We have seen the community come together during this time, supporting each other in new, exciting ways. This month, businesses are slowly starting to open their doors again and welcome guests after a long period of staying at home. If you’re still not quite ready to leave the safety of your home yet, that’s okay! There are still plenty of opportunities for learning and fun from home.
Here are just a few ideas to keep you busy.
Animals still need care when the doors are closed! The Virginia Living Museum invites you to join them live on Facebook at select times to for some natural education. Watch keepers and aquarists interact with your favorite otters or engage in Red Wolf enrichment activities. Plus, be ready to ask your questions during a live Q & A. The whole family will enjoy learning about how the animals spend their time while the crowds are away!
Looking for some hands-on activities to do with your children? The Children’s Museum of Virginia lists several activities for kids using ingredients you already have at home! Learn to make your own barometer using a jar and balloon. Make colorful pasta to use for other arts and crafts. Then, learn about the clouds and sky while participating in the NASA GLOBE Cloud Observation Project. The kids will forget they’re even learning!
Library from Home
If you’ve been reading the same books to your kids over and over, check online for free resources from your local library. For example, Virginia Beach Public Library posts weekly at-home story time guides on a variety of topics, complete with links to videos and nursery rhyme songs to sing together. Norfolk Public Library posts learning resources and special story times categorized by children’s age group, too. Find your new favorite book!
Why not spend some time coloring while learning about local arts? Hampton Arts has put together a fun family activity packet free to download. Each page features a fun activity like coloring pages, word searches, Spot-the-Difference, and more. Plus, the activities include history tidbits about the Charles Taylor Visual Arts Center, the American Theatre, and more. Visit www.hamptonarts.net to download your printable copy.
Even when we can’t be together, Disney finds a way to bring us all together in spirit with their Disney Family Singalong series. Join celebrities like Derek Hough, Little Big Town, and Thomas Rhett for creative renditions of your favorite songs from classic Disney films. Don’t miss special performances by Broadway cast members and Disney veterans like Idina Menzel, Anika Noni Rose, Auli’i Cravalho, and more. You can catch the fun over and over again on Disney+ or Hulu.
The Rhythm Project
The Virginia Arts Festival’s world percussion ensemble, The Rhythm Project, introduces musical performance to students of all ages that “focuses on instilling discipline and dedication in students through performance and touring opportunities.” To help bring the community together, the instructors of the project have created a virtual performance of the song “Circles” by Post Malone. Enjoy the smooth sounds of the steel pan bringing this song to life on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4a1EZKfSGPg. Plus, catch more exclusive performances and virtual content at vafest.org.
Lynnhaven River Now is encouraging us to stay connected with the environment through their latest social media campaign, #AloneTogether. Using the hashtag, post your natural arts and crafts projects or fun photos out in nature to share with the community. Discover new ideas to try with your family, learn fun facts about the environment, and find out how you can take action. Find LRNow and the #AloneTogether community on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
While you may not like the idea of your kids playing video games, Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch is one for the whole family to enjoy together. Each family member can create their own home on a shared private island. Have fun fishing, catching bugs, and choosing your favorite villagers to come live with you, all while designing a dream island landscape. You can even invite real-life friends to visit your island, too, so it’s a great way to stay connected while social distancing.
Better Choices Club
Looking for a safe way for your teen to engage with others online? Teens with a Purpose hosts weekly virtual teen gatherings online: “A safe creative space to be, bond and express yourself!” Join TWP artists and mentors for weekly raffles for prizes while sharing music, poetry, dance challenges, and more. Videos for high schoolers stream on Mondays, and those for middle schoolers on Wednesdays via Zoom. Visit twpthemovement.org to register.
Discover the Arts
Find new ways of discovering the arts online. Norfolk Arts has provided a curated list of virtual art offerings, from free e-books to photography classes, drawing lessons, Shakespeare plays, and more. Discover popular film festivals or virtually tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous buildings. Or, stream a free concert from your computer! Visit norfolkarts.net to cure your social distance blues.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Don’t miss out on acting, dance, and vocal lessons this summer. The Hurrah Players are taking their summer classes to the Internet with virtual offerings in jazz, musical theater, vocal, acting, and more. Interactive camp days will feature fun show themes for ages 5-11, too. In the meantime, tune in to virtual cabaret every Mon., Wed., and Fri. at 7 p.m. on the Hurrah Players’ Facebook page. Enjoy the show!
Learning with Food
Many parents are taking a homeschooling approach with their kids these days. Here’s an idea to keep learning fun and engaging without the lecture. Let your kids choose a country that they are interested in learning about. Then, look up a few traditional recipes from that country and make them together. Play YouTube videos while you cook and print out a fun learning activity about the country for the kids to do while they wait for the food to be done. Visit education.com for free printable Community & Cultures worksheets.
Learn a New Language
Looking for an easy way to introduce a new language to your kids? Download the popular free app, DuoLingo, for free lessons in over 30 different languages, from beginner all the way through fluent speakers. Another way to strengthen skills in a particular language is to watch a show or movie in that language with English subtitles. Learn together as a family and encourage your kids to greet each other in different languages every day for a fun new approach to daily interaction!
Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation (VBPR) recently launched an all-new “virtual rec center” on its website. This online space serves as a resource hub filled with activities, workouts, and more divided by interest areas and age groups. With warmer days here, another area of the site features at-home swim lessons taught by VPBR water safety instructors. VBPR wants to ensure parents are equipping their children with vital life-saving skills while in-person swim lessons in recreation centers are currently on hold. To learn more, visit VBgov.com/virtualrec.
Stephanie Allen is the publisher’s assistant for Tidewater Women & Tidewater Family. She is also a success coach helping creatives learn effective strategies for putting their work in front of others while making quality connections. Follow her on Facebook & Twitter for free tips and resources!