Kids’ Literacy & Learning Activities
As childcare and schools have closed across the state, hundreds of thousands of kids are stuck at home with their regular routines on hold. But before your child gets too excited about having extra time for TV, movies and video games, rest assured caregivers, we’ve got some ideas for you.
Keep your children’s brains active with these educational and entertaining activities. They require varying levels of supervision, to help you stay sane too!
We will be updating this list and adding to it each week, so be sure to check back!
* For our standard parent reading tips and resources, visit reachoutandreadco.org/parents/
Just because you’re staying in doesn’t mean an end to storytime! These virtual storytimes, reading some of the best children’s books on video, will keep your little ones’ minds sharp.
Story Time from Space
Thanks to the Global Space Education Foundation, your kids can now watch and listen to their bedtime stories from space! Check out the website to watch as various astronauts read popular children’s books from space.
Mo Willems’ “Lunch Doodles“ – live every day at 11am
The first-ever Education artist-in-residence at the Kennedy Center, New Yorker Mo Williems will hold LUNCH DOODLES every day at 1pm: Your kiddos can peek into the mind of the author of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny and other contemporary classics. LUNCH DOODLES will be archived on YouTube.
Oliver Jeffers’ Readings – live every day at noon (MST) on Instagram Live
The author of The Day the Crayons Quit, The Incredible Book Eating Boy, How To Catch a Star, Stuck, and more will do daily readings as well.
James Dean’s Readings – live every day at 10am on Instagram Live
The author of the Pete the Cat books will do daily at 10am MST.
Jerry Pallotta’s Readings
The author of the Who Would Win? series will do daily read aloud & read-alongs for elementary aged children. All will be available on his YouTube channel.
Hundreds of Other Stories & Authors
This incredible resource is an archive of hundreds of children’s books read by some of the greatest actors of our time, including Viola Davis, Betty White, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Rami Malek, Annette Bening and James Earl Jones.
Scholastic’s ‘Learn at Home’
Found on Scholastic’s new ‘Learn at Home’ website
Day-by-day cross-curricular projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin! (available in Spanish as well)
Drawing Lessons with Illustrator, Jarrett Krosoczka – live every day at 2pm on author’s website
Join the bestselling author of Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, National Book Award finalist Hey Kiddo and the Lunch Lady series for an all-ages drawing masterclass on his homepage and his YouTube channel. For starters, all you need is a pencil and paper!
Fluency and Fitness
Generally used by teachers in the classroom, parents and caregivers get free access to these videos and activities for the next month to help kids exercise their brains and bodies at home. Just create a free account here to get started.
National Geographic for Kids
Check out their website that’s loaded with resources, videos, games, etc for kids to learn about animals and new places around the globe!
At-Home Crafts, Cooking Projects and Science Experiments
If your young kids are already saying, “I’m bored,” this list of projects from the Today Show has you covered. From crafts like paper plate turtles, egg carton cars and tie dye art, science experiences like magnetic slime and lemon volcanoes, to cooking projects like bread in bag and rainbow popsicles, they’ve got it all!
Home Safari from the Cincinnati Zoo – live weekdays at 1pm
While the zoos are closed, join the Cincinnati Zoo for a home safari each weekday where they will highlight one animal each day and include an activity that you can do at home. Join on Facebook Live at 1:00pm MST every day.
Virtual Marine Biology Field Camp – live Mondays and Thursdays at noon on Facebook live
While kids are stuck at home, Seattle-based scientists, Oceans Initiative, will go live twice a week and talk about whales and dolphins and other marine life. The accompany each video with activities and FAQs. Learn more: oceansinitiative.org/blog and join on Facebook or Instagram each week.
STEM Unplugged Video Projects
TGR Foundation is actively creating fresh videos of STEM activities for students that you can do at home. Available in Spanish and English on their YouTube channel.
Drawing Lessons with Illustrator, Wendy Macnaughton – live every day at 11am on Instagram Live @WendyMac
New York Times bestselling Illustrator is now your daily quarantine art teacher. Join her on Instagram Live every day Monday-Friday.
Podcasts & Audio Books for Kids
A Big List of Podcasts for Little Kids
From stories, non-fiction educational, meditation and music, this is a great list of podcasts (from the New York Times) curated specifically for kiddos ages 2-6. While normally these are great for the car or while on the move, podcasts can become part of your family’s stay-at-home routine also. They are created for kids, and some are even produced by kids. You can listen to all of these for free on nearly any podcast app.
Free Audible for Kids
For as long as schools are closed, we’re open. Kids everywhere can now stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. Start listening here: stories.audible.com/start-listen
All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.
Other Resources, Subscriptions, & More
The National Emergency Library is Open! (and Free)
Anyone, anywhere in the world, can now check books out of this library – a digital collection of 1.4 million books – until June 30th, or the end of the national emergency in the United States (“whichever is later”).
Time for Kids (free subscription)
Time for Kids digital library will be free for the rest of the school year. Resources are broken out by grade (K-1, 2, 3-4, or 5-6) Visit here to learn more.
Digital Public Library of America eBooks
With libraries closing, this is an easy way to read free ebooks: Download the SimplyE app for iOS or Android (from your app store) and add Digital Public Library of America as your library to access the DPLA Collection. It provides access to more than 5,000 free ebook titles!
Colorín Colorado Health, Safety and Basic Need Resources
Multilingual Resources have been compiled here (English, Spanish and Chinese): https://www.colorincolorado.org/coronavirus
We will be updating this list on Mondays and Thursdays for the coming weeks (or however long we need to), so be sure to check back!