At-Home Learning

We have compiled a list of free resources for parents (and more) who need ideas for engaging activities while practicing social distancing. Select resources require an AAPLD library card.


Aquarium of Pacific Webcams – live images of sharks, sea jellies, fish, and penguins

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden's Home Safari Events – Facebook live events each weekday starting at 2 pm Central time to introduce one of their animals and include an activity to do at home.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Webcams – sea otters, moon jellies, open sea creatures, and a kelp forest

Houston Zoo Webcams – giraffes, gorillas, elephants, and more

San Diego Zoo Webcams – pandas, penguins, koalas, and more

Virtual Farm Tours – take a tour of real farms and see what they're like

Arts & Crafts – 1000 award-winning art and craft video classes taught by design experts and artists

Lunch Doodle with Mo Willems – daily drawing session with author Mo Willems every weekday at 12 pm Central time


Beanstalk – educational materials focused on pre-school aged youth. Free to join during COVID-19 pandemic.

Britannica Digital Learning – free access to Britannica LaunchPacks, for social studies and science, being leveraged by schools across the world who are grappling with shutdowns, conducting virtual lessons, and working to minimize the impact on students, families, and staff.

Khan Academy – free resources for ages 4-18, or a free app for ages 2-7; requires a free account

Mathspace – program for grades 3-12 that gives student feedback on each step; any school closed during COVID-19 pandemic is eligible for free access

NASA STEM Engagement – a variety of STEM-related videos, homework help, and games from NASA

PBS Learning Media – curated collection of free, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans and more for Illinois teachers

Scholastic Teachables – resource for PreK – Grade 6 for printable activities for a variety of subjects.
- User ID: schteachables46
- Password: blue

ScienceBuddies – thousands of free resources for learning STEM

SpellingCity – efficient game-based study of literacy skills using any word list; currently free with code "VSCFree90"


Digital Public Library of America – photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, and more

Illinois Digital Archives – repository for the digital collections of the Illinois State Library as well as other libraries and cultural institutions; contains photographs, slides, glass negatives, oral histories, manuscripts, letters, federal government documents, postcards, and more – largest online newspaper archive of 12,100+ newspapers around the US and beyond


Freegal – free music downloads from hundreds of songs in the Song Music catalog

The Kennedy Center Digital Stage – archive of the nation's busiest performing arts center

Metropolitan Opera Nightly Met Opera Streams – daily series of free streaming opera presentations, available to stream from 6:30 pm – 2:30 pm the next day

Weekday Live Streams with Mr. Jon & Friends – weekday live streams of music and movement for kids at 9:30 am Central time; running until Fri, March 27

Storytimes and Reading

Lucky Trikes Storytimes From a Short Distance – nightly live-streamed storytimes on Facebook Live at 8 pm Central time

Storytime with Author Mac Barnett – author Mac Barnett will be reading one of his books out loud on Instagram Live every weekday at 2 pm Central time

Stories with Author Oliver Jeffers – author Oliver Jeffers will be reading one of his books and talking about being a writer every weekday at 1 pm Central time

Tumblebooks – collection of animated talking picture books, read-alongs, eBooks, quizzes, lesson plans, and educational games

Virtual Field Trips

Access Mars – 360 degree tour of Mars from the Mars Rover

Air Pano – a group of Russian photographers that take 360 degree photos and videos of important places around the world

Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips – STEM field trips to the Johnson Space Center, arctic tundra, and more

The Louvre-Paris – virtual tours of some of the historic museum's most famous collections

National Museum of Anthropology - Mexico City – collections related to the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic civilizations

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art - South Korea – modern Korean art and design

The Vatican - Rome – tour one of the world's most beautiful buildings

Yellowstone National Park – watch live footage of the Mud Volcano, Fountain Paint Pot, and more