Parents' Survival Guide: 10+ Cool Ways to Keep Kids Busy While Stuck at Home Due to the Coronavirsus
A continuing series about awesome social distance activities in DC to keep you entertained during the outbreak and inspired to keep daydreaming about your next adventure in the Nation's capital.
If you’re about to scream from the little’s nonstop viewing of Frozen I and II (we feel you), we've curated more than 10 suggestions of things to do to keep the kiddos entertained while self-isolating together.
1. Stream Mo Willems’ Lunch Doodle
The beloved kids’ author (and current Education Artist in Residence at the Kennedy Center) is releasing a new “Lunch Doodle” video each weekday at 1 PM where you can watch him work in his Kennedy Center studio. Episodes are streamed afterward on the Kennedy Center’s site if you’re curious about any you missed.. Also, your kid can ask questions! Send to LUNCHDOODLES@kennedy-center.org, and he’ll try to answer during the videos.
2. Make time for art appreciation
What better way to learn about art than the experts at the National Gallery of Art? Download the NGAKids app for some little art appreciation. Created by the museum, the app “provides an immersive experience as children visit a virtual art museum and explore a variety of works spanning more than 300 years of art history.” The app includes eight different activities based on paintings from the National Gallery. Designed for iPads, ages 6 - 8.
More online, art-based activities are available in the “Kids Zone.” Activities include an introduction to photography, abstract painting with 40 brushes and full-color palette, and decorating a 17th-century dollhouse.
3. Take music lessons
Whether your goal for your child is a creative energy outlet, fulfilling a rockstar fantasy, a future seat with the symphony, or just getting through “Mary Had a Little Lamb” without the neighbors complaining, sign them up for virtual music lessons, Classes are taught by some of DC's best performers and instructors. including Weber Music Center which offers private music lessons in everything piano, to drums/percussion, and beginning voice.
Enjoy Story Time
4. Read and listen to books from the DC Public Library
The DC Public Library has a large catalog of audiobooks and ebooks available through its Libby app. Looking for something new to read as a family? Check out Overdrive for Kids! The Library has custom lists that will help you find the perfect title to enjoy for readers of all ages. Your card may be expired or non-existent, but you can get one online as well. Washingtonian’s guide to accessing the libraries and navigating the e-book selections is a good place to start.
5. Take a nature walk with a virtual guide
Download the Seek by iNaturalist app developed in part by National Geographic Society and turn getting outside into a fun nature walk.. You basically use your camera to snap flowers, critters, mushrooms and so forth, and there appear fun facts, plus ways to make the next discoveries into a game.
6. Go on a animal safari in SE
Capitol Hill street signs have gone to a dog — and an emu, a spider, and a falcarius. 10 animal sculptures that share a first letter of a street sign decorate select street sights in SE as part of Capitol Hill Arts Workshop’s Alphabet Animal Art Project. Ten additional animal signs are planned to join the menagerie this year.
7. Find your park
Even though it’s a federal city, there are an abundance of parks and green spaces that make great spots for kiddos to explore and burn off some energy. Rock Creek Park is always popular but might be a little busy these days, so head to a few of the more off-the-beaten-path parks for social distance: Theodore Roosevelt Island, National Arboretum, Anacostia Park and Kenilworth Aquatic Garden.
Explore Cultural Activities
8. Visit Smithsonian museums virtually
It was just last month that the Smithsonian institution released nearly 3 million images of their collections into the public domain and available for anybody to download, transform, and share without permission. This means you can create your very own meme or work of art using the 3D digitization of the Apollo 11’s Columbia crew hatch, any one of the 17 collection items related to baseball great Jackie Robinson, or an image of Susan B. Anthony’s inkstand. And you can also take virtual tours of the exhibits, digital collections and rooms of many of DC’s finest.
9. Have fun with Smithsonian-designed activities
The Smithsonian offers a whole host of activities for kids online. There are game and activities to help them learn about science; see the animals at the National Zoo on live video streams, games about learning to become an engineer, a geography from space quiz and more!
10. Introduce the kiddos to a new language
Your DC Public Library card also gets you access to Mango’s Little Pim, an award-winning, fun and interactive way to introduce children from ages 0-6. to new languages.
Have Play Time
11. Play board games
Sure, it's pretty old school in the age of X-Box, but playing board games offers nostalgic comfort in these chaotic times. Winners Corner on P Street, NW sells board games, as does independent, Mom-owned game store Labyrinth in Capitol Hill. Labyrinth is offering "curbside latex glove service" and delivery (call 202-544-1059 or email email@example.com). The store is also in the process of setting up virtual events. Check the site over the next few days for details.
Live-Stream Circle Time & Concerts
12. Dance and sing at virtual circle time
Let your kids get some energy out and have a good time dancing, singing and listening to stories every day during virtual storytime. You might have fun, too!
13. Tune in to a kid-friendly concert
Browse Playtime Playist for online concerts for kids and families performed by kindie artists ("kid" and "independent"). Skip the Kid Bop covers and explore original songs across genres from Folk to Ska to Pop and more! You'll even find themed songs and concerts so there's a live show that matches what your kids are interested in ... this week.
14. Stories, music, art and more virtual hangouts
The Lane Social Club, a family play space, has gone virtual with streaming, themed content daily, with pay-as-you-can pricing ($0-$20). Think: story time, animal hour, learn a new dance routine, and so on. Times vary, tickets here. Instructions for streaming will be emailed after tickets are purchased.
Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it