30+ Things to Do With Kids This Week Around The Main Line (But Mostly in Your House): Coronavirus Edition
Don't just survive, live it up!
UPDATE: As of March 25, Valley Forge National Park is closed due to concerns over COVID-19. The article has been updated to reflect that change.
Dear friends, we are living in some crazy times. Pretty much everything is canceled or closed for the foreseeable future—schools, libraries, museums, you name it. Toilet paper has become a hot commodity, wine stores are slowly being closed, and we’re all housebound and full of nerves! But it’s going to be okay.
Our brand and community were founded on the desire to connect, support each other, and of course share the best of what’s around so families can live their best lives and have fun together. This is who we are, and we’re not going anywhere (we literally can’t, we’re housebound!). For a while, our content will be looking a little different. The events posts you’ve come to love and rely on will return when normalcy does, don’t worry. For now, we hope that our community group and content will serve a similar role to our regularly-scheduled programming—helping you connect to your families and your community, putting all the useful resources you need in one place, and having as much fun as possible! We are all in this together, and we will get through this together.
So, Where Can You Go?
So, the short answer is… outside, mostly. The World Health Organization (and pretty much all governmental officials, organizations, common sense, etc.) recommends social distancing. Your best bet is staying in, with outings for fresh air like walks and play in outdoor areas that allow you to keep a safe distance from others.
If there is a silver lining here, it’s that this is all happening when the weather is warming up! Get out in the backyard and run around, or find a local greenspace where you can bring your own clean toys and play (not playgrounds, though). Some promising options include Natural Lands (aside from Stoneleigh), and trails like Cynwyd Heritage Trail. While indoor facilities and public events are canceled at these sites, the grounds and trails are open. There are also great trails around town. Download the iNaturalist app to record and share your observations!
Of course, if you are feeling sick, please be responsible and stay in!
We know that this is affecting small businesses even more acutely, and we encourage those who can to support them in any way you are able to. Providing small businesses some liquidity (and moral support) now can be crucial for their survival.
This could be as simple as buying gift cards for yourselves and friends to use when we return to public life. You don’t even need to leave your homes to do that! Many stores have online shopping as well, so you can purchase your goodies from your containment bunkers!
Still, other stores (and many restaurants) are offering curbside pickup while they have their stores closed to the public. Stock your freezer with easy meals for all that time at home from Homecooked! Place and pre-pay your order via phone or online and pick it up without leaving your car. Just pull up and give them a call and they’ll bring it out to you–no unbuckling or dragging in kids. And swing by Nothing Bundt Cakes for some curbside pickup dessert!
Monkey Fish Toys currently remains open, but if you don’t feel comfortable shopping in-store, they are offering curbside pickup, free local delivery, and online shopping.
Local Resources to Lend a Helping Hand
Struggling with how to talk to your kids about coronavirus? Our friends at Nemours have some great tips for us.
Comcast has connected more than eight million low-income Americans to the Internet through its Internet Essentials program. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, and in recognition that many students need the internet to continue their educations remotely, Comcast is currently offering two months free to new Internet Essentials customers. They are also increasing the speed of the program for all new and existing customers. Click here for more details.
Thanks to PM Pediatrics Anywhere, you can get trusted virtual pediatric urgent care from the comfort and convenience of your home. This new app lets you connect with a pediatric expert from anywhere, 8 am – midnight, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Doula Christine Golcher of Christine’s Care and Compassion is offering to conduct virtual meetings or classes for her consultations and parenting sessions. Likewise, Erica Desper of Confident Parenting will be offering many of her classes online, with Zoom links sent to people after their ticket purchase.
Online Learning and Other Resources
For our little girl, we’ve always done well looking up websites with lots of printable worksheets. But now we have so many more options—thanks to quite a few of our Main Line Parent Community Facebook group for sharing this very detailed spreadsheet of education companies offering free subscriptions during school closings! Upon further inspection, many of these offers and resources are for schools only; some online resources we would particularly like to shout out for our personal use are: ABC Mouse (30 days free), Khan Academy, Epic (30 days free), Starfall, and Twinkl. Did you know Minecraft has an educational edition? Me neither!
Scholastic has created free day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing at all grade levels. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a story or video. We are really enjoying the nature themes this week!
Raddish Kids is giving away 25,000 free cooking kits (pay shipping), and has a free library of online recipes, lessons, and other fun activities. Hippie Chic Cakes is planning to post kids’ baking videos (with ingredients posted in advance) online.
And Little Wonderkin is planning to share STEM-based home craft ideas in her stories. Drop-in on virtual music classes with Roots with Ruark via Zoom— anyone is welcome, as are donations for the class. Want to get crafty? The Handwork Studio is hosting ‘Creativity Time’ every weekday at 10 am for 30 minutes via Facebook Live.
While the libraries are closed during this time, their online resources are extensive and worth checking out (pun intended), even if you’re looking for adult entertainment. From podcasts to ebooks to movies, these are free to use with your library card! Get free e-books and audiobooks from Overdrive; stream free movies, TV, music, and audiobooks with Hoopla; enjoy animated, talking picture books with Tumblebooks. Particularly intriguing for our foray into home instruction, Bookflix pairs classic storybooks with related nonfiction books.
Need some more extra special storytime? Our favorite Philly drag queen Brittany Lynn is hosting online Drag Queen Storytime on Friday, March 27 at 11 am! And one of our favorite authors, Mo Willems (Pigeon books and Elephant & Piggie series) will be doing daily Lunch Doodles at 1 pm!
Of course, it’s not just your kids’ lessons they’re missing out on. So we are also including some fun online activities! Need to get up and get moving? We love GoNoodle for silly songs, games, and exercise. Cosmic Kids yoga is also wonderful. Gradel Fitness is also posting free “Cooped Up Kids” fitness videos on their YouTube channel. FUEL Cycle Fitness owner Jen Crompton shares that they are also working on filming online workouts for kids and adults, and ones they can do together! We will update with a link once they are available, or you can check their Facebook page. These videos will be free to view as a sanity-service to the community.
Missing out on the arts? The Philadelphia Orchestra has canceled all public performances for now, but they filmed a special concert—performed to an empty Verizon Hall—to stream free to live to audiences throughout Philadelphia. And you can also enjoy “Nightly Met Opera Streams,” a free series of encore Live in HD presentations streamed by the Metropolitan Opera. Or perhaps you’d like to travel around the world without leaving your house, thanks to this list of virtual museum tours! And while the National Zoo is closed in DC, we love to watch their animal webcams (Panda Cam is our favorite).
Do your kids miss their friends? Try virtual playdates over FaceTime—or for a bigger party, make like our Philly Family/Main Line Parent team and schedule a Google Hangout!
Finally (and this probably goes without saying) there is no shame in our streaming game. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, PBS Kids, and of course Disney+ (where Frozen 2 is streaming early!) are making this a true golden age of hunkering down.
Stay Busy at Home!
We’ve been having lots of fun trading ideas, resources, and frustrations in our Main Line Parent Community Facebook group. Be sure to join and add to the conversation! We’ve already given you a lot of great online resources for things to do at home, but what about things that don’t require screentime? Board games, slime, LEGOs, arts & crafts, sibling turf wars…there are countless options! Here are some favorites:
Living Room Musical You’ve got at least two weeks, so learn the libretto to Hamilton. Assign roles. Build a stage. Then, it’s showtime! And hey, you’re learning U.S. History too!
Bed Olympics Who can jump onto the bed from the farthest distance? How quickly can you hop across the room in a pillowcase? Make medals, have a winners’ ceremony, even play their choice of “anthem” at the end (bold prediction: Let it Go is your new national anthem).
Spa Day Face masks, mani-pedis, the works! If you really want to make this take a long time (and be more natural), look up recipes for homemade masks, scrubs, and bath bombs! I’ve found that something simple like lemon juice, olive oil, and lots of sugar works surprisingly well as a body scrub.
Indoor Easter Egg Hunt They did it on Bob’s Burgers, and if it’s good enough for the Belcher clan, it’s good enough for me (just avoid the jelly bean schnapps). Since Easter is basically canceled, but all the stores already are stocked with eggs, candy, and prizes, why not? While you’ve been scouring your yards for colorful eggs, your Jewish friends (myself included) have been staying indoors searching for an afikomen of cardboard-like matzah for generations! Psst… it’s always under the couch cushions.
Containment Journal Oh, the memories you’re making! I joke, but this is probably the longest many of us have spent together as a family, so make some memories! And encourage your kids to keep a little record of it. If they can’t think of anything to write, I tell my daughter to list one thing she did, one thing she learned, and one way she helped, and that ensures a full day. For kids still learning to read and write, this is also great practice—so don’t spell the words for them!
Gardening Start a garden in the yard! Order seeds, draw out plans, and learn about germination. No yard? Make a container garden! You can even ask the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for tips online!
Ridiculous Dance Party The sillier, the better. Look up karaoke tracks on Spotify to make it a true performance. Look to the past for some iconic pajama-clad ridiculousness. Oh, the 80s.
Camp-In Pitch a tent in the living room, set up your sleeping bags, get some flashlights, and enjoy the great indoors! You can even make s’mores in the oven if you don’t have a fire!
Donation Fashion Show Make like Carrie and the girls and try on everything you own! Donate what you don’t like anymore.
Wash Your Hands! And wash them again, and again, and again…
Lead photograph by Pamela Badolato.