In the age of social distancing, we’ve seen the amazing power of technology to connect us virtually. Life has certainly changed but hasn’t been cancelled. Fitness classes can be streamed in the comfort of our living rooms, parties can happen over video conferencing platforms and school lessons are delivered online. If there is a silver lining to sheltering in place, it’s the boon of offerings that are brought to our homes—much of the time for free—via the internet.
To stay busy, I have been streaming barre workouts via Instagram live (check out @barre3edina and @barre3henderson), visiting with people over Zoom, and participating in various free online classes and resources. I’ve compiled some interesting options here – I hope you find something that interests you and helps keep you entertained.
Online resources for kids and adults during shelter in place
Be a sidewalk botanist!
From the Sidewalk Plant Lab website: “If you’re looking for an outdoor activity for yourself, your family, or your students – maybe craving a break from staring at a screen – we’d love you to join the Plant Lab as a Sidewalk Botanist!” Get all the details and info you need in the guides on the site, including lesson plans for K-8 teachers and specialized info for families and adults.
Tune in to a Monterey Bay Aquarium Web Cam
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has ten live cams streaming online. Choose from sharks, sea jellies, sea otters, penguins and more. montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams
Winchester Mystery House Video Tour
Winchester Mystery House is offering a free online video tour of the mansion while the real thing is closed. A history-rich video takes you on a virtual tour of the famous San Jose Historical Landmark. It contains a few references to the supernatural that might spook young viewers, but most of the hour-long content is an engaging history lesson. It’s no substitute for seeing the mansion in person, but even those who have been inside the house before will learn some new facts about it. winchestermysteryhouse.com/video-tour
Virtual Choir and Mother’s Song Circle
A St. Paul mom is hosting a zoom sing-a-long on Thursdays in April. It’s for mothers of all ages and phases of life. Your kids are welcome to sing along! From the Facebook page: “Join us in song! Let’s sing a new song every Thursday in the month of April. Our songs will be short and fun, with simple harmonies. While we won’t be able to hear each other singing (so it’s literally a sing like no one can hear you situation), we can still come together in community, learn a new song, and have some fun!” https://www.facebook.com/mothersandsong/
Virtual Museum Tours
Through Google Arts and Culture, you can virtually view collections from world renowned museums. From the de Young Museum to Palace of Versailles to Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City, fine art is literally at your fingertips. artsandculture.google.com/partner
Explore the Hidden Worlds of the National Parks
Also through Google Arts and Culture, you can virtually visit National Parks from the comfort of your couch. Follow park rangers on a journey to places most people never go. Climb into a glacier crevasse and kayak through icebergs at Kenai Fjords. Go inside Nahuku Lava Tube at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Travel 750 feet underground at Carlsbad Caverns. See the brilliant night sky at Bryce Canyon. And finally, complete your virtual National Park bucket list by diving into the pristine waters of Dry Tortugas in Florida. https://artsandculture.withgoogle.com/en-us/national-parks-service
Download Free Coloring Pages
Coloring is soothing and stress relieving. San Francisco based media company Brit + Co is aiming to brighten your day with ten free downloadable coloring pages. The cheerful designs will have people of all ages picking up their coloring pencils. Feel free to color outside the lines! Find them here: brit.co/pattern-play-coloring-pages
East Coast-based retailer Lilly Pulitzer is getting in on the coloring page game too. Their four detailed pages feature the instructions “Print me. Color me. Hang me up in your window to #bethesunshine to your neighbors.” Bonus: there are free zoom backgrounds and mother’s day cards to download too. lillypulitzer.com/resort365
Online Tutorials from Palo Alto Art Center
My favorite art center is offering free virtual classes that allow patrons to engage in a myriad of artmaking activities. Drawing, collage, sculpting, Chinese brush painting and crazy hair tutorials are available online. Find links at cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/csd/artcenter
Bedtime Stories with Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton announced on her Facebook page that she will begin reading stories for children every Thursday night at 7pm. The “Goodnight With Dolly” web series features Dolly Parton reading Imagination Library books all carefully chosen for their appropriate content at this moment in time. The story time event is scheduled through June 4th and takes place via Facebook Live. You can view the schedule on Facebook as well. facebook.com/dollysimaginationlibrary
Drawing Lessons with Ed Vere
London artist Ed Vere is a New York Times bestselling writer and illustrator of picture books. Every Wednesday and Friday he will share a new “how to draw” lesson via video on his website. So far he’s taught viewers how to draw a lion, a monster and more. The videos remain available on his website after they’re shared so you can go back and catch up on previous lessons. View past lessons online at edvere.com
Take Flight from Home
Access the cockpits and interiors of the Museum of Flight’s aircraft at your leisure. These 3D self-guided virtual tours and 360° Panoramas bring Seattle’s aerospace museum experience to you virtually. museumofflight.org
Have something to add to the list? Comment below or message me on Instagram.