This season we are in has been tough and overwhelming for so many people. With all the uncertainty, it can be hard to plan and adjust to this “new normal” we are living in. We here at enCourage Kids want to try and help as best we can. We put together a list of free activities and ideas to keep your time at home as entertaining, joyful, and fun as possible! We hope you enjoy and are able to spend time with your family, laughing and learning together.
We have organized it into categories below, with a short description of each activity included.
Games and Gaming
There are SO MANY games out there that it would take years to play them all. From video games, to online games, to mobile games to traditional board games and party games, you’re spoiled for choice really. Video games tend to be a bit pricey, having to pay for the console itself, whilst party games are totally free and you need no technology to play them, so there are games for every budget. Colonist is a great example of an online game that you can play with your kids or they can play with their friends, and it’ll keep them entertained for hours. If you have no wifi, board games like Cluedo are great fun for all the family, and it also requires some clever thinking and skill!
If you’re lucky enough to have some private outdoor space, get everyone out to do some gardening. Kids love playing in the mud, so grab a bag of soil and some pots and you can get them planting! Get some strawberry seeds (just mush up some shop-bought strawberries and let the seeds dry out in the sun) and they can plant their own strawberries. Alternatively, they can plant flowers for a quick burst of colour, or they could plant a tree that will grow as they do! Just be careful of insects like wasps and termites that might want to take a bite out of you – if your garden is overrun with them, try visiting https://www.pestcontrolexperts.com/local/texas/long-point/ to have their nests removed first. This will make your garden not only safer, but more enjoyable to spend time in!
Arts & Crafts
Mo Willems invites YOU into his studio every day for his LUNCH DOODLE. Learners worldwide can draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually once a day. New episodes will be posted each weekday at 1 PM EST. Make your own lunch doodle here.
Crayola has created a lot of resources for in-home activities to do. You can visit their website here to see all of the fun you could have!
An At-Home Activity Program Curated by DC Middle Grade Authors and Artists Meg Cabot, Agnes Garbowska, Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Minh Lê, Michael Northrop,
Ridley Pearson, Kirk Scroggs, and Gene Luen Yang, Among Others. Tune In to DC Kids Social Channels for Kid-Friendly, Downloadable Activity Kits and Graphic Novel Previews, Plus Interactive Author/Artist Videos. You can learn more here.
New York Times bestselling illustrator, Wendy Macnaughton, is hosting drawing classes on her Instagram. You can follow along with those classes here.
You and your family can write thank you notes or notes of encouragement to all the healthcare workers and patients who are working so hard to fight COVID-19! We would be happy to share on our social media if you would like. You can send your note or card to Mallory at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us in your social media!
Delish is hosting free digital cooking classes every day of the week! They post the schedule ahead of time, so if you want to participate, you can have all your ingredients ready. To learn more, click here.
Raddish Kids is hosting Cook-Along Classes on their website. They are doing live classes, but also have listed all their past classes on their site. To learn more, click here.
Sports & Exercise
Cosmic Kids posts yoga classes and other fun exercises on their YouTube channel. They have classes in both English and Spanish. To view all their classes and take one of your own, click here.
Missing your favorite New York Red Bulls soccer players? You can now hang out with them online! They are doing virtual player appearances and each player is doing a fun activity or Q&A. To see the schedule and tune in, click here.
The Little Gym is posting remote classes from their teachers on their YouTube Channel. You can view all those classes and participate by clicking here.
Go Noodle offers a wide variety of fun workout opportunities. Whether it is a dance party or yoga, you are sure to find a class you will all enjoy! As added bonus is that they have videos in both English and Spanish. To view all the classes they offer, click here.
BrainPOP offers so many videos on pretty much any topic you could want to learn about. They are offering free access during this time. To learn more and see how you can start using BrainPOP, click here.
Have you ever wondered how a farm is run and what it looks like? Now you can take a 360 view of lots of different farms and farm animals! Click here to view all the videos Farm Food 360 has posted on their website.
Experiences (concerts, magic shows, etc.)
NPR has put together a list of live virtual concerts you can view from the comfort of your living room. As a note, this list includes all ages of music interests, so please be mindful of that. To see that full list, click here.
Looney Lenny, an enCourage Kids Entertainer, is putting on free magic performances every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1 PM. They are saved to his Facebook page as well if you would like to watch past ones. To see all his videos and tune in, click here.
The popular indoor trampoline park company, Skyzone, is throwing free virtual birthday parties Tuesday-Saturday for kids. As part of the package, it creates the birthday invites for all the guests, then a Sky Zone Party Pro leads the birthday child and up to 10 of their friends through 20 minutes of active play and games in their own homes. You can request a virtual party by emailing Birthdays@SkyZone.com. Be sure to include a phone number and your child’s name.
Brightly Storytime is hosting virtual storytime on their YouTube channel. They are reading a wide variety of books, and you can look through all of their videos and pick your favorite one. To choose your book, click here.
Visit a Zoo or Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has live web cams where you can view 10 different animals all day long! See a Penguin play right from your couch. To see all the live cams, click here.
Have you ever wanted to hang out with a panda in your living room? Thanks to San Diego Zoo you can. Click here to view the pandas and many other animals on their live cams.
Since the Georgia Aquarium had to shut it’s doors due to COVID-19, it now has live web cams all over the aquarium for people to enjoying the animals. Click here to see their penguin cam and many others.
Thanks to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, you can go on your own at home Safari adventure! Every weekday at 3 PM, they go live on their Facebook page with a new safari adventure. Click here to view their Facebook page.
Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld is streaming live on Facebook every day at 4 PM to talk about the science behind putty, his inspiration, and everything kids need to know to make their own! Click here to go to his Facebook page.
There are so many fun science experiments you can do with items you probably have lying around the house. Click here to see 50 different experiments you can do with your kids using household items!
Visit a Museum or Library
Thanks to Google’s partnership with 500 museums around the world, kids can get a glimpse of some of the most incredible collections available. Take a look at internationally-renowned sites like the British Museum in London, England, or the Ufizzi Gallery in Florence, Italy. If you’re looking for something a little more niche, try taking a look at the National Quilt Museum in Kentucky! Click here to learn more.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has all their MET Kids material online. You can do a virtual tour of the museum, hop in a time machine, and watch videos! Click here to learn more.
The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum is offering free virtual tours and activities on their website every weekday. Click here to learn more and see what classes they are offering.
The Smithsonian is offering online activities and games in Art, History, Culture, Science, and Nature. You can learn with the Smithsonian by clicking here.
The New York Public Library is offering plenty of remote resources for kids and teens on their website! You can learn more about everything they have to offer by clicking here.
Explore a National Park
The National Park Service has a lot of videos on their YouTube you can watch to learn more about the history of our national parks and take virtual tours of the parks. Click here to watch the videos.
Google Earth has created interactive guides to the US National Parks on their website. You can explore different landmarks within each park, getting a 360 view of the beauty! Click here to start your adventure.
Guides for COVID-19 Resources for Parents
Rochester Kids is an online guide to everything for kids, teens, & families. It includes a master guide to COVID-19 online activities for kids, teens, families, and adults.
If you live in New York City, this website will provide you with information on resources available to families in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic.