Need a hand keeping the kiddos entertained at home? It takes a village––and luckily for San Diego parents, there’s a loving village offering support via caring local museums, businesses and individuals. Your kids can enjoy free classes from the San Diego Zoo, a bunch of fun activities from the San Diego Padres, online classes like gymnastics with Gyminny Kids, virtual field trips with Helen Woodward Animal Center, concerts and radio shows from kid-fave band Hullabaloo, art lessons from San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, an epic online learning experience from the good folks at Disneyland and so much more! Read on to see how help has arrived!

photo: San Diego Museum Council

San Diego Padres: Compadres Kids Activities
The Padres are offering an array of family-friendly activities kids will enjoy while everyone is stuck indoors. There are FriarFit workouts, baseball-themed games/math problems, jokes, custom baseball card designs and a bunch of other fun activities for the whole family!

San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
Visit SDCDM’s Facebook page for an array of super fun and educational activities kids can do at home. They recently took kids around the world to India for a World Culture Activity that included a printable bingo card to follow along. The Museum is also posting art activities of the day and Facebook Live storytime sessions.

North County Gymnastics & the Gyminny Kids
Leap on over to Gyminny Kids’ Instagram page for virtual gymnastics classes via their live stream. Daily schedules are posted on Instagram and kids can participate in classes like kickbox cardio, floor skills and beam skills in addition to enjoying storytimes and learning boredom cures.

Helen Woodward Animal Center
Take a virtual field trip with Helen Woodward Animal Center. These excursions will include fun facts about their animal ambassadors and awesome STEM educational activities. Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

San Diego Zoo
For the next eight weeks, as part of San Diego Zoo Global’s effort to support the community during the ongoing pandemic, middle and high school teachers and students can gain access to 22 free, self-paced online courses covering a variety of taxonomic groups and individual animal species. Offered by San Diego Zoo Global Academy, these fun, fast-paced, interactive courses are designed to be completed by students in as little as one to two hours. They include video, images and quizzes to teach students about mammals, birds, primates, bears, reptiles, monotremes, marsupials and more. New San Diego Zoo Global Animal Species online learning modules will be made available each week—and they will remain online through May 24. The first week of free courses begins with an overview of cats and lessons on cheetahs, lions and tigers. Stick around through Week 8 to learn the difference between a wallaby and a kangaroo, and find out what on earth a pademelon is—hint: it’s not a fruit!

Students and teachers can click here to create an account and start learning.

Additionally, The San Diego Zoo offers a wealth of online opportunities. Kids can peruse their user-friendly A-to-Z guide on the most-asked-about species, many of which call the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park home. This online resource offers an opportunity to learn more about familiar favorite plants and animals, as well as equally fascinating species that are lesser known. Middle school and high school students should check out the Zoo’s Science Blog which has intriguing posts like “The Scoop on Rhino Poop.” Readers can also access San Diego Zoo Global’s ZOONOOZ magazine, ZOONOOZ Online, which includes fascinating stories about wildlife and ongoing conservation projects around the world. New articles are posted on the website each week. San Diego Zoo Kids also has a YouTube channel where families can watch videos and learn information about animals, see fun stories, and experience hands-on activities and games. Here you’ll also find links to live wildlife cams and information about how to be a superhero to help save species.

San Diego Museum Council
While San Diego’s beloved museums and cultural institutions are currently closed due to COVID-19, the San Diego Museum Council has dozens of enriching virtual museum events, experiences, tours, educational resources and fun activities that San Diegans can enjoy from the comfort and safety of home. Whether you’re looking for educational resources to supplement home schooling, online lectures or events to break up the day, or fun DIY activities that kill boredom and inspire creativity, you can find options from an extensive list from 30+ local cultural institutions. Follow the San Diego Museum Council on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for daily tips and ideas from our member museums to explore #SDMuseumsatHome.

The ZenTotz Program: Mindfulness, Meditation & Yoga for Youth! will provide free guided meditations, story-times and mindfulness lessons during the school closure. Follow @zen.totz on Instagram and tap their profile picture to view the live feed. Here’s their schedule of upcoming activities.

Head to Hullabaloo’s Facebook page to sing and dance with San Diego’s favorite kid-friendly band! Steve Denyes recently performed an hour-long concert you can see on March 20th of his Facebook feed. Mr. Steve also uploaded a good, old-fashioned Hullabaloo radio hour for the kids to listen to as well! Stay tuned for Steve’s weekly livestream show sponsored by Del Mar Highlands on Thursdays at 10 a.m.

Walt Disney Imagineers are inspiring creativity, curiosity, and innovation with “Imagineering in a Box.” This one-of-a-kind learning experience gives families a chance to dream, create, and build… right from home. Learn more about this free online program on Disney Parks Blog and share your fun with #ImagineeringinaBox! #Disney #BetterTogether.

Disneyland also has a fun series of Learning & Activity Sheets from Disney, Pixar and National Geographic. These make reading fun, and teaching easy! Crafted to use alongside your favorite books, the worksheets and guides engage kids in ways that are fun and enriching.

San Diego Public Library
People of all ages can register for the San Diego Public Library’s Spring into Reading program. Click here to visit their online library and see links to extensive resources to keep your kids enjoying books and stories. We think your kids will love BookFlix, a literacy resource that pairs classic children’s video storybooks with related nonfiction eBooks from Scholastic. This is an interactive way to build a love of reading and learning.

The New Children’s Museum
The New Children’s Museum’s Facebook page is full of fun art ideas for kids. They’re now offering coloring pages inspired by the Museum’s installations and spaces. Each week they’ll be releasing a few new coloring pages for kids to creatively color at home. This coloring page is inspired by their entry bridge mural, SMILE by artist PANCA, “because everyone could use a cheery smile right now.” Download and print the PDF here. Additionally, their Facebook page offers other artistic activities from making kaleidoscopes out of empty toilet paper rolls to DIY Marbling. Don’t miss their Toddler Time at home! Their Toddler Time programming will be available via their social media channels (InstagramFacebook and Twitter) every Friday at 10 a.m.

––Beth Shea


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