We've compiled a list of various activities both fun and educational to help you during this time. Stay safe everyone and we'll see you soon!
A library card is not required for any of these. For resources that you can use with your library card, click here.
Keep checking this page as we are updating it daily with new options.
Starting April 2nd, Dolly Parton will be reading a bedtime story at 6:00 PM.
Girls Who Code is making educational activities about computer science available for download free of charge, to anyone who wants to access them.
Inkie is a resource for reading and for those interested in sharing their own work! Read books by Illinois authors and share your already created ebook or use their Pressbooks software to create one.
Read (or listen) for free:
Free access to all their audiobooks for 30 days.
Free audiobooks through June. Selections for all ages.
Enjoy digital books, images, videos and more from libraries, artists, authors and others from your community and around the world. Freely accessible to anyone in Illinois.
The Digital Public Library of America provides access to the digital holdings of libraries, archives, and museums.
Scribd has made their collection completely free for 30 days with no credit card required to create an account. They provide access to electronic materials including books, audiobooks, magazines, and newspapers.
Thinking of taking up Spanish? Perhaps your family would like to hear a Spanish children's story!
TIME for Kids is available for free through their new digital library.
Animated talking picture books.
Chicago Parent has created a calendar of virtual events that are happening. They are posting daily with activities for all ages. There a wide range of resources that fit into all categories. Most are free.
Activities for book lovers from the Library of Congress.
Do-it-Yourself (crafts, cooking, art, experiments):
Chef Michael Symon is live streaming every day as he cooks a simple meal. Follow along or save the recipe to make yourself later.
Fun engineering for the family.
Hands-on DIY activites you can do at home.
Author & Illustrator Mo Willems is live streaming each weekday at 12:00 PM (streams are available for viewing after). Join him in his studio to watch him work and learn from an expert. Activity provided.
Peters Township Public Library staff created this digital escape room perfect for Harry Potter fans.
Over 100 activities that are kid friendly and can be done indoors.
Create your own comic! Printable comic activity sheets are available from author & illustrator Jarrett Lerner.
The Museum of New Zealand has created online jigsaw puzzles from their collection.
Color Our Collections is an annual initiative with libraries, museums, and archives creating coloring pages from materials in their collections. You can color your very own work of art!
Thousands of free resources for learning STEM, including a collection of 160+ fun, hands-on STEM activities and videos. Each of our K-12 activities covers a specific STEM concept, can be done in an hour or less, and can usually be done with materials easily found at home.
The Exploratorium provides instructions for hands-on science activities using readily-available materials.
Educational at-home artmaking activities for the whole family.
Justin Roberts has step-by-step instruction for building homemade instruments and streaming concerts.
Learning For All Ages:
For as long as schools are closed, Audible has opened their service to children. Nothing is required to start streaming stories. Multiple languages available.
Coursera is a digital learning platform with courses available from American universities.
This course is offered by Yale University. Starts March 22nd. In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits.
Khan Academy is offering remote learning during school closures. Resources, live streams, and more are all available.
Disney partnered with Khan Academy to create this free online program that teaches a wide range of skills from storytelling to math and engineering.
Open Culture is a guide to free educational media. We've linked to a few specific guides below but take some time to browse all of their resources.
Open Culture has curated a listing of 1,500 free online courses offered by top universities.
Provides 200 free educational resources for children.
Scholastic has provided materials for "day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing". Lessons are available by grade level.
Teach yourself to code with these step-by-step instructions and exercises in various coding languages.
Each week The Learning Network offers new ways for students to practice reading, writing, and critical thinking using New York Times journalism.
Starting Monday, March 30th, WTTW will air an afternoon block of educational shows geared towards middle & high school students. Programming starts at 1:00 PM.
Author Resources & Storytimes:
Live storytime streams on Facebook each night at 8:00 PM.
Children's author Mac Barnett will be reading one of his books live on Instagram every weekday at 2:00 PM.
Neil Gaiman has free short stories, essays, audio, and video available.
Rick Riordan offers free guides to accompany all of his works. Bonus! Many of his titles are available digitally from https://www.hoopladigital.com/
Starting March 23rd, livestreamed readalouds from children's and YA authors from 8:00 AM to 3:45 PM daily.
NPR has curated a list of all performers that will be livestreaming a performance. The majority of these are free.
Rolling Stone will be using IGTV on Instagram on to release performances with musicians shot from their homes. Episodes will be released on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2:00PM.
The Met is closed for live performances but is streaming previously recorded performances each night and making them available for temporary viewing afterwards.
Starting next week, the National Theatre will be stream a new play every Thursday on their youtube channel, along with bonus content including cast and creative Q&As and post-stream talks.
NPR records live intimate performances with a wide range of musicians.
A virtual concert hall of the Berlin Philharmonic is available free of charge for 30 days using code BERLINPHIL.
Explore (virtual tours and collections):
Adventure Journal put together a list of various live streams of animals that can be watched.
Their collection is searchable online and includes additional information for each artwork.
Brookfield Zoo will be livestreaming with different zoo animals.
Cincinnati Zoo is going live on Facebook every day for a home safari. Every day features a new animal and activity to do at home.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! So many ways to watch them. (You don't want to miss the jellyfish.)
Virtually explore the collections of museums from all over the world.
Virtual field trips around the world.
All NASA content is in the public domain.
Links to 33 different virtual tours you can take of National Parks.
Take a virtual tour of the Smithsonian Latino Center.
Take a virtual tour of the Vatican.
Here are ten museums you can explore online.
The Winchester Mystery House is one of the most unusal mansions both in the way it was built (there are 17 chimneys for example), but also the supposed paranormal activity that occurs there. A free virtual tour is available.
Virtual Field Trip. See the geyser erupt!