During this unique time, we’ve compiled a list of engaging activities for all ages. They are organized by subject and feature mainly free options.
GHAL Online Resources
For GHAL Online Resources you will need an active library card in good standing.
- BookFlix –Watch videos, read books, and play games.
- CyberSmarts – Learn how to be a safe, responsible, and smart citizen online and in real life.
- Kids InfoBits – Knowledge is power, and the act of learning is empowering. Kid InfoBits is friendly database where it’s safe to let them to click around.
- True Flix – Learn about people, places, nature, history, and science with videos and eBooks.
Teens and older
Power Teens POWER Teens provides online resources including full-text research e-resources, collections of photographs and documents, the statewide catalog of materials held in libraries throughout Pennsylvania, and Chat with a Librarian.
GALE Courses offers approximately 370 highly interactive, instructor led courses that you can take entirely online. As a library card holder in good standing, you are entitled to these courses at no cost. Courses run for six weeks and new sessions begin every month.
Pronunciator is a fun and free way to learn any of 80 languages with self-directed lessons, live teachers, movies, music, and more. All you need is your library card and access to the internet!
GHAL’s YouTube Channel Enjoy our tutorials, sing-a-longs, book suggestions, and live chickens!
The KidLit TV team has created a virtual library of FREE read aloud, drawing & writing tutorials, podcasts, art activities + reading resources for kids!
Khan Academy is a great way for your child to get help with what they’re learning in school or to learn something completely new.
Scholastic at Home. PreK and Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2, Grades 3-5, and Grades 6+. Each section is already equipped with one week of content for students with 15 additional days on the way.
The Kennedy Center DOODLES. Featuring American cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Mo Willems, author of Piggy and Elephant and Pigeon books. Yo-Yo and Mo offer a series of playful experiments that show how art and music inspire each other. Watch, listen or even join in from home with paper and doodling implements! Prerecorded episodes are available.
60 Ways to Keep Kids Engaged at Home During the Coronavirus Shutdown. List of 60 ideas with links when other ideas have lost their luster.
Magic Tree House printables & activities. If your child is a fan of Mary Pope Osborne’s 33-book (and counting!) Magic Tree House series, then they’ll love these printables and activities that go right along with some of the most beloved stories. Between drawing activities, word searches, matching games, and more — there’s something for every reader.
Discovery Channel Virtual Field Trips – Join in live for the new Virtual Field Trips or watch them on demand later. Each no-cost Virtual Field Trip comes with a companion guide packed with standards-aligned, hands-on learning activities!
Google Arts & Culture’s collection – All ages. Travel the world from your own home to see literally hundreds of places where you can gain knowledge about art, history, and science.
The Hidden Worlds of National Parks Follow rangers on a journey to places most people never go in stunning 360° video. Best viewed with headphones.
Heinz History Center has an array of virtual history offerings. They are one of just two cultural organizations in Western Pa. to partner with Google Arts & Culture to cover local favorites like Fred Rogers. They also feature at-home fun on women’s history, retro toys, and archaeology, among many other topics.
The Hidden History of Greensburg is a virtual escape room created by the head of our Children’s Department, Miss Jessica! These collected facts are strange, weird, sometimes morbid, but always fascinating.
VIRTUAL EXHIBIT TOURS
Activities and Resources
- Choose a favorite painting or sculpture and create a copycat piece of art.
- Research an artist.
- Choose a piece of art to focus on. Describe it, tell why you chose it and how it makes you feel.
- Choose 2 works of art to compare.
Zoo webcams have allowed visitors to drop in on the habitats of some of the zoo’s favorite animal exhibits.
- San Diego Zoo
- Zoo Atlanta’s Panda Cam
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo
- Reid Park Zoo Lion Cam in Tuscon, AZ
- Ouwehand Park Polar Bear Cubs Rhenen, Netherland
- Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Activities and Resources
- Take a Virtual Field Trip Lesson Plan instructions and on how to turn a virtual field trip into a fuller experience.
- Zoo Field Trip Worksheet Freebie
- Do more research on your favorite animal and make a guide.
- Research the habitat of your favorite animal. Use at home materials to create a miniature habitat.
Pittsburgh’s Hays Eagles. Click through for a live feed of Hays Eagles and their babies.
Playtime Playlist Collection of live-streaming shows and music classes organized into a spreadsheet. Preschool and Kindergarten aged. Cost: free, suggested donation, or subscription
Emily Arrow. Met Emily and her ukulele named Bow! Many of her songs and videos are inspired by beloved picture books because she love books! Singalong at home, in the car, in the library, or classroom.
Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra – WSO to Go Series. Our local county symphony wants to keep the music playing wherever they can.
History Comics and Comics in Education. Teens – adults. All things comics and history with a sprinkle of science. The link leads to a page with several links and brief descriptions.
Splotch Monster Island Art Classes. Kids. Must have Facebook account to access. Free online Splotch Monster-making workshop, and learn how to create fun, expressive, imaginary creatures from paint splotches! some free downloadable/printable paint splotches that you can use, if you don’t have paints. Some things you’ll need include:
– a set of watercolors (nothing fancy)
– pens, pencils, markers, and/or crayons (anything that can draw)
– watercolor paper or a thicker white paper (thin paper, like copy paper can work as well).
– a cup of water (for painting)
Jarret Lerner. All ages. Comic book making and activity sheets.
Jarrett Krosoczka is an author/illustrator offering drawing lessons starting 3/16.
How to Toon. Free cartooning classes for all ages Live! Internationally syndicated cartoonist Joe Wos of MazeToons fame is taking the marker into his own hands to help! Beginning on Weds March 18th Joe will be offering free live cartooning classes online for all ages. The live classes will take place on YouTube channel HowToToon at 1pm (CST), 3 days a week (Tuesdays-Thursdays).
Storyline Online. FREE children’s literacy resource featuring the world’s best storytellers reading books aloud. Each video includes an activity guide with lessons for K-5 students to do at home.
The Global Space Education Project sent children’s books to the International Space Station to be read by astronauts! Prerecorded videos available.
Brad Meltzer, author of the “I Am” books for kids, about people in history, will be reading his books.
Science with Dr. Groff. Associate Professor of Physics, Shepherd University, American Conservation Film Festival, Environmental Studies, Biophysics, and Electronics and father does lessons for K-12 students.
Skype a scientist. Mostly scheduled from 12-2 eastern time. BATS! POOP! FARTS!!! SNAKES! WHALES! SPACE!!!
Hour of Code. Try a one-hour tutorial designed for all ages in over 45 languages. Join millions of students and teachers in over 180 countries starting with an Hour of Code.
MYSTERY science. K-5th grade. MYSTERY science has pulled their most popular science lessons and are offering them for anyone to use for free. No account or login is needed.
Cosmic Kids. Yoga and mindfulness for kids. Among the many themes for the yoga are Minecraft and Frozen themes.
These 10 YouTube Channels Will Help Your Kids Burn Their Boundless Energy. Click and scroll through for some kids’ YouTube channels and videos that all encourage exercise and fun (and sometimes learning!) so your kids can burn off their endless amounts energy.
Options from yoga studios in the area.
Educational YouTube channels:
- Crash Course
- Kids Learning Tube
- Free School
- Homeschool Pop
- Khan Academy
- Smithsonian Channel
- The Brain Scoop
- Word World PBS
- Sci Show Kids
- National Geographic Kids
- Peekaboo Kidz
- Storyline Online
- Story Time with Ms Becky and Bear
Podcasts for Kids:
- Brains On
- Six Minutes
- But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
- Story Pirates
- Circle Round
- Smash Boom Best
- Wow in the World
- Eleanor Amplified
- The Two Princes
- Ear Snacks
Staying calm through these unusual times:
PBS: How You and Your Kids Can De-Stress During Coronavirus. Preschool and older. Basic tips and links to videos featuring characters from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street, and Esme and Roy.
Take a deep breathe with the CALM app. All ages. Scroll down for free meditations from the popular Calm app. Mediation has been proven to be a useful tool during stressful times. More on Meditation here.
Just for fun!:
Hogwarts Digital Escape Room. This escape experience was created by Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA. www.ptlibrary.org Sydney Krawiec can be contacted via email at email@example.com
3 Minutes of Cats and Dominoes Adorable cats watching the glory of dominoes. How many more cats will you end up watching?