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
• 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
• Newspapers.com – 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