If kids can’t get to some of their favorite local places and activities during this time, you can bring the experiences to them — virtually. From webcams featuring the cherry blossoms and zoo animals to special live streamed programs especially for kids to online tours of iconic spots, there are a bunch of ways to access DC and keep your crew entertained while you #optinside. Stay healthy and safe!
See the Cherry Blossoms
If viewing the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin has become an annual tradition you’re going to miss, view them online instead. The Trust for the National Mall just launched #BloomCam – a live, 24/7 feed of the blossoming cherry trees in DC as they hit peak bloom, bringing this beautiful sight to all the people who can no longer get down to the Tidal Basin because of COVID-19.
The Lane Anti Social Club
The Lane, the brand new play space/family social club, just opened its doors a few weeks ago, and already they have to (temporarily) close them. So, this is a fantastic was to entertain the kids AND support a support a local business: The Lane (Anti) Social Club offers virtual events for kids to help give parents a much needed break or concentrated time to actually be able to work. Their “pay what you can” model makes it accessible to all, but a contribution is greatly appreciated — any donations received are going directly to pay their staff to help them stay afloat during this time. The Lane is partnering up with some wonderfully talented people like Corinne from Crescendo Communications and local artist Megan Elizabeth, otherwise all of the events will put on by their awesome staff. Follow the link to sign up for a session or a few!
Story Time with DC Public Libraries
On Friday, March 20 at 10:30am, join DC Public Library for a virtual story time on Facebook Live. This is short notice, but I’m guessing this will be the first of many more, so be sure to follow their social channels for updates.
Lunch Doodle with Mo Millems
It may not be in DC, but it’s presented by a DC place, the Kennedy Center, so that counts. Every day, kids can virtually join Mo Willems in his studio to draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons weekdays at 1pm — and the sessions will remain online to be streamed afterwards if you miss it live. Post art to social media and use the hashtag #MoLunchDoodles!
Virtual Circle Time
Crescendo Communication invites you to join for song, dance, instrument exploration, storytime, and silliness. They are led by Corinne Zmoos, a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist, who provides joyful & genuine music classes, speech-language therapy, developmental programming, and inclusion trainings.
Visit Animals at the Zoo
The National Zoo is closed, but its webcams are still running. You can catch live glimpses of lions, pandas, elephants, and naked mole rates. You may not always see much action — last we looked the lion was just sitting there and we saw piles of elephant poop, but no elephants — but you may catch some fun and entertaining moments. Also, the Zoo notes that while the “animal webcams remain online, volunteers will not be operating them, so animals may not be visible at all times.”
Explore our Museums
While we can’t go to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall, kids can still explore many of them online through photo galleries, activities, and more interesting features just for young visitors. Start with the general Smithsonian page here, and access indivual museums here. You can also take a virtual tour of the National Gallery of Art, which is not part of the Smithsonian.
Virtual Family Game Night
Lincoln’s Cottage has come up with an activity the whole fam can enjoy — a virtual community game night to play together in creative ways. While the Lincoln family didn’t use computers or the internet to connect, they did enjoy spending time together at the Cottage playing games. Join on Tuesday, March 24 at 7pm with your imagination and these items: a cup, 2 coins, 2 pens, and a book. Together, you’ll turn these Lincoln-related objects into games that spark brave ideas.
Tour the Capitol & Library of Congress
Get a close look at the inside of the U.S. Capitol Complex, which includes the Library of Congress and US Botanic Garden, too. See the magnificent buildings — Virtually Anywhere has captured 360 degree photography in many areas, including the Capitol Rotunda, National Statuary Hall, Library of Congress, many important Congressional caucus rooms, and much more.
Badlands Play Space has launched a series of videos while they are temporarily closed. You can access them through YouTube or IGTV. So far, they’ve had a doodle session, a dance break, a science show, cooking with Tiny Chefs, and even a cocktails and mocktails class (for adults).
Do you know of other local places and businesses offering virtual activities for kids right now? Please share in the comments, if so!