20+ Ways to Entertain Cooped-Up Kids
Indulging in a little bit of screen-time doesn’t have to mean entering total couch-potato mode! Here are a few of our favorite virtual resources to help keep your cooped-up kiddos enriched and entertained while they’re stuck inside.
Virtual Classes and Activities
Whether your kiddo needs to move her body, wants to put crayon to paper, or just needs to belt out a tune—she’ll stay busy with one of these virtual activities.
Mo Willems’ Doodle Class: Kid- and parent- fave author Mo Willems is letting us in on some of the secrets to his enchanting illustrations with daily lunchtime doodle lessons.
Union Square Play Online: Every day this NYC-based playspace will be offering a different children’s class video, offline activity, and community event for parents.
Go Noodle: Kiddos are encouraged to get moving with Go Noodle’s videos, games, and offline activities.
Headspace Meditation for Kids: We could all use a big deep breath right now, couldn’t we? Headspace Kids teaches kids meditation basics. Try the first two weeks for free!
Sesame Street's Caring Kit: Our favorite group of monsters have yet to let us down, and to support families during the COVID-19 outbreak, Sesame Street has a variety of educational videos, games, and offline activities for kids, as well as tips for parents about talking to their children during this challenging time.
Have you gone hoarse reading your kiddo’s favorite book for the thousandth time this week? Outsource a storytime (or two!) to give yourself a teeny-tiny break.
Storyline Online: This SAG-AFTRA Foundation-sponsored website features all of your favorite actors reading all of your favorite kids’ books!
Stay-at-Home Storytime With Oliver Jeffers: Beloved children’s book author, Oliver Jeffers, is hosting daily storytimes on Instagram Live at 2pm EST/11am PST. Eventually, they’ll be available to watch on YouTube.
Penguin Kids: Penguin Kids is hosting a virtual storytime on Instagram, weekdays at 11am EST.
Harper Kids From Home: Listen to a new book from Harper Kids (the publisher behind Pete the Cat, among other books and series!) every weekday at noon EST—available on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
Kid Lit TV Read Out Loud: Watch authors read their books aloud!
Pinna: Sometimes listening to a good yarn doesn’t require screens at all! Case in point: this kids’ audiobook and podcast provider. Bonus: They’re extending their free trial period to 60 days!
Hoopla Digital: Physical libraries might be closed—but your card may grant you access to Hoopla Digital’s library of audiobooks, videos, and songs.
Virtual Zoo and Aquarium Visits
Bring the great outdoors (or at least the creatures roaming it) inside! Lots of zoos offer the ability to check up on their furry and scaly residents with live animal cams.
San Diego Zoo: Live cams let kiddos peek at their favorite animals. See what the pandas, penguins, elephants, apes—and more!—are doing at one of the world’s most famous zoos!
Cincinnati Zoo Home Safari: On weekdays at 3pm EST, the Cincinnati Zoo is hosting home safaris on Facebook Live, where they’ll highlight one of their animals and give kids a related activity to try at home (can’t catch it live? Check YouTube later).
Monterey Bay Aquarium: Zone out to the soothing movements of jellyfish, lose yourself in colorful coral, and see what the aquarium’s playful otters get up to with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s live feeds.
Houston Zoo: The Houston Zoo has cameras on lots of kid-favorite animals, including elephants, giraffes, and chimps (oh my!).
Georgia Aquarium: Your Baby Beluga-loving tot will get a kick out of the white whales swimming around IRL at the Georgia Aquarium. (Plus, jellyfish, puffins, and sea lions!)
You may not have a degree in early childhood education—but you can still ensure that your tot squeezes in a little bit of learning at home with one of these online resources.
Kindedu: Looking for lesson plans for your little? Kindedu has activity plans organized by your child’s age/development level.
PBS LearningMedia: Find standards-aligned videos, lesson plans, and other interactive activities that parents can sort by subject matter and age, from pre-K up.
BrainPOP Jr: BrainPOP, which offers educational apps to school-age kids, is offering free access to families affected by school closures.
ABC Mouse: Designed for kids ages 2 to 8, ABC Mouse offers interactive activities and full curriculums, as well as printables, art projects, songs, and more.
Scholastic Learn At Home: Access 20 days worth of videos, lessons, and stories—for free!—for children in pre-K through grade 9.
TED-Ed@Home: With this daily newsletter, parents get interactive video lessons sent directly to their inboxes.
Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.