Keeping the Kids Busy During the Great Covid-19 Staycation

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March 17, 2020

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When I wrote my last blog post two weeks ago, I can assure you that Coronavirus, Covid-19, and homeschooling were not on my short list of future blog posts. I’ll be honest—two weeks ago the virus, to me, was a horrible disease that was only afflicting people in China and a small pocket of people in Seattle. Now I sit in my office, with my husband and children quarantined at home for a minimum of 2 weeks (more likely 8+ as of today), trying to figure out how to navigate this new reality! I find that when I am anxious, trying to be more organized and in control helps. So when North Carolina finally cancelled school over the weekend, I went into planning mode.

First, I found this schedule another mom had posted on social media and I tweaked it a bit.


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Next, I started to pull together all the online resources (along with usernames & passwords) that my daughter’s teacher had sent us over the course of the year. Full disclosure, I’ve struggled this year with knowing how much computer time is too much. When my daughter gets home from school, I want her to go and play outside or do something creative or read…not go online and do more school work. But I’ve let her on rainy days, snow days, or when mama really needs to get some work done!…and I’m SO THANKFUL for these resources today! And speaking of playing outside — I have two girls, age 5 and 7 who won’t be going to school or having play dates for the foreseeable future, so getting outside will be key to all of us keeping our sanity!

So here is a list of resources I’ve put together to help us all. It includes places to explore outdoors, places to explore online, and FREE online educational resources.

Places to Explore Outdoors 

We’ve been to a few of these and are excited to visit the rest!

Anne Springs Close Greenway https://www.ascgreenway.org/

US National Whitewater Center https://usnwc.org/

Dupont Forest https://www.dupontforest.com/

Uwharrie National Forest https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc

McDowell Nature Center & Preserve  https://www.mecknc.gov/ParkandRec/StewardshipServices/NatureCenters/Pages/McDowell.aspx#trails

Latta Nature Center & Preserve  https://www.mecknc.gov/ParkandRec/StewardshipServices/NatureCenters/Pages/Latta.aspx

Reedy Creek Nature Center & Preserve 
https://www.mecknc.gov/ParkandRec/StewardshipServices/NatureCenters/Pages/Reedy.aspx

Grandfather Mountain State Park https://www.ncparks.gov/grandfather-mountain-state-park/home

Crowders Mountain State Park https://www.ncparks.gov/crowders-mountain-state-park/home

Places to Explore Online

We joined the Cincinnati Zoo’s FB live today and the kids LOVED it. They loved the interaction. And I just learned about the Mo Willems videos, and my kids love his books, so I’m excited to introduce them to that tomorrow!

Cincinnati Zoo https://www.facebook.com/cincinnatizoo/ (3pm EST every day!)

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmzjCPQv3y8 (1pm EST every day!)

San Diego Zoo – https://kids.sandiegozoo.org

Yellowstone National Park – https://www.nps.gov/…/lea…/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm

MARS – https://accessmars.withgoogle.com

Monterey Bay Aquarium – https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

Houston Zoo Cams – https://www.houstonzoo.org/explore/webcams/

Jellyfish & Beluga Webcam – https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/webcam/beluga-whale-webcam/

Museum Tours – https://artsandculture.google.com/story/igKSKBBnEBSGKg?hl=en 

Free eLearning Resources

We already have access to some of these through my daughter’s school, but even if you don’t, they are all FREE for at least a month!!

Scholastic – Reading (FREE 30 DAY ACCOUNT) https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/…/learnathome.html 

ABC Mouse – Reading – Math – Science – Art & Colors (Ages 2-8) (FREE 30 DAY ACCOUNT) https://www.abcmouse.com

Raz Kids – Reading – (FREE TRIAL) https://www.raz-kids.com

Prodigy – Math (FREE ACCOUNT) https://www.prodigygame.com/blog/

ABCya – Online Educational Games (FREE) https://www.abcya.com

Epic! – Reading (FREE 30 DAY ACCOUNT) https://www.getepic.com

Highlight Kids – Activities, Games, Jokes (FREE) https://www.highlightskids.com

National Geographic Kids – (FREE) https://kids.nationalgeographic.com

PBS Kids (FREE) https://pbskids.org/games/

Coloring Pages – Drawing Tutorials – Paper Crafts – Puzzles & Games (FREE) http://www.supercoloring.com/sections/paper-crafts

The sites above are ones I’ve used and know that my kids enjoy, but there’s a much longer list here that we may need if this goes longer than two weeks!

And now the piece de resistance!

Would you like a daily calendar of every, single virtual event that is taking place for the next few weeks? Click here!

Update 3/18/20

Want some ideas for educational tools that are not 100% computer-based? My husband’s colleague’s wife is a self-proclaimed “recovering teacher” and has provided some great activities for reading, math, and creative arts: https://www.unstuckatho.me/.

Here are some more virtual field trips that my friend Stephanie sent me! https://adventuresinfamilyhood.com/20-virtual-field-trips-to-take-with-your-kids.html

Have other ideas or suggestions?? Leave a comment below and I’ll add it to this ever-growing list!


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