While the sudden disappearance of daycare, school and other daily routines may be destabilizing, parents can combat by equipping themselves with a wide variety of educational activities (both online and offline) to effectively pass the time.

The following are some that we suggest you give a try.

  1. Many of the big publishers, including Penguin Random House and Scholastic, are waiving their public performance restrictions in order to allow authors, teachers, and librarians to perform online story times – and often they are live and interactive! Start by checking out #OperationReadAloud on Facebook for updates about author-read storytimes.
  2. For a fun and educational activity that lasts around 30 minutes, try an alphabet scavenger hunt. Write the letters of the alphabet on pieces of paper and hide them around your house. Task your child with seeking out the letters and then matching the letters with items around your house that start with the letter (e.g. the M paper could hold items like a marker, money or magnets). Then get them to clean up!
  3. In light of recent world events, TumbleBooks is opening up their databases to all library users until August 31st. They offer unlimited access to e-books and audiobooks of all kinds, but also a ton of fun and interactive math e-books in their TumbleMath database. Access these resources by clicking here.
  4. Many of us are taking to Skype or Zoom conferencing software to chat with friends and colleagues, so why not extend it to kids? Set up a virtual playdate with your kid’s friends and if things get unruly, have each of the parents/caregivers take turns reading to the group a picture book of their child’s choice.
  5. Baking using recipes is a great way for little ones to practice their math skills. Walk them through the step-by-steps, ask them to count while you do your measuring, and participate in the combining and mixing.
  6. Scholastic recently launched their awesome Learn at Home website. It has day-by-day, week-by-week lessons and activities for a variety of age groups (pre-K to Grade 9). It also has resources for parents and teachers. 
  7. Kids may be interested in “visiting” some of the world’s most famous museums. You can do virtual tours of the British Museum in London, the MET and Guggenheim in New York, and the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. You can even do a free online tour of the Louvre.
  8. Similarly, a lot of zoos and aquariums have live feeds and interactive exhibits. For example, Atlanta Zoo has a panda bear live stream, the world-famous San Diego zoo has live feeds for their koalas, polar bears and tigers, and National Aquarium in Baltimore offers a floor-by-floor virtual tour.
  9. Arts and crafts are an obvious activity for homebound kids, but one way to give their creativity a greater purpose is to have them join “Hearts Out.” This growing movement has children creating and displaying decorative hearts in their windows. The hearts serve as nod of thanks to medical professionals and others who are still going in to work for the good of our community.
  10. E-Books! We have tons of them, and plenty for kids. For instance, Hoopla Digital has regular e-book titles as well as plenty of interactive, read-aloud titles for children who are just getting started with reading. All you need is a library card, which you can sign up for online.

Bonus: Kate, our Programming and Outreach Coordinator, has compiled a list of her favourite resources for older kids (grades 7-12). Check it out by clicking here.

For plenty of more ideas and resources for individuals and families facing social isolation, please continue to visit our website and follow our social media channels. 

This article was originally published in The Napanee Beaver