Social distancing is important for you and your family’s health. It can also be dull – especially if you’re 6 years old.
Fortunately, libraries, zoos, museums and quite possibly your favorite author are doing what they can to keep you entertained and educated while also keeping you healthy.
So here are a dozen ideas to help you combat the quarantine crazies.
1. Libraries may have closed their buildings, but many of your favorite libraries are still hosting online storytimes, as are many of your favorite authors and illustrators! You can doodle along with Mo Willems at noon every weekday on the Kennedy Center’s YouTube channel. James Dean, creator of Pete the Cat, is reading Pete storybooks on his Instagram. Dav Pilkey, the creator of Dog Man and Captain Underpants, is sharing how-to-draw demonstrations and read-alouds from his home at 8 a.m. every Friday. There are dozens more authors hosting storytimes, concerts and more online. Here’s the best list I’ve found online so far.
2. Check out the Cleveland Metroparks’ virtual classrooms! Visit the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo page at 11 a.m. each weekday for a behind-the-scenes look with the biologists who care for the animals. Then, at 1 p.m., visit the Cleveland Metroparks page as its naturalists help you explore the Emerald Necklace.
3. Speaking of parks, Most of them are still open. (Just make sure you follow social distancing guidelines.) Hit the happy trails. But if you’d rather stay in, you can still travel your National Parks with Google Earth Virtual Tours. Visit Arches, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Denali, and our own Cuyahoga Valley National Park from home.
4. The Great Lakes Science Center is hosting fascinating and fun science experiments at 10:30 every weekday as part of its Curiosity Corner Live series.
5. Likewise, the Children’s Museum of Clevelandis posting storytimes, crafts and even yoga workouts each day on its Facebook page.
6. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is hosting Museum Mondays, Wildlife Wednesdays, and Scientist Saturdays at noon on its website and social media channels. Monday classes are made with kids in mind, while Wednesdays classes focus on the animals at the museum. Meanwhile, Scientist Saturdays will feature recorded scientific lectures and collection spotlights.
7. Have a kid who wants to be a marine biologist? Oceans Initiative is hosting a Virtual Marine Biology Camp at 2 p.m. every Monday and Thursday on its Facebook and Instagram pages. Learn about whales, sharks, whale sharks and more!
9. If you’re missing Playhouse Square, The National Theatre in London is screening a free play every Thursday this month on its YouTube channel! The first show is “One Man, Two Guvnors” starring James Corden.
11. I previously mentioned the Cleveland Zoo, but many zoos are reaching out online while they’re closed to the public. San Diego Zoo has polar bear, elephant, and koala cams that you can watch. They also have archived footage from their panda cam.
12. Finally, many libraries have digital services that you can use – even when their buildings are closed. For example, at Mentor Public Library (where I work), you can still access ebooks, audiobooks, streaming music, videos, and more for free with your library card.
- Hoopla, Kanopy or RBDigital for movies, TV shows or documentaries that you can stream
- Hoopla (again) or Freegal for music, as well as Qello for concerts that you can stream
- OverDrive or Hoopla (again again) for ebooks, audiobooks and comics
- Flipster for online editions of your favorite magazine
- Lynda and Niche Academy for online learning
Also, anyone with a CLEVNET card (that includes you!) has free access to Tumblebooks’ catalogue through Aug. 31. There’s read-along picture books, math help, foreign language learning, and more! Check out:
- K-6 Children’s eBook Database
- K-6 Math eBook Database
- 7-12 eBook Database
- All Ages Audiobook Database
That’s just a few different ideas. I’m sure I missed several. Please let me know your favorite cure for the quarantine crazies in the comments. In the meantime, be well!