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. 🙂
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.
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.
* Art Bar Blog put together this Art & Play Activity Guide 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.
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.
* 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.
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
* Sasha digs this YouTube show (even though I think it’s weird).
* Amazon just made a bunch of their kids shows available for free.
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.
* 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.