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Learning At-Home Resources While Social Distancing

    1. To expand on the onscreen experience at the zoo offline, ask kids to share their favorite animal. Then have them research five facts about that animal.
    2. Once kid have completed their virtual tour of a museum, have your little Picassos try to recreate their favorite work of art with their own art supplies. Use these other Genius of Play resources to get their creative juices flowing.
    3. Especially on days when you can’t get outside, it’s critical to get kids up and active if simply to take out their pent-up energy. Click here to explore more physical play ideas.
    4. Once young explorers are done virtually travelling the world, take this Geography Challenge!
    5. Discover out the top 10 benefits of toys and play as it relates to STEM.

With schools around the country closing their doors due to social distancing to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak, parents and educators now find themselves turning to virtual ways to connect and keep kids learning. Many educators are navigating this unchartered territory for the first time and tapping into their well-used digital resources to keep their students engaged, while parents are also seeking new educational activities and content to keep their kids busy as they work from home.

As a mom of two, with a 5-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl, this is also the new reality for my family. And trying to balance a work-from-home life while entertaining our kids with engaging and educational play ideas that supplement their learning is no easy feat.

The Genius of Play website, a trusted resource that many parents know and turn to, is chock full of play ideas and activities to help aid kids' development. We've just compiled a list of other online resources that are sure to help during these uncertain times. Many of them were recently created to help kids learn and feel connected during a time when they aren't able to physically connect in the ways they are used to with friends, teachers, and extended family members.

Use the links below to easily navigate to a category that meets your children’s interests.

Explaining COVID-19 to Kids:

  • LEGO
    Kids will sing along with The LEGO Movie ‘s Hands, Elbows, Face and Space! song that will remind everyone in the household to put the cleanliness and safety tips into practice!

  • Little Medical School
    The site and social media platforms are full of online classes and ways for kids to learn more about the coronavirus in a way that makes sense for them.

  • Sesame Street
    Sesame Workshop, in collaboration with Walgreens and AT&T, is expanding itsCaring for Each Other initiative to help children and their caregivers adjust to a “for-now normal.” Content features the show’s Muppets sharing messages of love and kindness, activities, and virtual play dates. New resources are available to help families face current challenges such as missing friends, while also offering ways children can help celebrate the helpers in their neighborhoods.

    In the coming weeks, bilingual resources for children of frontline workers and new professional development tools for community providers (healthcare providers, social workers, and educators) will roll out on an ongoing basis.

    Its new, 5-minute video explains the virus, the disease, and what families can do to make things better. All told by a friendly PLAYMOBIL robot named ROBert, the video also explains why schools and daycares are closed and emphasize why it’s of paramount importance that kids avoid contact with other kids.

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Free Games/Play Activities:

  • Devir
    Visit Devir Home Academy for virtual learning based on modern board games. Adapted for the entire family, help kids develop curricular capabilities through your favorite tabletop games.

  • Jim Henson Company
    The Jim Henson Company launched its new Henson at Home digital guide, posting new content on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to help keep kids moving, playing, and connecting. The free at-home activities also feature characters from shows such as Fraggle Rock and Dinosaur Train.

  • Bananagrams
    Bananagrams has created a resource of free printable activities for kids, with new content added each week. Activities include word searches, coloring pages, and printable games based on its popular Bananagrams and Cobra Paw game lines.

  • WowWee
    WowWee is empowering parents with fun ideas featuring the newest member of the Nick Jr. family, Pinkfong Baby Shark. Baby Shark Toy School provides parents with ideas for their daily schedules to incorporate activities for learning, laughing, and playing together.

  • Toys “R” Us
    Toys “R” Us launched its Play@Home Theater, a new digital destination for kids and parents for play and learning at home. It includes free DIYs and printables as well as fun and educational content from partners including BrainPOP, the educational platform; GoNoodle; and Hasbro. The site will be updated with new activities and play ideas each week.

  • Asmodee
    Asmodee launched Print & Play offering free downloadable board games for families to enjoy from the safety of their homes. There are 9 games featured and the site will continue to be updated with new offerings.

  • Mattel Playroom
    Mattel launched its free online Mattel Playroom to encourage families to #KeepPlaying while adapting to life at home. The platform features play-from-home information for parents and caregivers and activities and content for kids based on its portfolio of brands, including Barbie, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels, American Girl, and Thomas & Friends.

  • Club Eimmie
    For a limited time, Orange Onion’s Club Eimmie is opening its members-only club to everyone and offering free content, including scavenger hunts, recipes, coloring pages, DIY crafts, puzzles, and more.

  • Ravensburger
    Encouraging families to stay #athomewithravensburger, the company is sharing free tips, materials, and ideas, including the GraviTrax Academy for kids AND parents to help destress, get creative, and feel inspired.

  • IAmElemental
    Because we all need superpowers to be our best selves, IAmElemental is offering a free downloadable version of their Elements of Power workbook with over 75 pages of coloring, word games and other creative activities.

  • Fat Brain Toys
    Twice a week, Fat Brain Toys will be supplying creative ideas to keep kids productive... active... learning... mindful... challenged... or just equipped with activities for families to enjoy together.

  • Babble Dabble Do
    As a member of the Babble Dabble Do community, you’ll connect with your children and nurture their creative process through magical, easy projects you can do TOGETHER, inspiring everyone at the creative table.

  • MGA Entertainment
    Every day at 1 p.m. (Eastern) on L.O.L. Surprise!’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, MGA Entertainment will be posting #BBsBoredomBusters, that will include playful activities such as challenges, trivia questions, activity sheets, and more.

  • Arckit
    Arckit offers free downloadable building images for kids and adults to color, whether you’re looking to relax and/or de-stress.

  • The Chicago Toys & Games (CHITAG) Group
    CHITAG is inviting kids to enter its Young Inventor Challenge. Using its free resources, which includes a Design Guide, kids can learn how to create their own toy and game ideas from start to finish and then enter the contest! There are also fun videos and articles kids can watch to get inspired.

  • Hasbro
    Visit Bring Home the Fun to explore family-focused resources from Hasbro that include tips and tricks for family playtime, activity challenges to keep kids occupied, ideas for using games and toys to educate and activate kids’ brains, and ways to cope with the emotional stress we’re all feeling right now.

  • Hooray Heroes
    Hooray Heroes released 10 different personalized coloring books and printables. And even better, they’re FREE!

  • Go! Go! Sports Girls
    Go! Go! Sports Girls offers its Kindle books on Amazon for $.99. On the company’s website, there are also free coloring pages and music. Kids are also encouraged to share their favorite athlete or sport.

  • Schleich
    Schleich’s newly launched Fun at Home website features creative games and free play activities for families.

  • Dr. Seuss
    Seussville.com offers a section of free print-out coloring sheets, Dr. Seuss-inspired recipes, games, and more.

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For Animal Lovers:
Many zoos and nature centers already serve as great places to learn about some of kids’ favorite creatures. Now, more are offering virtual classrooms and taking kids behind the scenes at the zoo with their animal webcams. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
    Tune in weekdays on Facebook Live at 11 a.m. (Eastern) as the zoo’s biologists and again at 1 p.m. (Eastern) as the park’s naturalists search for signs of spring, discover wildlife, and more.

  • San Diego Zoo
    Kids can watch webcams of their favorite animals, while fun and interactive lesson plans featuring zookeepers are also available.

  • Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Home Safari
    Featuring daily home safaris on Facebook Live at 3 p.m. (Eastern), kids will learn about a different animal each day that calls this zoo its home.

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Art on The Move:
Kids can learn to draw from the masters, visit museums around the world without leaving home, and even take music lessons online.

  • Schleich
    Schleich’s The Power of Imagination Photo Contest invites kids to use their time at home to take photos that bring their Schleich figurines to life in imaginative scenes, just like the ones created by toy photographer Mitchel Wu. To enter, parents can submit a photo of Schleich figurines taken by their child and be in the running to win one of 10 prize packs.

  • Google Doodle Games
    Google is digging back into its archives to offer families different playable digital Google Doodle Games from its past. In the process, kids can get a mini history lesson on what sparked the Doodle before they play.

  • The Strong National Museum of Play
    New programming will appear on The Strong’s Facebook page each day at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Eastern), and additional content will appear on the museum’s Twitter, Twitch, Instagram, and other social channels. This kicked off with live story reading and animal encounters in the museum’s Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden. Families can also explore The Strong’s virtual collection through Google Arts & Culture

  • The Museums of Paris
    Take a virtual trip to some of the most famous museums in Paris and access more than 300,000 works of art online.

  • Google Arts & Culture
    This portal has multiple partnerships with centers for art and cultural around the world that let kids explore museums near and far, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, among others.

  • #metkids
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers an entire digital world where kids can explore art without making the trip to New York City. The site includes an interactive map for kids to explore the museum as well as video content and a virtual time machine.

  • Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems!
    In partnership with the Kennedy Center, Children’s author Mo Willems (Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus) is putting out a daily “Lunch Doodles” session, which teaches kids how to draw some of their favorite characters.

  • SmartMusic
    This web-based music education network is offering free access to teachers to use the services and set it up for their students through June 30. With it, kids can access everything they need, but their instrument, to stay on top of their music lessons.

  • Crayola
    Fully stocked on arts & crafts supplies? Join Crayola for virtual crafting events on Facebook Live. Parents and parenting groups are also invited to tune in to the company’s upcoming live and recorded web events, which will offer creative at-home learning tips and techniques. Find out more here.

  • #GadBookClub
    Actor Josh Gad, whom most kids know as the voice of Disney Frozen’s Olaf, is hosting Twitter storytime sessions every night at 7:30 (Eastern)/ 4:30 (Pacific). Families can follow along at #GadBookClub.

  • Crazy Aaron LIVE!
    Learn something new every day at 4 p.m. (Eastern) from Crazy Aaron himself! Discover the world of Thinking Putty as Crazy Aaron dives into how he made the putty. From inspiration, the science behind it all, to what you see in the tin, you'll learn everything there is to know about Thinking Putty and so much more!

  • Faber-Castell
    The company is offering free activities on its website and social channels to get creative, from printable coloring pages to a how-to guide on bullet journaling. Find more ideas on its blog, #CreativityforLife.

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Get Moving:
Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to get outside, but that isn’t an excuse to stop moving. There are lots of great resources now that encourage active screen time, including these:

  • Sesame Workshop
    Sesame Workshop has teamed up with Headspace to create “Monster Meditations,” six animated shorts to help children learn the fundamentals of mindfulness, meditation, and social and emotional learning. The first of the six shorts is now available on YouTube and YouTube Kids, with the rest rolling out biweekly.

    Tune into the KIDZ BOP YouTube channel every weekday at 3 p.m. (Eastern)/12 p.m. (Pacific) for a daily dance break. The videos feature easy-to-follow dances to today's biggest hits sung by the KIDZ BOP kids.

  • GoNoodle Games
    Used in schools all over the country, many parents might already be familiar with the company’s approach to encouraging mindfulness and movement throughout the day. Its new free app for iOS uses Open CV-based computer vision and machine learning technology to detect kids’ movement and bring kids into the action in active games - no additional hardware required.

  • Cosmic Kids Yoga
    This YouTube channel is designed to teach kids 3+ about yoga, mindfulness, and relaxation. It includes even includes stories told through yoga poses and videos inspired by some of kids favorite characters.

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Take a Virtual Tour:
Visiting historic sites, landmarks, and cultural centers are go-to options for field trips, but sometimes you just can’t make the physical trip. Luckily, many now offer visitors the opportunity to virtually tour these locations and explore history through their screens.

  • Smithsonian
    Learn with Smithsonian resources include the National Zoo, Learning Lab, Science Game Center, and even its 3D Digitization Center, which lets kids learn about artifacts and specimens in 3D.

  • Google Maps Treks
    Google Maps has virtual tours for almost two dozen historical and geographical sites, ranging from the Grand Canyon to the Taj Mahal to the Galapagos Islands. You can walk through a city like Venice, Italy or Petra, Jordan, and experience different landmarks and even different time periods.

  • Colonial Williamsburg
    Kids can explore 18th century living through videos offering a behind-the-scenes look at its textiles department, while parents and teachers can access additional educational content, lessons, and web-based activities on American history.

  • The Great Wall of China
    A trip to China might seem impossible right now but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit the Great Wall virtually. This virtual experience gives a history lesson to kids in the process.

  • Google Street View
    Explore the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Colosseum, and everywhere in between with this interactive map. With this unique tool, kids can literally look down at the Taj Mahal and walk through the Halls of Versailles without ever leaving the comfort of their couch.

  • National Parks
    It’s easier than ever to visit America’s National Parks and explore the great outdoors, even if you stay inside. Virtual tours of some of the most famous ones are available online including, Yellowstone National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Parks, the Carlsbad Caverns, Bryce Canyon, and more.

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STEM Learning:

  • Microbial Insights
    Microbial Insights is dedicated to educating kids in the art of science in a fun and hands-on environment. Enjoy these fun science experiments and cultivate an environment of curiosity that will most likely help your kids perform better in school and throughout their lifetime.

  • Roylco
    Roylco has always been there to help teachers educate and inspire their students. Now, with so many parents taking on the role of home schoolers, it’s offering a new library of resources featuring activities; craft ideas; and math, geography, literacy, and science references to download as you need for free.

  • Safari Ltd.
    Safari is offering a free 30-Day Toys That Teach Challenge offering a fun, easy guide to give kids something to build each day.

  • Thames & Kosmos
    Thames & Kosmos’ Science at Home has compiled a collection of free resources for parents, caregivers, educators to share with the little ones in their lives. From sample experiments that you can do in your home, to fun videos showcasing fantastic scientific effects, to word finds and coloring pages to keep minds sharp and fuel creativity, they’ve got a little something for everyone.

  • ThinkFun
    ThinkFun’s newest resource page called “For Parents” includes free-downloadable games featuring the company’s online coding game, educational games, and more to help support learning at home and keep families calm, occupied, and engaged.

  • Distroller
    Distroller will be launching the Mission K campaign that promotes healthy habits and provides entertainment tools for families during unprecedented times.

  • LEGO
    Inspired by the amazing LEGO creations being shared by people of all ages on social media, LEGO is offering new ways to help families stay creative, curious, and connected while at home. Daily play challenges, new play ideas, and live build-a-longs will be shared on social media using the hashtag #letsbuildtogether

  • National Geographic Kids
    Find amazing facts about animals, science, history and geography, along with fun competitions, games, and more.

  • NASA
    Let your creativity take flight with engineering activities, online games, and videos to get you moving and training like an astronaut.

  • Steve Spangler Science
    Kids and parents can find educational science toys, STEM kits, teacher workshop materials, classroom sets, easy science fair projects, slime, and hundreds of free amazing experiments to download.

  • The Connectory
    This is the very first Virtual Math Festival, an online experience curated by talkSTEM. To join the fun, simply visit the Virtual Math Festival 2020 on the talkSTEM YouTube Channel. This free resource is designed for parents, teachers, and after-school educators. Encourage your child to create their own activity schedule to draw, design, write, calculate, and record experimental data.

  • VTech and LeapFrog
    Vtech’s new “Learn Through This” campaign utilizes its VTech and LeapFrog brands to support teachers and parents with the tools they need to keep kids busy, learning, and active while at home. VTech and LeapFrog are offering comprehensive resources including free articles, printable activity books, and educational activities.

  • National Museum of Natural History
    Parents and teachers can bring a Smithsonian scientist into their virtual classrooms using the Smithsonian Science How webcast series. In the live video webcasts scientists will take students’ questions and introducing them to science topics. Past webcasts are also available for viewing.

  • American Museum of Natural History
    At 2 p.m. (Eastern) daily on Facebook Live, the museum will be hosting digital tours of parts of the museum. Here, kids can also watch past episodes of its web series Science at AMNH.

  • Mystery Science
    This site features open-and-go lessons designed to inspire kids’ love of science. The site even offers a list of kindergarten through grade 5 science lessons to get started.

  • Jumpstart Academy
    Its core educational programs (JumpStart Academy Preschool, JumpStart Academy Kindergarten and JumpStart Academy Math) along with its math and coding programs are now available for free trials and the company is taking 50% off annual subscriptions.

  • hand2mind
    A new teach@home program features weekly lessons in math, literacy, and STEM for grades k-5. The lessons are all taught by teachers, and videos and activities are uploaded to the site for parents to download free of charge.

  • Miniland Educational
    The company is offering free online Play Experiences on its Play Miniland portal, which gives children access to educational games and gives parents and teachers ideas to learn through play.

  • Learning Resources
    Through the Learning Resources blog, families with kids as young as 18 months old can find easy, hands-on activities to help kids work on their ABCs and 123s, keep up with classwork, or focus on language and reading skills.

  • Educational Insights
    Educational Insights has partnered with Mensa for Kids to provide even more valuable resources that support learning in areas such as STEM, reading, and creativity. It's also launched a YouTube series, “Home’s Cool” for follow-along activities.

  • Minecraft
    Minecraft helps teachers and students stay connected to the classroom. Minecraft: Education Edition is available now through June 2020 for all educators and learners who have a valid Office 365 Education account. Minecraft connects to the classroom offering lessons, STEM, curriculum and creative-based learning.

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Additional Virtual Learning Resources:

What resources are you using to keep your kids entertained and learning at home? Reach out to our team of toy and play experts to share your ideas or share them with us on Instagram and Facebook #thegeniusofplay.

    1. To expand on the onscreen experience at the zoo offline, ask kids to share their favorite animal. Then have them research five facts about that animal.
    2. Once kid have completed their virtual tour of a museum, have your little Picassos try to recreate their favorite work of art with their own art supplies. Use these other Genius of Play resources to get their creative juices flowing.
    3. Especially on days when you can’t get outside, it’s critical to get kids up and active if simply to take out their pent-up energy. Click here to explore more physical play ideas.
    4. Once young explorers are done virtually travelling the world, take this Geography Challenge!
    5. Discover out the top 10 benefits of toys and play as it relates to STEM.

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