and all for under $25! Game of States and The World Game reinforce geography, while letter matching and word-play help reading skills. And there are lots of fun math games too, like this one and this one!

Art Supplies

Hands-on, creative learning is vital to young brains and there are lots of options when it comes to arts and crafts. There are plenty of learning opportunities here, from this wooden robot kit for $34.99 to these wildlife and aquatic craft kits, both of which are only $10.99. I love kits like this one, where, at only $29.99, it comes with LOTS of supplies we can use for different crafts. The imaginative possibilities are endless!

With all these options to choose from, it’s easy and fun to create a fun learning environment that you and your kids can enjoy together. Happy schooling!

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

These Free Music Lessons On YouTube Let You Learn Piano, Guitar, And More

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We love music. I know, who doesn’t? We can all think of memories associated with certain songs, or moments when music just makes things better. But music is also incredibly important for healthy brain development.

“There are few things that stimulate the brain the way music does,” says one Johns Hopkins otolaryngologist. “If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout.”

There are classes of every kind to be found, and private lessons are amazing, but there are also some fantastically free resources available.

1 Hoffman Academy

The piano is an excellent foundational instrument and Joseph Hoffman at Hoffman Academy is really good at breaking down tricky concepts and making them easy to master. These lessons are designed for beginners with no prior experience and are between 5 and 15 minutes long so they hold short attention spans and are easy to fit into your day.

2 Pianote

Pianote is a great start for beginner pianists of all ages. They offer lessons covering things like hand speed and independence, and ways to play more fluidly. They also feature a wide variety of musical styles so you’re sure to find what you like!

3 JJ Bartley Music

Teaching piano from a classical standpoint, JJ Bartley Music offers tutorials for lots of classic songs you didn’t even know you knew. They also offer some great videos on how to read music for beginners!

4 Smile and Learn – Education Videos for Kids about Music

Smile and Learn specializes in educational videos for kids ages 3-12. Videos are offered for every core subject. Their videos about music teach kids basic terms like rhythm, metronome and the names of different notes and what they mean, as well as introducing different types of instruments.  This is a great place for young musicians to start!

5 Piano Lessons On The Web

These lessons are structured to teach basic piano skills, but also to introduce concepts like music theory and ear training, which are both vital to every instrument. I especially love this collection of video lessons on theory for beginners!

6 Rick Beato

Rick Beato is kind of a “one stop shop” for music instruction. He’s a producer and composer, and plays several instruments, and his teaching methods are easy to understand when broken down to beginner levels. I really love his videos on the basics of music theory!

7 Center Stage Guitar, Bass, and Ukelele Academy

For the aspiring guitar player in your home, Center Stage Guitar, Bass, and Ukelele Academy is probably the best place to start! They offer a wide variety of lessons for free, with step by step tutorials and guided practice.

8 LearnToPlayMusic.com

LearnToPlayMusic.com has videos for everything! From the recorder to the clarinet, from the ukelele to the drums, this is an expansive resource for learning to play an instrument or continuing your music education. They offer collections of videos, categorized by instrument, and aimed at beginners, or adult beginners so it’s easy to pick appropriately.

9 Drumeo

Showcasing a variety of styles and techniques, Drumeo has a huge library of videos for drummers at every skill level. Their beginner videos are concise, encouraging, and easy to follow!

10 Prodigies Music

Interactive learning videos for preschoolers are designed to teach youngsters the basics of hand-signing, singing, and playing their first instrument.

If any of these videos have interested your little musicians, click here for more great resources and ideas for musical enrichment!

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

Help Your Kids Capture This Time in History with The Covid-19 2020 Printable Time Capsule!

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We are truly living a moment in history right now. The world has certainly seen pandemics a few times in our history, but never before have we possessed access to the good and bad news from all over the world, right in our pockets.

We’re all in the same boat, just trying to get through this, making the best of what we can and helping those around us. There are devastating stories out there, yes. But there are also incredible stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help their neighbors. We get to choose what to focus on, and what to remember.

This is a remarkably rare opportunity to remember: where we are, what we’re doing, how we’ve grown.

Natalie Long of Long Creations created an incredible set of 2020 Covid-19 Time Capsules sheets to capture this time in history for our kids. And she’s offering them completely FREE!

To print it, all you have to do is head over to her Facebook page here: Long Creations Facebook Page

You can choose between the US Spelling version and the English/Canadian spelling version.

Also, our kids LOVE the colored pencils that have different colors on each side! You can find some of my kids’ FAVORITE colored pencils here!

Enjoy!

These 100+ FREE Zoom Backgrounds Make Zoom Calls Super Fun!

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If you’re anything like me, you didn’t know what Zoom was before 3 weeks ago. I was familiar with virtual meetings and conference call/ video-chat platforms, sure. But zoom, to me, was the term we used when the dogs got hyper and ran around the living room at top speed for no discernable reason. And NOW, Zoom is my window to civilization; my portal to the great wide world of real live humans, besides the ones I’m responsible to feed.  What a glorious gift!

As it turns out, I’m not the only one who thinks so and some major companies have released trademark backgrounds, available to download for FREE, all to enhance your video conferencing experience! We’ve compiled a list of our favorites for you below.

If you are new to this, changing your background might seem a bit complicated. Don’t worry, we’ve got you!

How to change your Zoom background

1. First, make sure you “Enable” Virtual Backgrounds by going to “Settings” at zoom.us in a web browser
2. Once enabled, open Zoom on your desktop or browser
3. Join or create a new meeting
4. Once in the meeting, look to the bottom left corner and see an option to “Stop Video.” Just don’t click it now 🙂  To the right is an upward arrow, “^,” click the arrow
5. When clicking the arrow, you will see an option to “Choose virtual background,” click that option
6. That will take you to a new window in “Settings” where you can choose from a default background or upload your own
7. To upload your own, click the “+” on the right of the video screen in the “Settings” window. This will give you the option to upload your own background into Zoom
8. Select your image and click Open

Pro Tips: To get the best virtual background, Zoom Support recommends upgrading high-quality pictures, locating a place in your house with uniform light and color, and don’t wear clothing that is the same color as your background.

You Can Even Apply a Touch-Up FIlter!

Surprised by a  Zoom meeting time change and have no time to clean up first? Well, they made a filter, just for you! The “Touch Up My Appearance” option applies a soft focus to your video, smoothing tones and giving you a more polished look.

1. Open Zoom on your desktop or browser
2. On the homepage, click the gear icon to find the “Settings”
3. If you’re already in a meeting, find the “^” next to “Stop Video” and click “Video Settings”
4. Find “Touch Up My Appearance,” and check the box to turn on the filter

Now, for those virtual backgrounds!

Unsplash.com

Featuring an extensive library of generic backgrounds, Unsplash.com is a great place to start. Unsplash is a library of free, high-quality stock images. You just need to create an account to get started, or log in with FaceBook.

Unsplash has images for everything from a sprawling library

to famous landmarks like the Eiffel tower

Pro tip: select pictures that are horizontal because they fit a little better.

 

Marvel movies

Even heavy hitters like Marvel are getting in on the background craze! Marvel tweeted out free backgrounds from some of their iconic movies. All you have to do is right click and save the image to your computer. Some of our faves are

Dr. Strange

And Avengers Tower

Fox Network

A lot of television networks are offering free backgrounds, too! A recent tweet from Fox included iconic backgrounds from some of their hit shows, including this classic!

As with the Marvel images, just right click and save to enjoy these fun backgrounds.

Video Game Backgrounds

Video game creators are throwing in some great images as well. Your kids will love these fun backgrounds as they attend all their zoom classes this semester.

Images have been made available by Mario Odessy

The Final Fantasy franchise

And Street Fighter, both the original and modern versions!

       

Steven Madow Photography

This renowned photographer is offering some of his breathtaking work for free! Click here to browse his work and choose your favorite background!

Zoommeetingbackgrounds.com

Zoommeetingbackgrounds.com offers more than 30 free virtual backgrounds to use on Zoom. They are categorized into memes, funny, movie caps, landscapes, and videos.

Most relatable image ever!

Canva – Free Zoom Virtual Background Maker

This incredible tool lets you create your own background! Choose from their extensive library of free images and videos, and then customize them to your liking!

How cool are these!

     

Guidelines to Running Online

This group has collected over 50 images and put them in a convenient google docs folder! My favorites are the Central Perk from the Friends set and this conference room from The Office!!!

     

 

Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon has released backgrounds of a few of their most-loved shows, including Paw Patrol, Spongebob and even a throwback of Hey, Arnold!

       

Hogwartz Houses

This one is for the Harry Potter nerds! (me, this one is for ME!) Show off your house pride and click to download one of these fun backgrounds!

50 points to Ravenclaw!

The Office

Need more Office backgrounds? Find them right here!

I just love these!

   

Pixar

Family favorites in our house! Find iconic scenes from Coco, The Good Dinosaur and Monster’s Inc here! 

     

 

15 BEST History Channels on YouTube for Kids!

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BEST History YouTube Channels for Kids!

I’m always searching for ways to supplement my kids’ education. One of the most amazing aspects of teaching them is that I’m always learning! I get excited when we find material to enjoy together. History is one of those subjects that our family is very passionate about and that we can’t get enough of.

Fortunately for us, there are channels on YouTube with dedicated historians and educators, creating incredible content for us to enjoy, all a few clicks away!

Disclaimer

Some of these channels contain strictly history-based content, and some of them include videos on a range of topics. We have found a number of these channels helpful to reinforce the subjects we are covering. But for the sake of propriety, it must be stated that we don’t necessarily endorse all content on every channel. As with all things, we use our best judgment in determining appropriate content for our family.

Here are our top 15 history channels!

1 Crash History

A long time favorite in our house, Crash History is created by brothers Hank and John Green (yes, The Fault in our Stars, John Green!) There are TONS of videos on this channel, covering topics in US and world history. And you’ll learn a lot about the Mongols. They are super important and Crash will tell you why. Featuring cute “Thought Bubble” animation that helps bring history to life, these 10-15 minute videos are a great addition to your lessons.

2 History Videos for Kids from Clarendon Learning

Clarendon Learning is a non-profit that produces educational material and resources. Their YouTube channel offers videos on a variety of subjects and their history videos are super informative.

3 Disney – American Presidents

Leave it to Disney to seamlessly combine entertainment and education. These videos are a mixture of documentary-style information and fun, cartoon reenactments that help you remember the important stuff.

4. Feature History

These videos include topics covering everything from the Mongols to the evolution of military 4×4’s! Fun animation and slightly more graphic content make this channel perfect for history buffs 13 and up.

5 John D. Ruddy

With a lovely Irish accent, John D Ruddy covers historical events in a standard lecture format, sprinkled with a fun animation style that’s both educational and enjoyable.

6 WWI Uncut on BBC

This is a deep dive look at The Great War, brought to life beautifully by the BBC. WWI Uncut explains why trenches were so important to fighting men, as well as hardships other than bullets that soldiers faced.

7 Epic History TV

Truly epic and styled more closely to documentaries and shows on the History Channel, Epic History TV focuses on the most dramatic events and people, from WW2 to Blackbeard the Pirate. 15-20 minute videos are packed full of maps, graphics, and details about the major events from history

8 Schmoop

This strangely named channel has lots of really fun videos that your students will love. The kid-friendly format is great for younger students while engaging older ones (moms too!)

9 Simple History

Ideal for teens and adults, these videos feature graphic novel type animation. Some videos include more graphic images so these are best enjoyed by ages 13 and up.

10 Khan Academy

With free curriculum, videos and resources, Khan academy is a staple in many homeschool households. Their YouTube channel offers history videos on topics ranging from ancient Egypt to the Vietnam war and everything in between. This is an excellent resource for all things history and much more!

11 Homeschool Pop

Aimed at elementary-aged kids, this channel is full of great videos about landmarks, the White House and the 50 states. This is another great place to find videos about everything your elementary student is studying right now!

12 The Touring Teacher

This channel is similar to Mr. Betts Class in that the instructor travels to lots of places and talks about them. This one is aimed at younger kids and provides great insights into life in different historical periods.

13 Kids Academy

This is another great resource for younger kids, featuring a wide range of topics in multiple subjects. Kids Academy history topics include videos about American inventors, the Civil Rights Movement and the Journey to Jamestown.

14 A Kid Explains History

This one might be my favorite! Mr. Q is your teacher and he’s got videos about all kinds of stuff. He’s 12 now, but he’s an old pro at adorably and accurately explaining history for your educational enjoyment.

15 Free School

Featuring videos about Harriet Tubman, The US Constitution, and many more, Free School is kid-friendly and full of facts to help supplement what your kids are learning.

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