On Saturday, March 14th, Governor Roy Cooper made it mandatory that all public schools statewide will remain closed until March 27th. It has been ONE WHOLE DAY into the seemingly early spring break, and I feel weird. I feel like it is about to be summer vacation, and I am sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation. I can’t check my phone (that pesky virus is all over my feed,) I shouldn’t go to stores, and my anxiety is through the roof! It feels like all of time has stopped, and I know my own charges are feeling the same way. We all know the importance of keeping children on schedules; they thrive off of consistency. Throw them a wild card and they could become, well, wild.
The internet has been flooded with information the past few weeks. This is no surprise, considering our climate. What it is though, is overwhelming. I was asked to make daily fun and educational schedules for my own charges, ages 5 and 7, to keep them educationally on track (and to make sure we still had fun everyday.) I immediately took to Facebook, as I had seen so much free information shared since the announcement of schools closing. So many companies and nonprofits are offering free online resources and activities to benefit the children whose schools have closed. So here they are! All the free, fun, and fabulous online resources I have found for your child, charge, and student. I have worked some of these into my week, and I hope you can do the same! (Don’t forget: We have three happy holidays this week. St. Patrick’s Day, The First Day of Spring, and The International Day of Happiness.)
McHarper Manor is offering two weeks of art tutorials on their Facebook page. The videos are live streamed everyday at 1PM EST, but are immediately posted afterwards, in case you can’t make that time. You can find the supplies list for the first week here.
Scholastic (yes the same Scholastic as the book fairs from our childhood) has released one weeks (with 15 more days on the way) worth of daily lessons for kids aged pre-K to 6th grade. Each day has books, vidoes, articles, and games. Click here, select your grade, and begin learning.
- The Cincinnati Zoo will be posting virtual tour videos of specific animal enclosures daily on their Facebook page. Accompanying these videos will be an activity you can do at home!
- The San Diego Zoo has live cams of a few of their more popular exhibits, as well as games and stories.
- The Houston Zoo offers live cams of giraffes, gorillas, elephants, and even ants.
- For the aquatic lover, the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers 10 live streams of various animals, and the Georgia Aquarium has a camera for beluga whales and tropical fish.
Great Wall of China:
Story Online is an audiobook lovers meca. Celebrities read children’s books while the illustrations show on the screen. It’s cool to listen to my favorite celebrities read my charges’ favorite books, so everyone enjoys these videos. I will definitely be playing them during lunch prep!
Greg Tang Math is my 7 year old charges favorite site to visit on the computer. Keep those math skills sharp, and have fun at the same time.
ABC Mouse is offering free services to students affected by school closures. These programs are good for preschoolers all the way up to middle schoolers!
Below are some fun, at home activities that don’t require screen time or internet access, but I felt deserved an honorable mention (they’re my favorites.)
This is one of my FAVORITE sensory activities, but beware, it’s messy.
You will need 1 cup of corn starch and ½ cup of water (you can make it however large you like, just keep that ratio.) Add all the ingredients to a bowl. Swish it around and notice that it is a liquid. Now, pick it up, or tap it with a spoon, and see what happens.
Homemade Moon Sand:
8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil is all you need for hours of soft sensory fun.
Sudoku and Crossword:
My charges and I love number and word games. I find all the best sudoku books at my local dollar store. They also have a great variety of kids crossword books.
Papercrafts, like coloring and origami, can be very calming during stressful times. Pop out some paper and get to relaxing.
At the end of the day both children and their parents/caregivers need some vitamin D. Make sure to catch some sun rays by going for a walk around the neighborhood or even put up a tent in the backyard for a fun “getaway.” Nature is nourishing.
And take this time to reconnect. Put your phones down if you can and just be engaged with the people in front of you. This is not our forever and we will make it through this together.