As parents around the world adjust to working from home to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), odds are that they are also challenged with finding free resources for children that will keep them entertained and focused on schoolwork.
Finding STEM-related resources for elementary-aged school children can be especially difficult. Most children’s activities in the technology fields, like cybersecurity, target kids ages 11 and up. There may also be assumptions that cybersecurity activities are only for children interested in high-tech fields. However, today’s youth are growing up in the Internet age and are just as susceptible to digital threats as their parents. In addition to training our children about Internet safety and best practices, they need a basic understanding of cybersecurity.
To complement – and supplement – the eLearning assignments children are using to pass the time at home, parents can access additional cybersecurity and technology focused activity sheets. The UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security offers a variety of resources for free to families to help create a culture of cybersecurity for all ages. Another perk? Everything listed below is available offline! That means your kids won’t be bogging down the home’s Internet services or trying to access your mobile devices.
Free Resources for Children
- Electronic Games
Multiple games, targeting students in grades K-12, are available as free electronic downloads. These games teach a range of cybersecurity topics, from sharing information online and basic cybersecurity terminology to defending networks against cyber-attacks and cryptography.
- Cyber Security Worksheets
With the aid of printable worksheets designed for ages 5-11, children navigate the world of cybersecurity while practicing spelling, reading comprehension, pattern recognition and other age-appropriate skills to match goals in the classroom. Cybersecurity mascots, known as the CyBear Family, provide fun and interactive lessons to keep them engaged.
- Card Games
For kids ages 11-18, the Cyber Threat Defender: Collectible Card Game is another low-tech option for teaching high-tech concepts. This two-player game teaches cybersecurity terminology and basic cybersecurity concepts in just 20 minutes! Order your cards here.Designed to be fun first – and educational second – your children will learn concepts such as the importance of updating the computer’s software and keeping the firewalls maintained. This is a great option to either break up the monotony of the day’s lesson plans or to incorporate into their activities. And a younger version, Cyber Threat Protector, will be available for kids in third through fifth grades by summer 2020!
Helping children create more secure digital lives now will create a more secure future for everyone. And it’s important to remember that learning how to be safe online doesn’t have to burdensome; creating a culture of cybersecurity can be fun for everyone!