Libraries from home for children and young people
Fun and educational activities for children and young people
Please also see our selection of activities and information for adults.
We will be adding new content regularly so please check back to see anything newly added:
Oak National Academy, in partnership with the National Literacy Trust have launched the Virtual School Library, offering free online books to children during school closures. "Every week a popular children's author or illustrator will provide you with free books, exclusive videos and their top three recommended reads".
Online Jigsaw Puzzles are offering free online jigsaw puzzles for all ages and abilities, you get to choose the number of pieces!
Top Marks are offering free educational resources giving children the opportunity to learn online, through safe, fun and engaging games and activities.
Wonderbaby have ten sensory activities for children who are blind.
Activity Village have a wealth of of fun ideas and activities for children.
The Winter Mini Challenge
The Winter Mini Challenge encourages children to keep up their reading habits over the winter holidays, with a free-to-access website featuring digital rewards and incentives for reading and reviewing books. Take up the challenge now and get your books, physical or electronic, for free from Surrey Libraries.
Online rhymetimes, storytimes, crafts, science and Lego clubs
We're pleased to be offering online storytimes and rhymetimes, crafts, Science and Lego clubs: Rhymetime on Monday and Friday at 10.30am and storytime on Wednesday at 10.30am. We also have crafts on Tuesdays (4.30pm), Science club on Thursdays (4.30pm) and Lego and origami clubs alternate Saturdays (10.30am). These are run on our libraries' facebook page, so follow us to be alerted.
All of our past events are also available on our YouTube channel.
- Join the library online - now even easier for children and young people
- Especially for Surrey
- Top tips for parents
- English and reading
- Fun activities
- General learning
- Home learning for under 5s
- Maths and numbers
- Mental health
- Physical activity and movement
- Science and technology
Especially for Surrey
The Surrey History Centre have put together on-line educational and fun activities for all ages . From family history to crafting and colouring, there is something for all age groups. You can choose from more informal and fun activities which involve quizzes, crafting and games, to more formal online school resources, such as KS2 & 3 sessions for Surrey in the Great War, 'Journey's End', historical food, and 'The March of the Women: Surrey's road to the vote'. There are also online exhibitions, links to Surrey's 43 museums' resources, and a myriad of virtual tours and bite-size learning opportunities from Surrey and beyond.
Surrey History Centre's Treasure Jam – create something inspired by an amazing object, archive or image, from our Surrey treasures gallery.
Top tips for parents
- Be guided by your child's school. Check out the learning information on the school website or speak to your child's class teacher.
- Get your child to create their own learning timetable. They'll be more likely to stick to it.
- Keep the learning sessions in short bursts.
- Get creative. Get messy! Painting, water play or slime making will keep your child interested.
- Include some physical activity during the day. Get outside if you can. Go for a walk, or a bike ride. Hula hooping, skipping, kicking a ball around, playing 'It' or hide and seek. Kids need 60 minutes activity each day. Or you could try these 10-minute shake-ups.
- Enjoy the garden or outdoor space. Get the kids involved in planting seeds. Give them their own space to grow their own veggies or flowers. Younger children could do a scavenger hunt or go bug hunting.
- Get them to write a diary each day. Even just a short paragraph. History in the making!
- Get them involved in the kitchen. Help making dinner or doing some baking, weighing and measuring are great maths skills.
- Write to a school friend or a family member they won't see for some time.
- Try to restrict screen time. Set an allocated time when phones, tablets and TV are all switched off.
- Take a moment to enjoy quality family time. Dig out the board games and jigsaws. Scrabble, playing cards, even monopoly can all help sharpen learning skills.
Life under lockdown can be particularly challenging for children with complex disabilities:
- The National Autistic Society has created some tips for autistic people and families to help them cope in these unprecedented times.
- Look offer mentoring and support to visually impaired children and their families. They are currently running webinars and online chats to discuss the problems families are experiencing during the current situation.
- Victa offer support and activities for blind and partially sighted people from birth to 29 years old to build confidence and life skills.
- Take a look at the See Touch Learn app, a picture-based learning system designed to help children with autism.
- HelpKidzLearn is the place to find accessible software which enables children of all abilities to, play develop and achieve.
- Search a selection of free sensory apps, covering speech simulation, digital painting and art, relaxation, photo fun and more.
- Create and print your own visuals to support children with a range of communication needs with the Visuals2Go App.
- Visit Surrey's online hub for 0-25 year old with special educational needs or a disability.
English and reading
Surrey libraries have a range of eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and eComics: includes children's classics such as Roald Dahl, David Walliams, Derek Landy, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo and Rick Riordan. Audiobooks: Over 1800, child and teen titles. Magazines: 126 titles including: National Geographic, SFX Mag, Science Focus, The Week, New Scientist and Philosophy Now. Comics: We now have over 1500 eComics, including Disney and Marvel, with more titles added regularly. They can be read within the RBdigital App or in your browser.
- Cressida Cowell reads How to Train your Dragon and Wizards of Once.
- Nosy Crow have published a free eBook: Coronavirus, a Guide for Children written by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson and Nia Roberts, illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
- The Reading Agency offer a range of resources including advice on using books to reduce isolation.
- Authorfy will be posting a 10 minute creative writing challenge, hosted by bestselling children's authors and illustrators, every day for the next 2-3 months.
- Explore centuries of stories, poems and illustrations on The British Library's Discovering Children's Books website. For children, teachers and book-lovers of all ages.
- Shakespeare Week has lots of themed activities in their Kids' Zone. There is a printable booklet to track what children have been doing.
- Project Gutenberg – the website for books out of copyright – has a range of books for children.
- Book publishers Penguin offer a range of quizzes based on some of your favourite children's characters from Peppa Pig to Wimpy Kid.
- BookTrust Looking for something fun as a family? Enjoy story time with our free online books, play games, win prizes, or test your knowledge in our book-themed quizzes.
- Enid Blyton's Malory Towers - you can watch the full series of Malory Towers, based on the classic series by Enid Blyton, watch it for free on the CBBC iPlayer.
- Struggle to read or hold books due to blindness, visual impairment, physical disability or print blindness? Register for free access to eBooks at Seeing Ear. All titles can be read as Giant Print, braille or with synthetic speech.
- Living Paintings offer tactile and braille books for children to learn, read and explore through their free postal library.
- The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education provide free teaching plans and resources for teaching literacy which can also be used for home schooling.
StoryWeaver is providing multilingual stories for children.
Global Digital Library are offering multilingual digital storybooks for children. This is operated by UNESCO and the United States Library of Congress.
Libraries Connected, a team of public librarians from across the country, has produced Libraries from home, highlighting key services that can be accessed through library websites and social media platforms.
The British Library website offer a range of ideas for imaginative, creative activities for children of all ages, including creating your own mini book and drawing the Gruffalo.
Digital making at home - A different theme every week that will inspire you to have fun, solve problems, and express yourself creatively with technology.
A new 3-part Puffin Podcast series has launched where comedian, children's author and YouTube personality Humza Arshad hosts laugh-out-loud stories, games and jokes guaranteed to give you the giggles!
The Pied Piper Theatre Company offer lots of theatre based activities and videos, many free, for babies and young toddlers.
Children's illustrator Sir Quentin Blake offers fun, free resources on his website including colouring, and e-cards to send to friends and family.
RSPCA activities have been made available for children.
Manchester Libraries are running a 10 week creative challenge, Express Yourself, starting Monday 4 May, with new challenges every week until Monday 6 July.
Fun Palaces are offering Tiny revolutions of connection, in which they are sharing practical suggestions as to how to connect more with your local community and pass their time creatively in isolation.
Families Magazine have published their third free lockdown issue packed full of more tips for parents and fun things for children.
BBC Bitesize offers in-depth online learning covering ages 3-16+.
Oxford Owl at Home provides free resources to support learning at home. Includes a free eBook library for 3-11yr olds, educational activities & games and advice & support for parents.
The Department for Education has produced an excellent list of resources for learning from home, organised by key stage.
The School Libraries Association has put together a great list of resources to support parents.
Creative Isolation give a lovely roundup of activities and learning from a range of organisations.
Great British Home Chorus: register to sing with Gareth Malone online.
The National Geographic Kids website has fun learning games including quizzes, puzzles and word scrambles.
The Surrey History Centre offers some wonderful insights into local history, from archaeology to Alice in Wonderland.
Virtual tours of famous museums allows you to experience some of the best museums in the world, from the comfort of your own home.
Home learning for under 5s
Cosmic Kids has a range of activities to get under-fives active and to develop motor skills.
Bookstart have interactive stories and games on their website, as well as suggested reading.
Memrise have free online language learning packages for a range of different languages.
Maths and numbers
Sumdog can help children age 5–14 years-old, practise maths through games. Free access gives you six different games for children to use. You can also sign up as a member.
Reading Well for Children is a booklist of expert endorsed reading to support children's mental health and wellbeing, includes both fiction and non fiction. The list is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 but includes titles aimed at a wide range of reading levels.
Kooth provides free online counselling and mental health and wellbeing support for young people aged between 10–18yrs. On Kooth.com, young people can speak to a counsellor until 10pm every day of the year, can access numerous self-help resources and share their experiences, creatively, through articles and forums.
Physical activity and movement
PE with Joe Wicks – visit his YouTube channel every morning at 9am for a workout.
Keep yourself active for 60 minutes a day: NHS Change4Life has lots of games and activities.
The Tim Henman Foundation is posting a new challenge every week for children to try at home.
Science and technology
We have created the Surrey Library lab, Which contains our own science activities for you to try at home and a variety of other websites that are offering science and technology content.
Browse the Wellcome Collection and view thousands of artworks, photographs and images.