For the past few months, the pandemic has forced children to stay home, cutting down on their chances to play outside and interact with friends. This has led many parents to not only reschedule the timetables of their wards, but also ponder over the activities to keep kids occupied during this time. A great way to keep kids busy and learning, especially on the weekends, is to make them join some form of online activity classes. Search for those activities that fascinate your child and spur her imagination. It could be making music, attending free photography classes by joining the ‘Today at Apple’ online programme, or learning a new language.
Below are some of the online activity ideas we thought will be useful in keeping your kids occupied during the coronavirus pandemic.
NASA at Home
Is your child inquisitive about space, planets, and aliens? For such kids the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched NASA at Home, a free website that is packed with a range of activities for kids, including e-books, podcasts and videos that help you understand the world beyond our planet. Head to the virtual and augmented reality tours section, where you can take a 360-degree, virtual tour of the Hubble Space Telescope mission operations centre, the International Space Station, and the Trappist-1 star system with NASA’s Exoplanet Excursions. You can also tune in to NASA TV on YouTube to catch live streaming of events, or else listen to bedtime stories as astronauts read popular children’s books from space.
Today at Apple
Want to learn how to draw realistic portraits with Apple Pencil and iPad Pro, or learn skills to take better photos with your iPhone? Apple is offering free classes online – better known as Today at Apple – that teach users how to optimally use their Apple devices. These digital sessions would be led by a person who is an actual photographer, a creator, or a musician. Courses on photography, drawing, and music creation range between three to five minutes. Once you book a session at Today at Apple, you can stream them digitally from your web browser. Anyone can attend these sessions, so there is no age limit. The biggest takeaway from these short digital sessions is that you not only get familiar with the Apple device you already own but how to use them in a creative way.
If you have spotted an artistic side in your child, there is no better way than introducing the concept of creativity and imagination at an early stage. The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) has recently started offering online courses that cover a variety of subjects and topics, including What is Contemporary Art?, Fashion as Design, Postwar Abstract Painting, Seeing Through Photographs, and Modern Art & Ideas. Courses range in length from approximately 12 to 38 hours in total and can be completed online. The courses are designed in such a way that they can be completed at one’s pace. These courses help mediate thinking and develop an appreciation for art and culture. MoMA says the courses will allow participants to “hear directly from artists and designers, look closely at works in our collection and exhibitions, and join a community of learners unlike any other.”
Learning a new language does not need any special skills. You can learn right at your home with the help of a smartphone. Language apps like Duolingo do help in learning a new language quickly, provided you are a quick learner. The app offers over 30 different language options, including Spanish, French, and German. The free to download app offers colorful, flashcard-like tutorials. What’s great about the app is that it offers a variety of modules—like reading-based quizzes, listening activities, and voice-enabled speaking practice. Those who have used Duolingo say the app is good for getting a base in language. Duolingo has over 300 million registered users worldwide.
Chrome Music Lab
A very few people know about the Google Music Lab, a website that helps kids become creative with music and rhythm. This is basically a collection of 13 interactive “experiments” that let users create, play, and learn making their own music. What makes the Google Music Lab so interesting is that there is no prior knowledge in music learning needed to access the programme. Also, access to an instrument is not needed to start making music. Chrome Music Lab can be accessed on any smartphone or laptop, though it requires an active internet connection. It is a basic programme and is targeted at beginners.