As the world’s schools, daycare facilities, theaters, museums, libraries, science centers, aquariums, zoos, parks, botanical gardens, and trampoline palaces close their physical doors, bewildered parents everywhere wonder: How in the world are we going to keep the kids busy?
While we’re highly enthusiastic about kids’ activities that don’t involve screens, let’s face it. The educational and informational riches of the internet feel tailor-made for life in quarantine. That’s why we’ve taken the time to collect five of the best online resources for helping you keep your kids’ brains engaged and purposefully entertained during the coronavirus quarantine. Welcome to Covered’s list of quarantine ideas for kids!
Explore Our World via the Smithsonian Learning Lab
Visit the Smithsonian from the comfort of your couch! The Smithsonian Learning Lab is a free online learning platform giving users access to millions of resources from the Smithsonian’s massive museum, research, and educational collections. Start by downloading the “Getting Started” PDF to help you better understand what’s available/possible. Got a kid interested in space travel? A keyword search offers up 5,000+ resources — videos, photos, recordings, weblinks, activities, art, and more — that users can save and organize into collections. The same search yields a “Learning Lab Collections” tab featuring 20+ educator-curated collections on everything from space food to the biology of long-term spaceflight. Some collections include lesson plans and teaching materials. For kids of all ages.
Go Virtually to a Broadway Play or Musical
Your local theaters may be closed, but the bright lights of Broadway still welcome theatergoers — at least in a virtual sense. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, live shows and musicals were proliferating on PBS and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Check out this Playbill article for links to productions such as Billy Elliott, Peter Pan, Into the Woods, and Kiss Me, Kate. For more options, this Playbill article offers links to classics old and new such as The SpongeBob Musical, An American in Paris, 42nd Street, Phantom of the Opera, The King & I, and Macbeth. For kids of all ages.
Dive into History at the Digital Public Library of America
Lucky for us, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) remains wide open for business, no hand sanitizer needed. Search up any topic you’d like in the DPLA database. Check out their Online Exhibitions for virtual museum experiences on topics like the “Golden Age of Radio in the US,” “Race to the Moon,” and “American Aviatrixes: Women with Wings.” If you’d like to use DPLA to supplement your child’s virtual schooling, check out DPLA’s Primary Source Sets, which are educator-developed deep dives (complete with teaching guides!) on a range of historic, literary, and cultural topics. For example, a set on architect Frank Lloyd Wright includes not only photos of his work, but also an excerpted audio interview, articles by Wright and his contemporaries, discussion questions, and a recommendation for a classroom activity focused on one of Wright’s buildings. For kids in middle school or high school.
Focus on “Some Good News” for a Change
Seeking to soften his own coronavirus blues, actor, writer, and director John Krasinski started a weekly “Some Good News” (SGN) YouTube broadcast focused on sharing the good news that might otherwise get buried. Krasinski encourages viewers worldwide to share good news, and to create their own SGN broadcasts. Guest appearances run the gamut (DeNiro does weather?!), and delightful surprises abound. For kids of all ages.
Take a Walk on the Odd Side with Atlas Obscura
Looking for something a little more unexpected? Check out Atlas Obscura’s “Wonder from Home” series, an ever-changing virtual playground featuring stories, project ideas, images, maps, tours, recipes, and how-to articles. Maybe you didn’t know you wanted to learn how to echolocate, explore a shipwreck, hear Sigmund Freud’s toilet flush, see the cherry blossoms bloom, or learn about questionable recipes that emerged during other tough times in history? Atlas Obscura helps you find all sorts of interesting stuff you never knew you were interested in. For kids in middle school or high school.
Covered is here to help you through these challenging times. While we’ve got ideas to help you lower your bills and lessen budget impact, we know that surviving COVID-19 will require focusing on far more than finances and insurance. Look for more installments of our “5 Ways to Beat the Coronavirus Blues” series, coming soon to our blog.