Social distancing is important for you and your community’s health. It can also be boring.
Fortunately, several zoos, museums, libraries, artists, writers, and more are trying to keep you educated and entertained while keeping you safe.
Here are some boredom busters for you and your family
Parks & Zoos
1. Have you been checking out the Cleveland Metroparks’ virtual classrooms? Visit the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo page at 11 a.m. each weekday for a behind-the-scenes look with the biologists who care for your favorite animals. Then, at 1 p.m., visit the Cleveland Metroparks page as their naturalists help you explore the Emerald Necklace.
2. Meanwhile, Akron Zoo is offering Lunch & Learns at noon on its Facebook page each day. You can ask keepers questions and learn about the animals living there.
3. Missing the trails at The Holden Arboretum? Their horticulturalists and foresters are still sharing the beauty of nature via Facebook Live. You can also visit its online learning page for ideas on backyard scavenger hunts, tree identification, and more.
5. San Diego Zoo has polar bear, elephant, and koala cams that you can watch. They also have archived footage from their panda cam.
7. We might not be able to visit the Lake Metroparks Farmpark right now. But you can still see photos of all the adorable piglets and calfs on its Facebook page!
8. You might be stuck inside, but you can still travel our National Parks with Google Earth Virtual Tours. Visit Arches, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Denali, our own Cuyahoga Valley National Park and more!
Bonus boredom buster: You can also learn about our National Parks from Ford Cochran, a geologist and the Director of Trip Talent for National Geographic. He filmed a series of lectures for The Great Courses that you can watch for free with your library card.
1. The Great Lakes Science Center is hosting fascinating and fun science experiments at 10:30 every weekday as part of its Curiosity Corner Live series.
2. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is hosting Museum Mondays, Wildlife Wednesdays, and Scientist Saturdays at noon on its website and social media channels. Monday classes are made with kids in mind, while Wednesdays classes focus on the animals at the museum. Meanwhile, Scientist Saturdays will feature recorded scientific lectures and collection spotlights. By the way, you can also watch a behind-the-scenes tour of CMNH’s Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit with the museum’s curator of vertebrate paleontology.
3. Additionally, COSI is offering a daily science activity that you can do with your family via COSI Connects.
5. Want to become a Citizen Scientist? Help explore light pollution by stargazing, document seasonal change in your community, and even accelerate Alzheimer’s research by playing a game. Follow the link for more ideas on how you can investigate the world around you!
1.You can doodle along with Mo Willems at noon every weekday on the Kennedy Center’s YouTube channel. James Dean, creator of Pete the Cat, is reading Pete story books everyday on his Instagram. Dav Pilkey, the creator of Dog Man and Captain Underpants, is sharing how-to-draw demonstrations, engaging read-a-louds, and more from his home at 8 am every Friday.
2. Bestselling author Jason Reynolds is also offering kids writing prompts twice a week as part of his Write. Right. Rite. series.
3. The Beck Center for the Arts is offering the #BeckAtHome series on its Facebook page. Instructors share helpful videos and resources on early childhood music, ballet, yoga, visual arts, and more.
4. The Cleveland Museum of Art may be temporarily closed but you can still enjoy more than 35,000 pieces of artwork in its online collection. These are extraordinary times, but the museum still strives to be “for the benefit of all people forever.” Start your tour of this priceless collection.
5. The Google Arts & Culture Archive allows you to view the collections of more than 2,000 art museums worldwide.
6. If you’re missing Playhouse Square, The National Theatre in London is screening a free play every Thursday this month on its YouTube channel! The first show is “One Man, Two Guvnors” starring James Corden.
Online Story Times
2. The Children’s Museum of Cleveland is posting story times, crafts, and even yoga workouts each day on their Facebook page, as is the Akron Children’s Museum. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is posting story times, crafts, and science experiments too!
3. Mr. Jesse and Ms. Christina from Burton Public Library are also sharing fun, musical story times on the library’s YouTube channel.
4. Meanwhile, Ms. Sarah from Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library is broadcasting story times and read-alongs live from her home.
5. Also, the authors and illustrators of Simon & Schuster are hosting read-alouds at 2 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday on the SimonKIDS Facebook page. They’re also hosting story time videos, drawing tutorials and more on its YouTube channel at 10 am every weekday
There are dozens of other authors hosting story times, concerts and more online. Here’s the best list we’ve found online so far. Share them with your family!
6. Finally, the TumbleBooks’ catalogue (which provides ebooks for kids and teens) is now available to you! There’s read-along picture books, math help, foreign-language learning, graphic novels, and more.
1. During the Great Plague of London, Isaac Newton studied optics and worked on mathematical problems that would lead to his discovery of calculus. Similarly, Shakespeare wrote MacBeth during an epidemic.
Not to make light of these difficult times, but for some this is an opportunity to learn and create. You have free access to thousands of online educational courses with Lynda and your library card. Wherever you work, whatever your hobby is — there’s a Lynda course that can make you better at it.
2. You could be learning from some of the best college professors in the world on topics as far ranging as art, astrophysics, and American history. You can stream UNLIMITED Great Courses lectures from Kanopy or RBDigital with your library card.
3. Ancestry.com has made its database free to use from home (as long as you log in through the library.) There’s never been a better time to research your family’s history.
4. Khan Academy offers easy-to-follow and free online courses on everything from match to coding to test prep for kids, teachers, and adults.
5. Frankly, it would be impossible to list every available online learning database and resource. But the Northeast Ohio Regional Library System has done an excellent job. Peruse their list and start learning!
Finally, our online services are still available while our buildings are closed. This includes ebooks, audiobooks, streaming music, videos, and more — which are available for free with your Mentor Public Library card.
- Hoopla, Kanopy or RBDigital for movies, TV shows, or documentaries that you can stream
- Hoopla (again) or Freegal for music, as well as Qello for concerts that you can stream
- OverDrive or Hoopla (again again) for ebooks, audiobooks, and comics
- Flipster for online editions of your favorite magazine
- Lynda and Niche Academy for online learning
Also, anyone with a CLEVNET card (that includes you!) has free access to Tumblebooks’ catalogue through Aug. 31. There’s read-along picture books, math help, foreign-language learning, and more! Check out:
- K-6 Children’s eBook Database
- K-6 Math eBook Database
- 7-12 eBook Database
- All Ages Audiobook Database
Tumblebooks even has a Romance Book Cloud for adults who are looking for something steamy to read while quarantined.
Visit here for more information on how to use our online resources. We also have hundreds of videos that you can watch on our YouTube channel, including author interviews and dozens of library talks that you can watch in their entirety.