Tag Archives: Brainpop

Women’s History Month Activities for Kids

By Tracey Dowdy

March is Womens’ History Month in the United States. While we should celebrate the outstanding contributions women have made throughout human history every day, setting aside 31 days to acknowledge their achievements is a great idea. Here are a few ways you can celebrate Womens’ History Month with your kids.

Chances are you’ve heard of Johnny Appleseed, but have you heard of Kate Sessions?  Kate was instrumental in procuring many new plants from growers worldwide and introducing them to San Diego. Read her story in The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever. Or, learn about other eco-conscious women like marine biologist Rachel Carson whose book Silent Spring warned of the dangers to all natural systems from the misuse of chemical pesticides and questioned modern science’s scope and direction. She’s considered by many to be the mother of our contemporary environmental movement. Explore the life of groundbreaking primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall, who at just 26 sailed to what is now Tanzania equipped with little more than a notebook, binoculars, and her fascination with wildlife to immerse herself in the world of chimpanzees. Among her many accomplishments is transforming species conservation to include the needs of local people and the environment.

Check out this list of Inspiring Books for Women’s History Month and explore titles and the lives of heroines throughout time. Choose from picture books like  Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines that tells the story of the woman who designed the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC, or Free as a Bird: The Story of Malala, which tells the story of Malala’s fight for all girls to be able to go to school. Older kids will benefit from reading #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women, which breaks down stereotypes and provides insight into the lives of Native girls and women to help readers understand both the past and the future of a population too often abused or ignored American history or Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History, whose title is pretty self-explanatory. 

Celebrate the life and legacy of America’s first woman police officer Alice Stebbins Wells. Way back in 1909, a Los Angeles social worker named Alice Stebbins Wells petitioned then-Mayor George Alexander and the City Council to request that an ordinance providing for a Los Angeles Policewoman be passed. Not only was the measure adopted, but on September 12, 1910, Mrs. Wells became the nation’s first female to be designated a policewoman with arrest powers.* Scholastic even has a fun History Mystery that your aspiring officer can solve. 

Parents can always count on BrainPOP for fun and educational resources. For Women’s History Month, they offer several (free) movies, texts, games, and lessons on famous and significant women in history. Kids can learn about women like Agatha Christie, Marie Curie, Sally Ride, and even Oprah Winfrey. You’ll probably even learn something yourself! 

PBS’s Makers website offers hundreds of short documentaries about powerful and intelligent modern women in science, business, politics, art, and other fields who are changing the world for the better. Topics cover everything from the last five years of the women’s movement and its intersectional fight for equality to Sister Rosetta Tharp, revered as the Godmother of Rock and Roll. 

Inspire your poet with the life and work of Amanda Gorman, the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. President Biden selected her to read her original poem “The Hill We Climb” for his Inauguration on January 20, 2021, making her the youngest poet to have served in this role. 

If you’re looking for inspiration that will last, have them create a quote board or vision board to remind them of all the great things they are capable of. Help them find famous quotes or phrases from women in history and then mount them on a bulletin board or a foam core display. Check out this list of Inspiring Quotes From 100 Extraordinary Women.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Resources for Home and Virtual Schooling

By Tracey Dowdy

Many parents, perhaps unwillingly adding “Homeschooling Teacher” to their resume, are scrambling for resources so our children can learn more this Fall than “Mom hides her ‘sanity chocolate’ in an empty bag of frozen peas.

These resources will become your go-to as you support your student and help them navigate everything from the parts of speech to solving a math problem using Common Core math. 

Khan Academy will show up in every search you do for “homeschooling resources” or “homework” help. The site is curated by experts and one of the most comprehensive learning resources available – and it’s free! Content covers everything from K-12 and some college prep. Their primary focus is on math and science. 

BrainPOP takes a fun approach to learning. They cover a broad spectrum of subjects using kid-friendly videos, written content, quizzes, and games. Kids can even make their own movies by compiling images, animations, and other elements. BrainPOP is offering schools free access while closed, so you might be able to access through your school district. Home users get a free month trial. After that, it’s $25 per month. 

Beanstalk is offering online classes in art, science, and more for preschoolers up to age 6 for free during the COVID-19 crisis. Their teachers are handpicked early childhood development experts, and there are countless classes to choose from.  

Scholastic Learn at Home digs into Scholastic’s extensive library to create engaging educational information to supplement online learning. Though not as academic as other resources on this list, each day has dedicated selections for PreK/Kindergarten, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, and Grades 6-9. Kids will love learning how emojis are designed, whether esports should be considered a sport, and how zoos are evolving with the times.

Even if you know all the tricks to write a paper in APA format or how to do long division, teaching French, Spanish, or any other foreign language may be outside your purview. That’s where Duolingo and Rosetta Stone come in. Depending on the language and how intensive the lessons need to be (and your budget), both programs offer easy to follow tutorials and coaching to help build your student’s skills. (Duolingo – Free; Rosetta Stone – plans start at $6.99/month) 

For a comprehensive list of online learning support and resources, the team over at staff at NewSchools Venture Fund, a philanthropic nonprofit organization, has developed a list of online learning resources with over 40 options across educational content and curricula, teaching tools and guides.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

This time of year, the mantra seems to be, “New year, new me.” The gym is crowded, grocery carts are full of produce after holiday indulgence, and our journals have at least a few consecutive days of entries. But, it’s not just adults that may want to hit the reset button and need a fresh start, perhaps your kids do too.

The weeks leading up to the holiday break can be a little chaotic, and if your child struggled with academics, organization, or even behaviors in 2018, reminding them the gift of a clean slate in 2019 can alleviate a significant amount of stress.

Here are a few tips:


Are you even a parent if your child hasn’t handed you a permission slip/announced you’re supposed to send in three dozen cookies for a bake sale/informed you they need a crate of popsicle sticks and a kilo of uranium-235 for a project due that day? Create a routine where the first thing to happen when your child gets home is to empty that backpack. BeeVisual’s Choiceworks Calendar is a “full-featured, kid-friendly calendar app designed to help children learn concepts of time and help caregivers to keep them organized.” Because it’s picture based, even young children can take ownership of their schedule and learn to manage their time and responsibilities. Cozi consistently ranks at the top of lists of parent’s favorite apps for its user-friendly interface that puts all your family’s events and activities in one place and works across platforms and devices. ColorNote for Android and SoundNote for iOS make it easier for older kids to take notes, track what’s coming up, and share through SMS/MMS, email, Messenger, and social media.


Whether it’s teaching them to control their emotions or learn to put their dishes in the dishwasher, there’s an app for that. Chore Pad offers customizable chore charts allowing your child to earn stars and trophies for completed tasks. Busykid not only teaches chores, but it also teaches fiscal responsibility. You assign the duties, your kids complete them, and their allowance is direct-deposited each Friday. Sesame Street’s Breathe, Think, Do app is available for Android and iOS devices and teaches children self-regulating tools like deep breathing for stressful or frustrating situations. Headspace for Kids goes a little further, breaking things down into five themes: Calm, Focus, Kindness, Sleep and Wake Up, each with age-appropriate tools (ages 5 and under, 6-8 and 9-12.)


 The Homework app allows students to upload their class schedule, know at a glance if it’s an A or B Day, a timeline of the day’s classes, a graph of the student’s workload for the next seven days, and quick options to contact teachers and instructors. Brainpop was created by a doctor as a tool to help explain difficult concepts to his young patients through games, movies, and engaging content. It’s a great resource for homework help and teaching complex subjects. Alternatively, Kahn Academy offers free, online instruction in everything from English grammar and algebra to art history and microeconomics.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.