Check Out These Educational Livestreams This Week

Authors, scientists and others are offering fun livestream lessons and performances to keep kids engaged during isolation

Mystic Aquarium Facebook Live.jpg
Join Connecticut’s Mystic Aquarium every morning at 11 a.m. Mystic Aquarium

Parents, we know. We never expected to be homeschooling our children while trying to manage our own jobs from a laptop balanced on top of the dresser because that’s the only place the toddler can’t reach it. Fortunately—and this is one of the truly lovely things to come out of the coronavirus situation—educators, authors, musicians, meteorologists, park rangers and many others are pitching in by live streaming educational content for kids. Here is a selection of some of this week’s neatest offerings.

10 a.m.: Earth Science

Ohio’s WKBN has created a daily “weather for kids” segment for your aspiring meteorologists to learn about how tornados form, how hail is made, and what to do in a flood. There are also suggested at-home activities like building a rain gauge.

10:30 a.m.: Music

Delightfully goofy children’s musician Mr. Jon and Friends has a concert on Facebook Live every weekday. Expect sock puppets, instruments made from toilet paper tubes, and plenty of dancing.

11 a.m.: Marine Biology

Join Connecticut’s Mystic Aquarium every morning to explore sea life through Facebook Live. Last week viewers got to virtually feed a beluga whale, meet a giant Pacific octopus named Jeanne, and watch a brand-new penguin chick play with cuddly stuffed toys. Videos are archived for those who can’t join live.

Also, at 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, the non-profit Oceans Initiative offers a Virtual Marine Biology Camp, also on Facebook Live. Co-founders Erin Ashe and Rob Williams livestream from their home in Seattle, answering all your children’s burning questions about orcas, salmon and whale poop—just type your kid’s inquiry in the comments section.

12 p.m. (Friday only): Espionage

The Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. is offering a live "Spy School 101" class Friday at noon on Zoom. The 45-minute program, geared toured students in grade 4 and above, will feature museum educators sharing the stories behind artifacts and testing participants' spy skills. Registration is required.

2 p.m.: Language Arts

Beloved children’s author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers reads from one of his (many!) books each weekday at 2 p.m. on Instagram. Story times are archived on his website for those who can’t join live. “We are all at home, but none of us are alone,” Jeffers writes. “Let’s be bored together.”

For older kids, bestselling YA author Kelly Yang has a live writing lesson every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 p.m. on Instagram Live.

2 p.m. (Thursdays only): Theater Arts

Britain’s venerable National Theatre has launched National Theatre at Home, streaming stage productions for free on YouTube each Thursday, with interactive content like cast Q&A and post-show discussions. Productions will include adaptations of Jane Eyre, Treasure Island and Twelfth Night.

For littler theater fans, Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts has daily livestreaming programming, with shows at 11 a.m. (Aesop’s Fantabulous Fables was a hit last week), crafting workshops at 1 p.m., and educational puppetry (like kid-friendly physics lessons) at 3 p.m.

Various times (Monday, Wednesday and Friday): History

Author Sarah Prager will be reading from her books on LGBTQ+ history on Facebook Live every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Times aren’t set in stone, so check ahead—videos will all be archived too. Stories of people like Albert Cashier, a transgender Civil War soldier, and civil rights pioneer Sylvia Rivera will inspire and engage older (middle or high school) learners.

Various times: Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History has a variety of live content on Facebook Live every week—tour the Hall of Mammals, debate "space versus dinos" with museum scientists, learn about trilobites with a paleontologist. Times vary, so check their Facebook page.

4 p.m.: Physics

Nate Ball, author of the Let’s Investigate With Nate series, hosts a STEM activity each weekday at 4 p.m. on Facebook Live. Last week’s activities included building rubber band drag racers, making and launching “stomp rockets” out of ordinary household materials, and creating sock cannons. Physics!