Activities, Classes, Book Readings & Tours : Part 1

Here is a HUGE list of things I have come across in the last couple of days that I think will be helpful for many families these activities, tours, exercises, classes, book readings and more are great for connecting you as a family and help pass the time. Over the next couple of days and weeks I will be making a lot of these posts, to help out families who are not used to homeschooling their kids, and may need a bit more in the resource department.

I will be sure to include several online homeschool options too, just in case you need to look into something more extended, depending on what your state is doing in the current 2020 Covid-19 Outbreak. Remember it takes a village! We are all in this together!

Free Virtual Field Trips

Anne Frank House – Take a 360-degree tour of Anne Frank’s home in Amsterdam.

Buckingham Palace – Tour the famous London palace virtually.

Farm Tours – Learn about agriculture through these virtual tours of farms in Canada.

Great Wall of China – This panoramic virtual tour allows you to walk the Great Wall.

Holy Land Tour – Virtually visit Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and more.

Houston Zoo – Watch animals in several of their exhibits via live webcam.

The Louvre Museum – Explore exhibits at this famous art museum in Paris, France.

Mars – Explore the surface of Mars in a 360-degree view while learning about the planet and space exploration.

Monterey Bay Aquarium – Watch sea creatures in this California aquarium with the live animal cam.

Mount Everest – Explore the mountain through 360-degree photos and informative articles.

Mount Vernon – Take an interactive and informative tour of George Washington’s home in Virginia.

National Aquarium – Take a virtual tour of this aquarium located in Baltimore, Maryland.

National Museum of the US Air Force – Take a virtual tour of this museum.

San Diego Zoo – Watch live videos and learn about animals, play games, and more on this interactive website.

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History – Virtually explore many current and past museum exhibits.

The Statue of Liberty – Learn about the Statue of Liberty through the videos and photographs in this virtual tour.

The Virtual Rainforest – Learn about the rainforest with this interactive tour that includes informative videos and articles.

Zoo Tours – This YouTube channel visits zoos all over the country.

AirPano – Visit locations all over the world virtually with 360-degree videos and photographs.

Discovery Education – This website offers a wide variety of virtual field trips.

360 Cities – Provides interactive 360-degree videos and images of locations around the world.

Sites in 3D – Tour locations across Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, Yemen, and many other countries using 360-degree images.

Google Arts and Culture – View the art collections of over 500 different museums and galleries. Some of the museums also offer full virtual tours.

Google Earth – “Fly” anywhere in the world in seconds, explore hundreds of cities in 3D, take guided tours, and create your own maps and stories.

Google Maps Street View – Type in any address, select street view and explore the area. Not only can you take a virtual trip down the streets, but you can also “step” into many museums, landmarks, and other attractions. Here are some I’ve found.

  • The White House – Washington, D.C.
  • The Colosseum – Rome, Italy
  • Stonehenge – Wiltshire, United Kingdom
  • Palace of Versailles – Versailles, France
  • Wilson Island – Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  • This is just a small sample of the places you can tour with Google Maps. Search for other locations that interest your family and see if Google will let you take a peak inside.

Space Center Classes online:

Kennedy Space Center has launched science lessons on Facebook Live.

National Parks: Virtual Tours

Acadia National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Badlands National Park

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Denali National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

Glacier National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Olympic National Park

Redwood National and State Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Sequoia National Park

Shenandoah National Park

Virgin Islands National Park

Wind Cave National Park

Yellowstone National Park

yellowstone National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Zion National Park

Need some Educational Websites to enrich your kids minds? Check these out all of them are free.

ABC mouse is offering free membership now.

Code : SCHOOL7771

Top 20 Homeschool Resources

1. TED-Ed

This site lets you build a lesson around any TED talk, TED-Ed resource, or YouTube video. You can also find and use existing lessons on a variety of topics. A great resource for any teacher, homeschooler, parent, or student.

2. Simple Homeschool

A must-follow blog for homeschoolers who want to keep it simple, Jamie of Simple Homeschool shares reviews, giveaways, and articles on curriculum and other topics as well as inspiration and encouragement for homeschooling families.

3. Reading Eggs

This subscription site promises to make learning to read fun with games, songs, and engaging rewards as well as a series of mobile apps. It’s a favorite of many parents with kids aged three and up.

4. Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers free online lessons and interactive exercises on just about every possible topic. These lessons can be a great resource for students and parents, whether you work through an entire subject, or just supplement with videos to get help with a tricky math challenge or other subject.

5. Exploratorium

The website for this popular San Francisco children’s science center features an impressive selection of free activities, videos, printables, and interactive online resources on a variety of math and science topics.

6. NASA for Students

The NASA website’s For Students section includes a great free catalog of articles, activities, videos, and games for students in grades K–12 on topics related to STEM, aeronautics, and space exploration.

7. Project Gutenberg

With more than 45,000 free eBooks, including a large collection of classic children’s literature, Project Gutenberg is a fantastic resource for growing your home library on a budget.

8. Duolingo

This free language app is available for iPhone, Android, and the web and offers fun and engaging lessons for a variety of languages, including Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English. Duolingo is a great option for homeschooling parents who want their kids to learn a new language but need a more affordable option than tutoring or language classes.

9. Steve Spangler Science

With engaging videos of experiments and science fair projects, as well as detailed printable instructions, and in some cases free lesson plans, this site is a a great source of inspiration and instructions for cool science experiments to do at home or in the classroom.

10. Homeschool.com

Articles on getting started, curriculum reviews, printable lessons, and links to local support groups make this site a great resource, especially for families who are new to homeschooling.

11. XtraMath

A nonprofit organization dedicated to math achievement, XtraMath features free math videos, lessons, and activities as well as progress reports and resources for teachers and parents. The site is a valuable resource both for homework help and more in-depth lessons.

12. The Learning Network

This blog from the New York Times (NYT) features free standards-aligned daily lessons on civics, social studies, history, and other topics related to current news and events. Quizzes, activities, and a student version of the NYT crossword offer more opportunities for learning in the classroom or at home.

13.  HowtoSmile

With more than 3,000 science and math activities, How to Smile is an award-winning, free resource for teachers and parents. The high-quality, hands-on math and science activities are particularly intended for students in “out-of-school learning environments” such as after-school programs, zoos and museums, and homeschoolers.

14. The Activity Mom

The writers at The Activity Mom are all former classroom teachers who now focus their attention on teaching their own kids and sharing resources and educational activities with others. Their blog is a great resource for parents looking for fun and educational activities, especially for toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary age students.

15. PowerMyLearning

This free web-based platform offers thousands of free, standards-aligned games, videos, and interactive activities in all K–12 subjects. Build classes and assignments and monitor progress, or use the site to encourage learning after school.

16. DiscoveryEducation

Discovery Education offers free resources for parents, teachers, and students, including lesson plans, homework help, videos, and more.

17. BrainPOP

BrainPOP is a subscription site, but many families—both homeschooling and those with kids in traditional school—find the quality of the site to be worth the yearly fee. Engaging animated movies, quizzes, and educational games in every subject, as well as mobile access, are offered starting at $99 a year.

18. Coursera/edX

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) such as those offered by Coursera and edX can be a great way for high school students and advanced learners to challenge themselves with college-level coursework. Courses from world-class universities such as Harvard, Yale, and MIT are open to anyone, anywhere, f0r free.

19. Special Needs Homeschooling

This site offers articles, curriculum reviews, and other learning resources for homeschooling kids with autism, ADHD, learning disorders, and other special needs.

20. K12.com

K12 offers independent and teacher-led courses for homeschoolers, plus supplemental learning programs such as Embark for preschoolers, in addition to offering public and private online schooling options. For a closer look at K12, visit Learning Liftoff’s Learning Games section, which features sample lessons from K12’s curriculum and learning programs. And visit K12.com to learn about the differences between online learning and traditional homeschooling.

More Homeschool Resources can be found here https://www.thoughtco.com/free-homeschool-resources-4151635

Need to work out and need to get your kids off the couch for a bit? Here are some fun little exercises to do with them. Add in some music and make a game of it. Before you know it you and the kids will be having a lot of fun.

Want to have a celebrity read a book to your child for a change of pace and something new to do? These Celebs are here to help!

Read-Alouds for Elementary School Kids

These authors are offering read-alouds of their books and books by their favorite authors.

Roda Ahmed

The author will be doing read-alouds on Instagram Live of her book Mae Among the Stars

Diane Alber

Reading one of her books each day on Facebook!

Mac Barnett

The author will be reading a book a day on Instagram Live. It does not appear that he will be adding the videos to his website at this time.

Helene Boudreau

She is hosting DRAW ME MORE: a Read-Along/ Draw-Along activity on her website. She’s already shared an 11 chapter, chapter book (reading level grades 2-4) called MASON & THE MEGA-NAUTS.

Ben Clanton 

Author and illustrator of It Came in the MailRot, the Cutest in the World; and upcoming Rot, the Bravest in the World. He has scheduled two read-aloud sessions on Facebook. March 18 (2 PM EST) and March 20 (5 PM EST).

Julia Cook

Julia Cook, bestselling children’s author, will be doing Monday and Friday readings on Facebook Live at 9:00 AM CST!

Fabien Cousteau

He is the grandson of famed sea explorer Jacques Cousteau, and a third-generation ocean explorer and filmmaker. He is the author of the Fabien Cousteau Expeditions, a series of graphic adventure novels for kids, the latest of which is JOURNEY UNDER THE ARCTIC. He will be doing a live Shark Story Time reading on March 23rd at 3:00 PM and will have a live Q&A on March 24th at 10:00 AM.

James Dean

The author reads various Pete the Cat books daily at 12 PM EDT

Julie Falatko  

Enjoy a reading of Falatko’s book, Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book), by Stranger Things actor, David Harbour. This read-aloud comes with a teacher’s guide

Thelma Godin

Young kids will enjoy this great read-aloud of Where Are My Books? The author also provides a teacher’s guide, drawing demos and shares a crowd-sourced music video based on the book. 

David Shannon

Follow the story of A Bad Case of Stripes as read by Lord of the Rings actor, Sean Astin. Then, work through the helpful teacher’s guide

Tanya Lee Stone

Learn the story of The House That Jane Built as read by The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina actress, Kiernan Shipka. You may access activity guides for teachers or for parents

Jennifer Trafton

She is reading a chapter a day from her book Henry and the Chalk Dragon on Facebook live!

Virtual Author Activities for Middle School

Read-alouds and reading activities from favorite authors.

Peter Butzl

The author has put together reading activities around his Cogheart Adventures. He’s even created Q&A videos on YouTube

Sarah Darer Littman

Sarah is adding readings, mini-lessons, and prompts to her page! Follow along and get inspired to get reading and writing.

Tony DiTerlizzi 

Find Daily live drawing sessions on Facebook! Tony DiTerlizzi is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and illustrator who has been creating books for twenty years. He created The Spiderwick Chronicles with Holly Black, which has sold millions of copies around the world. His highly anticipated sequel to Kenny and the DragonKENNY & THE BOOK OF BEASTS, releases this fall.

Leah Henderson

Listen to a read-aloud of Henderson’s The Magic in Changing Your Stars and then work through the writing challenge (with hints!) listed on author Kate Messner’s site: Who is Ailey Benjamin Lane named after?

Jeff Kinney

This official PDF teaching guide is a great learning resource for your middle schooler to think about and discuss the beloved Diary of a Wimpy Kid series!

Jo Knowles

Watch Knowles read the first chapter of her middle grade novel, Where the Heart Is, while giving students a fun writing exercise. She’s also created guides for teachers and book groups on her website

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Author of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, Krosoczka will be hosting a daily drawing webcast on YouTube at 2 PM EDT. You can also find videos on his website. Be sure to also check out his National Book Award Finalist, Hey Kiddo

Jarrett Lerner

The author behind Enginerds has created some cool worksheets that will be updated every few days to keep kids entertained and engaged. These activities may be a good addition to your distance learning resources.

Grace Lin

The author and illustrator has taken to YouTube to provide a glimpse into Chinese culture and a guide for drawing Chinese dragons. 

Andrew Peterson

He is reading a chapter a day from Book 1 of the Wingfeather Saga, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.

Madelyn Rosenberg

You may have to change the season or specific circumstances, but this collection of writing prompts is a great way to help your student build literacy skills, while giving them a chance to express themselves.  

J.K. Rowling

What better series for middle schoolers than the famous Harry Potter books? You probably loved them, and now you have the chance to introduce your children into the Wizarding World. Use this handy discussion guide that covers the first four books to bring an academic approach to your own little wizards’ education.

Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including the Arc of a Scythe series. “With so many people working and learning from home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), I wanted to give you all something special. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be doing some readings from my short story collections: MINDQUAKES and MINDSTORMS.” Available on Youtube.

Melissa Stewart

The nonfiction science book author has created engaging video mini-lessons including a similes worksheet, researching skills, and more.

Mo Willems

Mo Willems invites you into his studio every day for his lunch doodle! Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together while he chats about his characters Pigeon, Piggie, and Elephant.

Virtual Author Activities for High School & Young Adults

Even more resources for tweens and teens.

Tracey Baptiste

The author of The Jumbies series has created videos of mini-lessons on comparative mythology and has added valuable distance learning resources, including downloadables for teachers and parents, to her website. 

Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

Due to public health concerns, these YA authors sadly had to cancel all in-person events for the release of BETWEEN BURNING WORLDS in March, and are connecting with readers through a virtual book tour.

Emily Dickenson

High school students may have discovered the timeless magic of Emily Dickinson. This teaching guide includes multimedia and discussion questions for The Essential Emily Dickinson collection. 

John Green

Fans of the author of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns? Here’s a link to some discussion questions surrounding his works. Green has also co-created Crash Course, a website that provides high-quality educational videos for high school and college-level classes. Students, parents, and teachers alike could be entertained for hours without ever leaving the site!

April Henry

Looking for writing prompts? This author has put together a list of prompts to get students thinking outside of the box.

Will Hobbs

To go along with his collection of youth novels, Hobbs has created resources and activities for teachers and librarians. 

Tayari Jones

Check out the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Learning Guide for Silver Sparrow by this NEA creative writing fellow.

Liz Garton Scanlon

Want to learn more about writing an etheree (a ten-line poem in which writers add an additional syllable with each line)? Scanlon has a video lesson all about them! 

Joyce Sidman

Ready to work on some poetry? It can be tough to know where to start, but Sidman has created a poem starters for teachers and students, and even has categories for Younger Writers or Older Writers.

Angie Thomas

Students or kids reading Thomas’ The Hate U Give? You’ll find some good distance learning resources for discussion questions and projects on this website.

Books from SPACE!

For more like these please check out  Story Time in Space.  

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