In just a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, shutting down any place where large groups of people would normally gather; including our schools. As schools have shut down and extracurricular activities have ground to a halt, New York City parents have had to balance their everyday activities with keeping their children entertained and educated at home.
Thankfully, many organizations have jumped in to help by providing extensive online learning resources and activities to help kids grow. If you take advantage of any of these resources, please consider making a donation to help support the organization through this pandemic.
Arts Education for Kids: Learn to Play an Instrument, Make a Piece of Art, or Explore Local Museums
Watch "Art Integration" from Urban Arts Partnership to learn about the benefits of arts education.
Art education helps children develop motor skills, language skills, social skills, decision-making, and improves their imagination.¹ Social distancing doesn’t have to stop creativity. Engage your child with the arts with the following resources.
The Brooklyn Music School makes it possible for everyone, regardless of their background or resources, to experience the joy of music and the benefits of musical performance. To adapt to current events, Brooklyn Music School has shifted its quality music education programs online. Register your child for private music lessons in piano, guitar, violin, wind instruments, percussion, and voice through Brooklyn Music School.
To show children and their families the transformative power of the arts, The Children’s Museum of the Arts provides opportunities to make art side-by-side with working artists. CMA compiled a library of resources including how-to videos, curricula guides, and DIY projects to encourage arts education in the home. Created by CMA’s credible teaching artists and partner arts education professionals, the resources are offered free of charge to affirm the organization’s mission of making arts education accessible to all.
DIY provides access to a massive library of kid-friendly projects and videos designed to engage their minds and to learn new skills from home. To help out overwhelmed parents, DIY is sharing resources and ideas for activities on Twitter that kids can do while stuck at home. They’re also offering a free two-week trial of their platform on their website. The trial provides unlimited access to all content and courses and supports up to 4 children.
Founded in 1923, The Museum of the City of New York engages visitors by celebrating, documenting, and interpreting the city’s past, present, and future. Even though the building is closed, people around the world can still learn about the rich history of the Five Boroughs through their online collections portal. With the MCNY’s digital collections portal, kids and adults alike can enjoy the museum from the comfort of home. Explore New York’s past through nearly 205,000 objects from the museum’s comprehensive collection of historical artifacts, and use the hashtag #MuseumFromHome on social media to share about your digital experience.
The Tenement Museum forges emotional connections between visitors and immigrants past and present, enhancing appreciation for the vital role immigrants play in shaping the American identity. The Tenement Museum pulled together remote learning resources for both teachers and museum-goers. They also provide digital museum exhibits to discover the family histories of our former residents and more.
The Urban Arts Partnership believes that integrating the arts in every classroom helps engage students and boost academic outcomes. They also believe that receiving quality arts education shouldn’t depend on a child’s zip code. UAP’s commitment to inspiring creativity is needed now more than ever. They’ve created a page dedicated to remote learning resources, created by their talented team of teaching artists and staff. Free to use, these resources have been carefully selected and/or edited to ensure that they can be completed by students at home or used by a teacher via remote instruction.
STEM Activities for Kids: Learn to Code at Home
Watch "Hi, We're Girls Who Code" to meet a few members of Girls Who Code.
STEM education helps create critical thinkers and empowers the next generation of innovators. In fact, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other occupations are growing at 9.8%.² Stay connected to STEM education with the following online resources.
- Dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology fields, Girls Who Code offers learning opportunities to deepen computer science skills and build confidence to set girls on the path to success in their career. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to school closures and significant disruption to daily life, Girls Who Code is making educational activities available for download free of charge, to anyone who wants to access them. They plan to release new activities weekly over the next few months - each featuring a woman in tech who pioneered innovative technology.
- Mouse designs computer science and STEM curriculum, trains educators in K-12 computer science and STEM courses, and engages students with maker events and after-school programs. In response to schools moving to distance learning, Mouse is going digital and offering free resources for encouraging STEM and computer science skills for students at home. They are also holding a coding contest for high school and middle school kids.
Literacy Activities for Kids: Foster a Love of Reading at Home
Watch "Mohammed Abdulkarimu," a video showcasing the work of Reading Partners.
Literacy is more than just reading; it supports creativity, research skills, and problem-solving. It sparks conversation and brings people together. Including literacy in your child’s at-home education is more than just checking a subject off a list. It’s about setting them up for success in the future. Encourage your child to engage with literacy with the following resources.
- Girls Write Now mentors underserved young women and helps them find their voices through the power of writing and community. In addition to providing writing prompts on their Twitter page, Girls Write Now has compiled resources to help the community during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and beyond. This list of resources includes links to educational support, mental health & wellness, food accessibility, financial support, and much more.
- Reading Partners collaborates with underserved schools and communities in need to help students who require that extra boost by providing individualized attention to early learners. In response to COVID-19, Reading Partners released a blog about student safety and an informative COVID-19 FAQ. For the parents, they compiled education resources to support distance learning and home education.
- We all know the role the public library system plays in encouraging a love for literacy. In response to the COVID-19, the New York Public Library has created a Remote Learning Resources page for young learners and their caretakers while libraries are temporarily closed. Resources include online, one-on-one academic support from qualified tutors through their partnership with Brainfuse. Of course, they’ve got reading recommendations, e-book access, and anything else you might need for at-home reading. In addition to reading resources, they’re providing access to engaging at-home activities in the arts, science, and more to help kids’ imaginations stay active.
- Literacy Inc. is dedicated to providing reading and learning opportunities for children so that they feel confident to succeed in school and life. To help empower caretakers to foster an atmosphere of literacy in the home, Literacy Inc. is holding online programs for children such as read-aloud events and interactive activities like “Lunch Doodles.”
Additional Resources for Parents
Encourage your child's learning with these resources designed to support your child’s at-home education.
- InsideSchools is an education advocate that provides authoritative and independent information about New York City's public schools and is dedicated to improving education. To understand what is going on in the NYC public school system, InsideSchools visits hundreds of schools every year and conducts thousands of interviews with principals, teachers, parents, and students. To help parents navigate home education in these tumultuous times, InsideSchools launched an educational podcast called Extra Help with InsideSchools. They are also posting helpful resources on their blog.
- Prospect Park Alliance sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park to benefit the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home. The Alliance cares for the woodlands and natural areas, restores the Park's buildings and landscapes, creates innovative Park destinations, and provides free or low-cost volunteer, education and recreation programs. Despite COVID-19, most of Prospect Park is open, but teams are not allowed to play sports and visitors need to keep 6 feet away. If you’re not comfortable leaving the house, you can take a virtual park tour!
- Since 1980, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has advocated for animal welfare and their rights to live without abuse or exploitation. They are invested in changing policies, as well as hearts and minds, and are leading the charge for change. PETA released a comprehensive online learning resource library and is encouraging caretakers to take advantage of these free resources. For the pups and felines, they also published tips on how to keep your four-legged companion happy while you are home.
While your little ones are staying busy with the above indoor activities, do a little something for yourself with the online resources for adults:
Womanity Project: Harness your creativity and sign up for an online improv workshop.
NAMI-NYC: Protect your mental health with these online support groups.
AIGA: Check out this list of resources for people who have to work in isolation due to COVID-19.
- AFSP: Learn how to support your mental health during this challenging time.
Lastly, please read our recent blog post "How to Help NYC Organizations and Nonprofits During the Coronavirus Pandemic" to learn about ways you can help improve the lives of others during this crisis.
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