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It’s time to bust out and SEE THE WORLD…

…from home, that is.

As we all do our part to stay home and flatten the curve, we’re all beginning to find out that being indoors for long periods of time can be… challenging…

A cat wearing a honey bee costume while falling off a sofa

Thankfully, everyone’s favorite series of tubes is ready to help keep us all entertained—and HOME (remember, #StayHome)—with scores of family-friendly, fun, educational, and inspirational virtual activities that are FREE (unless otherwise noted) and available at any time.

Below, you’ll find a list of virtual activities we’ve found that we think you and your families will enjoy—take a look, and let us know in the comments below if you have suggestions of your own!

Need a digital device to access these great sites? Find out how NYC students can apply for free tablets TODAY right here on The Morning Bell.

The City’s Generation NYC website for students, ages 11–18, now has a new Fun at Home page that contains links to online resources that can help teens find ways to stay busy with safe and fun virtual activities that encourage them to stay at home and practice social distancing. There’s also information regarding free access to services like NBA League Pass as well as wi-fi access.

Other Fun Websites

  • From virtual story times to online “Mario Kart” tournaments, the Brooklyn Public Library is offering a variety of programs you can enjoy at home! Check out their calendar for upcoming dates and times, and browse their virtual website for a variety of ebooks and helpful lessons that will keep you busy throughout the day.
  • Harry Potter at Home is here! Add a touch of magic to your day with Harry—and find out which Hogwarts house you belong to.
  • Doodle away for days with Mo Willems’ Lunch Doodles! Willems, the award-winning author and animator, has created a YouTube channel dedicated to helping children of all ages learn how to draw. You can view new videos every weekday at 1 p.m., or you can check out older episodes on demand.
  • Have paper left over after drawing with Mo Willems? Try making Origami Dinosaurs by following this T-Rex tutorial.
NASA's Curiosity Rover taking a selfie

Check out Google’s Access Mars website to start exploring Mars’ surface right from your home. (Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Virtual Museums/Art Institutions

  • The Metropolitan Opera launched a free series of “Nightly Met Opera Streams,” featuring Verdi’s Don Carlo and Macbeth. The Lincoln Center next door is also releasing their archival and livestream performances for families at home. Join their Pop-Up Classroom for a daily dose of creative art and activities!
Cherry blossom trees in bloom in Washington DC

Washington D.C.’s BloomCam provides viewers around the world with views of the city’s beautiful cherry blossoms at peak-bloom. (Photo by Nicholas Raymond, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license)

Virtual Zoo/Aquarium

  • If you can’t find your favorite sea animal at the Georgia Aquarium, try tuning into the open sea cam of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can watch turtles, tuna and sharks swim around.
Beluga whale skimming the surface of an aquarium pool

You can check out the Georgia Aquarium’s beluga whales live online. Photo Credit: Georgia Aquarium)

Sites that Get You Moving

  • Move your body—dance, stretch, jump, and wiggle around with GoNoodle.
  • The Minecraft: Education Edition is available for all, covering everything from coding and social-emotional learning, to Common Core math for grades 3-5.
  • Active Kids Do Better equips teachers and parents with tools to get primary school children moving through play.
  • ActivEd is offering free access to Walkabouts, an active learning platform that integrates movement with language arts, math, and reading content.

We hope this list helps keep you and your family inspired and refreshed during these challenging times. For more great tips, news, and suggested activities and booklists like our updated NYC Reads 365 list, subscribe to The Morning Bell today!

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of a million students across 1,800+ schools

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