We know parents might be looking for things to keep kids busy, especially if they are also trying to work from home.
Local museums, theaters and youth programs have now pivoted to bring their in-person content to kids at home. Here are some of the programs we found:
The Contemporary Austin’s Contemporary From Home offers lesson plans for parents, teachers and kids to use through its website. Each lesson looks at a different artist’s work housed at the Contemporary Austin. Then kids observe and discuss what went into making that art. Finally they create their own art based on what they learned. These lessons tend to be for older kids.
For younger kids, the site also has three different projects under its “Create” section, though really there are no age limits on any of the digital materials.
You can find it all at thecontemporaryaustin.org/fromhome.
The Contemporary Austin’s art school also is offering digital classes online for different age groups, including adults. Once you register, the school will make arrangements to have you pick up supplies or have them delivered. Find the class list at thecontemporaryaustin.org/artschool.
The Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum has a virtual tour of the museum as well as virtual story times at 12:30 p.m. Thursday and Family yoga at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. You also can sign up for its Shaping Space program, which provides a monthly art activity and video. umlaufsculpture.org
Pollyanna Theatre Company creates theater for families, including those with preschoolers and grade-schoolers, as well as provides school shows.
They’ve now posted videos and lesson plans on the pollyannatheatrecompany.org website under the “distance learning” tab. Parents and teachers can download lesson plans and watch videos with the kids.
The preschool tab shows a video of the play “Everything is Round” and includes an activity that has kids collecting photos of different objects of different shapes.
The grade school tab has kids watching a video of the play “Through the Slumber-Glass” and analyzing all the things that go into making a play, as well as analyzing their own sleep routine.
Paramount Theatre’s Story Wranglers have been holding Facebook Live events every Monday morning at 11:30 a.m. During the event, kids learn about creative writing and help the Story Wranglers create a story.
On Wednesday, the Wranglers post a short video about Monday’s activity. On Friday, they post a video of the play created on Monday with local musicians providing the music. You can find it all at facebook.com/ParamountEDUATX.
The Science Mill in Johnson City has been releasing a video a week to help kids explore its exhibits and learn more about them during the stay at home order.
The Explorer Zone so far has released videos on its aquaponics exhibit. It also includes a 360-degree view of that exhibit, an aquaponics bingo and plans for building your own aquaponics exhibit at home.
The Incredible Ball Machine Explorer Zone takes you on a simple machine scavenger hunt in your house, as well as inspires you to make a Rube Goldberg machine.
This week it released videos and activities about its wondergraph. On Tuesday, it will cover camouflaging animals.
You can find the videos at sciencemill.org/explorer-zone.
The Thinkery children’s museum launched its Thinkery At Home, which includes activities such as creating collages, making musical instruments out of common objects, and dreaming up silly creatures. Find it at thinkeryaustin.org/thinkery-at-home.
In addition to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) videos and story time videos, the Thinkery hosts a Facebook Live story time at 10 a.m. weekdays and an Instagram Design Challenge Tuesdays and Thursdays. At 9 a.m., you get the challenge, at noon you get to check in on what you’re doing, and at 4:30 p.m., it’s show and tell time.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum has resources and activities under two tabs on its website: Discover and Explore. The museum has a scavenger hunt that was meant to be done in person, but you can do it online through the artifacts gallery posted by the museum. thestoryoftexas.org
The Austin Parks Foundation is bringing its Little Hummingbird Society program to the virtual world. You can find activity booklets, games and coloring sheets that encourage exploring nature at austinparks.org/little-hummingbird-society/.
These are all activities that you can do in your yard or around your neighborhood without having to sacrifice social distancing.
The Wildflower Center’s website offers a how-to for gardening, which could be an awesome project for the kids. See it at wildflower.org.
Girls Empowerment Network, which hosts after-school programs, summer camps, and its We Are Girls program each November in Austin, is hosting Zoom meetings at 4 p.m. Monday for girls in grades third through 12th. You can find the link on its Instagram page.
It’s also offering a YouTube playlist called Girl Sparks that will host videos such as “Take Your Emotional Temperature” and “The Girls Empowerment Network Greeting.”
And it has a Stress Management Kit with different breathing exercises, meditations and activities such as making a stress ball and sliding bead bracelets. You can find all of it at girlsempowermentnetwork.org.
Girlstart has made STEM education resources for families available at girlstart.org/stem-at-home. These include its DeSTEMber activities that run every December.
As well, every day at 11 a.m. on its Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages, it offers new activities for girls (and boys) to do.
VentureLab has brought its young entrepreneurship activities to the digital space. Look under the “resources” tab on its website and then “remote learning” to find activities such as the Egg Drop Challenge and the Observation Challenge (venturelab.org/remote-learning).
You may run out of books and the Austin Public Library is closed — or is it? Yes, the buildings are closed, but your library card gets you ebooks and audiobooks, online learning classes and homework help that includes all kinds of resources for different school subjects (library.austintexas.gov).