Backyard camping girlls

So, school’s out, and parents are home with the kiddos. Many of them will have some form of school work to do, but since even playdates are a “not suggested” activity, you may find yourself with antsy kids and not able to stand one more rendition of “Into the Unknown,” because as we all know, “Frozen 2” is about to be on permanent repeat in most houses. Thanks, Disney.

Although human interaction is being curtailed, that doesn’t require staying in the house. Hikes, dog walks, even strolls around the block are all fine as long as one follows the social distancing parameters — six feet distance from non-family. Even playing in the backyard can offer a needed distraction and a dose of Vitamin D. Sonoma County Parks have closed their regular programs, but the trails themselves are still open.

Similarly, depending on weather, backyard camping is always a winning activity, and making the kids learn to pitch their own tent can take up plenty of time.

And, don’t forget the unending allure of board games, especially for the little ones. Endless games of Candyland can be exhausting, but they do keep little ones engaged. Older kids can enjoy a carefully curated version of games like Cards Against Humanity.

While most normal activities will be closed, there are still a host of experiences to be had here and abroad from the safety of your own home or yard.

Backyard camping family

County libraries:

Though the library branches are closed, the county library system still has a substantial collection of eBooks, eAudiobooks and digital newspapers and magazines. You’ll never run out of reading material for all ages.

Sonoma County Children’s Museum

The museum is closed through the end of the month but they have a series of fun activities on their webpage, including cabbage soup, making Borax crystals, worm bin and egg in a bottle. There are also resources for talking to kids about the disease and the repercussions, as well as education companies offering free subscriptions for educational activities during the closings. Go to cmosc.org/ resources/ to see what they have to offer.

Reading fun

Listen to famous actors, comedians and musicians read your kiddos stories at storylineonline.net.

The Exploratorium

The Exploratorium is offering a learning toolbox for families to help make sense of the science of the virus and also provide fun, hands-on learning activities. Go to exploratorium.edu/ learn

Virtual museum tours

A wide range of museums are featuring virtual tours for the homebound, allowing those on quarantine to view art and other treasures from around the world from the safety of their own living room. Among the museums you can check out include the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Getty in Los Angeles and the Uffizi in Florence, Italy.

Virtual arts performances

The Metropolitan Opera will be offering nightly livestreams of performances, and multiple other artists from YoYo Ma to Lizzo are planning similar streamed events. Google is your friend here, as there are so many it’s impossible to list them all.

The Berlin Philharmonic is offering free access to its digital concert hall until March 31. The London Philharmonic will also have chamber music concerts online.

You can also indulge in some show tunes (it will help get “Into The Unknown” out of your head), as several different productions are available via a variety of streaming services. There’s a good list and links at playbill.com.

Pro tip: There are concert performances from artists as well known as Diplo performances on the Minecraft app, featuring humorous names such at Coalchella, FireFest and Mine Gala. 

Virtual zoo and aquarium visits

The Monterey Bay Aquarium and San Diego Zoo are both showcasing their live cams on their websites and social media (the otters are adorable, but adults can find the jellyfish particularly relaxing). The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is hosting a “Home Safari” every day at noon on it’s Facebook page, each focusing on a particular species. (The one featuring internet sensation Fiona the Hippo will likely be packed with viewers).

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