Cool Stuff To Do When You’re Stuck at Home
Our days have become a blur- a blur of not going anywhere- except for a sunset walk. Every event around cancelled, or attached with the more ‘PC’ friendly term “postponed”. Adulting life ceased. Contracts lost. Jobs abandoned. Businesses closed with mind-blowing abruptness. It’s tough when you’re faced with the fact that your career is suddenly non-essential, not by any fault but unarguable government mandates.
Then kids find themselves stuck at home- their return date getting farther and farther away. They all thought an extra week of Spring Break was great- but when it stretched 4, that was ‘oh no’ – and now into six, it has become sheer agony. Six weeks away from friends. Virtual classes are not the same for a kid- and staying home with their parents is torture for a teen.
To ease you through the days, check out this big list on learning & fun…virtually:
Online Learning for Kids
The School of Croc by Gatorland Orlando
Gatorland shines as a bright star during this crisis. They are running an interactive Facebook live show Monday through Saturday at 10 AM on their Facebook page. The School of Croc introduces viewers to various animals and curious critters. They’ve done a show on the Tegu lizard, an invasive giant lizard found now in South Florida, one on tarantulas, on bobcats, and a Crocs versus Alligator show about the differences and similarities between the two reptiles- both which co-exist in Florida. The hosts answer questions posted during their show, and your kids can join their Facebook group to share artwork, more questions and discussions.
A family-run business, Gatorland Orlando is continuing to pay their employees during this time (even if they aren’t working!). But it does take a lot feed to gators. You can show support by purchasing from their online store- or just by watching their Gatorland Vlogs on YouTube. With 108,000 subscribers to their channel, you won’t be disappointed.
5/22/20 update: After the 50th episode of the School of Croc, Gatorland threw a virtual 50-episode birthday party. They have since ceased their daily 1oam episode, but continue with Saturday 10 am live on Facebook. You can catch them their, on their YouTube vlog, or in person. On Saturday 5/23/20, they are opening their gates again to visitors! (25% occupancy and all the health precautions). Finally- a theme park visit without the crowds!
Shoot for the Stars with Kennedy Space Center Live
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is offering free, online content for kids from elementary school to high school. Tune in at noon Monday through Friday at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Facebook Page to learn about science and space. Recently Educator Stefan talked spaceports, moon rocks, and more during their Facebook live presentations. KSC also has downloadable activities and more educational resources on their website.
Build Your Own Virtual Theme Park with Disney & Khan Academy
Imagineering in a Box is a free online program created by Disney in partnership with the Khan Academy and Pixar. A series of interactive lessons takes you through theme park design and imagineering concepts (In Disney, Imagination + Engineering = Imagineering!)
There are interactive activities, lessons and more. You’ll get to build worlds, learn about designing attractions and rides and creating characters- even down to the animatronics (animated robotics). Did we mention it’s FREE? In case you didn’t already know, Khan Academy has been an important online learning resource for kids (and teachers) for almost 12 years.
Virtual Trips to Take
Museums & Cultural Events
While virtual visits to museums have gained popularity, getting your kids to visit a real museum, let alone a virtual one, may be difficult to start with (unless they love art).
Let them run around the Louvre in Paris. No guards. No crowds. No costs 😉 And all translated into English (if you prefer). Google has partnered with many arts & cultural centers around the world to give you 3-D tours of venues and more.
The Night at the Museum is one of our family favorite movies- And the Battle at the Smithsonian comes in a close second. While there is no monkey-business at the real Smithsonian, you can still do some exploring on your own (no golden tablet required). Check out The Smithsonian Past, Present & Permanent Exhibits
There are many who are so stuck that they can’t leave their home (think apartment-living). If you are city-bound, and have relied on public transportation to get around, you may find yourself in a bind. You may have gotten more than your fill of culture and need some outside wild. Hiking in the wilderness. Kayaking. Swimming. Beaches. Anything outside!
Take scenic runs through National Parks with Treadmill TV Virtual Runs . If you have a treadmill, exercise bike or stair-master, you can get some exercise in while enjoying the scenery too!
Hike though the mountains and past waterfalls and creeks in northern Georgia at Duke’s Creek Falls , Anna Ruby Falls, or Raven Cliffs Falls without breaking a sweat (or worrying that your rambunctious child will take a tumble down a mountain ;).
Virtual Paddle & Boating
Kayak over waterfalls and through rocky gorges with Dane Jackson on his YouTube Channel. Check out his Upper Middle Kaweah run (he does drop the f-bomb once in this video though- so be warned) but this amazing paddle adventure will make you dizzy! His Green Race Winning Run 2018 is a milder but fast-paced kayaking run (for Dane). Have someone splash ice cold water in your face for a full 4-D experience 😉
Alternatively, you can check out the Instagram account Kayaking_is_mylife for shorter breath-taking adventure paddles.
If paddling isn’t your cup of tea, check out our virtual airboat ride through Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge (no PFD required 😉 Sit in front of a fan for a wind-blown experience. And subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos.
Wildlife Watching- (from afar)
Birds, bees and bald eagles. There’s so many webcams out there that you could spend hours watching wildlife. If you do have a yard and the weather is not adverse, enjoy the outdoors and listen to the birds- if not, check out these cool animal cams:
See African Penguins swim, dive and waddle around, (and not social distance themselves) at Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium.
Catch the antics of Florida’s friendly sea cows at Homosassa Springs State Park and at Blue Springs State Park in Orange City on these manatee webcams from the Save The Manatee Club.
Though you’re not guaranteed to spot a panther or (invasive species) python, you never know what you’ll find on the Everglades National Park Anhinga Trail Webcam.
Check out these other wildlife webcams for catching wild critters in America’s national parks.
Yosemite even has its own cams for watching the bison roam and Old Faithful gush. You can remind your kids about this when they want to get too close to the wildlife on your next visit 😉
Try your hand at bird watching on the National Wildlife Refuge webcams.
Download an app for bird identification to help you name-that-bird, the Audubon Society has one for free.
Explore the World (or just your neighborhood)
Just about any place you can drive, Google has mapped it. Google Earth is by far one of the most fascinating exploration tools for virtual explorers. Not ready to download? Check out a location on Google Maps, then zoom in and click the pic on the bottom left hand corner of your screen that says satellite for a virtual street view. These images are not real-time, so no, that’s not your teen parked outside the supermarket right now 🙂
More Posts You May Enjoy
- Cooking with Kids
- Top Ways to Get Your Kids to Read (Even if they hate books)
- 10 Things You Know if You’ve Paddle Juniper Run in the Ocala National Forest
And for reading fun:
- True Travel Tales: Celebrating Greek Easter in Corfu
- True Travel Tales: Escape Abduction in Istanbul
- Snakes in a Lake and Other Travel Tales from Ioannina, Greece
- Mystery Aboard the Marrakesh Express