Online Resources for Social Distancers

by Hannah on 2020-03-22 00:00:00

If you're anything like me, your social media feeds have been inundated with free online things to do while social distancing. I decided to compile them into one big master post for easy browsing! These are great ways to supplement the digital offerings you get for free with your library card and the online events provided by libraries throughout our Monarch Library System. Scroll down to check out some of the awesome activities I've found. Feel free to email me - hkane@westbendlibrary.org - if you find others! Also, let me know if anything is broken or misrepresented, or if you've had a particularly good experience with any of these! I'll update periodically as I find more cool stuff.

Many vendors and service providers are working with the benefit of children in mind. However, beware of scams and data trolling. An abundance of free tools and special offers due to school closures mean we need to practice cybersafety and exercise critical thinking when curating and sharing resources with others. Be especially vigilant about those that request an email address or ages of kids. This document from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) outlines some reminders.

Check with your local school district regarding virtual learning, technology needs, and meal services for area students. The District Planning and Implementation Resources for Virtual Learning webpage from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) continues to be updated with valuable information. Visit the DPI agency wide COVID-19 webpage for specific tools for early learning and K-12 instructional areas.

While there are lots of neat learning opportunities and activities, I want to highlight this post, Resources for Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic (via ChildTrends). If you're not sure how to talk to your child about the pandemic, or if they have questions you don't know how to answer, this is a great place to start. And since we can't take care of anyone else unless we take care of ourselves, New Harbringer posted a list of resources and exercises for adults and teens dealing with anxiety and stress in this uncertain time.

Now, on to the fun stuff!

Books and Such

  • ABDO Publishing has educational materials for ages preK-12th grade, and they'll be free through the month of June. Some of these include craft and activity books, so be sure to check them out!
  • BadgerLink - Wisconsin's Online Library - provides Wisconsin residents with licensed trustworthy content not available through regular search engines, from personal interest to educational research, and even test prep (SAT, ACT, GED, and even AP courses). You always have free access to BadgerLink with your library card, but even more resources are temporarily available during the shutdown - including over 3 million pages of newspapers! BadgerLink also provides scavenger hunts, quizzes, and videos to help you learn your way around. 
  • Book Riot has a lot of awesome content, but we really appreciated their post "What To Do if You Can't Read Right Now," with lots of good suggestions.
  • JSTOR, an academic research database, made over 6,000 ebooks and over 150 journals accessible without the need for an online login. Research to your heart's content until June 30!
  • Lee & Low Books has storytime readalouds, activities for kids, and author interviews adults might enjoy on their YouTube channel.
  • Lerner Publishing is offering free access to 500+ ebooks for preK-5th grade, and over 250 for grades 6-12. They're also offering permission to record readings of their books until June 30! They also have a podcast and a YouTube channel with author interviews, book trailers, and other educational offerings. 
  • The National Emergency Library is a digital collection of books that supports emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries are closed. (by Archive.org)
  • OpenCulture - Audiobooks, online courses, movies, languages, lectures, textbooks, ebooks, and more!
  • Open Library - Open Library is an open, editable library catalog, building towards a web page for every book ever published. Books are available to read anytime or to borrow, depending on copyright status.
  • OverDrive (available through the Libby app) has a collection of always available ebooks! Also check out their Lucky Day collection of popular, currently available titles.
  • Project Gutenberg - a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world's great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for enjoyment and education.
  • Riveted has free young adult ebooks from SimonTeen, plus video content, quizzes, polls, and book recommendations!
  • Scribd - a paid reading app that offers a 30-day free trial. Don't forget to cancel if you don't want to pay!
  • SimonTeen offers free YA books to read whenever!
  • Sync provides free downloads of different young adult titles each week, starting April 30. Until then, you can follow the link to receive reminders and updates!
  • TumbleBooks is offering free access to West Bend Community Memorial Library users until August 31, 2020. Use these links to check out these awesome resources and educational activities!

Crafts, Activities, and Projects

Digital Experiences

Streaming Video