The current times are especially tough for children who are home from school and their parents who are struggling to keep up with remote learning and keep the kiddos occupied during downtime. Luckily, institutions and businesses are stepping up to offer all kinds of free fun and educational resources for youngsters. From cool virtual museum content to online homework help to virtual storytelling to penguin cams, 6sqft has put together a list of ways to keep your children entertained and educated while at home.
Remote learning resources from the New York Public Library
While they’re closed, the NYPL has launched a digital tool for young learners and their parents. Daily from 2 pm to 11 pm, students can get homework help from one-on-one tutors through a partnership with Brainfuse. They’re also offering reading resources and ideas for arts and crafts, science experiments, and more at-home activities.
Homework help, educational games, and virtual storytime at the Brooklyn Public Library
BPL also has a wide range of online resources for the kiddos, from virtual storytime and craft workshops for the young ones to virtual games like Dungeon & Dragons and SAT practice for teens.
Learn-at-home resources at the American Museum of Natural History
In addition to offering virtual tours of the museum and its exhibits, the American Museum of Natural History has a slew of things just for families, including Ology, an entire AMNH-sponsored science website for kids. Here kids can choose to learn about and find related activities on 14 different subjects like climate change, archaeology, physics, and paleontology. AMNH also offers four museum courses through Khan Academy, its own curriculum collection, and fun museum quizzes through Kahoot.
#metkids at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Designed for kids ages 7-12 this special website lets children explore the museum through an interactive map, travel through 5,000 years of art history in the “time machine,” learn fun facts about the artworks and try at-home creative projects. For the older kids, virtually explore the museum through The Met 360° Project.
Online learning and family book club at the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society’s History @ Home program has all different options for online learning, for teachers, teens, families, and more. The Society’s DiMenna Children’s Museum also has a monthly family book club where both kids and parents can read a historical fiction or nonfiction book, which has now gone virtual.
Family activities at the 92nd Street Y
92Y at Home has cool events for the whole family, but for children, there are all kinds of unique offerings, like setting up a “summer camp” in the living room, writing your own play, and listening to special concerts.
“Fine Arts for Your Fine Tots” with the Arts Students League
On Thursday, March 26 at 2 pm, the Arts Students League will host a 30-minute Facebook Live session for parents/caregivers of children ages 3-7, which will teach three art activities that can be done with minimal art supplies that are likely found around the house.
Queens Farm’s #barncam
Every day at 4 pm on their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages, the Queens County Farm Musem will host #barncam, where they’ll give an insider’s look at life on the farm, from the animals (sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, and more!) to the landscaping to recipes made with their produce.
Virtual tours and digital collections at the New York Botanical Garden
NYBG at Home is offering fun-for-the-whole-family virtual tours of their grounds and famous Orchid Show, as well as special kids’ resources like teachers’ guides and kid-friendly recipes.
CULTURE FROM AROUND THE GLOBE
“Color our collections,” coloring sheets from museums around the country
Have a printer and some crayons? Libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world have provided downloadable coloring sheets and books based on items in their collections.
Actual kids and grownup kids can’t get enough of penguin cams, especially during these times. The viral trend kicked off when Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium turned the video on its penguins roaming the building. Several aquariums and zoos also have penguin cams online, including the San Diego Zoo, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Kansas City Zoo. The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California has underwater cams for penguins, sharks, sea jellies, tropical reefs, and more.
ALL ABOUT BOOKS
Scholastic Learn at Home
Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, has an entire Learn at Home program that breaks down reading week by week with related videos and activities. It’s broken down in age groups: Pre-K and kindergarten, grades 1 and 2, grades 3-5, and grades 6-9.
Just this week, Audible launched Audible Stories, which allows kids to download children’s and family audiobook content for free, from Winnie the Pooh to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Moby Dick.
WHEN YOU JUST NEED SOME TV TIME
Free kids tv programming via Amazon
Even if you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can now access the company’s original and acquired children’s series on Prime Video for no cost.