Learning, entertainment alternatives in coronavirus outbreak

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 5:00pm

    Days into Maine’s state of emergency, social distancing and other novel terms have emerged. Seeing as they’re here for the foreseeable future, Boothbay Register is sharing some things adults and children can do to burn some time and maybe learn a few things.

    From learning to doodle with Mo Willems to having a story read by a beloved author or celebrity (who doesn’t want to have “Harry the Dirty Dog” read to them by Betty White?) there is plenty on the web to keep everyone productive. There are also plenty of resources for students, parents and educators to turn to for keeping young minds active. All of these resources are either free or free for a limited time and many of these sites have more resources available.


    Boston Children’s Museum and Children’s Museum of Indianapolis are just a couple museums providing virtual tours either by Youtube playlists, Google Arts and Culture or in-house 360° maps. Discovery Education provides virtual field trips viewing everything from polar bears on the tundra to STEM professionals at the Johnson Space Center. Other science and math-based resources include Switcheroo Zoo, Mystery Science, Khan Academy, ST Math and Cool Math for Kids.

    While nothing beats a good old hardback or paperback, young students can still access resources to help maintain continuity with literacy outside the classroom. The Teach Your Monster To Read app is a good place to start with new readers or students who need some practice. The PC version is free and the mobile app has been made available free for a limited time. More resources for literacy can be found at Into the Book, Seussville, ABC Ya, Storyline Online and Growing Book by Book.

    Crash Course provides learning experiences for students on subjects ranging from anatomy to world history and nearly everything in between. More general educational resources and entertaining activities and games include Busy Kids Do Piano (promo code PIANOATHOME gets you one month free), Fun Brain and Cosmic Kids Yoga.

    Fun for kids and adults

    Several zoos and museums have closed as people need to stay out of large crowds. Some have been providing live webcam feeds or archive footage of certain exhibits while others give more of a virtual experience. Cincinnati Zoo is known for Fiona the hippo and Atlanta Zoo for its giant panda cam. Houston Zoo, San Diego Zoo, Georgia Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium also have animal cams.

    The British Museum, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, The Great Wall of China, Space Center Houston and the Mars Rover give a well-rounded virtual experience of the prehistoric to the space age while FarmFood 360 tours gives insight into farm life and where it is heading in the 21st century. Bunk History has become popular for its attempts at “rewiring history” and does a fantastic job providing riveting material on a wide range of subjects.

    There are thousands of ivy league-tier courses to browse and many health and wellness tools like DownDogApp and its other apps Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout all of which are free until April 1.

    Be sure to check out e-book, audiobook, comics, music and films app Hoopla which should be accessible through your Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library number. And if you’re thinking about picking up a new language, try Duolingo!