Published on March 28, 2020

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

As we all settle into a new routine of staying at home, parents are 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. 

Make Art

The Art Students League of New York launched Learn Art Live, a new program meant to educate young artists during the quarantine. Painter Amy Digi, who leads the sessions, kicked off the first 30-minute-long Facebook Live class this past Thursday, in which she outlined three projects you can do with toddlers that require minimal supplies (think: paper, string, a flashlight, cords).

The Kennedy Center is hosting Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems, its education artist in residence, every day online at 1 p.m. Bring some paper, pencils, crayons, and—of course—a snack. 

View Art

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. On Mondays, the Museum of Contemporary Art will host Back to School, a time for family-friendly activities, interactive workshops, and a virtual talking tour. 

Stretch Out

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.

Travel 

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. Spring break can still feel like a vacation. 

Donate

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. 

Relax

Brooklyn-based artist and illustrator Oliver Jeffers is going live on Instagram at 2 p.m. every weekday to read one of his books and talk about the details that went into making it. “Let’s be bored together,” is his current motto, but the tales are anything but humdrum. 

Experiment

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, giant paper, and markers) or a DIY lava lamp. The bright ideas will keep on coming. 

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