Social Distancing? We’ve Got Some Great Online Resources

Couple watching on laptop at home

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in most of us hunkering down at home in self-isolation.

We’re cancelling travel, staying at home all the time, and taking precautions to avoid the virus. To stave off the eventual boredom and stir-craziness that develops after a while, our columnist Chandler Wieberg has put together a great list of online resources to help keep you and your family fit, cultured, educated and entertained.

Fun ideas to do with your kids

School will be out for awhile for kids across the country. The possibilities of fun and educational things for kids to do is endless, so here are some fun ideas you can explore with your family that will help keep them active and entertained while they are isolated from school and friends.

Kids looking outside a window

Create a treasure hunt

Hide 10-20 objects around your house, and draw a fun treasure map for your kids to follow! Hide more objects for older kids to keep them engaged and having fun.

Watch animal live cams from around the world

On explore.org you can watch live cams of animals at an elephant park in Africa, a bald eagle’s nest in Iowa, and different Aquariums throughout the U.S. It’s a great way to “get out of the house” during this time of social distancing.

Kid playing with play dough

Make your own play dough

Making play dough with your kids is fun and easy, and you probably have the ingredients at home! Here is a great recipe from I Heart Naptime.

Set up an outdoor obstacle course

You can use objects from inside your home, and outdoor toys and chairs to create fun outdoor gym for your kids to enjoy.

Family baking together

Teach your kids how to make pancakes

Every family like pancakes, right?! Why not use this time at home to show them a few cooking skills? Here is an easy and delicious recipe from Kidspot Kitchen.

Listen to a podcast

There are several great podcasts out there for kids. Stuff You Should Know is a great podcast that has several episodes on literally anything you should know! From The Muppets to the history of soda to amazing animals, you can find almost anything here. If you have kids who love to ask questions, and you don’t always have the answer, check out the But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids, and let someone else answer the questions.

Make a vision board

This is another great idea while families are home during this seclusion time. A vision board can be made by printing out pictures from online, or magazines, or photos from around your house. The idea is to fill the board with ideas and fun things you want to achieve or do this year. Get your haircut, go to an amusement park, go to the beach, try out for the dance team. It can be anything you set your mind to, and will get your kids thinking outside of just the home.

astronaut reading from space

Watch astronauts read from space

The Global Space Education Foundation has just the thing for you: Story Time in Space.  It’s exactly what it sounds like — astronauts on various missions in space read popular children’s books while floating about, and the videos are edited and shared with kids way down on Earth.

Parade Magazine also ran a great article with 125 ways to keep kids entertained during the coronavirus crisis.

Learn new things

Woman learning online

Do you feel the list of things you want to learn are endless? Let’s look at the bright side, now you have extra time to check some of those things off your list. Thankfully, there are a lot of great online courses, books, webinars, and so much more to keep your mind active and keep learning.

How to play guitar

Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Did you know there are a lot of great online resources and videos that can teach you? Open Culture is a great online free cultural and educational media resource with several resources of videos and lessons to learn guitar. Check it out!

Free virtual cooking classes

Massimo Bottura is one of the most famous culinary chefs in the world, and he is bringing us a free virtual cooking class, Kitchen Quarantine, via Instagram.  He is a Michelin-starred chef and his charisma and energy will be all everything you need during this time of isolation. He live streams his lessons nightly from his kitchen, and his family often joins in the fun. You will leave with a delicious meal, and a smile on your face.

Learn to code

Coding can be a very helpful tool to know in today’s world. Unless you are pursuing a career in web development, you probably don’t have much time to learn to code. Right now would be a perfect time to learn the different techniques of coding. Bill Gates has put together his favorite platforms, which offer free classes online. Check out the different intro, advanced, and quick coding lessons here.

Music, Art, and Exercise

Don’t miss out on all the great livestreams that popular musicians are offering right now. A lot are free, and some are pay what you can to help support musicians during a time they cannot work.

Woman listening to music on headphones

Musical artists online

Erykah Badu announced on her Instagram she will be doing a livestream from her bedroom this weekend, for $1. She is asking fans to tell her what songs they want to hear via a poll.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin is another popular musician that has promised a free virtual concert for fans because of the social distancing during coronavirus. He currently has a 30 minute IGTV video on his Instagram which you can watch here.

Listen to the Met Opera

To continue to provide opera and the arts during this difficult time, The Metropolitan Opera will host “Nightly Met Opera Streams” on its official website to audiences worldwide. These steams will be in HD and you can download the Met Opera on Demand apps to watch easily from any device. See the daily schedule here on the Met Opera official site.

versailles hall of mirrors

Take a free virtual tour of The Palace of Versailles

From The Hall of Mirrors to The Grand Trianon via the beautiful fountains, The Palace of Versailles is opening its digital doors for a virtual tour to be experienced from your own home. The tour includes 22,000 pieces of art to experience online. This is the perfect opportunity to discover the secrets behind the famous Sacre de Napoléon, the stunning Marie Leszczynska furniture and other souvenirs from a fabulous era.

Watch Broadway

Playbill released a list of 15 Broadway plays and musicals that you can stream online for free. From Newsies to Sweeney Todd, they ran down some of the best filmed Broadway shows—and where to find them.

Woman and child doing yoga together

Yoga and meditation

These practices can be very helpful tools while you are at home. Exercise for the mind and body can be the difference between having a lot of tension and panic during a crisis, or staying calm and healthy. There is a great Commune Virtual Studio that offers an array of meditation and yoga videos that target daily practices, pain relief, stress relief, and beginners yoga. Create a profile and find like-minded people to interact with. All virtually!

Additional Resource: The website Porch also has a good post on tips for making the most of your shelter-in-place time at home.

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