Months into our not-so-new routine of staying at home, parents are still working overtime in between conference calls, virtual coffee meetings, and emailing just to entertain their kids. When screen time is off the table, fort building, meal prepping, and crafting are all easy ways to capture little ones’ attention. But sometimes online fun is necessary—especially when the adults have their own to-do lists.
Rather than park your tots in front of the TV, turn the day into a mini virtual field trip. These eight educational resources aren’t meant to feel like schoolwork, so your children will actually be eager to jump right in. From science experiments to yoga, bookmark these activities when you want to get their creativity flowing again.
On Saturdays, the Art Students League of New York’s Young Artists Class, taught by Marilyn J. Friedman, is meant to develop the eye, hand, and mind through a series of exercises.
The Kennedy Center is hosting Democracy Doodle with Mo Willems, its education artist in residence. The series of online videos celebrates doodles and democracy—two forms of self-expression worthy of celebration. Bring some paper, pencils, crayons, and—of course—a snack.
Virtual art exhibitions are a very real thing now. Tons of museums, including the Guggenheim and the National Gallery of Art, have opened up their doors so we can still experience their collections in isolation. One Sunday each month, the Museum of Contemporary Art hosts For Families, an inclusive virtual program that includes an experimental activity for kids and teaches parents how to talk to little ones about art.
The playground might be off-limits, but a short yoga sesh will get your little ones up and moving, especially if it involves cool characters they connect with. Cosmic Kids releases new (free) videos on YouTube every week that are all based around storytelling. If you’ve noticed your child has been feeling anxious lately, switch on CK’s mindfulness series, Zen Den, which teaches kids breathing techniques.
The Smithsonian Science Education Center’s Glider Guide lets kids soar over real-world terrain in the United States, almost as if they were traveling to a new destination by plane. Along the way, they’ll learn about different types of land and water features and test their knowledge with in-game assessments. Winter break can still feel like a vacation.
There are plenty of opportunities to make the world a better place right now. Buying a fabric face mask that gives back to all the first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak is one option. You can also log on to programs like Free Rice, which donates food to impoverished nations for every right answer kiddos get on a vocabulary quiz.
Replicate the classroom and P.E. at the same time by hopping on National Geographic’s Science Lab page, where kids can pick from tutorials such as how to make a human spirograph (it involves a skateboard, a giant piece of paper, and markers) or a DIY lava lamp. The bright ideas will keep on coming.