Quarantining with kids? Our arts therapists have ideas for you!

School’s out. The kids are home. Parents are working from home. Cabin fever is setting in. No problem! Our creative arts therapists have some intriguing ideas for parents and children who are navigating the seesawing emotions of pandemic panic and sheltering-in-place boredom, as the world hunkers down at home to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.

Laurie Toole, a longtime music therapist, and other creative-arts therapy staff at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton’s Providence House Domestic Violence Services, gathered ideas for activities and lessons families can do at home to pass the time productively as we all socially distance.

Toole and her colleagues are experienced at helping children and families heal from trauma. They run Providence House’s Peace-A Learned Solution (PALS) program. That program offers therapeutic creative arts for children exposed to domestic violence. Toole and her colleagues compiled the resource list below to help children and families cope with the stress from the coronavirus crisis and isolation of quarantining.

Talking to kids about COVID-19

Learn how to talk to your kids about coronavirus here. Find tips for helping your children de-stress here.

Click here for a podcast that helps answer COVID-19 questions in kid-friendly language.

Educational and indoor activities

Outschool is a database of small-group video classes for children in grades K-12 on a variety of subjects. Outschool is providing free live online classes to support public school families affected by closures in the wake of COVID-19. Access it here.

This article from Hello, Wonderful lists instructions for more than 50 activities, games, and crafts you can do inside with your children using household items and recycled materials.

Starfall provides educational videos and exercises for children grades Pre K-3. Click here. All Kids Network offers crafts and worksheets here.

Storyline Online, accessible here, has online videos of books being read aloud (some by famous actors/actresses). This service is available for various age groups. Squiggle Park helps improve young readers’ reading skills and comprehension (ages 3-15). Scholastic offers grade-specific lessons here with videos and activities to engage children pre-k through 9th grade.

PBS videos, interactive activities and lesson plans for a full range of subjects are available here. Get Sesame Street games, videos, and educational activities for young learners here.

The Ocean County Library has online resources available here. Bedtime Math offers math activities for all ages here. Find various online math games to play on your computer here and here through Cool Math 4 Kids.

For science buffs, Everyday Earth focuses on lessons and experiments with Earth Science here. Mystery Science offers short mini-lessons that are completely digital and full lessons that include an activity here. All of the activities are designed to use simple supplies a parent probably already has at home.

National Geographic Kids provides games, videos, quizzes, trivia and other exciting facts about animals here. 

Virtual field trips

These resources allow you and your children to explore exciting places from your computer.

Tour the San Diego Zoo here, Yellowstone National Park here, The Great Wall of China here, the planet Mars here, the Boston’s Children’s Museum here, the Smithsonian Natural History museum here, the National Gallery of Art here, the Louvre here, the Uffizzi Gallery here, the Met Museum here.

See more famous masterpieces here and here.

For animal aficionados

Many zoos offer virtual tours and lessons. Check out the Cape May County’s Virtual Zoo here, Adventure Aquarium in Camden here, Houston Zoo here, Atlanta Zoo here, Georgia Aquarium’s beluga whales here, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium here,

Learn about virtual farms here and polar bears here

Mindfulness and mental health

Find mindfulness exercises, techniques and activities here. These mindfulness exercises are aimed at kids and teens.

Find mindfulness coloring pages here and gratitude exercises here.

Music and performing arts

Create music from home with this synth app (free for a limited time). Watch concerts and Broadway shows here.

Social media events

Time Event Host Description Social Media Platform
9 a.m. Storytime with Ms. Frizzle Visit from the Frizz Live stream with an actress playing Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus here. Facebook Live
10 a.m. Rockness Music House Party Rockness Music Daily music classes for kids here. Facebook Live
1 p.m. Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Draw, doodle, and explore new ways of writing here. Facebook Live
2 p.m. The Zoo to You Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens Meet different animals at the zoo, with a featured activity every day here. Facebook Live
3 p.m. Rockness Music House Party Rockness Music Daily music classes for kids here. Facebook Live
3 p.m. Meet the Animals Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Meet different animals at the zoo, with related activities here. Facebook Live
7 p.m. Workout Class Planet Fitness Daily online workout class here. Facebook Live
7:30 pm Bedtime Stories with Josh Gad Josh Gad Olaf from ‘Frozen’ reads a children’s bedtime story each night here. Twitter

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For more information about Catholic Charities’ Providence House Domestic Violence Services and its creative arts therapy, call Laurie Toole at (732) 350-2120; or contact Dana DiFilippo, Catholic Charities communications, at ddifilippo@cctrenton.org or (609) 394-5181, ext. 1153. 

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