We are now several months into the pandemic which has slowed economic activity and in-person social events. Many school districts across the country remain closed and record numbers of Americans are working from home or unemployed. While many expect schools to reopen in September, having kids at home for months on end can be a challenge.
Below is a list of entertaining and educational resources if you’re struggling to keep your kids occupied. And while you’re at it, consider this suggestion from Harvard Business Review on ‘bundling’ activities so you can make time to connect with your adult friends and family members, even while you’re apart.
Libraries and General Education
If your family doesn’t visit your local library regularly, you may be surprised to find out how many amazing resources are available, even online. And Wellesley Free Library’s Family Quarantine Resources and Resources for Quarantined Families from PJ Library are other great places to look for activity ideas, virtual field trips, and more.
If you’re looking for K-12 education materials beyond what your kids’ school provides, Khan Academy is offering free resources to keep everyone learning for students, teachers, and parents.
Technology and Science
Codeacademy offers free courses for those interested in learning to code, along with more advanced features by subscription. Check out their quiz to choose the best place to start.
Code.org hosts a weekly Code Break, an interactive webcast to engage all students, even those without computers.
Reading and Language
Free audiobooks for children from Audible (including Harry Potter).
Learn a new language in just a few minutes a day with Duolingo.
Arts and Culture
Free online tours of the world’s best galleries and museums:
- New York – Museum of Modern Art and The Guggenheim Museum
- Washington, D.C. – The Smithsonian and National Museum of African American History & Culture
- Los Angeles – The J. Paul Getty Museum
- London – British Museum
- Paris – The Louvre
- St. Petersburg – State Hermitage Museum
- Amsterdam – Van Gogh Museum
- Rome – The Vatican Museum
- Canada – The Virtual Museum of Canada
For music lovers:
- The Social Distancing Festival for artists in dance, music, opera, and visual arts who’ve had shows cancelled due to shutdowns.
- BroadwayHD is offering unlimited Broadway plays on demand for $8.99 / month.
- Vancouver Symphony’s final performance of the BeethovenFest.
- If your kids are interested in learning to play an instrument, try Springboard’s 30 Best Free Online Music Courses.
Animals and Nature
The San Diego Zoo is live streaming a number of animals on its website, including hippos, penguins, and apes. You can also watch exotic animals like snow leopards with a selection of live video streams from Zoos Victoria in Australia, or visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada to watch jellyfish and sharks.
If you prefer to see animals in their natural habitat, try Explore.org’s Brown Bear Cam to watch them feeding on fish at Brooks Falls in Alaska.
Tools like YouVisit and Google Street View Treks help you explore Everest Base Camp in Nepal, Yosemite National Park, Peruvian Galapagos Islands, The Great Wall of China, and pretty much anywhere else you can think of.
Help your kids learn kitchen skills and cooking basics with Instructables. You can also find cooking lesson plans and recipes from The Charlie Cart Project, and a whole bunch of kid-friendly recipes to try on ChopChopFamily.
If your kids are young adults pondering their career path (or if you’re considering a career change yourself), check out this video series from GCF Global. You’ll also want to check out their series on creativity, critical thinking, and making decisions.
Online Games and Social Media
If all else fails and your kids are entertaining themselves with online games and social media during quarantine, these resources may come in handy.