If you’re hunkered down with children and have exhausted your go-to list of activities time and again, or school is done for the day and there’s energy to burn, here are six free kid-friendly things you can do at home.
1. Take a family fitness class.
The Walk at Home channel on YouTube offers a variety of low-impact workouts centered around walking in place. They range from 10- to 30-minutes videos and are themed.
There’s also the Smile and Learn channel on YouTube, which has a Yoga for Kids video playlist. Each workout lasts about 10 minutes and incorporates music and cartoon characters to help kids to stay engaged.
2. Teach your kids about money.
Financial education isn’t part of the traditional school curriculum. So, while you’re teaching kids at home, throw in some money lessons. You can print out money worksheets from Education.com that have lessons you can teach, such as identifying the different types of coins or how to count dollars and coins.
3. Go on a virtual museum or aquarium tour.
Some museums have opened their virtual doors.
At the Louvre in Paris, virtual visitors can experience the Egyptian Antiquities exhibit. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History offers virtual tours of past exhibits no longer on display, as well as current ones. At the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, you can watch a live webcam of a variety of their aquatic displays — from sharks to penguins to moon jellies — daily up until 7 p.m. PST.
4. Tune in to a story time session.
Many public library systems have transitioned their regular story time sessions to online.
In Prince George’s County, Md., the public library system hosts live bi-weekly book readings that are followed by an interactive sing-a-long session for kids ages 2 to 5. The Los Angeles Public Library System offers virtual story time sessions using a felt board for babies, toddlers and big kids through Zoom, as well as on Instagram Live. Keep in mind that you may be required to register in advance to participate in these activities.
Television networks geared toward children’s programming also provide virtual story time sessions featuring prominent personalities. For example, PBS Kids in partnership with book publisher Penguin Random House launched a Read Along series, which is livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. As part of this series, former first lady Michelle Obama has been hosting Mondays With Michelle at noon EST.
5. Register for a kid-friendly workshop with Microsoft.
While Microsoft’s in-store learning sessions for school-aged kids have been postponed, the tech giant offers virtual workshops. This includes a two-day Literary Skills for Emerging Readers course for children ages 6 through 8.
Microsoft also offers a two-day course for children ages 8 and up that focuses on how to code your own video game using Microsoft’s MakeCode Arcade program. To participate, you’ll need to register in advance using Microsoft’s event calendar. Once you input your zip code into the search tool, it will find virtual workshops being offered near you.
6. Take an art class.
Every Friday at 3 p.m. EST, GoodHousekeeping.com hosts an arts and crafts course on Facebook Live. It lasts about 30 minutes and appeals to a variety of age groups - so even Mom and Dad can get in on the fun. One of their recent classes included clay ornaments using acrylic paint and kitchen-pantry staples for the clay.
Andrea Browne Taylor is an online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. For more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com.