Play ball! (or at least pretend to)
Adults aren’t the only ones missing baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks — with their mascot Baxter — rolled out an at-home kids activities page with printable puzzles, coloring pages, art projects, Mad Libs, and matching games (like the “match a player to a country” game partially depicted above). You’ll even find videos about the science of baseball, pro coaching tips and workouts with the players. mlb.com/dbacks/fans/activities
Storytime with the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting
The Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting in Phoenix features some truly precious storytellers reading stories about firefighters, firetrucks and even fire cows. Not kidding. Worth a virtual visit. The museum itself reopens June. 2. hallofflame.org
Paint Arizona with Arizona State Parks
Artists of all ages are invited to submit original Arizona-themed art to the Arizona State Parks & Trails virtual gallery. All participants will be entered in a contest to receive a day-use park pass good for entry for up to four people. Each Friday, the top five submissions in each age bracket are singled out for recognition on social media. Age brackets: 12 and younger, 13-17, 18-334 and 35 and up. azstateparks.com/paint-arizona
Saturday Storytime with ASU Art Museum
Transportation activities for future engineers
Arizona Department of Transportation has been adding new ADOT Kids topics and activity sheets weekly. Educational videos, design challenges and worksheets teach kids about bridges, freeway design, safety and more. Also find Zoom backgrounds and links to ADOT Kids social media accounts. The written presentations are a bit wordy but parents can skim through and summarize depending on their child’s age, then watch videos, participate in hands-on quizzes (we like “Let’s trash talk about litter!”) and initiate activities to reinforce learning. Start at the ADOT Kids home page.
Take advantage of “ick” appeal!
Young children are naturally curious about the gross and disgusting. “Can You Flush It?” by Water Use It Wisely is an informative (and lighthearted!) reading tour through a wastewater treatment center. The organization launched in 1999 to promote an ongoing water conservation ethic among Arizona’s rapidly growing population.
“Keep Calm in Quarantine: Kids Edition”
Steer kids toward mindful practices with this interactive video featuring yoga poses, breathing, movement and listening skills. It’s from Play and Learn through Art and Yoga (PLAY), a Tempe-based nonprofit dedicated to “bringing mindfulness, joy and well-being to everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.”
Childsplay Online Drama Academy
Childsplay Academy offers online classes taught by professional theater artists with engaging, participatory and dynamic online drama instruction. New sessions beginning May 5 include: “Create & Activate” (turn still-life pictures into real-life stories) and one-on-one acting coaching (for ages 9 and up). Also: A fun “Create” project for families to do together at home.
ASU takes Girls Who Code club online
Arizona State University’s Girls Who Code club for girls in grades 3-5 is sponsored by the University Technology Office as part of a national effort to increase the number of women working in computer science. The program has been taken online as ASU continues to monitor COVID-19. Girls Who Code also offers free, at-home activities.
Arizona Theatre Company’s teen program moves online
The online ATCteen program, for students 13-19 years of age, includes weekly classes at 3 p.m. every Tuesday; a Playreader’s Club every other week; private coaching by professionals; Improv Troupe; the Radio Drama Project for students interested in writing, recording and producing; and #ATC Create Anyway & Creative Challenges for students across the world. For more information, visit arizonatheatre.org
Sari on Science — on YouTube!
Regular readers of our magazine are familiar with Sari Custer, aka Sari on Science, who works for the Arizona Science Center and writes a monthly column for Raising Arizona Kids about fun, science-based activities you can do at home — now, while we’re home bound, or later, when we’re not! Here’s a segment she did with her daughter, Carson: “Wacky Weather – Cloud in a Bottle.” She also has a good one on making a homemade mask.
Tic Tac Toe Golf with TGA Premier Sports
TGA Premier Sports (which has chapters in Chandler and Goodyear) is reaching kids with drills and activities to keep them playing sports while they’re stuck at home. We love this at-home game of Tic Tac Toe golf!
Snuggle up with the Tooth Fairy
Delta Dental of Arizona is hosting a weekly Facebook Live series called “Snuggle Up for Stories with the Tooth Fairy” at 10 a.m. each Friday. Recent stories have included Dr. Suess’s “The Tooth Book” and “What Do the Fairies Do with All Those Teeth?” by Michel Luppens. Find the full schedule here.
STEM learning from fun-loving “nerds”
East Valley-based Nerding posts periodic at-home STEM video lessons for kids in grades K-6. Recent lessons have shown kids how to make a robotic hand, build straw rockets, pack a bag for space, make paper airplanes and more. Most lessons keep kids busy for about an hour.
Butterfly Wonderland launches a new YouTube channel
Watch a butterfly release, see a dwarf caiman feeding, learn about the atlas moth or take a yoga class in the butterfly conservatory. These are just some of the videos you can find on the newly created Butterfly Wonderland YouTube channel.
Puppet sing-alongs and crafts with the Great Arizona Puppet Theater
Do your kids miss the Great Arizona Puppet Theater? This Valley institution is one of many arts nonprofits struggling in the face of forced closures. Meanwhile, the puppeteers have been busy preparing and posting easy puppet crafts and sing-alongs featuring some of their most beloved characters. Follow them on Facebook and YouTube so you don’t miss a single one! Here’s our old friend, Old MacDonald:
Daily activities from the Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Follow the Children’s Museum of Phoenix on Facebook and Instagram for daily projects, resources and content to help keep young children active, engaged and learning. Recent themes: writing letters, cooking (make unicorn dip!), a simple “I Spy” game and more. Find them archived here.
STEAM-focused mini lessons from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
The “Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Classroom” launches Wednesday, April 15, for children in grades K-12. It’s a free, online learning tool for students developed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s education department, in collaboration with the Paradise Valley Unified School District, whose students “test piloted” much of the curriculum. The six-week series will introduce a new lesson and corresponding video weekly.
Arizona Capitol Museum
Arizona Capitol Museum’s online resources include fun, Arizona-related activities: Capital Crossword Puzzle, Arizona Word Search, and Kids and the Capitol: The Arizona Legislative Centennial Civics Project. Share your completed work using the hashtags #HistoryAtHome and #MuseumsAtHome.
Carrie Curran Art Studios
This Scottsdale studio has calendar loaded with live Virtual Watercolor Classes for all ages. Parents can join a “happy hour” watercolor class on Thursday evenings or invite the kids to join Family Art watercolor classes on Saturday afternoons.
Participate in one of Shemer Art Center’s many art classes from the comfort of your own home. The center has converted many of its in-person art classes to virtual classes, created a new app, and made a custom art activity book available online.
Virtual gymnastics and dance with Arizona Sunrays
Arizona Sunrays Gymnastics & Dance Centers are offering more than 35 live virtual gymnastics, dance, NinjaZone, and preschool academic classes seven days a week. No special equipment is needed and all the classes can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors. Cost is $109/month for the whole family to enjoy any number of classes each week. Details at arizonasunrays.com.
Phoenix Zoo’s Digital Safari
Watch the Phoenix Zoo’s website and social channels for live educational programming, virtual safaris and an abundance of cute photos and videos of animals, behind-the-scenes caretaking by the keepers, and in-depth stories of the Zoo’s amazing residents.
Keep up with soccer skills at home
Kids ages 4-16 can get three weeks of Arizona Soccer Skills lessons delivered online. Players are assigned to age- and skills-appropriate groups led by experienced trainers. Lessons, training plans, and assignments are released each week. Players create their profile and upload videos of their assignments for review by trainers and peers and earn achievement badges as they complete levels and certificates. Cost is $37 per week.
ASU Young Authors’ Studio goes virtual
ASU Young Authors’ Studio is a free writing program for ages 10-18. The Spring 2020 program will be held online. Arizona State University students develop curriculum and serve as mentors for young writers. Find creativity prompts at Young Authors Online.
“Today in AZ” ideas from Expect More Arizona
Sometimes all you need is a short-burst activity to break the monotony and kickstart your child’s learning momentum. We love this simple idea from Expect More AZ’s “Today in AZ” archives — “find out whose name earns the highest score in Scrabble.” It’s just one of more than 100 ideas on the site.
iCivics game teaches checks and balances
This idea counts as “local” because the inspiration behind iCivics came from Arizona’s own Sandra Day O’Connor, former justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Branches of Power game is newly redesigned by iCivics and the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
Tuesday (history) Trivia!
Here’s a good one for students studying Arizona history: The Arizona Historical Society is playing #TuesdayTrivia on social media. Finding answers will help kids hone research skills while they learn about the people and places that make Arizona unique. Topics come from the 1985 Arizona Trivia Game edited by Marshall Trimble. @AZHistSoc or Facebook
Storytime with Gretchen
Join Gretchen from Phoenix Public Library to play, read, sing and dance during online family storytime. She’s terrific — animated, empathetic, genuine … completely charming. Find links to other delightful story readers on the library website.
As You Wish has pick-up pottery to paint at home
Pick up a paint-at-home pottery pack to go at six Valley As You Wish studios. Order pottery and paints online, then swing by to pick it up within 24 hours, We like this Mother’s Day platter, which has an online how-to tutorial.
“History at Home” from Heritage Square
A family tree template, puzzles, treasure hunts, coloring pages and crafts to keep away those “social distancing” blues. Share completed projects: #HistoryAtHome. heritagesquarephx.org
Tips for successful at-home learning
Lively Minds Tutoring just finished a guide to successful at-home learning. There is also a downloadable “At-Home Learning Success Checklist” to print and use.
Scottsdale-based More Than Modeling has posted a downloadable Modeling and Fashion Activity Book for kids to do at home. It includes modeling-specific tips for posing, walking and agency prep, plus word searches, design projects and more.
JA Online Learning launches Instagram LIVE
Junior Achievement of Arizona has launched Instagram Live Lessons for kids. The live lessons are held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday (elementary), Wednesday (middle school) and Thursday (high school). JA also offers online learning resources for parents.
Scottsdale’s Butterfly Wonderland is bringing the rainforest world to its fans with the launch of “Your Rainforest Adventure…From Home,” a digital series posted to its website and social media pages featuring both e-learning opportunities and entertaining, engaging content for its fans.
100+ ways to conserve water
Water Use It Wisely lists more than 100 ways we all can make small adjustments to our water usage at home. Have your kids pick a new tip each day and start building new habits. Plus: Downloadable activity books follow mascot “Wayne” as he splashes his way around Arizona.
Public television programming to the rescue
Arizona PBS and Arizona Public Media are offering K-12 educational programming throughout the school day. Read our story to learn specific times by age group.
Arizona State University has launched ASU For You, offering a number of learning tools at no cost: virtual field trips; library access; video lessons, labs and simulations in K-12 subject areas; tutoring, online courses and training videos for teachers or parents teaching from home; and courses for college credit.
Dive into online fun and learning with OdySea Aquarium
OdySea Aquarium has opened a Virtual Classroom featuring sharks. Coming soon: lessons on penguins, jellyfish, sea lions (vs. seals), the water cycle and coral reefs.
Be an architect for the day!
Activities from Learning Care Group
Tutor Time Child Care and Learning Centers Valleywide remain open for working parents. The parent company, Learning Care Group, also offers engaging learning activities you can do with your children at home. You’ll find activities that encourage children to move their bodies, exercise their minds, and even help out at home.
Girly Girlz to go
Girly Girlz has a $12 “crafty take-out bag” you can pick up at the Scottsdale store. Each bag includes an age-appropriate themed craft, a dessert to decorate with frosting and toppings and a coloring page with crayons. Order online by theme and age range; the store will contact you to set a time for curb-side pickup.
Common Sense has convened a group of education, media, and tech partners to launch WideOpenSchool.org, a free online resource to support families and educators who are transitioning to remote learning as a result of the coronavirus. Wide Open School features the very best resources from publishers, nonprofits, and education companies, including the American Federation of Teachers, Amplify, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Head Start, Khan Academy, National Geographic, Noggin, PBS, Scholastic, Sesame Workshop, Time for Kids, XQ Institute, and YouTube. Common Sense is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help kids, families, and educators thrive in a world of media and technology.
Khan Academy offers proposed daily schedules by grade. It maps out a sample day with reading comprehension, grammar and math skills, and offer other suggestions, including time for listening to podcasts and watching computer programming tutorials.
The giant database amazingeducationalresources.com lists free educational resources for reading, math, history and more.
Brainpop — a subscription-based learning resources site — is offering free access to its huge library of videos to schools and families impacted by COVID-19. It even has a video explaining coronavirus in an easy-to-digest format that kids (and adults) can understand.
Scholastic Learn at Home offers day-by-day videos and readings.
Register for free video-chat classes offered at Outschool.
Mystery Science — an engaging, video-based learning website — offers free and easy science ideas for remote learning for grades K-5.
Rocket Math has a 60-day free trial for games and a “60 days for a $1” deal for its worksheet program.
The website We Are Teachers offers 16 Card Games That Will Turn Your Students Into Math Aces
Science made “groovy” with STEM experiments by mail
With Groovy Lab in a Box STEM box for kids, you will receive boxes full of everything you need to learn about and do hands on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiments for ages 8 and up.
Smithsonian opens image collections
The Smithsonian Institution has released 2.8 million high-resolution two- and three-dimensional images into an open access online platform. An interactive feature allows kids to transform images into postcards, shorts, or whatever they choose.
Dive into history, art and culture around the world
Google Arts & Culture offers virtual tours of some of the world’s greatest museums and heritage sites, including the British Museum in London, Guggenheim in New York and Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The website Family Days Tried And Tested offers even more museums and galleries, plus ideas for simple crafts to do at home and other frugal fun.
STORY TIMES and PERFORMANCES
Audible is offering free streaming stories for as long as schools are closed.
Common Sense Media lists best documentaries for kids.
Curiosity Stream has thousands of documentaries for $3 a month or $20 a year.
Every Thursday Dolly Parton is reading bedtime stories on YouTube.
The Make Way for Books App includes “Read Now” books families can share with young children — anytime, anywhere. Also find research-based literacy activities using items you have at home. This resource is recommended by local nonprofit Read On Arizona.
Instagram readings: Authors @PetetheCat Official, @OliverJeffers and @MacBarnett are reading their books daily at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon on Instagram. Check out hashtags #kidlitquarantine, #OperationStorytime or #virtualstorytime for more author story times.
Sparkle Stories: Wholesome, child-friendly audio stories.
Storyline Online: Famous actors read some of the classics with minimal animation.
CRAFTS, COOKING, MOVEMENT, MUSIC and MORE
Go Noodle gets kids up and moving
Get free recipes and cooking tutorials at Raddish
Big Life Journal offers free printables and 50 percent off kits focusing on growth mindset, resilience and kindness with the code STUCKHOME
Draw Everyday with JJK (author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka) daily at noon
Jarrett Lerner offers downloadable pages including “Finish this Comic” and other activity sheets
Join a virtual dance party with Lady Gaga’s former backup dancer, Mark Kanemura, via Instagram @mkik808
Listen to a live streaming or virtual concert