School is out, but really, aside from not dragging your fifth grader into another Zoom math class, have things really changed? We’re all still home, and some of us — the adults — still have to work, or look for work. Joy.
Luckily, some of our favorite livestreams aren’t taking summer vacation either. They’re teaching U.S. history about Flag Day and Juneteenth, and giving kids something to do outside that’s not pelting each other with water balloons. (Thank you, Academy of Natural Sciences!) They’re also keeping them moving and singing and generally jamming, Philly style, with Jams for Junior Jawns, and — for those teens whose fingers are just itching to get themselves into art school one day — offering virtual access to a bilingual manga class.
Recorded Sunday, and now on the Betsy Ross House Facebook (school age and up)
At the Betsy Ross House, Flag Day is Christmas day. The wee Old City birthplace of the star-spangled banner pulled out all the stops Sunday — online, this year — with a trio of brief videos where an actor playing Ross tells the story of the flag’s creation and explains the evolution of its symbols. An actor playing Bishop Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Revolutionary War soldier, explains what the flag may have meant to him, a formerly enslaved African American man, in the late 18th century.
3-3:30 p.m. Tuesdays, register online at ansp.org/programs-and-events (ages 7-11)
The Academy of Natural Sciences debuts its virtual classroom — class-Zoom? — this week, encouraging kids to get off their iPads and go outside — right after class-Zoom, that is. For session number one, entomologist Tanya Dapkey and John Heinz park ranger Wingyi Kung will reveal the beauty of backyard bugs, birds, plants, deer, and such, then answer questions about them. Next Tuesday, June 23, botanist Jordan Teisher and entomologist Greg Cowper will demo how to turn outside finds into collections. On Tuesday, June 30, wetland ecologist Beth Watson and ichthyologist (fish scientist) Mariangeles Acre H. will talk about how a global pandemic could affect global biodiversity.
10-10:25 a.m. Fridays, live (and then recorded) on Instagram @juniorjawns (ages 4—6)
Songwriter and musician M’Balia Singley wouldn’t let a little thing like a global pandemic stop her work. With the Kimmel Center, schools, and such closed, she’s turned her home into a stage, turned her original songs — “My Friends are Always in my Heart,” “Peace, Adios, I Love You” — into internet sensations, and made her Instagram the best spot for preschoolers to sing, sway, receive a birthday shoutout, and shake their sillies out — all in less than a half hour. Bandmates Jimmy Coleman (drums) and Patrick Hughes (trumpet) plan to join in virtually in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Singley’s 12-year-old, Adelia, has stepped up, wearing last year’s Halloween costume and appearing as Donut de la Sprinkles — a rising star if ever there were one.
11 a.m.-noon Friday, register at mightywriters.org/mighty-writers-at-home (ages 5-8)
In a year when in-person Juneteenth parades and festivals might have, at long last, drawn crowds, Mighty Writers South director Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow gives the all-American holiday its due with a thoughtful, interactive hour. She’ll read from Floyd Cooper’s picture book, Juneteenth for Mazie, share songs and dances, and teach future kindergartners-through-rising third graders to compose freedom poetry.
Register through Friday at tallerpr.org/yap-manga-academy-1-0. Classes are 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Wednesdays & Thursdays, June 24–July 16 (ages 15—22, free to members, $50 for new students to cover materials)