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What to do with Kids at Home: 140 Resources & Ideas for Kids, Families, and Teachers

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140 Fun and Educational Things to Do with Kids at Home: Museum Tours, Story Hours, Live Stream Events, Distance Learning Resources, Art Projects, Remote Fun, and More

With schools closing or going to distance learning, social distancing can be a challenge. The disruption to routine is hard for schools, teachers, and students.

And for the whole family, too.  It’s a lot more 1 on 1 time with wriggly kids at home. Kids and parents are both getting stir crazy.

And while schools (and museums, playgrounds, and libraries) may be closed, that doesn’t mean that students can’t go on virtual field trips and have plenty of online play dates. Families can have fun together while they’re quarantined at home.

Although social distancing may sound like the perfect invitation to just binge watch TV shows and movies, there are plenty of other fun things to do.

If you’re a parent or teacher, check out this great list of things for kids to at home. It’s full of tips, activities, and educational resources for distance learning. And also live stream events, remote story hours, art projects, games, DIY’s, and much more.

Find out about activities for:

-Developing Practical Life Skills 
Virtual Tours of Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums
-Online Story Books and Live Story Readings
-Family Fun with Ongoing Live Stream Events
Arts, Crafts & DIY Projects
-In-House Games and Shenanigans
Amazing Educational Resources for Distance Learning: Activities, Lesson Plans, Games, Printouts, and Free Live Homework Help

Practical Skills

1. Try a new cookie recipe.

2. Teach your kids to pitch a tent.

3. Show them how to check the oil of a car.

4. Write a letter to the editor about current events.

5. Learn (or practice) calligraphy and hand lettering.

6. Have a fire drill or tornado drill.

7. Learn how to code with {coda}kid. Teachers and parents can teach kids to code even if they don’t know how to!

8. Teach your child how to sew a button.

9. If you’ve got one around, teach your kid how to use a sewing machine.

10.  Teach your kid how to cook some easy dinner recipes using the microwave.

11. Teach your kid how to sit quietly and meditate for a few minutes or longer.

12. Teach your kids about money and how to create a budget.

13. Have your kids help you plan the supermarket shopping list. Go more in-depth depending on age. Work in math skills and life planning. Let them know what the budget is. Have them look up prices or talk about coming up with reasonable price estimates. How much was it last time? Is $100 a good price to pay for toilet paper?

14. Teach them how to clean. Go beyond any basic chores you regularly expect of them.

15. Science lesson at home: teach kids how to grow starter plants from seeds. Tomatoes and peppers are easy to get going.

16. Teach kids and teens how to write a thank you note. Send a thank you note to a teacher, educator, neighbor, relative, or friend who has done something nice for them. This will also teach them about manners and gratitude.

17. Teach your kids how to wrap a gift. This can be a math lesson or spatial reason lesson for kids. Measure the sides of the box. Estimate or plan out how much paper you’ll need.

18. Learn how to hammer a nail.

19. Learn how to hang a picture. This will involve finding studs, learning about making things level, interior decorating, and creativity. Students and young kids will have a blast.

20. Teach kids how to read maps and how to navigate East, West, North, and South or even just right or left. You can make treasure maps, hide hoards of goodies, and learn how to walk 150 paces north. For at-home learning, you can work in atlases, compasses, history, social studies, and nature lessons into this activity.

21. Get the best deal. Teach your kids how to comparison shop.

Virtual Tours of Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums

22. Your family can e-visit the Louvre. Young kids can explore art. Students can look for specific artworks and offer their opinions on the works. Art appreciation, history, and critical thinking all in one.  Your teacher may have a worksheet for virtually touring this museum or many others.

23. Take a virtual field trip to London and do a tour of the British Museum.

24. Visit the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

25. Explore American fashion from 1740 to 1895 with these two great online fashion exhibits at the National Gallery of Art.

26. Check out the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. It’s loaded with Impressionist works from giants like Monet, Manet, Seurat, Renoir, Degas, and Van Goh. (And may inspire budding young artists at home to create some funky renditions. Can your students paint like Seurat with just tiny dots?)

27. Take your kids on a soulful, online tour of Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea.

28. Take your family on a virtual visit to Amsterdam to check out the Rijksmseum.

29. Students can take a virtual field trip of the Van Goh Museum in this fun, virtual tour. Kids of all ages go gaga for Van Goh, even your little ones will love it too.

30. Head South of the Equator to take your kids on a virtual tour of the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo in Brazil.

31. And while you’re South of the Border, check out Mexico City’s Museum of Anthropology. Families with students and young kids will love virtually exploring artifacts and exhibits from the ancient Mayan civilization.

32. Your family can take an e-tour of Washington DC’s National Gallery of Art. Over 40,000 works of art are online for students, young kids, and grownups to check out.

33. Pandas! Students can learn more about pandas and panda habitats when they take a virtual tour of the National Zoo in Washington D.C. Panda cams are always up and running. (But careful what you promise your kids; the pandas may turn camera-shy during your e-visit.)

34. Take an e-field trip to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Their online exhibit features 129 pieces of iconic artwork.

35. Grown-ups and kids will love to virtually explore the mammoth dioramas of whales, elephants, dinosaurs, and more at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

36. Take your family on a virtual visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts and explore stunning works by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

37. Virtually explore the Art Institute of Chicago.  The Art Institute of Chicago has one of the best online setups for students and young learners. The online collection is massive and you can search by artist name, topic, or name of the artwork. Many museums do not have this easy, virtual search-ability in place.

38. Visit the Vatican online with your family! No need to worry about shushing the kids. Skip the long lines and go on an amazing virtual museum tour. Your e-visit also includes Michelangelo’s famous ceilings in the Sistine Chapel.

As an added student bonus extra, afterward, have your students draw on their backs to see what it’s like doing art while laying down. Tape paper underneath the table and have them lie below and make art with paint or markers.

39. Grown-ups and older students will enjoy the National Women’s History Museum with its fantastic online exhibits and library of recorded oral histories.

Online Story Books and Story Hours

39. Olaf from Frozen, and other celebrities, can read your kids a story. Check out recordings of LA Public Library Story Time.

40. Sarah Silverman is reading A Tale of Two Beasts to kids online.

41. Check out Barnes & Nobles’ NOOK online stories. New and old classic stories read aloud including Green Eggs and Ham, Strega Nona, and Ladybug Girl at the Beach.

42. Betty White (eeek!) is reading Harry the Dirty Dog in an online kids’ story time.

43. Kids and parents will love Instagram’s online story time channel @savewithstories. Listen to the amazing Lupita Nyongo reading Not Quite Narwhal.

44. Ron Howard @realronhoward is reading aloud Harry and the Purple Crayons to kids.

45. Check out this catalog of books read aloud on Storyline Online. Books and related activities and movies for students, young kids, and parents.

46. Young kids and young students will love discovering StoryPlace.org, a digital children’s learning library. You’ll find pre-school themed stories and story related activities, including online story readings.  Part of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, this site is a favorite with teachers and educators.

47. You can find children’s storybooks online at Magic Key Books. Many include an audio component so your kids can be read to. Magic Key has books and activities for students and kids of all ages. Parents and teachers can also find phonics links, riddles, quizzes, and fun lessons.

48. Explore and listen to great stories from Daniel Errico’s YouTube channel.

49. Listen to the Indianapolis Public Library’s 100+ free video read alouds of children’s stories.

50. Teachers and educators, check out Penguin Random House’s open license to read aloud copyrighted content for virtual classroom read-alouds. Penguin Random House is relaxing the rules to support e-learning or distance learning. Penguin Random House shares guidelines for how teachers and/or educators can post online story readings to YouTube. (Generally, they will need to be marked as “Unlisted” or not “Public” in order to comply.)

51. The Library of Congress has made a number of children’s classics available for free online. Even if your kids aren’t yet reading, kids (and parents) will love exploring the old vintage storybook covers.

Live Stream Events

52. Free virtual cooking lessons are offered for kids everyday in a Facebook Live Event. Lessons are offered weekdays at 1:00 pm EST.

53. On Facebook Live, you can join Ernie Mae’s sing-alongs and play-alongs. Aimed for kids pre-K through 2nd grade. Families can join on weekdays at 1:30 pm.

54. Famous children’s author and illustrator, Mo Willems, is hosting a daily live stream doodle session for kids. Willems best known for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.

55. Your kids can take a safari zoo tour at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Tours run every day at 3:00 pm on Facebook Live.

56. Debbie Allen is offering dance classes on Instagram Live! for kids age 3-7. (I’m not in the age group, but I plan on going! Hopefully they don’t ID me.) Dance themes vary, but they have included ballet and African Jazz. Check her feed for times.

57. Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts is live-streaming free performances on their Facebook page. Check out the Center’s website for full performance schedule.

58. The Humane Society of Charlotte is presenting live stream story readings with shelter animals. Tune in and check out their schedule on the Humane Society of Charlotte Facebook page.

59. Take free art lessons web cast with Jarrett J. Krosoczka (aka JJK). Your family can join the fun in this Facebook event or check out his YouTube channel.

60. Your kids can join Mr. Jon & Friends at 10:30 am each day. Mr. Jon & Friends is a group that writes and performs music for kids. Info is available on the group’s Facebook event page.

61. For educators, teachers, and parents of children with disabilities, check out Pacer Center’s live stream workshop events. They cover a range of topics, which include life planning for children with disabilities, using technology to increase independence in young adults with disabilities, early childhood intervention, educational apps for young children, and using assistive technology in children’s play.

62. Vermont PBS regularly features live stream shows and content for adults, families, students, and young kids. Check out the Vermont PBS Facebook page to see what’s live streaming. 

63. And in a twist, if you or your kids want to create your own educational, art, family, or other themed live stream, check out these tips. You can create your own live stream at home.

64. Join a Facebook Live dance party with DJ Mel.

Arts & Crafts and DIY Projects

65. Camp out in the living room with sleeping bags and tent (real or makeshift).

66. Make an indoor hopscotch board with painter’s tape.

67. Make a time capsule. One day your kids can tell your kids about social distancing.

68. Make puppets from old socks.

69. Make a color-tinted bubble bath.

70. Make a seasonal wreath for your door.

71. Make a car race track using washi tape on the floor.

72. Make a house of cards.

73. Make your own bubble mix and blow bubbles.

74. Make different airplanes and have a contest to see which can fly the farthest. Bring art class, science class, math class, and physics into it. Talk about lift and thrust. Make estimates. Measure and record results. How many times do you need to repeat the experiment to get accurate results? What sorts of things can impact the results?

75. Make ice cube Popsicles.

76. Make your own play dough.

77. Create a cardboard fort, house, or city out of old cardboard boxes. Add in toilet paper rolls and Popsicle sticks too.

78. Make a vision board.

79. Create your own indoor terrarium.

80. Create your own board game.

81. Play with sand or rice in a sensory bin.

*82. Learn how to sew, stitch, knit, or crochet something on Creativebug. You can get a free 30-day trial, and InboxDollars members get a $2.00 cash bonus.

83. Make spiky, sponge balls.  A great way to use up old sponges, and they are kid-safe water bombs.

84. Create your own skeeball lane at home with cardboard boxes and laundry baskets.

85. Make a silly, fun-face flip book with binder rings, paper, and markers or colored pencils.

86. Make a super-cute paper-plate jellyfish. (I want to make 2 and keep them up all yearlong.)

 

Other Fun and Games

87. Learn how to do a magic trick or two and put on a show for the family.

88. Throw a birthday party for your kid’s favorite toy. The whole shebang: birthday hats, decorations, card, and the birthday song.

89. Teach your kids about the lost art of the prank call. Prank call Grandma and Grandpa for fun.

90. Play “I Spy” looking out the window.

91. Facetime with family and friends.

92. Write letters to family and friends.

93. Send artwork to family and friends.

94. Decorate plant pots and photo frames.

95. Play dress-up.

96. Do Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube.

97. Have an outdoor bonfire.

98. Finger paint.

99. String Christmas lights around windows – inside or outside.

100. Start a journal for each of your kids. Have them write in it, or write their thoughts for it. Written records are rarer and rarer.

101. Fly a kite! You can even make an easy paper kite for kids and fly your own.

Remote Homework Help and Distance Learning Activities

*102.  For full online curriculum (including games, activities, and lesson plans), check out ABCmouse. They are an online learning program for kids age 2-8. Sign up for ABCmouse through InboxDollars, and you can try it free for 30 days.

ABCmouse has over 9,000 different learning activities with real results, and have won a number of teacher and parent choice awards.

103. Fact Monster offers fun and interactive homework help for kids, as well as games, trivia, daily factoids, and quizzes.

104. Homework Spot has a number of homework help resources organized by different subjects and grade levels.

105. Info Please Homework Center offers tools and resources (including flashcards and study aids) for 9 subject areas.

106. Teachers, educators, parents and students will want to check out Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything. You’ll find hundreds of useful links for parents, teachers, and educators.

107. Hippo Campus offers free homework help and educational resources for students from middle school to college. There are 7,000 free tutorials in 13 subject areas.

108. The New York Times Learning Network offers resources for bringing “the World” into your classroom. (And home, during distance learning.) Tons of activities for students including: writing prompts, lessons of the day, news quizzes, word of the day, and student contests. There are also resources for teachers in English Language Arts, Social Studies, E.L.L. & Arts, Science & Math, and Current Events.

109. On The Merriam-Webster Word Central, you’ll find daily word games and activities like learning the buzzword or building your own dictionary. There are also online educator resources like catalogs of books for kids, a history of the English language, and reference book tips and guidelines.

110. PBS Learning Media is a great free resource to help students, parents and teachers bring the world to their classroom. TPT and PBS offer free standards-aligned videos, interactives, and lesson plans.

111. ExploreLearning.com has interactive math games and tutorials to help kids explore math and science.

1112. CoolMath.com offers math lessons, math games, and other tools and references for parents, teachers, and students.

113. Cool Math Games offers fun math games, strategy games, logic games, number games, and more.

114. Find English Grammar exercises, tools, videos, and free downloadable lessons on EnglishGrammar.org.

115. Check out this online collection of Aesop’s Fables. Many of the fables are on audio. Parents and teachers can find detailed information about the fables, lesson plans, and suggested morals.

116. For reading and vocabulary fun with kids, check out AmericanFolklore.net. Plenty of supernatural and folklore stories from a number of different folklore traditions: the United States, Mexico, Canada, Tall Tales, Myths, and Legends.

117. For teachers, professional educators, and amateur (parent) educators, the California Department of Education has published an online directory of free resources for distance learning.

*118. Have fun building your vocabulary. Kids can check out Dr. Seuss Word Challenge on Seussville. There’s also a special InboxDollars deal now to get 5 Dr. Seuss books for $5.95.

119. Discover British and World History with lessons and activities for kids on the BBC.

120. Explore science, outer space, history, and all things animal on National Geographic Kids. Explore games, videos, and fun, interactive lessons.

121. Check out the Magic School Bus online to find free coloring printables for your kids and fun experiments for older students.  Experiments cover topics like pulleys, fingerprints, transference of force, fossils, bubbles, and colors.

*122. Highlights Kids has loads of fun, educational games, activities, songs, and jokes to explore. Some of the featured topics include learning about why we can’t feel the Earth spinning, how wind chimes make sound, and different kinds of dog breeds.

If you prefer physical Highlights books, or just think your kids would enjoy a package in the mail, check out this deal for Highlights Puzzle Books. With a subscription, you can get 2 books free.

123. Fun Fonix provides reading and literacy help for young students and developing readers. Fun Fonix offers workbooks, games, and exercises to build alphabet and reading skills.

124. You can find Pre-K through 5th grade learning games and activities on TurtleDiary.com. Subjects include language, grammar, arithmetic, reading, adjectives, shapes, animals, money, and assessment tests.

125. Check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids. Teach kids how to observe weather patterns and the night sky, along with plenty of other fun activities, stories, and jokes.

126. For Earth Kids and stargazers, check out NASA Kids’ Club. Kids can test their driving skills moving a rover on Mars, find out who is on the Space Station (and find out how they handle social distancing in Outer Space), learn about space missions, play games, and more.

127. The Smithsonian Learning Lab provides distance learning resources for teachers, educators, parents, caregivers, and students. Discover science, art, history, and culture. The Lab is designed for learners, parents, museum educators, teachers, curriculum developers, and librarians and media specialists.

128. Check out fun things for kids and K-8 students at The Happy Scientist. Learn about geology, life science, earth science, chemical science, space science, and physical science. Also find videos and activities on different topics like making pinhole eye glasses and learning about solar power.

129. Your kid scientists can have fun with Science Bob. Learn random science facts and jokes, get ideas for experiments you can do at home, find research help, and check out all the Kid Science Q&A’s. You and your kids can find out why the sky is blue, or why our toes get wrinkled in the tub.

*130. Try Adventure Academy for free. The Academy offers awesome online learning games and activities for kids age 8-13. Sign up to try Adventure Academy free.

131. Awesome Library has over 20,000 carefully reviewed sources for students, parents, teachers, and educators.

132. Toporopa offers kids and families a free and safe way to schlep around Europe. Explore different countries in-depth from your laptop, learning about their geography, political system, economy, history, and culture.

133. Freeology is a great resources for educators, teachers, and parents. You’ll find loads of downloadable organizers, forms, award certificates, worksheets, and more.

134. Yes, your kids can take remote piano lessons! Virtual Piano introduces your child to the piano by learning to play songs by typing on their keyboard.

135. Questionaut is a great educational game from the BBC. It helps young questioners build knowledge in Math, English, and Science. There are plenty of fun games and fantastic artwork.

136. Who Pooped is sure to be a big hit with little kids. Who Pooped is a science website created by educators at the Minnesota Zoo to help young scientists learn about animals through studying their poop.

137. Kerpoof will let kids run wild with their imagination. Kerpoof is an online story and comic-creator. Students can create comic scenes, storybook illustrations, animated movies, and endless doodles and pictures.

138. The National Arts Centre of Canada has developed Arts Alive. Arts Alive is a wonderful educational website on the performing arts. There are different sections for students, parents, and teachers. Help kids lean more about the arts, including music, theater, and dance.

139. For budding social justice crusaders, check out Games for Change. They are a non-profit organization using video video games to educate kids on pressing issues like poverty, education, human rights, and climate change.

140. Free, live one-on-one tutors with Brainfuse.  Free Tutors are available every day from 1p-11p CST.

Their expert help is geared toward adult and K-12 learners. Help includes live tutoring, an online writing lab and free writing assistance, and a language lab for English, Spanish, French and other languages.

Brainfuse also provides live help for: preparing for the U.S. citizenship test, GED test preparation, Microsoft Office, writing a winning resume, and general career planning and college planning resources.

And perhaps my favorite bit (although I love everything Brainfuse) are their collaboration tools. With their MEET tool, you can schedule study sessions with friends in a private virtual study room.

Brainfuse is offered free to families (funded by MELSA and other local libraries). It’s easy to sign up for free!

 

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