We update this roundup every Sunday morning so you can plan for the coming week.
These surreal days of staying at home have lowered the bar for accomplishments. Ate breakfast? Check. Got dressed? Kind of. Took a walk? Impressed. Did half your homework? Wow. Suddenly, watching funny animal videos counts as educational.
But this week, we can do better. Opera Philadelphia's just-YouTubed We Shall Not Be Moved is especially relevant (and, don’t tell, also educational) for Philly teens, while a Cherry Hill yoga studio is debuting twice-weekly classes for their tween predecessors.
The Annenberg Center has posted what would have been the greatest hits from what would have been its 35th Children’s Festival this week. The Brandywine River Museum of Art and Penn Museum keep up the good work with art lessons and anthropology/archaeology posts. What’s more, Adventure Aquarium is taking its penguins on walks.
Annenberg Children’s Festival
Available now, and continuing (ages 3—13)
Replacing the real thing this year is — you guessed it — a virtual version at annenbergcenter.org/blog. Artists like storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, Pilobus @ Play, and The Queen’s Cartoonists have done a bang-up job helping the Annenberg Center create a great playlist and a series of instructional videos, some of which are decidedly don’t-try-this-at-home-without-permission. One that’ll keep them (mostly) in their seats: The serene Magic Shadows by Catapult.
We Shall Not Be Moved
Available now, and continuing at operaphila.org (ages 14 and up)
Here’s why teens should get in on Opera Philadelphia’s digital/YouTube debut of We Shall Not Be Moved, which posted Sunday. The story originated with Philly teens. Its characters are Philly teens. It’s not straight opera, it’s a hip h’opera. It delves into themes of racism, social justice, and gender identity. And it comes with its own hashtag #WSNBM for posting personal raps and poetry — and Cliff Notes that will come in super useful for a future term paper. (Also check out a televised student broadcast at 1 p.m. Friday on WHYY’s Y2 channel 12.2, Comcast 257, Verizon FiOS 474.)
Penguins’ Days Out
Adventure Aquarium, like so many major animal attractions, has been keeping kids busy at its website, adventureaquarium.com, with worksheets, storytimes (noon Mondays), behind-the-scenes tours, Q & As, and dining with residents (on Friday, it’s lunch with Gonzo, a prehensile tail porcupine). But last week, when African crested porcupine Theo took a few leashed spins around the uncrowded space, the African penguin family (parents Pumpkin and PJ and chick Poppy) reportedly demanded equal treatment. They’ll be enjoying their own daily walkabouts this week.
Heart & Grit Kids’ Yoga
1:30—2 p.m. Monday and Wednesday (ages 9—14); 9:30—10 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday (ages 5—9). Register at heartandgritpoweryoga.com.
New Zoom classes for kids from Cherry Hill power yoga studio Heart & Grit have been so successful, they’re doubling down this week. Instructor Liz Skoufalos, a former special ed and art teacher, and her 10-year-old helper are adding “flow and glow,” an athletic yet calming practice for tweens-through-teens, while continuing littler kids’ “poses and play,” where animal poses precede drawing and such. A single session costs $7 per household; a whole month’s access is $25.
Egyptian Magic Wand Workshop
11 a.m. Wednesday on the Penn Museum Facebook page (kindergarten through second grade or ages 5—8)
The Penn Museum’s Digital Daily Digs — three-minute, sometimes multilingual, 1 p.m. PowerPoints explaining origins and meanings of artifacts like an Indian tea cozy, a Mesoamerican metate, and on Saturday, a crystal ball — are geared toward tweens on up. But this Wednesday’s 11 a.m. workshop aims squarely at kindergartners through Potterheads with a lesson in DIY magic wands, as inspired by ancient Egyptian protection charms made of hippo tusks. “Protego!”
Brandywine River Museum of Art Doodle Session with Gene Barretta
11:30 a.m. Thursday at brandywine.org/brandywine-home (preschool through elementary school)
Of the many craft projects and art history lessons on the Brandywine at Home webpage, the monthly drawing sessions with lighthearted local children’s author (The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver), illustrator (Sky High: George Ferris’ Big Wheel), and author-illustrator (The Bat Can Bat) Gene Barretta are the most whimsically transportive. He asks kids to submit animal suggestions on Facebook @brandywinerivermuseum before sketching four creatures into one imaginary beast. Last month’s was a “pruniffant.”