NOTE: This was originally published in Tucson Weekly, and can be found here.
Kids get restless. Usually keeping them entertained over a seasonal break or over the summer isn’t too much of a problem, because you can take them out to various venues and entertainment spots. Unfortunately, with the rise of closures due to COVID-19, not only will this year’s Spring Break feel longer, there’s actually more of it.
While we are all trying to practice social distancing, going outside into nature is still a wonderful use of time. However, if you’re restricted from doing this and you’re stuck at home, you’re bound to have some unhappy kiddos in your house for the next couple of weeks. Luckily, some organizations exist that will help alleviate the wails of boredom. Here are some thing online you and your little ones can do for entertainment in the next couple of weeks.
Pima County Public Libraries
The Pima County Library has an online system for kids called Read-Alongs from OverDrive. There are more than 300 books for your kids to check out. These virtual books are also narrated, so you don’t have to wear out your voice reading your child’s favorites over and over. Plus, the words get highlighted as they read, so your child can read along!
Scratch from MIT
If your child is enthralled by computers or video games, introduce them to Scratch. Scratch is a program to teach children how to write their own computer code using a simple block system. It’s designed for ages 8+, but if you have a slightly younger future programmer, there’s a special version for kids ages 5 to 7 called ScratchJr.
Go to a Virtual Museum
Google has teamed up with some of the most famous museums in the world, and you can visit them with your kids from the comfort of your home. From MoMA to the Arizona Capitol Museum, there are dozens of museums to choose from. The British Museum of London, for one, has a wonderful interactive site.
There are lots of activities and projects for your kids to learn and play with on the Science Kids site. As with any other science project, they’ll most likely need your assistance, so it can be fun for both of you!
National Geographic Kids
This is a great way to let your kids explore the world from their own home. National Geographic Kids takes their usual informative commentary and gives it a fun little twist. This makes it more interesting for kids while still giving them an inside look to the outside world.
Stream Your Favorites
We’re all familiar with streaming by now, and that’s going to come in handy. Disney+ has released Frozen 2 and Rise of Skywalker early for homebound watchers. There’s also CuriosityStream featuring thousands of interesting science and history documentaries.
Whatever you decide to do, enjoy it. The change of pace might have your little ones feeling anxious just like you may be. Stay safe, have fun and enjoy each other’s company, and use this time to slow down and enjoy the small things in life.