​Online Resources to Keep At-Home Learning Fun (and Keep Parents from Going Crazy)

Curated by Suzanne Cavanaugh, attorney, step-mom, lover of all things FREE

With yesterday’s breaking news that North Carolina Schools will be closed until at least May 15th, I bet there are a lot of weary parents out there wondering how they are going to survive the next 8 weeks at home with their children.

Fear not! Tom Bush Law Group is here to help!

Below are free, online resources for education, fun, and relaxation to keep children occupied and engaged during this unprecedented time. As a bonus, at the end of the list there are a few resources for adults to help keep you sane while you are stuck at home.

Reading and Story Time

  • Audible is offering hundreds of free stories which can be streamed via laptop, phone, tablet, or desktop. Stories are divided by age group into “littlest listeners, elementary, tween, teen, literary classics, and folk & fairy tales.” Additionally, there are stories offered in foreign languages, including Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Japanese.
  • The San Diego Zoo has videos, stories, activities and games geared towards learning for kids! There is a “for grown-ups” link to provide teacher resources and activity guides which can help parents walk their children through the educational aspects of the website.
  • Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Zoo is doing daily live “home safaris” via Facebook featuring a different animal each day and include an activity your child can do from home. If you don’t have social media access, the safaris will be posted shortly after the live feed ends here.
  • Learn to draw from bestselling children’s author Mo Willems on YouTube!
  • Kennedy Space Center is using Facebook Live to give lessons on rocketry on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9:30am ET for younger viewers. For high-school aged adolescents, programming will start at 1:00pm ET.
  • Learn to build your own theme park attractions, Disney-style! Imagineering in a Box lets you step in to the Disney workshop and see how the pros do it.

Nature & Animals

  • Speaking of animals, several zoos have webcams so you can watch their residents playing, eating, sleeping, or just doing animal stuff!
    • San Diego Zoo Live Cams – You can watch baboons, penguins, pandas, polar bears, apes, koalas, giraffes, owls, elephants and more.
    • Monterey Bay Aquarium – Get a live look at a coral reef, a kelp forest, undulating jellyfish, and more.
    • The Atlanta Zoo – Check out their panda cam where you can watch everyone’s favorite roly-poly bamboo eaters as they bumble around (or nap).
    • The Houston Zoo – Choose from six different live-feeds, including my personal favorite, the industrious Leafcutter Ant Cam. So neat!
  • Ever wondered what it would be like to like on a farm? Check it out with Farm Food 360° virtual tours of dairy farms, grain farms, apple orchards, and so much more.
  • Take a virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park, learn about the geography (think mud volcanoes! Canyons! Mountains and cliffs!), animals you may encounter, and see stunning photographs from inside the park.
  • Dreaming of a trip to Mars? Well, now you can! Check out the digital tour based on the Curiosity Mars Rover’s imaging of the surface. Learn about the rover itself and the interesting topography it encountered.
  • Just how mysterious is the Mona Lisa’s smile? You can find out for yourself on a virtual tour of the Louvre in Paris.
  • Trip to China from the comfort of your couch? Check out this online tour of the Great Wall. I heard that from low orbit this man-made structure can be seen from space.
  • “Walk” through the Boston Children’s Museum courtesy of Google Maps. The set up is just like using Google’s street-view feature, you pick where you want to go and check out the museum at your own pace.
  • Speaking of museums, through a partnership with Google, more than 2,500 museums worldwide can be toured virtually. From MoMA in New York to the Anne Frank Museum in the Netherlands to the Acropolis Museum in Greece, check out stunning images from inside these treasures.
  • Discovery Education provides live and on-demand virtual field trips, I checked out the Tundra Connections trip and was completely wowed! Each “trip” includes a companion guide that includes pre- and post-viewing activities and other resources.
  • The Nature Conservancy lets you explore the deserts and grasslands of Africa. Included in the link is a teacher’s guide and 33-minute video, recommended for grades 3-8. Additional lesson topics can be found here, including the very cool Coral Reefs of Palau lesson.
  • Need a way to help your kids relax? Check out Cosmic Yoga for kids! Videos range from 3-minute mini-sessions upwards to an hour based on your kids’ attention span, age, and skill level.

The Georgia Aquarium – The Ocean Voyager Webcam is second to none, plus they have Beluga whales and otters- so cute!

Arts & Science

Resources & Support for Schooling at Home:

For Parents

Audit Yale’s The Science of Well-Being for free! “In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life.”

London bakery Bread Ahead is offering free live-streamed baking tutorials via their Instagram page @breadaheadbakery. Be mindful of the time difference, their 2pm is our 8am ET.

Try a free 90-day (whoa!) trial of Peloton’s at-home workout app. No fancy bike or treadmill required. Try yoga, HIIT, strength training and more!

Or check out Daily Burn’s 60-day free trial if you want to give Kickboxing or some crazy dance-fitness classes a whirl.

Hungry? Thiiiiiiirsty? Check out this Charlotte Five article outlining curbside pick up options for Charlotte-area restaurants and breweries.

And for your viewing pleasure, Slate was kind enough to create a list of the streaming services and subscriptions offering free trials during the Corona Virus pandemic. Care to binge, anyone?

And for the post kiddo-bedtime wind down, the Metropolitan Opera is holding nightly opera streams at 7:30 each night.

We here at Tom Bush Law Group hope you find these resources helpful. Be well, stay safe, and we’ll see you on the other side of this crazy COVID-19 journey!

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