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How to occupy your kids during the pandemic (non-academic version)

How to occupy your kids during the pandemic (non-academic version)

This is survival. Endless screen time is fine!

Laura Camacho
Laura Camacho

As we've already established, these are extraordinary times. Right now, you're suriving. You need to keep your standards low. Lower than you think. Your baseline needs to be:

  1. Keep everyone fed + safe
  2. Don't yell at anyone
  3. Try to keep your income steady

You're all going to feel better if there's some semblance of order out of the chaos everyone is feeling. If that means giving your kids fun academic adventures to embark upon while you try to get some work done, great. Here's your list for that.

If your kids are like ours, or if you are like us, overseeing academic work while trying to work from home is nigh impossible. You can do one or the other, not both.

So, there's been a lot of screen time.

The 6 and 10 year olds are happily occupied on Minecraft for 6-8 hours a day. It's super interactive and creative, so we'll call that a win. The 13 year old is currently baking scones, so that's definitely a win.

I've started a collection of interesting non-academic resources, once baking and our current games and movies lose their attention.

Livestream list

First on the list is an amazing Google calendar that someone has put together, of Livestreamed Events during the Great Staycation. You can add any of the 50+ daily offerings straight to your own calendar so you make sure you log in on time.


You can play almost 1000 tabletop games virtually, thanks to Tabletopia. There's a free version as well as paid memberships.

GamePigeon allows you to play games via text message.

Exercise & Movement

The daughter of one of my Facebook friends is doing wonderful dance and creative movement classes for kids. Move with Skylar is on FB live most weekdays at 5pm ET, and the videos are archived there after about a day. She has a Youtube channel and will hopefully put all the videos there as well.

We love Cosmic Kids Yoga! You can find her adventure themed yoga videos on Facebook or YouTube.

Geocaching is probably an acceptably socially distanced outdoor activity in most places.

Charity and the JAMband has moved their Music, Dance, Mindfulness for Humans of all Ages and Stages for free online. Donations requested but not required.

BalletNova Center for Dance in Northern Virgina is livestreaming free dance classes. (Times listed are Eastern.)

The Debbie Allen Dance Academy is hosting Zoom dance classes. The schedule is on their website.

Dancing Alone Together is curating a beautiful list of all the digital dance opportunities popping up during the quarantine. It's lovely! (I have friends who are highly recommending Mark Kanemura's instagram live dance sessions.)


Hoopla and Kanopy let you stream movies for free with your public library card. Browse the Kanopy Kids selection here (they've got Zooboomafoo!).

Amazon Prime has made a lot of their kids' content free to stream. Some of our favorite titles are Tumble Leaf, Gortimer Gibbons, Just Add Magic, Annedroids, Odd Squad, Peg + Cat.

Arts & Culture

The Accessible Chef has "a collection of free visual recipes and other resources to help teach cooking skills to individuals with disabilities." It's a great resource for pre-readers, too.

The National Theatre will be screening full length plays on their YouTube channel, every Thursday at 7pm GMT, for the month of April. They'll be available to watch for a week, until the next one is aired. More info on the specific plays here.

Explore the Museo Frida Kahlo via Google Arts & Culture. offers "a complete archive of folk music for all countries." It's amazing! I spent so much time noodling around, listening to clips.

The Winchester Mystery House video tour is actually pretty interesting.


Take a virtual tour of the Carlsbad Caverns. (There are several other National Parks on Google's The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks feature.)

This article from House Beautiful lists 5 video tours of famous gardens around the world. Once you click through to YouTube for your tour, you'll be served lots of other people's videos of the same place - an endless loop of garden tours! is a sort of clearinghouse of dozens of live animal cams, ranging from wildlife to kitten rescues.