Update: Wednesday’s Penn Museum session, Let’s Talk About Coins, has been cancelled. Upcoming installments in the“World Wonders” series are listed on the museum website.

A parent can’t help but think of what a mixed-up, messed-up world it is for kids right now. It’s enough to make someone want to tune it all out — the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts is here to help, with giddy virtual fun — even though we know the right thing to do is to guide our children as they process it. Enter the Franklin Institute with some emotional rescue (and stress-putty-making) for little ones.

Here are details on those and other ways we can keep our loves busy this week — and looking forward to a better future.

Philadelphia School of Circus Arts

Tots: 10:30 a.m. Mon., Weds., & Fri. Circus tricks: 4:15 p.m. Mon. & Weds. Juggling: 11:15 a.m. Mon. & Fri., 5 p.m. Weds. Hula hoop: noon Weds. All via Zoom, details on the school’s @philly_circus Instagram (ages 3 and up)

Since we’re all juggling life — lives — right now, might as well sign up your kid for a free, half-hour Zoom juggling class (ages 8-12; clubs not required), or circus tricks class (balancing, basic juggling, and acrobatics, ages 5-7), hula hoop (5 and up), or fun movement (ages 3-4) with the friendliest, most flexible folks in town, coaches Terry, Ali, and Christine. Heck: Your mini contortionist might even make a Zoom friend — or, with any luck, join a circus (kidding!) — in the process.

San Diego Zoo Live Cams

Live 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily East Coast time (with rebroadcast 10:30 p.m. to 10:30 a.m.) at zoo.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams (all ages)

Voyeuristic, educational, and increasingly relatable, the live-cammed polar bears, orangutans, hippos, platypuses, baboons, koalas, tigers, and penguins at the San Diego Zoo have become captive heroes in a wholesome, 24/7 reality show. The website of SoCal’s most famous zoo keeps streaming its pandas, even though they’re returned to China, and keeps us up-to-date on the yet-unnamed baby pygmy hippo, born last month to mama Mabel.

Franklin Institute Science & Stories

On Wednesday, June 3, author Hallee Adelman will read "Way Past Mad" and lead a session of stress putty-making with the Franklin Institute.
Photo courtesy of the Franklin Institute
On Wednesday, June 3, author Hallee Adelman will read "Way Past Mad" and lead a session of stress putty-making with the Franklin Institute.

11—11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at fi.edu/franklin-at-home (ages 3-8)

Plain old storytime is so four weeks ago. What today’s preschool through grade two set wants now is a story — and a related make-and-take (make-and-keep?). The Franklin Institute satisfies with a half-hour Zoom that includes both an author-read tale — this week, Hallee Adelman comes to the emotional rescue with her book Way Past Mad, followed by a quick craft — this week, stress putty-making. Home school. Accomplished. Serenity. Now.

Penn Museum Let’s Talk About Coins

On Wednesday, June 3, kids can tune in to the Penn Museum's Facebook page for a live lesson in ancient coins, and some coin crafting. Pictured: A Gorgon Nike Coin, an example of a very early emoji.
Courtesy of the Penn Museum
On Wednesday, June 3, kids can tune in to the Penn Museum's Facebook page for a live lesson in ancient coins, and some coin crafting. Pictured: A Gorgon Nike Coin, an example of a very early emoji.

11-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, live on the Penn Museum Facebook page (ages 5-11)

Kids who’ve been occupied with quick!-grab-stuff-from-the-drawers scavenger hunts, or, for that matter, park-based metal detecting (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it) can take it to the next level by viewing and crafting some truly valuable treasure with a Penn Museum pro on Facebook Live. The coin talk is part of the museum’s weekly World Wonders series. Click on “Kids & Families” on the events tab at penn.museum to see the full schedule.

The Ickabog

Daily at theickabog.com (ages 7 and up)

When a global pandemic hits, Harry Potter’s real mom is here for us. Every day since last Tuesday, J.K. Rowling has been online-publishing one to three chapters of The Ickabog, a bedtime story she told her children when they were little, and whose manuscript she’d been keeping in her attic. It’s a bit more fairy tale than adventure, and likely a few grade levels above the suggested ages, 7 to 9. But it’s free, and Rowling’s invite to kids to submit illustrations that will go into the printed book, and her offer to donate that book’s proceeds, are enough to keep us reading. (Also, die-hard Potterheads are already busy following their celeb crushes, not just Daniel Radcliffe, but also Kate McKinnon, Jonathan Van Ness, and others reading a chapter apiece of the first book via WizardingWorld.com.)