Things to Do

Smart Streaming Options to Keep Your Littles Occupied

You can doodle with children's author Mo Willems.
You can doodle with children's author Mo Willems. The Kennedy Center/YouTube
You can doodle with children's author Mo Willems. - THE KENNEDY CENTER/YOUTUBE
You can doodle with children's author Mo Willems.
The Kennedy Center/YouTube
Are you working at home while your kids are out of school?

You probably have an endless supply of streaming content to keep them occupied, but if you want them to use their brains, we have a few (and free) options for you while you practice social distancing. (They've also been tested and approved by the author, who is a father of two.) If you have some suggestions of your own, please send an email to jason.keil@newtimes.com.


Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems!

Mo Willems, the Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence and the author and illustrator of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, is livestreaming a 30-minute drawing session for kids (and adults) who want to express their creative side every morning at 10 a.m. Arizona time (archives are on YouTube). He offers some insights into his creative process and gives a tour of his studio, where he shows early sketches of his most famous creations, including a certain feathered friend who's determined to be behind the steering wheel.

Miss Megan's Camp Kindergarten

Megan Jessen, a preschool assistant in Illinois, organizes a Facebook Live meeting every morning at 7 a.m. Arizona time (they're archived if that's too early for you) to go over the preschool basics such as storytime, days of the week, the letters of the alphabet, and a fun song. Each session is about an hour. If you have kids who crave routine, Jessen's videos are heaven-sent.




Storyline Online

If you're still lamenting the loss of Reading Rainbow, there is Storyline Online, a series of videos that feature famous stars such as Chris Pine and Allison Janney reading children's books. There's an extensive library available on the website, and it's easy to search for your kids' favorite book by age group, title, and who's reading it.


click to enlarge Big Bird and Elmo are streaming on YouTube. - © 2017 SESAME WORKSHOP.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  PHOTO BY ZACH HYMAN.
Big Bird and Elmo are streaming on YouTube.
© 2017 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved. Photo by Zach Hyman.


Sesame Street on YouTube

Don't have a subscription to HBO NOW? If you still want to find your way to where the air is sweet, select clips and episodes of the long-running television show are available on YouTube. Some of the shows are a decade old, so they look a little dated, but the lessons the show teaches are timeless.

Kanopy

This free app works with your library card. If you head over to their Kanopy Kids section, you can access short films based on your child's favorite books, old PBS Kids' episodes, and some old movies you probably watched on cable back in the day that you forgot about. You can download the app on all your devices.
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil