What to Do in Isolation/Quarantine (Updated 4/29/20)


We’ve got our milk, bread, toilet paper, and kids home. It’s only been a few days, and we are in it for the long haul: two weeks, four weeks, six. We just don’t know right now. What can we do from the sanctity of our homes without risking our health or the health of others? Here are a few suggestions.

Imagineering in a Box – Free online course where you will “go behind the scenes with Disney Imagineers and complete project-based exercises to design a theme park of your very own.” (In collaboration with Khan Academy.)
Good Night with Dolly Dolly Parton will read weekly bedtime stories beginning on April 2 at 7pm ET. The first book will be The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper. The rest of the ten weeks of books will be: There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake by Loren Long, Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, I Am a Rainbow by Dolly Parton, Pass It On by Sophy Henn, Stand Tall Molly Lou Mellon by Patty Lovell, Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen, Max & The Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper, Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, and Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton

Children’s Book Authors Read-Aloud

National Aquarium in Baltimore – Livestreams of The Blacktip Reef, Jellies Invasion, Pacific Coral Reef

New York Public Library – (for NYC residents with a library card) (CONTACT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY ABOUT THEIR E-BOOK PROGRAMS)

NASA makes their entire media library publicly accessible and COPYRIGHT FREE

33 National Park Tours You Can Take Virtually

15 Broadway Plays and Musicals You Can Watch on Stage from Home (best filmed and where to find them)

FREE Coloring Books from 113 Museums

Virtual Field Trips – including San Diego Zoo, Yellowstone National Park, Mars!!!, Animal Cameras, Virtual Farm Tour, US Space and Rocket Museum in Hunsville AL, Discovery Education, The Louvre, The Great Wall of China, Boston’s Children’s Museum

12 Museums Offering Virtual Tours – including British Museum (London), Guggenheim Museum (NY), National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), Musee d’Orsay (Paris), National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul), Pergamon Museum (Berlin), Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam), The J. Paul Getty Museum (L.A.), Uffizi Gallery (Florence), MASP (Sao Paulo), National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico City)

14 Beautiful, Dramatic Waterfalls in North Wales (this is primarily a travel article, but they’re still pretty to look at! And Wales!

Metropolitan Opera offering Nightly Met Opera Streams – see the link for details and limits.

Five Gardens You Can Virtually Visit – Waddesdon Manor (Waddesdon, England), Claude Monet’s Garden (Giverny, France), Chicago Botanic Garden (Chicago, IL), Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden (Papaikou, Hawai’i), Kew Gardens (Richmond, England).

Hogwarts Digital Escape Room

Ivy League Courses Online for FREE

How to Be Happier in Your Daily Life (popular Yale University course – ONLINE FREE (Source: Business Insider)

Tour New York State Parks (virtual)

Activities at The Spy Museum

Twitter for Voice Actors Read. There are many voice actors reading books aloud to you and your children.

Tour The Winchester Mystery House (virtual tour)

Tour the Paris Catacombs (virtual tour)

I Love NY Landmark Coloring Pages

The Parents’ Guide to Google Classroom

What to Do with your Kids When Schools are Canceled

Harry the Dirty Dog read by Betty White

The Very Hungry Caterpillar read by author, Eric Carle

Outdoor Scavenger Hunts from Buttonwood Park Library

Easy Toilet Paper Roll Crafts (when you use up your stash of toilet paper!)

Outdoor and Indoor Scavenger Hunts from Leicester Library

Home Safari at the Cincinnati Zoo

50 Ways to Keep Kids Engaged at Home During the Coronavirus Shutdown

Miniature Bookshop DIY – cost $36.99

NASA Space Station STEM Activities

Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY (Safe at Home Program)

Virtual Tour of Auschwitz

June: School’s Out: Reflection


School’s Out, but the Learning Continues

My daughter’s already got a list going for the summer activities she wants to complete. Most of it is based on past years and I’m sure some will coordinate with her Snapchat and soon to be Instagram, but that’s okay. She has a soon to be instagram, but that’s okay. She has a good eye. For now, she wants to be a fashion designer, but photography is good in almost any field; I use it for my writing.

Starting next week, school’s ot, but the learning goes on. Everything is a teachable moment, from organizing the clutter coming home from school lockers and desks to cooking and gardening.

Yesterday, I gave my two younger kids a homework assignment. Before June 21st, give me a list of five things you want to do this summer. Three of them must be free. Then add a sixth item with a suggestion of where you might want to take vacation this summer. No airplanes, car trip only, and this is not a guarantee of having a vacation.

Once I get their list, I’ll have them research their vacation item and create a budget.

In addition to that, we also will continue to have our Movie Day each week, two or three taste testings, art and journaling, bicycle rides, tending the yard, and a local history lesson.

What are some of the ways you’re still learning this summer?

The Start of Summer


Memorial Day* is the unofficial first day of the summer season. For some of us, school has already finished; for the rest it is a long weekend respite before the big sprint to the finish line of end of school and the Fourth of July. It is red, white, and blue and barbeque, no homework, shorts, and sunscreen. Unless you’re in retail, it is one of the only holidays that everyone is off from work.

We pretend to clean the house, catching up on family TV time (Heroes is our current family series) instead. Hot dogs for dinner, whether or not we grill them doesn’t matter as long as they come with beans and possibly corn on the cob.

Currently, I’m spending the next couple of hours in a comic/gaming store while my son plays hero clix and I catch up on my writing and next month’s editorial calendar for my site.

I’m sitting at a table, kindle and keyboard at my fingers, Diet Coke at my side, enjoying the air conditioning, and trying to figure out how to ask for the wifi password, but in the meantime I’m contemplating summer.

Summer is my least favorite season. I dread it every year. Not that I’m such a big fan of winter either, but at least in winter you can warm up. Whether you’re using a cozy blanket, extra sweater, or cuddling with a favorite friend or family member, or even a dog, you can eventually warm up.

No so with summer. There are only so many clothes you can remove to get comfortable, and let’s be honest, it can get so hot that you could be stark naked and still sweating bullets. Putting on deodorant to sleep really expresses the oppressive heat that just won’t be relieved. And I live in the Northeast, not known for the heat except for the occasional heat wave. I have friends in Arizona, and their weather truly astonishes me. It seems to me that it can’t be that hot on the sun, but they survive.

The only thing I want to do in summer is lay back, put my feet up, adjust the air conditioning, and make sure that my Kindle and Netflix remote control are at my side.

I do realize that my anti-summer attitude is caused partially by my adverse reaction to the sun because of one of my medications. I barely need to be in the sun for the itching to start. I don’t get a rash, but I’m constantly scratching, and it won’t stop until I’m either asleep and wake up the next morning or take a shower. It’s awful, but it is in fact, not as bad as most people’s allergic reactions or even sunburns.

I hate it, though because it makes me look lazy. Not that I don’t have lazy tendencies or a zillion procrastinator bones in my body, but I hate saying that I don’t want to go outside. I love my backyard; from the kitchen window at least. We have a beautiful lilac tree that I love the look and the smell of, but I can almost never enjoy it. By the time I steel myself to head out of doors, the yard has no more shade left.

Still, I have three kids who love the outdoors and need to get outside every day. They have their Nerf guns and bow, soccer balls, bicycles, and a tiny bit of newfound independence.

Summer can be long, but like me, those who are not fans of summer, we can still have a good time during those months with our kids off from school, and making plans for fall, my favorite season of the year.

If I can get through summer, I can relish the fall.

What is your favorite season?
What is your favorite thing to do in that season?
What is your favorite thing to do in summer?

*A post about the commemoration of Memorial Day will follow this afternoon.