In a previous post, we shared some excellent remote instruction and learning resources for schools and educators looking to meet the academic needs of their students. Today we’d like to offer some resources centered on family fun and entertainment because, well, everyone deserves a bit of a break during the COVID-19 quarantine. Whether you pass it onto your faculty or extend it directly to families, this compiled list of fun includes downloadable, watchable, and screenless activities that can be accessed freely and can assist with keeping kids, parents, and teachers in good spirits and occupied while in close quarters.

Weekly Readings from Artists

Many artists are offering free access to their content at the moment, and it’s a beautiful thing. New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed graphic novel artist and author David Petersen has uploaded readings of the classic novel The Wind in the Willows on his Twitch channel, and is hosting weekly readings from his wildly popular illustrated graphic novel series Mouse Guard. Petersen also uploads demonstrations of his drawing process, which are highly informative for any budding artist.

Digital Escape Rooms

Perhaps something fun for the whole family, digital escape rooms are quickly making their way into the quarantine-life entertainment sphere. The original concept of an escape room experience is a series of themed rooms where you and your team find clues and solve puzzles to “escape” the room within the allotted time (typically an hour). Here is a list of digital escape rooms offering great fun and challenges for inquisitive minds. We especially love the Narnia escape room. Better grab those thinking caps!

Virtual Zoos and Aquariums

Did you know that zoos and aquariums are now online experiences? That’s right. You can finally have live tigers in your home safely. The San Diego Zoo is offering live videos of many of its animal exhibits throughout the park and even has a games section on the site for kids. The Monterey Bay Aquarium also offers live cams for many of its inhabitants, and the jelly cam is particularly therapeutic. If watching floating jellyfish isn’t exciting enough, we invite you to venture over to the shark cam.

Educational Games: FunBrain

FunBrain has something for everyone. Because content is divided up by grade, navigating the site is easy and safe even for youngsters. There are many games (both educational and entertaining), videos, and a math zone to keep kids occupied. There are also free digital books, so kids can read about Captain Buckleswash and the Pirate Villain complete with vivid pictures and funny characters.

Screen-free Alternatives

Cleaning! Just kidding (wouldn’t that be nice). Here are some activities which can be enjoyed without any screens. Remember those days? We probably all need a little bit of this in our lives.

Build an Obstacle Course

For readers who remember, Ninja Warrior and its American counterpart gained a lot of avid fans over the course of its airing on TV, contributing to the popularity of backyard obstacle courses. While there are countless impressive obstacle courses across the internet, there are also some impressive low-prep alternatives that can easily be set up with what you’ve likely got lying around the house. We hope that these examples will activate your imagination and get your family moving!

Origami

Although not a new activity, origami is an amusing and creative outlet with beautiful results that can be displayed around the home. There are patterns available for all skill levels, and if you don’t have any origami paper on hand, you can either have it shipped from your local craft store or simply use paper the kids have left over from their at-school days.

Reading Bingo

Reading can truly transport us to different worlds, and every book offers an escape from the reality of the COVID-19 crisis. This beautifully illustrated concept called Read-at-Home Bingo uses reading as the central goal and builds that kill into the goal-based format of a game. Parents can track, reward, and grow their child’s reading habit, which we think is a clever way of keeping them engaged with literature.

Fun in the Kitchen

What would this list of resources be without a mention of food? Now is the perfect time to get creative in the kitchen, and this Norwegian waffles recipe is just begging to be made. No need to wait for Christmas to indulge! Make this meal an event by virtually inviting family or friends for a video session so you can dine together and enjoy each other’s company.

These easily-accessed and tech-free resources will hopefully stir up some ideas for family fun and entertainment, offering students a little break from school work (Not to mention a much-deserved timeout for parents!). They can be built into a learner’s daily online curriculum, or be used as a reward once the work is finished on the weekends. Wishing you good health and moments of joy during these times.

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