Free Twinkl teaching resources: A teacher's guide

Paul Main

What are Twinkl teaching resources and why are they so popular in school classrooms? A teacher's guide to all things Twinkl.

Free Twinkl Resources: A teacher's guide

It's a brand name synonymous with primary school classrooms. If you are planning a learning activity and need a quick solution, the chances are you have probably used one of their resources at some point in your career. In this article we dig a little deeper and have a look at what this educational publisher offers classroom practitioners.

What is Twinkl?

Twinkl is an online educational publishing house, which provides a large variety of educational ideas resources for teachers, schools and parents of children. Twinkl offers academic resources that can be used at any step of the learning journey. Their resources are prepared by expert instructors providing complete schemes of work, assessments, educational games, lesson plans, augmented reality and a lot more. In this post, our team at Structural Learning dig a little deeper into this innovative educational publisher.

The familiar Twinkl logo
The familiar Twinkl logo

History of Twinkl Educational Publishing

Headquartered in Sheffield, Twinkl Educational Publishing was founded on February 3rd, 2010 by Susie Seaton and Jonathan Seaton. Its founders started the company from the back bedroom of their tiny home and today it has more than one million subscribers living all over the world. Their educational materials and resource packs save teachers valuable time and are a firm favourite for a wide range of teachers. In 2019 the company received the Queen's award for Enterprise in International Trade.

How to Access Resources through Twinkl Sign In

Once you have signed into the platform and set up either a free or paid account, it is very easy to access the resources. You just have to type what you want to do on the search bar e.g. sounds, letters and phonics etc. Or, you can simply click on the options provided on the platform. Twinkl's resources are categorized as follows and include both teaching materials and assessment materials:

  • EYFS - Early Years Foundation Stage
  • Welsh
  • ESL/TESL
  • KS1, KS2, KS3/4 (Key Stages)
  • EAL
  • SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability)

After clicking on a category, you can choose a specific topic such as science, reading, maths, etc.

Twinkl keeps on increasing it's offered services for the users. Alongside the printable resources, it has added new areas such as 'Activities and Games' and 'Health and Wellbeing'.

Is Twinkl Free?

The online education resource Twinkl contains more than 525,000 different educational resources and new content is added every day. Many of the Twinkl resources are free to use; whereas, some are only accessible to its subscribers. The free Twinkl resources are a useful starting point for resourcing your classroom. The membership options available means that investing in the platform is affordable to most classroom practitioners. Many schools invest in a site licence. Another great free resource that compliments the Twinkl resources is the Universal Thinking Framework. The free PDF enables teachers to guide their pupils thinking in productive ways. You can download a high resolution copy and use it as a planning tool in departmental meetings.

Using Free Twinkl Resources alongside the Thinking Framework gets children 'really' thinking!
Using Free Twinkl Resources alongside the Thinking Framework gets children 'really' thinking!

Twinkl Home Learning

Home learning Hub at Twinkl has a complete timetable for the available content which is upgraded on daily basis. All of the provided content in the Home Learning Hub can be accessed for free and offers the time-saving solution if you are planning to switch to online education at short notice. This service saw a spike in membership during the first part of the pandemic. Parents needed somewhere to turn to for quick and easy solutions. It has continued to be a popular platform for homeschooled children around the globe.

Home learning Twinkl Packs
Home learning Twinkl Packs

Exploring the Twinkl Apps

Twinkl apps provide a great way to make long lasting online learning experiences at home. These apps contain a large variety of choices too. Parents and teachers can browse all the available resources in the Twinkl apps, then explore the huge collection of online learning materials. The 'Twinkl Originals' app contains many storybooks for children to read. The most current app, 'Learn & Explore' brings life to learning by using models of augmented reality in everything from dinosaurs to planets into real-life locations. Twinkl has several other apps covering a huge variety of subjects - everything at the apps is free to access for Twinkl subscribers.

What is Twinkl Go!?

If you are searching for web-based learning activities without using a printer, Twinkl Go! offers the best time-saving resources and collection of interactive educational activities, covering all subjects suitable for all age groups. You will find hundreds of online interactive activities, audio-books, games and videos that can be accessed on any device, without installing any particular app. These are the ready-made resources covering most subjects and ages. Twinkl Go! would be the best choice for you if you are short of time and looking for top-quality, curriculum-based digital educational activities quickly.

Twinkl Go! offers teachers interactive resources
Twinkl Go! offers teachers interactive resources

Print-out Resources

A large number of Twinkl resources can be used as offline resources. Many online Twinkl resources come with the answer sheets and can be easily downloaded. These printable resources are designed to make your lives a little easier. Many parents only print the pages they need and save the answer sheets for their own use only. After finding the resource you need to print, just send it for printing (in black and white if you want to save ink). If you are worried about screen time, this option gives the opportunity to engage children using offline educational resources. Within most primary schools in the UK, you will find evidence of the twinkl resources. The cartoon like pictures provide pupils with visual access to curriculum content. Whether you are searching for a specialist piece of history content or some inspirational quotes, the database of teaching resources will have you covered.

Twinkl Phonics Map
Twinkl Phonics Map

Annotate Twinkl PDFs

Many people don't have printers at home. They can use Twinkl's PDF resources by using the PDF's Markup tool. All they need to do is, simply log in at the Twinkl App, find the resource they need, and download the resource in the standard version. Now, children can use The Markup tool visible at the top right corner to highlight text, add text boxes, and use many other options available for them.

Homework Help by Twinkl

This area of Twinkl offers help with the primary classes homework. Whether it is related to the main causes of air pollution or learning about Stone-age; Twinkl will offer the most efficient help with the homework. History section will effectively demonstrate how Columbus discovered America; and Geography area will explain about the seven wonders of the world. No matter what it is, children would surely find interesting information and super facts about a large number of topics included in the primary curriculum.

Twinkl's Home Educators Area

Home Educators area contains everything home educators may wish to ask to help them teach children. It has a large variety of ideas and projects on different subjects and topics. For example: The Teaching Wiki provides explanation for the key vocabulary and common terms used in the classroom. It contains different tools which can be used in several ways:

1) Teachers and parents can use the provided information to increase subject knowledge.

2) Parents can support their children and use this page to help children with homework.

3) Parents can support their children and use this page to help children with homework.

4) The lapbooks are great starting point for conducting research.

5) The Maths Mysteries are a great tool for engaging children in number problems.

6) There are specialist resources for different occasions like Easter.

7) It's not all literacy and numeracy; Personal growth, beliefs and PSHCE are also covered.

If you are a home educator and want to keep up-to-speed with the latest research, we thoroughly recommend that you sign up to our regular newsletter and visit our research page. You can download summaries of key research areas and use the insights to guide practice and make decisions about your child's education.

Twinkl flashcards are a useful manipulative tool for home learning
Twinkl flashcards are a useful manipulative tool for home learning

How much is Twinkl Membership?

Twinkl's basic monthly membership costs £4.16 / month. There are no extra or hidden costs. Users may pay the charges for the subscription on monthly basis, or they may save a little more by opting for a yearly subscription. The following picture shows three different types of Subscription packages at Twinkl.

 

FAQs

  • Who creates the teaching resources?

The publisher has a team of expert writers with many years of experience in parenting and teaching. With their dual expertise, Twinkl Specialist writers provide guidance about a wide range of topics. According to Twinkl, their main purpose is to support the education, development and well-being of children.  Their resources and assessment materials contain explanations and clear guidelines on what children are learning, how parents and educators can help children use them, and which is the best place to find supporting activities and resources. Also, there is a huge variety of crafts and games present for family fun.

  • How much does Twinkl cost?

Everyone can get access to Twinkl materials for a low fee. Users can subscribe to the basic monthly plan costing £4.16 / month, platinum membership for £4.50 / month or platinum plus membership costing £5.85 / month.

  • How do I cancel?

It is quick and easy to cancel a monthly subscription at Twinkl. All one needs to do is, go to the Membership & Payments page and cancel, downgrade or pause the membership. The company will send a confirmation email to tell if the cancellation was successful. Please note, it is not possible to cancel the subscription on the day any payment is due.

How else does Twinkl help?

Youtube Channel

Twinkl's youtube channel offers some great instructional videos for teachers. As well as supporting educators to use their teaching resources, the channel also has some great advice for trainee and early career teachers.

Twinkl Imagine

Imagine is a place where one can find a new idea each day. This area of Twinkl has a unique image every day. It is the best place that promotes in-depth learning and discussion in students. One can find new ideas for teaching and new activities for children belonging to all age groups.

Twinkl's Newsroom

The Newsroom shows the news for children every day. Their everyday news reports are children-friendly and provide a great way to tell children about the news with unique content each day. These news reports accompany a wide range of curriculum-based teaching resources.

Kids TV by Twinkl

Videos at Twinkl Kids' TV show high-quality visual illustrations about using Twinkl's library of sensory activities, science experiments and creative craft videos. Children can also access educational video games including sorting activities and maths teasers at the Twinkl Kid's Tv channel.

World Refugee Week featured in Twinkl newsroom
World Refugee Week featured in Twinkl newsroom

Criticisms of Twinkl

Some schools are trying to move away from resource led instruction. That is to say, encouraging teachers to make decisions about how they want their class to think as opposed to using a powerpoint because 'it was there'. One of the problems cited is the number of student teachers who find a nice resource from Twinkl and design a lesson around it rather than thinking about what they want the children to learn first and then finding a resource. The resources themselves are not the problem, it's more of a problem with teaching culture. As long as there is a balance between meeting curriculum goals and teacher workload, then there's not really an issue. However, if you are using the physical resources your colour photocopy can take a whack!

If you found this blog post useful you might be interested in learning about another popular classroom tool, Numicon. This teaching resource has become synonymous to Maths education and enables children to grasp abstract number concepts. If you want a different approach to designing lessons that puts student thinking at the centre of the classroom, you might be interested in exploring the Universal Thinking Framework. This novel way of creating learning experiences puts the child's thought process at the centre of the classroom experience. Of course, learning resources such as Twinkl can be used to enhance the classroom experience but the emphasis on instructional design puts thinking stage centre.

Using the Universal Thinking Framework with Free Twinkl Resources
Using the Universal Thinking Framework with Free Twinkl Resources

Other active learning resources for your classroom

If you want to get your class to do more of the thinking, you might be interested to learn about Writer's Block. Teachers around the globe have been using this resource to enable children to understand curriculum content and communicate their ideas through the written and spoken word. We believe that children need space to think for themselves, this means intellectual exploration combined with guided classroom talk. If you are interested in this new tool and want to get your class 'really thinking', then get in touch and arrange a demo for your school.

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