parenting

Free and Low Cost Activities for Kids to Do at Home

Kids having fun creating terrariums at home.
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Keeping kids entertained while cooped up inside for days is no easy feat. This list of resources will hopefully provide hours of fun for your children of all ages.

Activities include storytime led by astronauts and acclaimed children's authors, virtual tours of museums, aquariums and notable places across the globe, yoga for littles, dance classes, art projects, play dates and lots more!

African Wildlife Cam

Your little explorers can watch elephants, hippos, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, crocodiles and other species at the watering hole at Mpala Research Centre in the highlands of Central Kenya on a live webcam. You can also explore other webcams featuring bears, birds, cats, and puppies!

Astronaut Storytime

Astronauts on the International Space Station have recorded dozens of videos of themselves reading children's books. Titles include "A Moon of My Own," "Astronaut Annie," "Max Goes to Jupiter," "Rosie Revere Engineer" and others.

Audible Stories

The Amazon-owned company is offering its library of kid's stories for free beginning today for "as long as schools are closed." Stories can be streamed on desktops, laptops, phones and tablets. Some titles are available in six different languages!

Boston Children's Museum

Take a virtual tour of the Boston Children's Museum. When you're done, try one of their "100 Ways to Play," a list of ideas for children and parents to play together at home.

BrainPop

Request free access to BrainPop for teacher-approved content, games and tools for children K-12. You can download learning packets on reading, math, writing and other subjects to keep your kids on track as they transition to distance learning.

Code.org

Your kids can learn to code a dance party to share with their friends online. Or if you prefer to minimize their screentime, you can also help them learn coding concepts without a computer using their unplugged activity.

Cosmic Kids Yoga

This popular YouTube channel offers yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specifically for kids ages 3 and up.

Earthcam

If your family had to cancel a vacation or simply wants to see what's going on out there in the world, check out Earthcam and travel the globe through live webcams.

Indoor Terrarium

Food52 shows you how to make a terrarium and keep it alive. While this tutorial isn't specifically geared towards kids, it's a great project you can tackle together as a family that you can proudly display in your home.

Jam with Jamie

Join in on a virtual jam session! Every day, performers nationwide perform live music classes for little kids to sing and dance and get out the "wiggles." Classes are free but donations are gladly accepted. They offer virtual classes every week day as well as a virtual birthday party every weekend! Email booking@jamwithjamie.com for a special birthday shout out.

Lunch Doodles With Mo Willems

Children's author Mo Willems has launched a "Lunch Doodles" livestream video series airing every weekday at 1 p.m. ET on the Kennedy Center’s website. "Learners worldwide can draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing."

Miss Melodee Dance Classes

While these classes are not free, packages start at $45 and include 24 hr access to pre-recorded videos. Your little dancer can learn ballet, tap, hip hop and more. Teenagers, as well as children as young as 2, can find a class to improve their technique, stay active and have fun.

Monterrey Bay Sea Otter Cam

From 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Pacific time you can enjoy watching sea otters swim and frolic at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium via live cam.

National Aquarium

During regular business hours, you can explore the National Aquarium's Blacktip Reef, Jellies Invasion and Pacific Coral Reef livestreams in real time.

National Zoo

The Smithsonian's National Zoo has a naked mole-rat cam, lion cam, giant panda cam and elephant cam!

Origami USA

You can download a free diagram to fold or sign up for an online class.

Photography Activities for Kids

Blogger Courtney Slazinik shares photography projects for kids ages 5-10 and 10+. Younger children can begin to familiarize themselves with a camera while older children can begin to learn about composition and other photography basics.

PicMonkey

PicMonkey shows you how to create a high production value photoshoot on a DIY budget. Your kids can let their imaginations run wild creating costumes and props.

Project Kid

Project Kid has hundreds of crafts and art projects for everyday fun. Their mission is to offer families "creative and inventive ways to spend unplugged time with kids."

Science Kids

This website has science experiments designed to be simple, safe and fun for kids. Many of the experiments can be done using ingredients found around the house.

Spa Day for Kids

Project Nursery gives you ideas on how to create a luxurious spa day at home. Whip up some tea sandwiches and break out the plush robes to pamper the little divas in your life.

Stage a Family Play

This blog post by mykidsadventures.com walks you through how to put on a play with your kids. This fun, screen-free family activity is something you can spend 30 minutes on or a whole afternoon.

Stay at Home Story Time

Children's author Oliver Jeffers reads one of his books every weekday at 2 p.m. ET on Instagram Live. Watch LIVE on Oliver's Instagram (@oliverjeffers) and follow to see each week's story schedule.

Story Pirates 

The Story Pirates Creator Club is a content and activity subscription where kids and families can livestream classes, listen to daily live episodes of Story Pirates Radio, download activities to each week's podcast episode, participate in collaborative art and writing projects and more. The first month is free.

Virtual Playdate

Each morning at 10 a.m. ET, join Indy With Kids for a 30-minute virtual playdate via Facebook Live. Check the schedule to see what fun activities are planned. Tomorrow's "PLAYdate" is all about Play Doh fun and next week they'll be making mini pizzas!

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