We’re just a little over halfway through the cold months. And these aren’t just any cold months. They compose the winter that many of us are spending in a type of lockdown.
This can present unique challenges when you have children. If you’re looking for creative ways to keep them entertained during the pandemic, here are some fun, educational experiences you can provide your children today.
Online Cultural Experiences through Airbnb
Much of the entertainment on this list is free. Airbnb online experiences do tend to come with a fee, though. If you have some money sitting in your entertainment budget, it can be a great way to expose your children to other cultures -- right from your living room.
Experiences are wide and varied. Some examples of the cultural experiences you can participate in include:
- Irish dance masterclass from Galway, Ireland.
- Cooking with a Morrocan family from Marrakech.
- Meet the dogs of Chernobyl from the Ukraine.
- Meditation with a Buddhist monk from Osaka Prefecture, Japan.
- Go on a shark dive from Cape Town, South Africa.
Whatever your child’s interests, you can find an experience that’s sure to thrill.
Storytime with Celebrities
During the pandemic, many celebrities have taken to doing virtual storytimes. PBS has a series that features many celebs, including multiple readings by Michelle Obama. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library features a pandemic storytime with the artist herself. You can also find storytime videos with both authors and celebrities through Parents Magazine’s Read Together, Be Together platform.
Education is important! Make sure your child has access to higher ed even in case of the unthinkable with an adequate life insurance policy.
The Lion King Experience
During the pandemic, Disney has made access to its Lion King Experience free. The Lion King Experience takes your child behind the scenes of the Broadway musical, teaching them theatrical skills like acting, design, music, playwriting, choreography and directing along the way.
The course is 11 sessions for children 8-11, and 18 sessions for children 12-15.
Fine Art Coloring Pages
It might not be a wise idea to visit the museum during the pandemic. But you can bring the museum home to you.
In fact, through the New York Academy of Medicine, you can bring a litany of museums home with you. Its Color Our Collections platform gathers coloring pages from museums, libraries and universities across the country. New contributions are uploaded en masse the first week of February.
Learning Mindfulness for Kids
Everyone’s stressed out right now. That includes our kids. That’s why Alo Yoga, in collaboration with Scholastic, has made its Mindfulness for Kids series accessible for free. Videos include yoga lessons, breathing exercises, visualizations and more.
Help NASA Map the Ocean Floor
During the pandemic, your kids can help map the coral reef, measuring its health. NASA’s NeMO-Net app allows Apple users to view the ocean floor, identifying different types of coral and coloring it in. Your child will be able to learn about each type of coral as they work, and the game has fun aspects like your own boat and the ability to view passing wildlife.
This process actually helps train NASA supercomputers to eventually be able to do the same thing. Because the area is so vast, without the supercomputer we wouldn’t be able to map the entire ocean floor in our lifetimes. But the supercomputer needs to be trained by human observation before it can take over the task.
Count Penguins Live for Science
Climate change, fisheries, pollution and disease are causing a decline in penguin populations around the world. To study this phenomenon and the impacts of each individual threat, the University of Oxford has started the Penguin Watch project.
Oxford’s cameras are set up around the world, monitoring areas where penguins frequent. As a volunteer, your child can count how many penguins are in each picture, helping scientists track the population in a number of different settings.
Fold Origami and Learn about the Water Crisis
There are areas in the world where access to clean water isn’t a given. When it is available, it often involves a trek over long distances -- a job often given to young girls who then cannot pursue their education. When sisters Isabelle and Katherine Kei Adams learned this, they decided to do something about it.
Using their origami skills, they created ornaments. They then sold those ornaments, using the donations to fund water wells across the globe. Today, they continue in their endeavors, while also teaching other children how to make their origami ornaments and educating others about the water crisis.