As we all adjust to the unprecedented coordinated response unfolding before us amid a global pandemic, the "new reality" we all face, at least for the time being, might be most difficult for parents who find themselves out of work or stuck working from home while also trying to keep children also stuck at home entertained and on some sort of educational trajectory.
This might be a new situation for all involved, and stress-levels might be rising as everyone pitches in to keep spirits high and young minds occupied. But I have good news: there is hope! Major efforts by established organizations are looking to help ease the burden we're all feeling right now.
Here's a list of some great tools available online:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
Did you know the wonderful staff at the Delaware Museum of Natural History are using Facebook Live every day, sometimes multiple times a day, to bring youngsters educational entertainment. They also field questions from children (or the parents of children) watching.
They've got some great stuff up already, and "following" them on Facebook will notify you every time they go live.
Visit a National Park
With Google. From your couch. The Hidden Worlds of National Parks takes you through five beautiful American gems, all from the comfort of your sofa. You visit Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park, Florida's Dry Tortugas National Park, Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park, New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park.
Mystery Science & Khan Academy
To aid teachers and parents maybe for the first time ever now handling remote teaching and learning, Mystery Science has made available a number of its online classes and projects for children in kindergarten through the fifth grade.
They include a mix of both mini lessons and full-length lessons and have fun videos and activities to conduct while sharing the lesson.
Khan Academy is using Google Docs to share similar lesson plans, which run all the way through high school-aged approaches, and include useful resources like a daily schedule and regiment to provide a sense of structure and normalcy as kids adapt to a life of learning at home.
Amazon's Prime Video service has opened up a catalog of more than three dozen children's shows for free to all while we're all stuck at home. You still need a valid Amazon account, but do not need to be paying for prime membership to throw these up on the TV or a laptop or tablet to keep children entertained for at least a little while.
If you run out of Amazon content, as reported by Variety, you can find the following list of free movies on IMDBtv. You just need a free IMDB account and then you've got access to all of this entertainment to keep children occupied (there's also lots of free movies for adults, too!). There's no easy place where there are all gathered on one page, but all you have to do is search for a title:
“Shrek Forever After,” “Scooby-Doo: The Movie,” “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” “Stuart Little,” “Stuart Little 2,” “Short Circuit,” “Free Willy: Escape From Pirate’s Cove,” “Rugrats Go Wild,” “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” “Muppets From Space,” “The Nut Job,” “Open Season 2,” “The Smurfs,” “The Smurfs 2,” Aardman’s “Early Man,” “The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland,” “Megamind,” “Little Giants” (1994), “Baby Geniuses and the Mystery of the Crown Jewels,” “Surf’s Up,” “Kangaroo Jack,” “The Care Bears Movie,” “All Dogs Go to Heaven," “All Dogs Go to Heaven 2.”
If you want something to have on in the background, maybe while engaging in a crafts project or something hands-on, Audible has opened up its own catalog of children's books, free to listen to and enjoy while we're all stuck inside.
The books range in age group from the smallest to the tallest, and all are high quality productions worth a listen. They've even included Literary classics, folk tales, and multiple languages.
Looking for something a little more high-minded? Give Patrick Stewart a follow on Twitter or Instagram. Stewart, a treasure the world around, has taken to reading Shakespeare for his followers during these dark times. If there's anything in existence which could calm the collective nerves of the masses, it's knowing Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself is still out there to steady the ship.
Speaking of the Captain, his return in the CBS Access exclusive Picard has been designated free to non-*paying*-subscribers through mid-April, for those interested in catching up. You still have to create an account, but you get 30 days to watch some Star Trek.
If you find theater and opera are for you from the above sampling, The Met is offering options for watching shows online while we're all stuck at home. Steams go live nightly at 7:30 p.m.
American Kennel Club
Maybe it's not your bipedal child, but your four-legged baby that's going a little stir crazy with all the extra company during the day. Need some activities to help keep them occupied? The American Kennel Club has got you covered. with videos for training or just some cute puppies, they've got everything, and if you head over to their Facebook page, they're constantly uploading things like home care tips while quarantining.