A Read-Along With Michelle Obama and Other Livestream Learning Opportunities
Schools are shuttered, but kids can dance with New York’s Ballet Hispánico and listen to a story from a certain former First Lady
With many school districts already canceling in-person classes through the rest of the semester, parents are eager (ok, desperate) for more virtual education offerings. Things that were new and exciting two months ago—Zoom! Vintage Sesame Street videos!—are already making our housebound kids yawn and ask, “what’s next?” Luckily an army of creators and educators are continuing to come up with fresh ways to keep the world’s children engaged. Here are some of this week’s most interesting online educational opportunities, organized by subject and time.
Virtual Learning Schedule (all times Eastern)
8 a.m. (Fridays): Art
Budding artists shouldn’t sleep in: Captain Underpants creator Dav Pilkey releases a new drawing lesson every Friday morning at 8 a.m. as part of his "Dav Pilkey at Home" series. Master fun characters like Bark Knight, Petey, Flippy and Commander Cupcake. Videos are archived for anyone who doesn’t finish breakfast in time.
10 a.m. (Thursdays): STEM
What, you don’t have a Bunsen burner in your pantry? No worries, the California Science Center has “Stuck at Home Science,” a series of guided experiments involving nothing more than typical household supplies like tinfoil and drinking straws. Learn about air pressure by levitating a ping-pong ball or balloon with a hair dryer, explore flotation with a simple boat made from a disposable plate or discover the wonders of engineering by making a roller coaster from cardboard tubes. In addition to daily at-home experiments, there are live sessions each Thursday at 10 a.m.—meet a ball python or talk about germs with a real scientist.
Noon (Mondays): Language Arts
Former First Lady (and bestselling author) Michelle Obama has teamed up with PBS Kids and Penguin Random House for a live story time every Monday at noon. She’ll be reading classics like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and newer offerings like Miss Maple’s Seeds. This week she's sharing Tom Fletcher's There's a Dragon in Your Book. Readings will be live-streamed on PBS’ Kids Facebook page and YouTube channel as well as Penguin Random House’s Facebook page.
Noon (Wednesdays): History
On Wednesdays, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission is hosting a Facebook “Herstory Time,” telling stories about the brave women who fought for the right to vote. Last Wednesday, the organization’s vice chair read Mara Rockliff’s Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, A Kitten, and 10,000 Miles, the story of two women and a cat who drove cross-country in 1916 to demand votes for women.
2 p.m.: Natural Science
National Geographic’s new Explorer Classroom connects kids with its Explorers—scientists, conservationists, journalists and educators whose work it funds and supports. Meet some of the nearly 300 current Explorers every weekday at 2 p.m. on National Geographic Education's YouTube channel. Learn about strange animals with a zoologist, follow elusive manatees with an underwater photographer and hear stories about the frigid north with an Arctic explorer. Register for a chance to ask a live question.
3 p.m. (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays): Dance
New York’s venerable Ballet Hispánico is streaming all-ages dance and movement classes each Wednesday on Instagram. Recent offerings include lessons in merengue, salsa and Spanish dance. They also have kid-specific dance classes on Tuesdays and all-ages yoga and movement on Thursdays, so keep your eyes open—all class videos stay online for 24 hours.
Every Tuesday, Sesame Street drops a new “snack chat” with that beloved mop of blue crumb-covered fur, Cookie Monster. Cookie Monster shares a simple recipe—smoothies, for example—and talks to kiddos about the importance of handwashing (if they won’t listen to you, maybe they’ll listen to him). Find the series on YouTube and Facebook.