Updated with new resources at 11:12 a.m. on May 8, 2020

Written by Kelly Sheehy, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library 

On March 16, renowned television writer, producer, and author Shonda Rhimes tweeted “Been homeschooling a 6- year-old and 8-year-old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week.” 

Rimes' tweet went viral, speaking to many parents and caregivers. It’s a reality and realization that so many can relate to amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and subsequent school closures as they grapple with how to manage. 

We understand how hard these circumstances are. All any of us can do is try our best and give ourselves and the kids we care for an abundance of compassion (and a bit of slack). For those in our community educating children at home, our Education and Homework Support Manager Keith Armour and our Youth Services and Programming Coordinator Lisa Soper gathered a list of online resources both local and national to help kids' minds stay as engaged as possible.

You can also read about all the ways the Library is providing learning resources in our blog post “11 ways to keep kids’ minds and imaginations active at home with the Library”. 

Local online resources

  • Missing in-person storytime? Watch Storytime at Home presented by The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. More videos are created to add to this collection each week! 
  • Join the Cincinnati Zoo for a Home Safari Facebook Live each weekday at 3 p.m. where they highlight one of their amazing animals and include an activity you can do from home.
  • The Great Parks Parks@Home series provides fun and educational activities, crafts, videos, and more that parents and nature lovers can engage in from the comfort of their own homes. 
  • The Cincinnati Museum Center's (CMC) WonderZone brings experiments and museum experiences into your home. Follow along and try your hand at some of these experiments or just watch and enjoy! 
  • CMC is also hosting a weekly Story Tree Time on Facebook Live, every Wednesday at 11 a.m. Be on the lookout for a dance party playlist too! The CMC blog’s “Off of the Shelf” series offers interesting history and science content.  
  • Explore the Cincinnati Art Museum’s online collection, and posting new content daily to their CAMConnect Facebook page.  
  • Happen Inc. created Happen@Home, which provides a mix of fun and educational videos for youth. 
  • The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati posted a recording of Suffragettes: With Liberty and Voting for All, along with an accompanying study guide and podcast.  
  • Local author and illustrator Will Hillenbrand shares tips on writing and illustration and gives a glimpse into his creative process through his video blog.  
  • Soon the Cincinnati Recreation Commission will provide free online classes to help keep people physically fit and mentally active. Check their website for details. 
  • YMCA Camp Ernst is offering Kids’ Camp at Home, Monday through Friday from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., featuring songs, skits, games, interviews, behind the scene tours, special guests, and friendship.
  • Hamilton County 4-H is providing virtual learning opportunities and they’re adding them to their calendar as their plans move forward. The first of these is scheduled for March 25 from 10:00 – 10:30 a.m., where "Under the Microscope with Tony" will explore the world of mold and compost. You can also check out the 4-H Explorer Guide
  • The Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) presents CCACMakes Online, where students can follow along with their favorite CCAC teachers as they present virtual versions of classes. 
  • The Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative is posting a new Family STEM Card each day at 5:15 p.m. Each card has an activity a family can do with little instruction and household materials. 
  • The Cincinnati Observatory has created a whole program called Space at Home. Here, you'll find YouTube videos, daily "What's Up" sky updates, and more. the Cincinnati Observatory is also doing weekly Facbook and Instagram Live events
  • Cincinnati Dream Chasers is an activity-based program designed for all skills & ability levels. Find free resources to help kids work on personal development, physical activity, and creativity. 
  • The Ohio Department of Natural Resources created a fun, educational, and printable Wildlife Concepts Imagination Book

    Other online resources
  • Wonderopolis is a place where natural curiosity and imagination lead to exploration and discovery in learners of all ages. Each day, they pose an intriguing question—the Wonder of the Day®—and explore it in a variety of ways. 
  • KhanAcademy has a free online course for K-12 students in math, science, history, grammar and more. 
  • Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys from Scholastic Learn at Home
  • Many of your favorite authors and illustrators are hosting readings, drawing workshops, and other fun stuff through social media while school is out. Check out this list for details
  • Storyline Online streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. 
  • Looking for more than just stories to supplement your storytime needs? Visit the Jbrary YouTube channel for videos of fun songs and rhymes. Jbrary also posted a roundup of lots of great storytime resources.  
  •  KidLitTV lets you explore the world of children’s literature through videos, podcasts, arts and crafts, and more. 
  • Take a virtual field trip to a museum, zoo, park, and more! Or, stream a virtual concert
  • Feeling stiff? GoNoodle Family has lots of videos to encourage movement and activity. 
  • Storytime in Spanish from The Spanish Experiment (and free Spanish lessons too!)
  • My Pre-K has a guide of reading tips and tricks as well as a Facebook page with tons of educational content. 
  • For teens, the 8 Ivy League universities have a collection of more than 400 online courses you can take from home for free. Check out this roundup of available courses
  • Connected Camps offers online classes in Minecraft, Esports, and digital making with special programing available during the pandemic.
  • 24 ways young people can learn digital skills at home from the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. 
  • Accessible Chef provides tutorials for easy cooking projects geared specifically towards people with intellectual disabilities and young children. 
  • CASEL has wonderful resources for parents, caregivers, and educators. 

If you’re looking for resources like how to get free internet access for your home, check out our COVID-19 Educator Resource Guide

For the latest Library service updates and resources, please visit our COVID-19 resource page

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