How to help kids survive (even thrive) while stuck at home

Passing along some links to stimulating online resources that can help carry families through the next few weeks or months.

There are animal webcams, virtual galleries and lots more online

Physical distancing appears to be with us for some time. Thankfully there are many online resources to help kids stay engaged and entertained. (Catalin Petolea/Shutterstock)

Looking for ideas to keep your family engaged while safe at home?

Last week, the Ontario government sent out resources for learning at home, in English and French. Here are some other options that might help kids and teens — and therefore their parents — survive and even thrive. 

Science and nature

Zoos are closed, but their inhabitants are still doing their spring thing.

Check out the webcams being offered by the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and choose from a naked mole rat, lion, panda or elephant.

There are also these webcams that capture animals in the wild.

Follow a naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) in real time on the Smithsonian's National Zoo website. Hours of family fun when we're all holed up inside. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Ever wondered how they make potato chips or put the centres in chocolates? Check out the National Film Board's "How Do They?" series, or browse other classic Canadian movies and shorts for free.

Teens got a thing for world history? Psychology? Astronomy? Biology? Check out The Crash Course and learn — I kid you not —  about the sex lives of non-vascular plants and other intriguing material.


Audible is offering its libraries of classics and children and teen literature for free.

Think Anne of Green Gables, Jack London's White Fang, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged in five different languages. 

Thinking old school? There are thousands of books in the public domain and you can choose from roughly 60,000 by heading over to Project Gutenberg.

The Ottawa Public Library might be closed, but it's still offering cool stuff online for kids and teens including links to movies, magazines, and music.

Scholastic is offering a range of online learning opportunities for free in its Learn at Home platform including links to worksheets and ideas for stuff to do, organized by age.

Scholastic is offering oodles of Learn at Home options, including an international on-line feature called, "How do you get to school?" (Dong Mu/AP Images)

CBC is also offering free access to Curio, an online learning platform featuring content from Canadian educational institutions.


Got tons of Lego lying around waiting for an unsuspecting foot? Try some of these ideas with the kiddos.

Museums all over the world are closed, but your family can go on virtual tours of our planet's best collections here, from the Musée d'Orsay and the Uffizi to the Rijksmuseum and the Art institute of Chicago.

Acting out this famous scene is now verboten, but you can still admire A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat, 1884, by taking a virtual tour through the Art Institute of Chicago. (Wikimedia)

You can see virtual collections from Canadian museums, too.

Finally, if you're thinking of taking up the guitar, the piano or even bongo drums, you can do so virtually here.


We have the heavy favourite, Khan Academy, which gets kids from JK to LSAT. There's always Mensa for Kids

You can find tons of games, videos and quizzes on CBC Kids.

Searching for some calm? Here's a list of recommended kids' yoga videos

Is your home school really une école à la maison? There are lots of French-language resources to be found.

For Canadian history in bite-sized chunks, highly produced and watchable, there's Historica Canada's complete list of heritage minutes.


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