Well, that’s it. Camp is canceled, or weirdly constrained. (No capture the flag?) July Fourth is virtual. The beach — at least, the boardwalk — is too packed for comfort. Time to make sure those tablets, smartphones, and computers are up to date on their antivirus software. We’re in for the stay-at-home long haul.
Before you dive into the latest, greatest, local livestreams and video posts for kids — Pops music, dance class, pop-up parties, Barnes art, the Giant Heart — do yourself a favor, and listen to Parent Trapped, a new podcast that has nothing to do with Lindsay Lohan or, for us older parents, Hayley Mills.
Hosted by Philadelphia’s own Ann Marie Baldonado, the Common Sense Media production is so timely, so helpful, it’s become a lifeline for those of us who are taking care of kids, with no end in sight. The family scream is catharsis itself. And now this week’s featured picks:
4 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m. & 4 p.m. Tuesday, 4 p.m. Wednesday, 11 a.m. & 4 p.m. Thursday, register at zoomdance.com (ages 1 ½-9)
More than a decade before we were taking dance (and art, and math, and meetings) via Zoom, ZoomDance was leading little-kid classes at community centers, school gyms, the Beehive at Bok, etc. In March, the group began offering nightly storytimes — via Zoom, naturally. In April, they added a roster of playful dance classes. Popular pay-if-you-wish open sessions revolve around a theme: sneaky monsters, superheroes, a unicorn search, the sun, and, this week, the giant’s castle. Fifteen- to 20-minute ($5) “boost” sessions give toddler caregivers movement play ideas. Age-based ballet (from $10) keeps pliés and chainés fresh.
11–noon Wednesdays at twitch.tv/barnesfoundation (ages 9 and up, or younger, with parents)
For two months, the Barnes Foundation has been crushing quarantine culture for adults with “Barnes Takeout,” a daily YouTube playlist of succinct, accessible videos, each focused on a single artwork in the museum’s collection. Two Wednesdays ago, the Barnes’ education department launched a highly interactive, more broadly themed — circus, murals, Henri Rousseau — version for kids on Twitch.tv. Hosts give their young viewers the same respect afforded to grown-ups. The result: A juxtaposition of fine painting and emote-filled chats, art animations and art history. The future of art is here. It’s weird, but it’s beautiful. And this week they’re making puppets.
How many school trips to the Franklin Institute got canceled this spring? They’re not saying. Still, it’s safe to assume thousands of kids missed out on exploring (and possibly getting stuck inside) the most iconic exhibit — the Giant Heart — at the region’s most-visited museum. A live, interactive, scientist-led Zoom tour isn’t exactly the same as walking through the beating muscle. But let’s face it: It’s probably more educational. (Zoom tour full? There’s a self-guided Facebook version archived at fi.edu/franklin-at-home.)
9 a.m. Friday on the POPS In Schools@Home web page, at phillypops.org/pops-schoolshome (ages 5-11)
The Philly Pops have been keeping their young people — students in the Pops in Schools program, co-op participants, staffers — busy making YouTube videos. Some are performing from home. Others are leading joyful modern music history workshops. Adorably bow-tied education director Gilberto Vega is teaching DIY percussion instruments in English and Spanish. This week’s Friday morning Pops in Schools@HOME post will include most of above, plus story time with Broadway’s Mandy Gonzalez, a frequent Pops guest, reading Welcome to My Neighborhood: A Barrio ABC, by Kensington native and In the Heights script and screenwriter Quiara Alegria Hudes. Vega will read the book in Spanish.
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Sunday on the Cherry Street Pier website (ages 6—11)
This popular play party is led by Jen Brevoort of PopUp Play, the group that would be offering kids’ activities at Spruce Street Harbor Park, Summerfest, or Cherry Street Pier, if, well, you know … Instead, she’s hosting 30 or so lucky kids a week — some from as far away as Washington state or Pakistan — in a Zoom meeting where they learn to use stuff they have at home to create slime (May 31), a kite (June 7), a Rube Goldberg machine (June 14), an obstacle course (June 21), and a song, along with accompanying musical instrument (June 28).