Some At-Home Activity Tips for Parents

Posted On Friday March 20, 2020

For parents looking for ways to keep kids engaged with interesting activities at home during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have compiled a few tips and suggested links, including virtual tours of museums, exploring NASA and Smithsonian collections, astronauts reading books to kids and access to free ebooks and audiobooks. There’s even a link to the Paris Opera, which will be livestreaming performances.

The Atlantic Monthly’s Ashley Fetters writes in a March 16 article, How Parents Can Keep Kids Busy (and Learning) in Quarantine, that…“Michelle Martin, a professor at the University of Washington’s Information School and the founder of a summer literacy program for children, suggests sending kids who are learning math basics on a mission around the house or the building to count all the windows, for example—and then asking them the average number of windows in each room or apartment. Challenging children to pitch a tent—or, in the absence of a tent, create a play fort—out in the yard or at the park can teach kids innovation and resourcefulness. In a pinch, Martin says, it’s always fun for kids to write spelling words or do math problems on the windows using dry-erase markers. (“It’s almost like writing on a wall, but you’re allowed to do it.”)

Fetters also suggests … “Keeping kids busy during the workday in ways that won’t require supervision is easier the older they are. “For young children”—those younger than 3 years old—“independent play is tough. They really need social interaction,” [Allyssa McCabe, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell who specializes in children’s language development,] wrote to me. “Parents will be tempted to hand over an iPhone or iPad or the like. This is understandable, but parents should also know that the younger the child, the worse this is for their language and cognitive development.” As alternatives that might keep kids sitting still while Mom or Dad types away at their own screen, she suggests setting kids up with Play-Doh, art supplies, audiobooks, or even homemade recordings of their parents reading their favorite books.

Martin also enthusiastically recommends audiobooks as a way to simultaneously keep kids learning and out of adults’ hair.

For parents in the district, our local Thompson-Nicola Regional Library’s online resources allow you to download free ebooks and audiobooks.

Here are some more ideas:

Virtual Tours of Museums and Art Galleries

Royal Ontario Museum

Vancouver Art Gallery

Canadian Museum of History

Art Gallery of Ontario

Canadian War Museum

The National Ballet of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada

Gardiner Museum

Google Arts & Culture interactive map of museums around the world

Google Arts & Culture’s Top 10 list of museums you can explore

Google’s 3D models of tombs, palaces and ancient landmarks

12 Museums including the British Museum and museums in New York,  Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam offer virtual tours you can take on your couch


Space and Science

Story time in Space - Astronauts reading to kids

NASA is making their entire media library publicly accessible and copyright

The Smithsonian’s Fun Stuff for Kids includes four areas for kids to explore: Meet the animals at the zoo, Science Game Centre, Smithsonian Learning Lab, and Smithsonian 3D


Opera Performances and a performance by the Orchestra of Paris National Opera

The Paris Opera is screening its online performances for free.  Here is the program:

March 17 - 22: Manon (2020)
March 23 - 29: Don Giovanni (2019)
March 30 - April 5: Swan Lake (2019)
April 6 - 12: The Barber of Seville (2014)
April 13 - 19: Tribute to Jerome Robbins (2018)
April 20 - 26: The Tales of Hoffmann (2016)
April 27 - May 3: Carmen (2017)
March 17 - May 3: Cycle of Tchaikovsky's six symphonies played by the Orchestra of the Paris National Opera, conducted by Philippe Jordan 


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