COVID-19 and kids, boy wearing cape against cloudy sky

 

COVID-19 has kids at home away from friends, classrooms, and their usual routines. NAMI Maine has put together some resources and activities that we hope will help families and loved ones come together for fun and learning during this time!

Not sure how to talk about COVID-19 with the youth in your life? Check out this resource from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, which includes some great tips for talking with kids of all ages about infectious diseases. For more suggested apps, podcasts, and videos to boost mental health for kids, click here.

PBS also has tips on how to talk to kids about COVID-19, while Active Minds has recommendations on how young adults can manage their mental health while distanced from their peers. Locally, Maine's GEAR Parent Network offers assistance to parents over the phone at 1-800-264-9224. Visit their website for more info.

Below you'll find ideas and resources to help young folks keep learning and having fun while at home from school and their peers. We hope these are helpful to you, whether you are a parent, caregiver, or one of our family respite providers!

 

Get Artistic, colored pencils

Take virtual tours of the Louvre, the Guggenheim, the Van Gogh Museum and more here

Several museums have printable coloring books that you can print and color in at home! Also check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art's lesson plans that meet the Common Core Curriculum.

Northern Light Acadia Hospital's psych tech Shane "Mack" McPherson has made his doodles available for free to download and color in. You can even doodle along with award-winning children's book author and illustrator Mo Willems through the Kennedy Center at lunch time. Or, join the Virtual After School Art Club with Maine's Waterville Creates on their Facebook Page, Thursdays at 3pm.

 

For Animal Lovers, Bengal tiger in tall grass

Zoos and aquariums across the country are live streaming animals in their habitats! You can visit the San Diego Zoo, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Smithsonian's Zoo, and take a safari at the Cinncinati Zoo—all from home. The New England Aquarium has kids activities and educational presentations available as well.

At Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, penguins have the run of the place while visitors are away! Follow them on Instagram for more fun animal antics!


Bring the Classroom Home, school supplies

Many educational companies are offering free subscriptions to their services during this time of school closures. If you're looking for some activities and structured learning opportunities for youth, check out this list.

The Autism Society of Maine created a great list of crafts and activities to do at home, and the Maine Outdoor School has some excellent suggestions for outdoor learning.

Highlights also has tons of online activities, quizzes and games for kids that enrich learning, and check out this collection of suggested sites here.


It's story time, spines of colorful books

Reading is an excellent way to lower stress levels and this is a great time to curl up with a good book.

Why not read a book with a celebrity? Josh Gad (also known as Olaf the Snowman) is reading children's books aloud on his Twitter page, and you can check out Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog here on Youtube. Read along with Eric Carle as he reads his classic book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, also on Youtube.

Visit the LA Times and Storyline Online for more beloved children's books being read by familiar faces, and this website for kids stories in ASL! You can even tune into story time from outer space with these astronauts.

For exercises to help improve reading skills, check out this list of resources from We Are Teachers.

 

Night at the Theater, red theatre curtain

If you have a young performer at home, there are still plenty of ways for them to get engaged in the performing arts! Musicians can tune into the Berlin Philharmonic's concerts online in their digital concert hall or the Metropolitan Opera's performances through their streaming service. You can even rent shows from the Globe Theatre in London, bringing great actors and classics by William Shakespeare to life in your living room!

As of March 19th, the Center for Puppetry will be streaming performances on their Facebook page, too!

 

Explore Science, image of outer space

For the science lovers in your life, take a look at NASA's free STEM learning activities. You can also browse their library of images from space!

Tune into the Smithsonian Museum's webcasts for programs on earth science, biology, paleontology and more. National Geographic for Kids also has fun quizzes and brain boosters on a variety of topics! Hooked on Science has an archive of experiments for the young scientists to explore.