What to Do on the Weekdays At Home During the Coronavirus

Our cat Lola’s “What are you still doing here” look that we’ll surely see a lot this week


For obvious reasons, the usual Where to Play on the Weekdays feature, offering ideas for activities with kids around DC each day of the week, is being replaced right now. We’re entering new territory as we begin this extended time at home that will include keeping up with school work, keeping everyone engaged and entertained, and — let’s be honest — keeping us all sane. Here are some ideas to help with all of that (be sure to check comments, too, for ideas shared by readers). Stay healthy and safe…and sane. 🙂

Get Schooled
Most of our kids still have assigned school work, plus we don’t want them to get out of the routine of learning. While many schools are setting up online instruction, parents may want to create a schedule for their kids to follow. Even if you have little ones who don’t have assigned work, learning activities and structure to the day could help them stay in “school mode” to make the transition back to the classroom easier. Here are some links I found to help.

* Kahn Academy is free and has tips, schedules, and programs especially for this time.

* Scholastic’s Learn at Home website is a free resource that provides children from pre-K to grade 6+ with 20 days of exciting articles and stories, videos, and fun learning challenges.

* Tips from homeschooling parents

* Kiwi Crate just launched this resource hub for parents to help with learning at home.

* Zoom is offering their video conferencing tools to schools for free (possibly something to share with your kids’ schools and educators)

* Here’s another suggested (perhaps, more realistic?) schedule.😉

* Here’s a huge list of all education companies offering free subscriptions now.

* Wirecutter’s recommended educational apps and learning games for kids.

* As an education institution, the International Spy Museum has free lesson plans (up to curriculum standards), resources, recommended reading, and at-home activities.

* On March 30, Capitol Teachers is launching, offering tutoring services, enrichment opportunities, and homeschooling programs to students in grades K-12.

* Kids and teens ages 8-18 can learn to code from home through live, online classes with CodeWizardsHQ.

* National Geographic is offering free access to all of their coronavirus coverage, including their Resources for Families with good articles and tips for being at home with the kids during this time.

* Adventure Theatre is going online with its classes for Grades K-5! Grades K-2, can join for PLAYlabs on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10am to act out a different story every session. Grades 3-5 can join for Acting Up!, a journey through the process of acting using creative drama and improvisation techniques, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am. Classes begin April 13th.

* Ten digital education resources from the National Gallery of Art.

* Educational activities you can do at home from the National Zoo.

* JK Tutoring Group is now offering virtual tutoring sessions to maximize social distancing.

* The Nationals have created content especially for young fans offering free, online educational activities for kids in grades 1-6, including STEM lessons, reading resources, and fun pages.

* Flex Academies usually provides after school enrichment activities for students. With these new social distancing circumstances, they’ve gone virtual, and kids everywhere can now learn about the things they love with Flex Academies ONE!, ofering everything from Improv Acting to Taekwondo to Yoga and Mindfulness in a safe, secure, online program.

* Mully Lingua, founded by a local mom, provides language and cultural activities activities to families in the DMV. In response to COVID-19, services have been moved online and are available for free for the next few months.


Extracurriculars
I shared some links with suggestions for fun and games at home in this post, and here are even more ideas to keep everyone engaged, enriched, and entertained during this time.

* Air and Space Anywhere lets you enjoy the fave-of-many Smithsonian museum from wherever you are. Access virtual tours, games & activities, podcasts, K-12 programs and more.

* Art Bar Blog has been putting together this Art & Play Activity Guides for Learning at Home. (The rest of the blog is great for arts & crafts ideas, too!)

* Get the kids in the kitchen and cook together.

* It’s spring, so do some spring cleaning! This blog post has good ideas to get the kids involved.

* Kids will want to get moving. If you have a game system (or even if you don’t… apparently you can play it online), I highly recommend Just Dance.

* Let the kids capture this time… in photos! If they don’t have their own, give the kids your camera (ie, phone) and let them snap away. This website has fun ideas and activities to guide and encourage them.

* To keep everyone chill during this anxious time, how about some yoga? I found Cosmic Kids Yoga, which looks good for little ones. (Admittedly, I’m not much of a yoga person to know what’s good, so do a search for “kids yoga” on YouTube for even more videos.)

* Take a Virtual Field Trip while kids can’t go on real ones. There are a bunch of places around the world to explore (plus the moon!) online in fun and educational ways.

* While kids can’t experience DC in person right now, let them visit virtually.

* The Lane Social Club just launched “The Lane (Anti) Social Club” — virtual events for kids to help give parents a much needed break or concentrated time to actually be able to work. It’s a pay what you can model, so it’s accessible to all, but donations are greatly appreciated to help support their staff.

* The International Spy Museum can guide you to some intriguing home activities, including designing a spy gadget, cracking a top secret code, and a mind memory activity.

* Keep children active even when they can’t get outdoors with Kids Workouts to Do at Home.

* Kids of all ages can learn to code for free at home through online classes, websites, and apps.

* The very recently reopened National Children’s Museum launched a daily, digital “STEAMwork” Series on their Facebook page. Each day at 2:30pm, there are projects, challenges, experiments, and story times for children under 12 and their caregivers.

* Kidstir, a company that makes subscription boxes providing cooking inspiration for children, is giving away 15,000 kits to keep the joy of cooking and baking alive as families are affected by the coronavirus. Sign up to get one! (Note: there is a $4 shipping fee so they can support as many families as possible).

* Lots of kids love earning Junior Ranger badges from National Parks. While they can’t visit them right now, there are some badges that can be earned at home by mail, and this blog post lists all of them.

* If your kids are missing their league sports, consider activities that keep them “in the game”: You can search for easy at-home drills, find past games of some of their favorite teams on YouTube, and/or set up video chats with teammates.

* While the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore is closed, they have moved online, offering science activities and events (and even content for adults).

* While they can’t host their fantastic scavenger hunts in museums, Watson Adventures has come up with virtual activities to engage in some family fun: Trivia Slam, Family Edition is part trivia challenge and part home scavenger hunt as you compete against other teams all over. Our joined one and had a blast! They take place one Saturdays & Sundays through April and will likely be extended.

* Foublie, founded by a local mom, is full of ideas for free food-based activities with young children.

* A fun project with the kids: Grow a vegetable (and fruit) garden with your own scraps! More tips here.

* KID Museum has cool, free Make It! projects online. They also just launched Make It! Plus — live, interactive programming led by their Maker Educators, geared toward kids in Kindergarten – 4th grade for a fee.

* The American Visionary Art Museum has a bunch of online experiences available — how-to videos, instructions for projects, coloring pages, and more — that look really neat for kids and adults. Read more about the wonderful AVAM here.

* While we can’t be out and about in DC (and cities all over, for that matter), we can explore them virtually with Free Tours by Foot.

* Peloton just introduced Peloton Family, fitness classes parents and kids can do together! FYI: You can get a 90-day free trial right now.

* The Hirshhorn has introduced #HirshhornInsideOut, which includes creative ideas for kids at home that relate to their exhibits and pieces from the collections.

* It may be awhile before we can pitch a tent in the great outdoors, so why not do some camping indoors instead? REI has some great ideas for doing just that.

* A new Where’s Waldo-themed web portal has activities for quarantining families like downloadable activity sheets and fun videos.

* The National Museum of Women in the Arts has some online offerings kids can enjoy — the NMWA Coloring Book and the [email protected] Youtube playlist which now has several very charming “Story Time with Women in the Arts” videos.

* Tiny Chefs is launching Cooking Around the World, a virtual cooking series.

* Tinkergarten, known for their outdoor-based early childhood education programs, has just created Tinkergarten At Home, a free, weekly series of outdoor activity plans that help families keep young kids entertained, learning, and connected to nature during this challenging time.

* The Kennedy Center presents arts [email protected], where they offer background and insight on a variety of topics, plus dance lessons, resources for kids, art prompts, and more.


Read Up
This is a great opportunity to get kids reading more. Implement a set reading time each day (and plan to join them with your current book if they can read on their own). Rather than offer specific book recommendations — because there are SO many! — here are some links to help you pick out and purchase books for your kids, plus other story time activities.

* Stock up on books and support local small businesses by shopping online while you’re staying home and/or their brick-and-mortars are closed — some even deliver! Check out Kramerbooks, East City bookshop, Solid State Books, Politics and Prose, and Loyalty Bookstores.

* These Amazon Editors’ Picks include recommendations for kids books by age up to young adult.

* Common Sense Media also has good recommendations, plus plenty of ratings and details to help you decide if it’s appropriate for your child.

* So, it’s not actually reading, but Audible for Kids is a good way to access books without having to wait for deliveries or if multiple kids want to hear it. Also, kids who don’t read on their own yet can listen to stories while you’re getting work done. Even better, it’s FREE for kids for as long as schools are closed.

* Also not reading, but these This American Life stories are ones that kids seem to like.

* National Geographic Kids is always great to check out with children.

* On Thursdays at 7pm, tune in for Goodnight with Dolly as Dolly Parton begins a weekly series of reading bedtime stories for children.

* Port Discovery, the wonderful children’s museum in Baltimore, has loads of tips and resources for at-home play on their website, from art to STEM to theatre to health & wellness to sensory to music & movement.

* Want a super cute way to support kids during this challenging time? Call a Sesame Street character.

* The National Park Service is celebrating National Park Week (April 18-26) by offering all kinds of digital experiences on their website.

* The Hirshhorn has introduced #HirshhornInsideOut to experience the art museum while their doors are temporarily closed, which includes art prompts for kids, too.

* This new Where’s Waldo-themed web portal with activities for quarantining families like downloadable activity sheets and fun videos.

* It may be awhile before we can pitch a tent in the great outdoors, so why not do some camping indoors instead? REI has some great ideas for doing just that.


Screen Time
I think we’re all going to need some good shows and movies during this period of our lives, whether or not we’re big on screen time. (For the record, I’m pretty loose about it, but my kids do plenty of non-screen activities, too, and aren’t distracted from their school work by TV.) Anyway, if you’re looking for stuff for kids to watch, you can find recommendations through these links.

* My friend Darcy’s old blog, No Monsters in My Bed, had the best Family Movie Night list.

* Here’s a quick link to Kids’ TV on Netflix.

* Lots of our t(w)eens have already discovered The Office and Friends, but here are a few more faves from the past to introduce to them: My So Called Life, Felicity, Beverly Hills 90210, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Veronica Mars

* Common Sense Media’s Best Movie lists and Best TV lists are quick and easy go-tos for viewing ideas.

* Sasha digs this YouTube show (even though I think it’s weird).

* Amazon just made a bunch of their kids shows available for free.

* Amazon also just introduced Prime Video Cinema, access to the latest movies that were just released (or would have been) in theaters.

* As kids are missing their sleepovers and hanging out with friends, Netflix Party is a fun substitute — it lets them watch a movie or show and chat at the same time.

* Arts on the Horizon, which usually presents adorable productions especially for really young audiences, is now doing a Virtual Storytime Series for little ones (also adorable).

* Timing and luck will play a big part in this, but you can try to view the Northern Lights via web cam.

Hang Out(side)
While it is best to stay at home as much as possible right now, it’s tough to keep kids inside 24/7. If you feel the need to get out, do it responsibly for this time, and go where there is plenty of space to keep good social distance. These links have ideas to help with that, just be sure to check ahead that locales are open before you go.

UPDATE: I can’t stress enough that it’s best to stay at home right now, as even outdoor spots might draw too many visitors to make them safe. The National Arboretum closed to prevent the spread after the masses started flocking there. I also recently heard from a KFDC reader who went shark tooth hunting at Purse State Park that she felt very uncomfortable with so many others there, and it’s usually empty. Thus, I am now recommending you don’t go to those places.

* Hiking is still permitted for outdoor recreation during the coronavirus outbreak, and this WTOP article has really good tips for doing it safely.

* The KFDC round-up of Walks in the Woods has info on good places to hike with kids.

* The flowers blooms may not be happening, but this KFDC post highlights gardens around the area where you can roam around.

* A shark tooth hunting adventure gets you outdoors with lots of open space, plus it’s fun and kind of educational.

* A walk or bike ride close to home may be enough to get the indoor willies out.

Do you have recommendations for activities at home this week? Feel free to share in the comments! I’m sure they’ll be much appreciated.

5 Comments

Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Maryland, Outdoor, Virginia

5 Responses to What to Do on the Weekdays At Home During the Coronavirus

  1. Laura R

    Another great resource is Skybrary (created by LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow and Reading Is Fundamental) an online reading and activity platform for childrent with over 900 books and tons of videos and actvities. This month is National Reading Month so they are offering a month free subscription! https://www.levarburtonkids.com/skybrary

  2. I have at-home workouts that you need no equipment for! Appropriate for grades 1-8 at http://www.novasportscoach.com

  3. Thank you for including my blog post in this resource. It hasn’t been easy to entertain the kids, but I will say anything helps at this point.

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