After being approached by teachers & parents about suggestions for keeping kids engaged during these challenging times, I began to compile a guide. A sampling of the resources include:
Author readings & Illustrator demonstrations
- The Society of Children’s Book Authors & Illustrators has compiled a page to help kids find readings as well as art/activity ideas from their favorite authors.
- In an article titled Home with the Kids? Writers Want to Help, the New York Times has compiled a list of authors & illustrators sharing their stories & talents with kids.
- LibrarianBookends blog has a daily post listing live readings from authors & illustrators (many are available to view later if you miss a session with a favorite author!)
Read, Think, Talk, and Find Learning Moments Together
Every day, at WONDEROPOLIS , a new “Wonder of the Day” question is posted. Each question is designed to get kids and families to read, think, talk, and find learning moments together in everyday life. Questions cover a wide variety of topics, including science (Can you cook an egg on the sidewalk? ); social studies/families/culture (Who is your abuela?); technology (Is a computer bug an insect?); animals (Do birds get shocked when they sit on wires?); and the background behind a figure of speech (How often is “once in a blue moon”?)
BedtimeMath shows that improving math skills doesn’t have to involve dull drills. Every day they offer an off-beat but true factoid e.g. Can Dogs Fly? followed by math problems for “wee ones” through “big kids” (and sometimes even “the sky’s the limit!”) They also have a variety of other math-based activities, some even physical. You can subscribe and get the daily problem delivered to your inbox or by app.
What Do We Do All Day is an awesome resource for just about everything including activity ideas & games & 200+ incredible booklists. It also has a great Facebook page with daily suggestions for frazzled families.
Virtual Travel and Fun
Visit dozens of places around the earth & beyond without breaking quarantine! Enjoy 30+ Virtual Field Trips to national parks and zoos. Visit 12 Museums without leaving home and maybe use them as inspiration to make your own versions of famous paintings! Learn magic, music, theater games, and more with New Victory’s Arts Break.
Want to use this time to help your children discover our many overlooked “she-roes”? The whole family will enjoy these fun films with fabulous female protagonists.
Neighborhood Togetherness and Virtual Visits with Family and Friends
Consider taking your kids on a “Rainbow & Bear Hunt,” have a set time for a neighborhood sing or cheer or howl to celebrate essential workers, or for kids in the neighborhood to practice their instruments in their driveways/balconies so neighbors can cheer them on from a distance.
Many grandparents and grandkids can’t see each other during this time; some families are having daily phone calls or video chats instead. This might be a perfect time to consider having children interview family members and write & illustrate the things they learn to create a family album. 20 Questions for Grandma/Grampa (includes printables), 30 Questions, or 40 Questions are possible pages to get you started.
A more extensive version of this article is available at FamilyLearningIdeas. This is a work in progress. What resources have you found which would be valuable for families with kids as their libraries are closed? Please email me or let me know in the comments below!
Today’s guest blogger is Carol Simon Levin. Carol Simon Levin is a retired Youth Services librarian, storyteller and program presenter. You can find her storytimes, songs, art, STEM, and activity suggestions for both pre-schoolers & school-aged kids at carol simon levin.blogspot.com. Free downloadable pages from her book Remembering the Ladies: From Patriots in Petticoats to Presidential Candidates are at tellingherstories.com. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at email@example.com.