Here are some resources to keep you happy, healthy, and engaged. We’ll be adding more every day, so check back regularly!
Play & Move / Listen / Read / Create / Explore / Connect / Learn / Parenting & COVID-19 Resources / Virtual Grandparenting Resources
Play & Move
Mindful movement dance party: get your kids together and have a mindful freeze dance party as a family.
Healing Play for Toddlers – A guide from Birthroots Maine: try these games with your toddler to create a sense of grounding and choice!
Download Kara Wiley’s Mindful Moments for Kids album for free!
Classical Music Podcast: Educate kids about classical music in a humorous way with David Walliams’ Marvellous Musical Podcast. There are 10 episodes to enjoy – including ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’, ‘The Liszt Factor’ and ‘Ballet’.
Jim Gill Music: explore movement and dance together with musician Jim Gill!
Children’s Music from Smithsonian Folkways: try this playlist!
Folk music from Elizabeth Mitchell: Enjoy one of Miss Megan’s favorite artists!
Musician Emily Arrow: check out her weekday YouTube videos!
Play Me a Story: watch free streaming performances from Portland Stage’s “Play Me a Story!” every Saturday morning!
Storyline Online: offers a wide selection of picture books read by celebrities, skillfully produced by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.
Maine Storyteller Diane Edgecomb: check out her YouTube channel to hear traditional stories come alive!
Authors Everywhere YouTube channel: is your favorite author here? Check it out!
LeVar Burton will livestream from Twitter reading children’s literature each Monday at 12 p.m.!
Dolly Parton has started a 10-week program called “GoodNight With Dolly” featuring Parton reading children’s books every Thursday at 7 PM EDT and will be streaming on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Free books from Penguin Random House: Download their Volumes app and enjoy a selection of free audio books until April 30th.
#SaveWithStories: celebrities reading children’s books on Instagram.
Bubbler in your Bubbler: a resource listing of author and illustrator activities from Madison Public Library.
Author Kate Messner: read-alouds, drawing and writing mini-lessons, and more!
Portland’s Curious City: all kinds of engagement resources created by local KidLit expert Kristin Cappy!
What is KidLit? It’s the community of people who read and write children’s literature!
Visit some of Maine’s own KidLit creators!
It’s National Poetry month! Explore some activities together.
Read a poem from the Poetry Foundation: find something to share together from this collection of children’s poetry.
Teach This Poem: a weekly series featuring a poem from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help K-12 teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom.
30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month: poetry activities you can do at home from the Poetry Foundation.
Education Place: activities include crafts, virtual poetry lessons and fill-in-the-blank poems.
Playing with Poetry from Scholastic: try one of these poetry activities.
Poetic forms: explore different poetic forms with your child.
Quarantine Time Capsule Journal: Help your children create a time capsule-style journal to record their experiences during the quarantine period with these free printables.
The Artful Parent: explore author Jean Van’t Hul’s website for many easy, creative ideas to create art at home!
Author Jarrett Krosoczka: writing and drawing prompts, plus more from the creator of Jedi Academy, Hey Kiddo!, Good Night, Monkey Boy, Baghead and the Lunch Lady series.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems: Don’t miss this special creative time with the author of Knufflebunny and Elephant & Piggie!
Ben Clanton’s Squiggles and Scribbles: Have fun with coloring pages and interactive activities from the author of Narwhal & Jelly! See him read live every Monday at 12:30 ET on Instagram!
Author and illustrator Elly Mackay: find magical crafts and other ideas from her website.
Minecraft Self Portrait: Try your hand at creating a picture of yourself in Minecraft-style with this free printable!
Elise Gavel Coloring Pages: enjoy these free printable coloring pages from illustration Elise Gavel (you often saw them out in the children’s room)!
Drawing and writing prompts for kids from Jarrett Lerner: check out the 100+ printable activities pages created by the author of Enginerds. Miss Megan loves sharing these!
Free coloring sheets: author and illustrator Susie Ghahremani has posted free coloring sheets, head over to Susie’s Instagram stories to find them!
Printable coloring book: author and illustrator Liz Climo has put together a coloring book you can download and enjoy for free via her Tumblr.
More coloring pages: artist Audrey Kawasaki has created many whimsical coloring pages available on her website to download in full, hi-resolution versions.
And yet more: grab a coloring sheet about “exploring the great indoors“, as well as the CoronaVirus Coloring Sheet from artist and author Gemma Correll.
If you doodle, construct, or create anything magical, snap a photo and email it to us. We’d love to see what you’re doing!
Local events: stroll down the virtual “Main Street” of Portland to see online event listings.
Maine Center for Wildlife’s Morning Meetings on Facebook: every day, meet a new creature from the Center and learn about its life and habitat!
Boston Children’s Museum Virtual Resources: take a virtual tour of the museum and find cool activities!
Virtual Tours of US National Parks: where will you go? Where have you been in person?
San Diego Zoo: With this interactive website, you can take your kids to the San Diego Zoo no matter where you live! Learn exciting animal facts, explore exhibits in real time, and play fun games and activities.
Virtual Tour of the Great Wall of China: This panoramic tour allows you to walk through one of the oldest and most historically significant wonders of the world.
Monterey Bay Aquarium: This virtual tour takes you on a deep-sea adventure through exhibit webcams that allow students to watch sea creatures in real time. Once you’ve studied the animals up close, the Monterey Bay Aquarium also provides this classroom resource page with activities, fact sheets, and games to play.
Virtual Farm Tours: Learn more about the wonders of agriculture through this panoramic tour of farms in Ontario. Learn how dairy products are made, see farmers harvest fruit or eggs, and even explore specialty farms like an emu or deer ranch.
Discovery Education Field Trips: Discovery Education offers a variety of free, interactive tours from a behind-the-scenes look at the Library of Congress to a climbing expedition of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
“The Secrets of Easter Island” Tour: What were the people who made the moai head megaliths like, why did they create them, and where did this lost civilization go? Uncover the answer to these and many more exciting questions through the virtual tour of Easter Island.
Online Tour of the Louvre: The Louvre in Paris, France is one of the most renowned art galleries in the world and, by visiting their website, you can explore some of their exhibits.
Take a Virtual Walk on Mars: With NASA’s Curiosity rover!
Video conferencing: You might use video chat apps like Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts for virtual family visits and playdates. Video chatting via Facebook Messenger, Google Duo (on your phone) and the iPhone’s FaceTime are also good ways to keep in touch with family that you might not be able to visit while social distancing.
Brainstorm: can family or friends read a book or skill-share with your child using one of these apps?
Movie Nights: There’s a Google chrome extension that lets you watch movies or TV shows with your friends—even when they’re hundreds of miles away! The extension allows you to sync up a movie with others and even adds a text chat to the side of your screen so that you and your friends can share your thoughts in real time. If you can’t get together in person, it’s the next best thing! Just download Netflix Party and get started!
Neighborhood Connections: Using technology and social media to keep in touch with neighbors has sparked fun activities such as “Rainbow art” sharing in home windows, “Teddy Bear Hunts” and the #ChalkYourWalk inspirational message sharing. We’re not sure how popular it would make you, but one community howls together every night at 8 p.m.!
Mail-a-Hug: You can do this simple art project and have your child “mail a hug” to a loved one!
Don’t forget it’s a simple act of kindness and connection to call and check-in with a family member or friend!
What are ways you could practice safe social connection-making during this time? Email us your ideas, we would love to share!
Wide Open School is an amazing gathering of many resources for learning at home during the COVID-19 crisis.
Parenting & COVID-19 Resources
Michelle Martin, a professor at the University of Washington’s Information School says, “Just try to keep as much of that normalcy for kids as you can. Because if we encourage each other to share resources, a lot of times you’ll find richness in that, community-building. It helps the kids feel like the world isn’t falling apart right now,” Martin said. “It’s really easy for kids to feel depressed about how bad things are: I’m never going to go back to school. I’m never going to see my friends again. So I think we need to be cognizant of how much of that they’re absorbing—and try to replace that with some things that are positive.”
~ How Parents Can Keep Kids Busy (and Learning) in Quarantine: an article from the Atlantic.
How to Talk to Your Children About COVID-19: from Smithsonian Magazine.
Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19: an article from the National Association of School Psychologists.
The Pandemic Toolkit Parents Need: an article with helpful strategies from Psychology Today with tips fromexpert tips to help families stay regulated.
Professional Development for Staff (includes webinars on outreach, compassion fatigue, mindfulness, and yoga storytime) from founder of Stories, Songs, and Stretches Katie Scherrer.
Grandparenting in the time of COVID-19: tips from Harvard Health.
Maine Author Lynne Plourde: Lynn is staying active online by posting videos of activities every Saturday for virtual grandparents.
15 Ways to Be Awesome Long Distance Grandparents: check out this blog post that has many ideas to create connections across social distance!
20 Activities for Grandparents to do with their Grandchildren: gather some ideas to try with your grandchild!