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Brian Boyd, Editor, Shore Publishing/Zip06.com
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Due to a proliferation of cancellations and postponements related to COVID-19, we recommend calling before attending any event.
Michelle Anya Anjirbag, formerly of Madison, who now lives in England, likes to try a new recipe when she’s bored. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Anya Anjirbag )
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Editor’s Note: Our writer Jenn McCulloch is good at many things, and that includes running a household full of kids in the midst of a crisis. One of the first things she did, being the organized person that she is, is to create a list of things to do. Here is that list, which we hope will help you through this crisis. For general information about what the state is doing to help, visit ct.gov/coronavirus. For general COVID-19 Questions: 2-1-1 info hotline is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Note, any bit.ly links are case-sensitive.
Entertaining Kids at Home
• Create an obstacle course
• Board games
• Arts & Crafts
• Design your own escape room
• Take a (socially distanced) hike
• Watch a movie
• Try a new recipe
• Do a puzzle
• Have a Lego competition to build the best….
• Ride bikes
An Unexpected Gift for Some?
There is no doubt this crisis will bring hard times for those who are thrown out of work, and worse for those who get sick. But, for those who are suffering only because they are currently bored, here’s a checklist by Evolve Events and Training: The Australian-based company created this list, noting, “What if, instead of making it even worse by lamenting the hardship and boredom of this weird time in history, we assumed it is a blessing in disguise? What if we could use this unexpected gift of time to rejuvenate our lives, discover new passions and do those things you never have time for?” www.facebook.com/EvolveEventsAustralia
And, here are some non-screen Activities by Pobble, a writing education tool for teachers, created a list of 25 non-screen activities with fun illustrations: www.facebook.com/PobbleEducation.
How about creating a comic? Author Jarrett Lerner shares blank comic book pages, “Finish this Comic” comics, and drawing and writing prompts, at jarrettlerner.com/activities.
And then there are Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems: “Mo Willems invites you into his studio every day for his Lunch Doodle. Learners worldwide can draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually once a day for the next few weeks. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together. New episodes will be posted each weekday at 1 p.m. ET and then remain online to be streamed afterwards.” www.kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willems
Learning at Home
Some kids will have plenty of work to do from their schools. Others may need additional challenges. Here are some resources for that.
KidsActivities.com provides a comprehensive list of online learning tools for kids. The post on its website is keeping an updated “list of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings.” bit.ly/OnlineKidsLearning
For your big thinkers at home, there’s Ivy League Online Courses: “The eight Ivy League schools are among the most prestigious colleges in the world. They include Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, and Columbia universities, and the University of Pennsylvania…These Ivy League schools are also highly selective and extremely hard to get into. But the good news is that all these universities now offer free online courses across multiple online platforms.” bit.ly/450FreeClasses.
And how about some virtual field trips? Someone named Mrs. Fahrney put together a great Google Doc linked to more than 30 virtual field trips, including links to zoos, aquariums, farms, Mars, the Boston Children’s Museum, and more. bit.ly/FahrneyFieldTrips
Who wants to sit around all day? Most kids would say no to that. Here are some ideas to entertain them when they get the fidgets.
Cosmic Kids Yoga: “Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specially for kids aged 3+, used in schools and homes all over the world.” www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga
GoNoodle: “GoNoodle® engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free at school, home, and everywhere kids are!” www.gonoodle.com
Check Off Chores
I know. I know. You haven’t even mentioned it yet, and you can hear the complaints already. But giving kids chores and establishing a routine will help ground them, and provide a sense of normalcy, and remind them that there is more to life than online video games and texting friends.
• Clean out the garage
• Wash the windows
• Rearrange your furniture
• Tackle a DIY project
• Clean your baseboards
• Go through closets and dressers
• Clean up the yard and get ready for spring
Again, this is a great way to get kids focused on someone else and something else, other than the current news.
Write a letter, make a card, or create a drawing to send to a senior housing facility.
Support a local business by ordering a product online, writing a review, or giving them a shoutout on social media.
Here are few more fun things to do with that phone.
Draw Something: “Select a word to draw for friends, then watch them try to guess and make hilarious drawings for you. No Drawing Skills Required! Stick figures and a sense of humor are welcome! Just wiggle you finger to create a doodle masterpiece!” www.zynga.com/games/draw-something
Psych: “Choose from a variety of fun categories in which each player makes up fake answers to real trivia questions. Can you choose the outrageous real answer among your friends’ fakes? Get points for guessing the right answer, and for each other player you PSYCH! into choosing yours.” www.warnerbros.com/games-and-apps
Words with Friends 2: “Now with more game modes and exciting word play, Words With Friends 2 is teaming with new ways to challenge your friends and your brain. Want to boost your word game? Test yourself against fun, fictional personalities in Solo Challenge or exercise your strategic thinking with Daily Word Play puzzles. Got a competitive streak? Go head-to-head in NEW Lightning Duels with high stakes and rewards.” www.zynga.com/games/words-with-friends-2
Arts & Enrichment
Most of us won’t be visiting China or France or Italy anytime soon. Unless we visit online. Here are some destinations to check out.
Great Wall of China Virtual Tour: As China’s most famous attraction, the Great Wall of China is an essential stop on any trip to China. Commonly considered a wonder of the world, the Great Wall boasts a history of more than 2,000 years and stretches more than 3,000 miles across several provinces of northern China, making it one of the most impressive ancient structures on the planet. www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china
Louvre Museum: “Visit the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries, contemplate the façades of the Louvre...Come along on a virtual tour and enjoy the view, thanks to the sponsorship of Shiseido.” Exhibits include Egyptian Antiquities, Remains of the Louvre’s Moat, and Galerie d’Apollon. www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne
Metropolitan Museum of Art 360º Project: “This award-winning series of six short videos invites viewers around the world to virtually visit The Met’s art and architecture in a fresh, immersive way. Created using spherical 360° technology, it allows viewers to explore some of the Museum’s iconic spaces as never before.” www.metmuseum.org
The Metropolitan Opera: All “Nightly Met Opera Streams” begin at 7:30 p.m. and remain available via the homepage for 20 hours. The performance will also be viewable on all Met Opera on Demand apps. “Each night for the duration of the closure, starting March 16, the Met will stream encore presentations from the award-winning Live in HD series of cinema transmissions on the company website for free…We recommend you access the stream through the Met Opera on Demand apps for Apple, Amazon, and Roku devices and Samsung Smart TV.” www.metopera.org
The Museums of the City of Paris: Virtual exhibitions and more than 100,000 pieces of art have been made available for free viewing online. http://parismuseescollections.paris.fr/en
National Gallery of Art: “During the temporary closure, visit the Gallery virtually through video tours of current exhibitions, in-depth looks at highlights of the collection, online learning opportunities, audio and video recordings of lectures by artists and curators, and more.” www.nga.gov
National Parks Virtual Tours: Google Earth gives you access to 31 of the United States’ National Parks. bit.ly/TourNationalParks
Uffizi Gallery Virtual Tour: www.florence.net/virtual-tour-uffizi-gallery.asp
Van Gogh Museum Virtual Tour: 360Stories.com takes you inside the Van Gogh Museum. You can also click “Up Next” to tour other facilities such as Rijkmuseum, Amsterdam Museum, Anne Frank House, and more.
Yes, because sometimes when things go wrong, something else also goes wrong. Here are some tips for how to deal with that.
Comcast/Xfinity: “Xfinity WiFi free for everyone…pausing our data plan for 60 days giving all customers unlimited data for no additional charge…No disconnects or late fees…Internet essentials free to new customers…News, information and educational content on X1.” corporate.comcast.com/covid-19
Disaster Loans: “Small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Connecticut that have been negatively impacted by the global COVID-19 outbreak are now eligible for disaster relief loans of up to $2 million from the SBA. www.sba.gov/disaster, 1-800-659-2955 or 860-500-2333
Filing for Unemployment: If you become unemployed due to coronavirus (COVID-19), you should file for unemployment benefits. Eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
For faster claims processing: Answer “Yes” to the question “Do you have a definite return to work date after today?” If you do not know your return to work date but expect to return to your job, enter 04/01/2020 for your return to work date when prompted.
Have your employer’s DOL registration number available. If you do not have the number, enter 99-999-95.
When you are asked if you are able and available for full-time work on either your initial claim or your weekly claims, please answer “No” only if you are out of work because YOU are sick.
If your employer is shutting down for a period of time because of COVID-19 and will be paying you your usual wages for this time, you are not eligible for unemployment.
Books and Viewing
Your local library might have some online resources, so be sure to check that. And your local bookstore also might be offering curbside services so you can call ahead and order.
R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, as of March 19, was planning to stay open, “virtually.”
Owner Roxanne Coady says the store plans to stay open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can place orders online, by phone, or by text. The shop can ship it to you, or you can come to one of the entrances to pick it up, or staff can bring them curbside to your car.
“With a sense of the surreal and with sadness, for the first time in 30 years, we will not be open for browsing until further notice,” wrote Coady in a letter to her customers. “Stay healthy and stay in touch. Hopefully soon I can say, see you in the store.”
Amen to that.
And, here are a few resources for movies.
Pluto TV: “Watch 250+ channels and 1000s of movies. Free.” www.pluto.tv/welcome
Kanopy: On-demand video streaming of movies and documentaries for adults and children. Sign up with a library card. www.kanopy.com
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