Social Distancing Sanity Savers
One of the beautiful things, a silver lining if you will, from all the virus commotion, is watching the best parts of humanity come forward. Sure, there have been the hoarders and the panic-inducers, but there are also restaurants offering free meals to kids in need, stay-at-home moms offering to watch nurses’ and doctors’ kids, and teens volunteering for Meals on Wheels. Those are the moments I’m choosing to focus on. Community. Love. Compassion. Help.
Some of that help has come in the form of free lessons and other fun and educational resources for kids and families. I won’t be listing out all the free apps and museum tours that were available previously, or links to other round-ups of free stuff, because you and I would both be overwhelmed and with the time it took to hunt them all up, my kids would see me less than before social distancing became “a thing.” This list is specifically for all the new offerings, just for this crazy situation, being shared by so many generous people around the world.
Most of these items are lessons happening over the next couple of weeks, or offers with a specific expiration date. This will be a fluid list, as I add to it, and possibly remove items as they become outdated, though I’ll most likely leave them so you can continue to visit and support these wonderful businesses and sites even once we’re back to our school days and ball games routines.
Free Stuff for Kids to Do While Social Distancing . . .
In no particular order . . .
Adventures in Odyssey Club – Get a 4-week free trial of Adventures in Odyssey Club – no credit card required.
Art & Play Activity Guides – The owners of Hatch and Art Bar have teamed up to create weekly activity guides that include ideas for art, nature, and other play-based fun.
Read and Color Bushel & Peck Books – This children’s book publisher has shared four of their titles for online reading, and posted three coloring books to print (some in part and some in their entirety), as well as one creativity prompts book.
30 Days of Free Books at Scribd – Read for free at Scribd. The company is offering a 30-day trial, no credit card required. They have a vast selection of e-books, audiobooks, magazines, and even sheet music!
Ballet Class with Russian Pointe – Join Katherine Barkman of the Washington Ballet for a virtual dance class. The class will be held via Instagram at 4pm EST, March 23.
Ballet Classes with Gaynor Minden – Classes will be hosted on the Gaynor Minden Instagram page at 10am EST, each weekday March 23-27, and led by dancers from the Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre.
Tour the National Gallery of Art – Visit the National Gallery virtually as they highlight a different gallery, or section of a gallery, each day until they re-open.
Loose Parts Bingo – Grab this chart for some fun ideas for using everyday objects in fun and creative ways.
Build It! Creativity Challenge – This fun, 10-day challenge, normally $9.99, is currently open to registration at no cost. Challenges are designed to encourage creativity with any sort of building bricks, but are good for other mediums as well, including creative writing.
Nature Journaling Book – The authors of How to Teach Nature Journaling are offering a free download of their comprehensive new book.
Art Everyday – Spend the week of March 23-27 learning about and creating art. Swirl, stamp, cut, and more like Van Gogh, Matisse, and others artists, then jump into the private Facebook group to chat about the artists and assignments and share your art.
The Growly Reading Adventure – Download an audiobook of Begin, the first book in the Growly trilogy, along with a companion guide.
Teach Your Monster to Read – This popular learning app, regularly $4.99, is available for free for a limited time.
Online Music Lessons – MusicPlay is opening up their online resources for everyone through the end of July. Students will have access to ukulele, guitar, and recorder lessons, plus more. Sign in with the username snow and password 2020 to access the lessons and activities.
Dance Lesson with Debbie Allen – This beloved dance teacher will be leading a class live from her Instagram account at 4pm EST on 3/18.
Read Ranger Rick online – NWF is making all digital issues and online Ranger Rick resources available for free through the end of June.
Printable Dragon Coloring Book – Brian Kesinger is offering his newest coloring book, Penned Dragons, as a free download. He says, “Don’t forget to share your masterpieces online and use the hashtag #penneddragons!”
Audible Kids’ Books – Audible is offering a free collection of children’s audiobooks, available for streaming “for as long as schools are closed.” No Audible account required.
Kids Art Spot Free Trial – Jean Van’t Hul of The Artful Parent (one of my favorite art resources) is offering a 14-day trial of her art club, with half-off the monthly membership if you choose to continue subscribing.
Bedtime Stories with Josh Gad– Josh Gad is the voice behind Olaf. He’s putting his acting skills to work, doing all the characters’ voices as he reads.
Daily Paint-Along Lessons – Artist at Heart Paint Party is offering free lessons every day for at least the week of 3/16-3/20, and may add more.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems – Join the author of kids’ favorites like Elephant and Piggie and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus for daily doodle-alongs from his home studio.
Daily Dinners with Michael Symon – The Food Network chef will be doing a cook-along for 10 days, beginning 3/16. Recipes are posted the night before. (Follow Michael Symon or search #DailyDinner if you can’t locate the info easily on the Food Network FB page.)
Virtual Ballet Classes with the Cleveland Inner City Ballet – Classes will be held via FB Live at 12 noon EST on 3/25 and 4/1.
Cincinnati Zoo daily live stream – The zoo offers a suggested activity and a quiz each day to go along with an animal they feature over FB Live. Take the animal quiz to be entered to win a 4-pack of tickets to the zoo when they re-open.
Daily Art Class with McHarper Manor – Live lessons every afternoon for at least three weeks, beginning 3/16. Watercolors, acryclics, sewing, paper marbling, and more.
Raddish Kids free cooking kit (just pay $4 shipping)
currently sold out
Watercolor Coloring Book and Lesson from Emily Lex (formerly Jones Design Co.)
Printable Homeschool Resources – The ladies behind Hip Homeschool Moms and Only Passionate Curiosity are making all their resources available for free for a couple of weeks (no end date yet) – just use the code coronahelp at checkout.
Writing with Kate DiCamillo – This famous author has shared a video with a glimpse into her writing routine and a quick prompt for other writers young or old. She is planning to make more of these writing videos, so be sure to follow her.
Coronavirus Pandemic Journal and Prompts – Kids (or adults) can create a personal record of their experience with this 15-day journal, which includes a writing prompt and space for writing or art. There’s also an option to use just the prompts. This is especially good for anyone dealing with anxiety over the current situation.
Virtual Yoga Classes – If I Was a Bird Yoga is hosting free yoga classes for kids and teens via FB and Instragram live stream. Check out their post for the schedule.
Online Space Camp – Join Miss Kat of Ingram Planetarium and the Museum of Coastal Carolina as she shares fun space facts and activities via Facebook Live. These classes are scheduled daily through March 30.
Art Explorers Online – The Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC will be taking their Kids at CAM program to Facebook Live. Check the events on their FB page for times, themes, and supplies needed.
Classics on Audiobook – Penguin Random House is offering three of their audiobooks as free downloads through April 30. The selected books are The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and Great Expectations, and they can be downloaded and accessed through the free Volumes app.
Learn from a Park Ranger – Visit South Carolina State Parks through their Facebook Live educational chats. There’s not a published schedule for these, but they plan to hold them all at 11am EST. Check their Facebook page for updates.
Unit Study Printables – Stephanie Hathaway Designs has added multiple free downloads to her shop, including several mini unit studies, blank maps of the continents, a weather wheel, and more.
P.E. With Joe – Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, will be teaching P.E. class on his YouTube channel, Monday-Friday. Classes will go live at 9am, which may mean the wee hours of the morning for those of us in the US, since I think Joe is in Wales. Just subscribe to his channel and you can stay updated when he adds the videos.
Did I miss a favorite? Send me an e-mail and I’ll see about adding it!
P.S. Subscribe to my e-mail list so you get notifications when I share new posts, like the big Homeschooling for Free article I’ve been working on for the past few weeks, or the homeschool planner review series coming up this spring! I won’t flood your inbox – I promise!