In a shocking move that upended pretty much everyone’s way of life, virtually every school district in America closed schools for the foreseeable future last week. As daycares and well, pretty much everything else followed suit, parents everywhere have now been forced to become homeschoolers in addition to our many other roles. So how can we keep our kiddos entertained during this unprecedented time of social distancing? After all, there’s no telling how long it will last, so doing nothing is certainly not an option.
Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite activities that are free (or pretty close) that you can try when you feel like you’ve exhausted all your options. These are fun things for your kids to do that offer some amount of educational value as well, so you can feel good about the effort you’re putting into your child’s day. And remember—more important than anything is to love your little ones hard and stick together through this crisis.
If the sweeping closures we’re facing have forced you to cancel your family vacation, brighten your kids’ day with a virtual tour of 31 of America’s best national parks. Brought to you by Google Earth, this fantastic service provides a full-color, street-level view of many of the most beautiful vistas, geysers, mountains and lakes our country has to offer. Parks include Acadia, Yellowstone, Big Bend and many more!
What better way to pass the (many, many) hours than making all kinds of different slime? You may not be able to pop over to the store to buy the supplies you need, but you can still get them on Amazon! Plan ahead and grab some glue, borax, glitter and whatever else your kids will need to concoct some amazing slime recipes.
Sensory bins are a great way for the younger crowd to keep busy and let you check some items off your to-do list. Rice, dry pasta and sand all make great mediums for sensory bins, but you can use whatever you have in the house, really. Just be sure any items you include are age-appropriate to prevent choking hazards.
If you’ve got a little one who loves to be read to, but also a pressing deadline, let the celebs handle it! Check out Storyline Online for a great selection of children’s books read by celebrities. Looking for more? Josh Gad, the voice of the lovable snowman Olaf from Frozen, is also reading books on his Twitter feed, as is Betty White.
Join author and artist Mo Williams
every day from the Kennedy Center as he doodles some of the characters from his famous Piggie and Gerald books (and the pigeon, of course!). It’s a fun, relaxing way to spend lunchtime learning a new skill.
Despite being shut down due to the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus, there are many museums across the country offering online content to keep kids entertained and learning. Among them, the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
One thing’s for sure—during this time of social distancing, there are plenty of animal cams to keep your little ones busy! From the San Diego Zoo to the Georgia Aquarium, it seems like everyone’s putting their furry, fuzzy and scaly friends on display for the sake of entertaining kids who are stuck indoors.
Scholastic, a close partner with schools across the country, wasted no time putting out an online resource to help kids continue their education in the wake of school closures across the country. The Scholastic Learn at Home program consists of books, videos and activities for each day, broken down by grade level groups. There’s something for everyone at this robust site.
When it’s time to build some science into your new homeschooling curriculum, turn to Switch Zoo animal games. It’s a great website for everything animal related, whether your kids want to learn about different habitats, dream up an entirely new animal or build a biome.
We’re cooped up inside for what will likely be the longest period in recent memory, so it’s looking like you’ll have to help your kids get their wiggles out indoors. That’s why we’ve included Cosmic Kids Yoga on our list—it’s a super cute yoga program that incorporates fun songs and stories as they teach classic yoga moves to your little ones. Bet you didn’t think your kids would beg for more yoga!