Having everyone at home pretty much all of the time can be a challenge–especially when it comes to keeping children engaged and active.
But thanks to digital technology and the generosity of organizations and artists also affected by what some now call the “coronatine,” it doesn’t have to be.
Below, some family-friendly (and free!) options to keep young minds and bodies active.
1. Go wild with virtual zoo visits, safaris, and farm tours.
- Take a virtual trip to the San Diego Zoo with videos, stories, activities, and games on the zoo’s website.
- Go on safari, courtesy of the Cincinnati Zoo. Each day at 3 p.m. EDT, they do a “home safari” via Facebook Live focusing on a specific animal. Zookeepers personally answer your questions during the live demonstration. If you miss the live event, you can watch the recorded version later on the zoo’s website.
- A moo-moo here, a baa-baa there… Take a virtual tour of farms in Canada.
2. Go out of this world to explore the Red Planet … Or stay closer to home by visiting our National Parks.
- Budding Buzz Aldrins, Sally Rides—or even Elon Musks—can travel 140 million miles to Mars.
- Explorers of all ages can see the hidden worlds of five National Parks from the comfort of their own living rooms.
3. Take part in the “Teddy Bear Hunt” with Rufus (or Ruby).
- Get in the hunt with Rufus (or Ruby)! Put one or both of our furry friends in your window, download the Rufus coloring sheet and color it in. Take photos of your bear in the window and your work of art and share on social media with the hashtags #bearhunt and #JDRFRufus.
4. Get crafty with origami, doodling with a favorite kid’s illustrator, and projects that parents and kids can do together.
- Cranes, frogs, and dragons—oh my! Learn origami to create an Instagram-worthy paper menagerie.
- Learn to doodle at lunch (1 p.m. EDT) with children’s author and illustrator Mo Willems, who teaches how-to’s about fan favorites Elephant, Piggie, and the Pidgeon.
- Learn to draw cartoons from Pittsburgh-based professional cartoonist, Joe Wos, who is providing a series of free, easy to follow, all-ages cartooning classes on YouTube.
- Pair up on some parent-kid projects with the Levenson ladies, a mother-daughter duo who do it all: coloring, drawing, painting, cooking, soap making, sewing, and other craft projects galore.
5. Get moving together to blow off some steam and stay in shape.
- Go Noodle YouTube videos let you and your kids get active and goof off with the Harlem Globetrotters, John Cena, and others.
- Namaste: Cosmic Kids Yoga and Mindfulness will bring everyone back to center.
6. Get intellectual with free educational materials designed to teach and test your mettle.
- Take a crack at the puzzles in our Brain Games booklet, including soduko, crosswords, and word searches.
- The education company Scholastic is offering free “Learn at Home” courses for kids from pre-K to sixth grade and higher.
7. Go old school with tried and true activities from back in the day.
- When all else fails, you know you can count on low-tech options such as puzzles, board games, and even Mad Libs. Chances are, you’ll rediscover some childhood favorites while introducing them to your children.