While we all practice social distancing with schools and libraries closed for at least two weeks to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, what exactly are you (and your kids!) going to do with yourself? A lot of us have to-be-read piles stacked in tottering piles and a to-do list of tasks around the house that we may have been putting off for a while, but we all know boredom and restlessness can set in pretty easily for people of all ages.
Here’s some ideas of how you can pass the time indoors with offerings from the Free Library and from around the web:
Of course, the first place to start would be with the library’s own Digital Media and Digital Learning portals. Our collection of online databases offers the perfect opportunity to explore topics of your own interest, take a few practice tests, or learn a new language or skill.
For ebooks, both Overdrive (and Libby, Overdrive’s very user-friendly app) and Hoopla have a strong collection of Children’s material, which can either be downloaded to a device or read on the computer. Additionally, Tumblebooks provides a storybook collection of animated and narrated videos with highlighted text of picture books and early readers, as well as Read-Alongs of narrated chapter books, ebooks, and graphic novels. Meanwhile, Bookflix does a terrific job of pairing picture book favorites with a related nonfiction title, then providing online learning activities to go along with them. If you’re just interested in nonfiction, TrueFlix offers lots of subjects that you can watch and read about!
And since you’re going to be reading a lot, make sure you’re signed up for our Spring Reading Challenge! You can keep track of either the books you read or the time you spend reading, as well as complete suggested activities.
Many educational companies and websites are offering free access while schools are shut down, with everything from lesson plans to video lectures, educational games to stories, and more.
Award-winning children’s author and illustrator Grace Lin is kicking off her new podcast series Kids Ask Authors, with three episodes a week and will be accepting submissions of questions, book reviews, poems, and jokes. Other authors and illustrators can be found on the KidLitTv Youtube channel, reading their books, discussing their creative process, or giving drawing lessons. Everyone’s favorite Pigeon maker Mo Willems will be offering daily Lunch Doodles via the Kennedy Center, while Jarrett Krosoczka of Lunch Lady, Star Wars: Jedi Academy, Punk Farm, and Hey Kiddo will be offering daily instruction on drawing and storytelling for all levels. 11-year old blogger the LivBits is maintaining this every-changing document of other Children’s book creators embarking on similar projects or providing other options for readers and families.
For a little bit more abstract art creating – not to mention a little bit of Zen – check out this easy introduction to Zentangles.
If writing is more your speed, check out this pretty extensive list of prompts to get things started. It’s a great time to start keeping a diary or journal, and any old notebook will do! Or take the opportunity to do a little old-fashioned letter writing?
For those of you missing your local storytime experience, Storyline Online offers a host of videos from well-known actors and celebrities reading picture books. It’s not quite the same as hitting up your neighborhood library, but then chances are Oprah isn’t leading your regular weekly sessions.
You should be able to practice lots of paper folding skills over the next few weeks, whether that’s by making paper airplanes or trying your hand at some origami. And perhaps you might want to hide a coded message inside one of those folds, once you’ve learned all about cryptology and decided which method is your favorite.