Learn about animals with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Tune in every day at 3pm EDT for a Facebook live of their Home Safari, where they feature one animal from the zoo.
Watch the water animals at Monterey Bay Aquarium
Jellyfish, sea otters, sharks, penguins... you name it. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has live feeds of them all.
Check out the whales at the Georgia Aquarium
The Georgia Aquarium also has a live feed of their whales!
Check out Mars
Explore Mars with a 360 degree camera.
Watch the children's book readings by Oxford Education
You can find a few of them on their YouTube page.
Listen to a story read by Author Oliver Jeffers
Live book readings on his Instagram every day at 2pm EST. If you miss it, it will stay on his Instagram story for the next 24 hours.
Make crafts with McHarper Manor
Free art/craft tutorial every day at 1pm EST on their Facebook page. Each craft is about 20-30 minutes long, but make sure you have the supplies you need! They have that posted here.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
Do your kids love the Elephant and Piggy books? I do, and I'm not a kid! Well the author/illustrator is posting a Lunch Doodle session every day at 1pm EST. All details and activity sheets can be found on the Kennedy Center website, and the entire YouTube series of all Lunch Doodle episodes up to date can be found here.
This was one of my favorite websites to use when I was teaching and homeschooling. They have energetic videos with catchy songs that encourage kids to move around.
Cosmic Kids Yoga
This YouTube channel has easy yoga poses for kids that can keep them entertained for at least 10 minutes or so, just enough time for you to get in a little break or sneak in a snack.
Catch Wind in a Bag
No website for this one, but I did this activity a lot while I was nannying. You give your child a plastic grocery bag and tell them that their job is to try to catch the wind and trap it in the bag. This is great to do outside or inside if you have enough room. They'll run for hours.
Various Life Skills
Simple activities that can build your child's fine motor skills.
So many skills can be learned through cooking, including measurement, handwashing, food safety, patience, trial-and-error, etc. Bonus: If you teach them how to cook now, it's one less thing you'll have to do for them later! Some easy starter foods for kids who are beginning to learn how to cook are:
Interview Each Other
Teach your kids to be interested in other people's lives by getting them to interview each other. Have them come up with questions to ask and sit down with the interviewee (could be you, their siblings, another family member, etc.) and if they can write, have them write the answers on a notepad. They can share what they learned afterward! Bonus Tip: you can get them to FaceTime family members too and interview those people, because then, you can get a little bit of a break!
Go Through Belongings and Start a Donation Pile
What better time to go through belongings as a family and teach them the importance of donating? Plus you get a head start on Spring cleaning.
You've been waiting for the perfect time to start potty-training and now is the time! You have at least three weeks to say no to everyone's plans with zero guilt so now you have time to stay home and be consistent in the quest to no longer buy diapers.
Make a Scavenger Hunt
Come up with a list of items and let your kids go around and find them! Can be easy or hard. They can even come up with their own lists.
Build a Fort
Blankets, chairs, couch cushions. This is a classic time passer.
Stick to a Routine but Have Fun
It's a tricky balance to have all this free time and having to stay home. You want to have fun because the kids are going crazy and you don't want them to be miserable, but you know if you don't have some sort of routine, you'll all be miserable anyway. Plus it will make the transition back to school a lot harder on you, the kids, the teachers, and everyone! My go-to during school breaks (and I know this break is very extended) is to have a routine written out for kids. It doesn't have times but it will be something like:
get ready for the day
quiet time (THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR ALL PARTIES!!)
get ready for bed
It allowed me to be flexible during the "activity" times but still have an order to stick to. Of course, it didn't always work out that way, but if there were any changes I knew about ahead of time, I would let them know so they could anticipate it. This minimized the tantrums and still made room for fun activities.
I hope you all have a safe and sane couple of weeks here! And remember, even if it's not on the list, Netflix and Disney+ are totally viable options. Keep it real, moms!