At home with the kids for longer than expected? Here’s how to keep them entertained

We know that many of you parents are at home with your children for longer than you anticipated — spring breaks were extended, vacations were postponed, and many schools are now teaching children remotely — and we want to make sure that both you and your kids, no matter how big or small, are staying entertained and intellectually stimulated while you’re at home. Here’s a roundup of just some of the educational and fun online activities to do with your kids!

Storytime with your favorite authors

Reading Rock Stars author and friend of TBF Mac Barnett is reading children books daily on Instagram Live. Each story stays up for 24 hours, so you can rewatch them later if you don’t catch them live! Check out the stories on his Instagram @macbarnett.

Famed author Neil Gaiman’s website Mouse Circus, which is aimed at younger readers, has plenty of fun for kids of all ages, including Neil reading The Graveyard Book and Neil and friends reading Coraline. You can watch the videos here! 

Artist and author Oliver Jeffers is reading his books on Instagram Live every day this week at 1 p.m. CST (and they stay up for 24 hours for those who want to watch later).

Reading Rock Stars author Greg Pizzoli will be reading his book Good Night Owl on Instagram Live on Wednesday, March 18 at 10 a.m. CST. Watch on Greg’s Instagram here — the video will stay up for 24 hours!

Who doesn’t love A Very Hungry Caterpillar? Here’s a video of Eric Carle reading the classic children’s book.

James Dean, creator of the Pete the Cat books, is doing daily storytime videos on the Pete the Cat Instagram account. Get details about the storytimes and watch them here.

Children’s author Dan Gutman is reading from his books every day at 2 p.m. on Facebook Live.

Author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds is hosting daily readings on his Facebook page and wants to do so throughout the next few weeks. Visit his Facebook page to see the videos he’s already recorded and keep an eye out for upcoming storytimes.

Create something

Reading Rock Stars author and illustrator Arree Chung is offering a free “creativity camp” for kids that offers writing, drawing and storytelling lessons. You can register for the camp here, and download Arree’s activity guides for kids here.

Author and artist Keri Smith created Exploration of the Day, which features daily creative prompts for all ages, from creating art out of ink blots to drawing the things around you.

The Austin Public Library has a database of crafting, hobbies, home improvement, and other DIY activities accessible with your library card here.

Every day at noon CST, Mo Willems is hosting “Lunch Doodles” on the Kennedy Center website for kids of all ages to draw along with him. Tune into the episodes and download the activity pages here. 

Keep learning

The Thinkery, Austin’s children’s museum, is offering a range of educational programming for kids on their Instagram stories, from storytime to STEAM activities.

Scholastic offers a variety of daily educational projects to keep kids engaged and learning. You can sort the day-by-day activities by grade level, and they have assignments available in Spanish. Visit Scholastic’s learn-at-home portal here. 

Austin meteorologist Albert Ramon of KVUE, a local TV station, is hosting “Albert’s Weather Classroom” starting on Monday, March 23. The classes will take place every day at noon and will cover a variety of weather-related science topics. See the full curriculum here and watch live on Albert’s Facebook page here.

Some of the world’s most famous museums, like the Guggenheim in New York and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, offer virtual tours. See a list of museums with virtual tours here.

Are there any educational opportunities or storytimes we missed? Email katey@texasbookfestival.org to let us know!