Your stay-in guide for virtual activities while sheltering-in-place.
Virtual Shakespeare Aloud
http://carpenterarts.org/artsforlife/shakespeare.htmlThe Carpenter Center transports its popular free Shakespeare Aloud series to the Internet. Play readings will be done 1 pm-2:30 pm on designated Thursdays. Richard III will be read June 4 & 11, while the second play is still TBD. As with the theater-based version, this play reading welcomes community members to participate (although they need to sign up online first). Also, since this is Shakespeare, some parental discretion is advised.
Virtual Kids Club Takeover
Come jam out when The Point in El Segundo brings its Kids Club to Instagram Live on June 18 at 11 am. The festivities will include live entertainment for the kiddies to enjoy, while parents can try their luck winning a giveaway. And maybe a surprise or two, too. The Point plans on having its popular monthly Kids Club be a virtual experience for the time being.
Connections for Children’s Virtual Family Time
Start your week off with some happy Family Time. Join SoCal’s own Connection for Children on Monday mornings (10 am-10:45 am) via Zoom for some fun singing, reading and playing with others without needing to leave your own house. The sessions, scheduled to run through June 22, are open to families with little ones ages 5 and younger. Advance sign-up is required.
The award-winning Southern California theater troupe, the Rogue Artists Ensemble, has launched two free digital series that will run through June on their YouTube page. On Tuesdays, the Rogue Academy presents an array of workshops, ranging from a clown workout to a choose-your-own-adventure story. These workshops, overall, are recommended for ages 4 and older. Then on Fridays it’s “Puppets & Prose,” featuring unique collaborations between writers and visual artists (these are recommended for ages 13 and older).
Anaheim Packing District Drive-In
The Anaheim Packing District’s “drive-in” isn’t your typical drive-in experience — however, these aren’t typical times. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, you can order your food online from a participating APD restaurant, go to the Packing District and have your meal delivered to your car, where you can dine while listening to live musical performances. Check their website for info on the acts as well as their other plans (like film screenings potentially).
Concerts @ The Camp
The Camp invites folks to enjoy an actual night out with a meal and music. Between 5:30 pm-7:30 pm on Thursday nights throughout the summer, The Camp will present their adaptation of a “drive-in.” Families can order their meal online in advance, drive into The Camp’s parking lot, get their food and enjoy live music performances. Check its website for additional details.
Pacific Symphony’s “At Home Together” Performances
From their homes to your homes! The Pacific Symphony is regularly sharing videos of their virtuosos performing from their living rooms, porches and backyards. Some musicians play with family, in duets with themselves, or join together Zoom-style as a 34-piece orchestra. Kids might get a particular kick watching the talented youngsters in the youth ensembles, with selections drawn from Beauty and the Beast and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Pacific Symphony’s “John Williams: Maestro of the Movies”
If you’ve been longing for Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Morning shows, you’re in luck: The Symphony has created its first-ever virtual concert, which showcases John Williams’ memorable movie music. Featuring selections from Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter and E.T., this 45-minute performance will be available on demand for 45 days, starting May 30. The virtual event also features activities and other bonus material for families to enjoy.
Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Digital Experiences
Mission San Juan Capistrano has made it its mission to provide families with inspiring at-home experiences. Each week you find new items at their digital resource center. Take a virtual walkthrough of its “Plein Air” exhibit and view the exclusive Chris Lizotte show of Mission photos. Learning activities include archaeological videos and hide branding craft projects, and keep an eye out for upcoming live-streaming events.
Idyllwild Arts Summer Programs
The Idyllwild Arts has reimagined its highly regarded summer camp into virtual experiences that will be conducted via Zoom. Youngsters (ages 5-13) can choose from a half dozen theater courses as well as one in dance, while film, music, dance and writing workshops are available for teens (ages 13-18). There are programs for adults too. Sessions dates vary; visit its website for complete details.
Brickworld Virtual LEGO Con
On June 27, from 9 am-3 pm, families can take a digital journey via Zoom to Brickworld. Experience live interactive feeds of amazing creations all built by their fellow LEGO enthusiasts. You can go to various rooms to view different displays, meet vendors, and even watch presentations! Only 2000 tickets will be sold, and a portion of ticket sales will be donated to charities. Brickworld is recommended for ages 5 and older.
Thomas & Friends Storytime Podcast
If your little train conductors are clamoring for more Thomas & Friends stories, you can find enough tales to fill a freight car on the new Thomas & Friends Storytime Podcasts, which are available on the major podcast platforms. Each week features the arrival of an array of new stories, including Thomas-style versions of fairytales, Thomas characters origin stories and adaptations of Thomas TV episodes. It’s all part of Thomas’ 75th birthday celebration.
Bowers’ At Home Art Programs
Although closed temporarily, the Bowers keeps expanding its virtual offerings. Explore the museum’s first digital exhibit, “Reel Art: Movie Posters From Ghana” along with the popular “Disney Archives” exhibit. Both serve as inspirations for things to do among the Bowers’ many special Kidseum at Home activities (craft projects, art lessons, music playlists) found on its YouTube channel and website (which you can check for more June updates).
Get inspired to get creative at home by some of the Barclay’s favorite performers. On the concert hall’s “ArtsReach@Home” page, you can see saxophonist Grace Kelly pairing playing music with working out. Or you can record a cover of a Wailin’ Jennys tune, and then upload it (so everyone can be impressed). Or just have a “play” date with the reliably creative Trusty Sidekick Theatre Company and watch one of their video performances at www.trustysidekick.org.
Segerstrom Center At Home
Much like its regular performance schedule, the Segerstrom presents a diverse selection of videos online too. You can learn to make cardboard tube puppets and how to mime. There are School of Dance & Music classes in a variety of music and dance styles for a range of age groups — and for children with disabilities too. Additionally, families can find out who’s the fittest by participating in a Polynesian-inspired cardio workout.
Whether you want morning entertainment (Rise and Shine Storytime) or evening entertainment (Luna, Luna Bilingual Pajama Storytime), the Placentia Library has what you are looking for on their Facebook page (you can find their Facebook Live schedule there). On the library’s FB page, families can also make like a maker with some hands-on fun following along with one of their crafty instructional videos from The Hanger (adult supervision recommended).
Buena Park’s Kid Zone
Buena Park has done a very good job curating a lengthy and varied list of activities to entertain and enlighten youngsters at home. A number of local participating folks feature exercise videos from the Buena Park’s Community Service Leader Coach Jacqueline, storytimes by the school district’s reading specialist Mrs. Milch, and toddler music time with the OC-based Kids Love Music. On the city’s YouTube Virtual Rec site (www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-s2hbWrnHOLMLSSfFSXzvxW7faX6e-Tx) there are other amusements too.
Creative Parties for Kids
Orange’s own Creative Parties For Kids continues to entertain young and old alike during the pandemic. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 am, the Story Lady amuses youngsters telling stories on Creative Kids’ Facebook page. Don’t worry if you miss a storytime live, episodes are archived on the FB page, along with other fun videos. Keep an eye out for special online events, like a superhero training time honoring dads for Father’s Day.
Drive through and enjoy curbside chili at The 36th Annual Tustin Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off. Taking place on June 7 at 1 pm in Old Town Tustin (El Camino Real and Main Street), the event will also offer a livestream of a live concert, a jalapeño eating contest and a beer stein contest for the 21+ crowd to enjoy.
Kids can enjoy the Kids Fun Zone’s Movement Be Poetry workshop in the Anaheim Town Square (2180 East Lincoln Ave.). This workshop provides support for students in self-expression through poetry. Taking place on June 13 from 12-3 pm, kids will get a unique experience to express themselves through creativity and poetry. Register through the website.
The Help Group’s Virtual Programs
The Help Group offers help for parents with online programs geared for children, adolescents and young adults with special needs. Kids classes, which run through June 30, include yoga on Tuesdays (ages 6-11), Fun & Fitness on Wednesdays (ages 8-13) and Worry Warrior sessions on Thursdays (ages 8-13). All of these classes start at 3 pm. The LA-based non-profit also has summer camps starting in June too. Go online for more details.
Sesame Street Virtual Fun Run LA
Don’t be a grouch! Participate in this Sesame Workshop Yellow Feather Fund benefit event at home. This Fun Run can be done any time between June 28 and July 31. Register by June 12 and you’ll get your special Sesame Street cape and medal by June 28 — so early sign-up is recommended. Participants will receive other fun stuff too. Dress up as your favorite Sesame Street character and share a selfie.
Teen Group: Conquering Anxiety and Stress with Sheryl Aronson
On Thursdays through June (4, 11, 18, 25), Sheryl Aronson, MA, LMFT will lead a one-hour online session concerning stress and anxiety for teens ages 13-17. Aronson, who has lectured across Orange County on a variety of topics, will discuss strategies for dealing with depression, developing good mental health, and coping with social distancing, among other subjects, during these sessions. Sign up on the Eventbrite site.
HomeAid Essentials Diaper Drive
First 5 Orange County and UPS are leading this effort to collect diapers and other baby items that will go to local in-need families with babies and toddlers. The pandemic has made this year’s drive possibly more vital than in any of its prior 12 years. Donations will be accepted through June 5 (learn more details on the HomeAid website) and all collected items will be given to 16 of HomeAid’s non-profit service providers partners.
SOSC’s Healthy Lifestyle Challenge
As a substitute for its spring sports season, the Special Olympics Southern California is hosting this online program for members of the SOSC community, whether you are an athlete or not. It is a good way to maintain, or start, healthy lifestyles routines with daily fitness, hydration and nutrition challenges. While the program concludes on June 7, it is never too late to start living in a more healthy way.
SCC WMS Virtual 5K Walk & Health Expo
The Southern California Conference of the Women’s Missionary Society hosts this fundraising event on June 13, from 8 am-1 pm, for the 16th year. Unlike the prior 15 events, this year’s will be a virtual one. Participants of all ages are welcome, and there will be activities aimed for young people (ages 5-20) at 10 a.m. Money raised will support the organization’s various missions, and bring health awareness to our communities.
OC All-Stars Virtual Classes
Give a cheer for OC All-Stars Cheer and Dance as they have brought some of their signature classes to the Internet. These classes change weekly (check their website for updated info) and are mainly for ages 5-18. A typical week can include 50-minute classes on Ballet, Jazz & Tap for youngsters (ages 6 and younger), a Flyer’s Stretch class for cheerleaders, as well as one that preps you for high school cheerleading tryouts. Register online.
The Casa’s expanded online kids programs features Listen And Create (let Beethoven’s music inspire art-making); Symmetrical Tile Design (kids ages 9-12 can design Romantica-inspired tiles); Build An Arts Program (children ages 7 and older can “create” an arts event); Ocean Ecosystems (youngsters ages 8-11 explore marine ecology) and weekly Zoom storytimes (register online). Plus, the big news is Casa Romantica has re-opened its gardens (reservations are required) and there’ll be children’s storytimes Wednesdays at 11 am.
Rancho Los Cerritos Streaming Storytime
Tuesdays remain storytime at Rancho Los Cerritos — except now kids and parents listen online instead of in-person. You do have to RSVP through the Rancho’s website to get a link for these 11 am storytimes, which are aimed for children ages 5 and younger. Older kids (grades two to five) can check out their award-winning Long Ago Long Beach online virtual classroom experience.
The Loh Down on Science: Special Pandemic Edition
Writer, performance artist and Caltech alumna Sandra Tsing Loh has assembled a team of insightful science writers to explore the history and science of pandemics over time, encompassing the plague to COVID-19. Recommended for middle schoolers and older, the series debuts its short segments on Wednesdays through June 10; however, the episodes remain available on the website and platforms like Spotify and iTunes.
Yorba Linda Public Library’s Programs From Home
The YLPL’s Children’s Department has a full stock of video activities for youngsters. Get STEAM-y constructing a baking soda volcano or creating salt paintings (parent supervision suggested). Watch book reading performances from the Storytime Theater or take part in the more interactive “Rhymes, Bounces, Tickles & Lovies” storytime. There are craft projects for families and teens too. June also brings the YLPL’s summer reading program and DIY Olympics activities.
Anaheim Public Library’s Storytimes
The Anaheim Public Library has increased the number of videos in circulation on its Facebook and YouTube pages (www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtYVMUs260xXGbomZpHunjAXDkiqg8N2O). In addition to more storytime videos (including ones with superheroes and Star Wars themes as well as Move & Groove and Jump & Jive programs), you can also find STEAM adventures (ranging from plants to opossums to Picasso).
SeaWorld Educational Resources
Take a dip into SeaWorld’s website and you can immerse yourself in an ocean of interesting educational material. These e-learning adventures, mainly drawn from its Saving A Species series, are geared for students from K through eighth grade with activities emphasizing science, social studies, math, art and writing. Subjects include whales, dolphins and sea turtles as well as non-marine animals like wolves, primates and cheetahs.
Pretend City at Home
Parents can discover a wealth of wonderfully useful educational materials on the museum’s website. Covering 16 pages, this Ages and Stages Questionnaire includes “Way To Play” sheets and “Good To Go” activities, which are all divided into six different basic groupings between birth and ages 5 and older. This guide provides an array of tools to assist parents with their child’s developmental process and help them keep track of various key childhood milestones.
Orange County Fire Authority’s Education Program
Discover what life is like in the fire department by visiting the OCFA’s Facebook page, which contains a series of behind-the-scenes videos geared for elementary school-aged youngsters. Tour a fire station, check out an OCFA helicopter and meet a fire dog along with getting fire prevention tips. There also are several Fire Fit Family workout videos as well as fire-fighting videos.
Orange County United Way: OC Reads
The Orange County United Way is uniting families, communities and cities around something central to societies: reading. On Thursdays at 3 pm, head over to OCUW’s website and enjoy a special storytime. Can’t make it then? No problem! You can enjoy the storytime anytime. This read aloud storytime also serves to encourage the idea of families reading aloud at least 15 minutes a day.
Queen Of Arts School’s Online Classes
Enjoy a royally creative time with The Queen Of Arts and their Internet-based classes. Their Drawing Club meets up on IG Live every Monday and Wednesday at 4 pm for a free drawing lesson saluting a local hero (like doctors, firefighters, farmers and cashiers). They’re also doing a weekly children’s paint class that is taught by adults and Queen of Arts kids. Check website for more class details and registration info.
OC Tiny Tots Academy
The Tiny Tots have taken to the Internet in a big way. Their YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/channel/UCCGWoNjFu1qwHj_ZIYMqrHQ/about) is populated with a ton of fun videos (from storytimes to craft projects — and a little bit of learning too). Additional, more arty things to do (including online lessons available for purchase at a nominal cost) are available on their website.
The Cube serves up some super science activities for children to do at home. Science In A Snap projects instruct you how to make a rainbow from water, light and paper, while common kitchen powders are used to demonstrate chemical and physical reactions. Take the STEM Challenge and see what treasures you can construct from discarded items. The new Discovery Cube Connect contains terrific hands-on online STEM resources (earth and environmental science, and marine science).
Los Angeles County Arboretum’s At Home Nature Adventures
The Arboretum’s hands-on activities series is continuing through June. Each week will see two new programs getting released on Mondays and Thursdays. Activities typically only involve nature, some everyday household items and your brilliant imagination — plus they can be adapted to different age and skill levels. Go to the website to discover each week’s themes.
“Spiky, Hairy, Shiny: Insects of LA” Online Exhibition
The Natural History Museum of LA County has unveiled its first-ever online exhibit — and it’s quite child-friendly too. As long as you’re not bugged by insects! It’s fascinating to look at the highly-detailed, macrographic images of insects. The exhibit also features a hoard of interactive and multimedia components that will keep kids plenty busy. Building a bee hotel is among the interesting at-home activities.
Ocean Institute’s At Home Learning
If you are looking to see what’s inside a squid, improve your knot-tying skills or discover how sharks are fed, you will find all of this maritime action on the Ocean Institute’s website. Through June, they will be presenting intriguing learning videos concerning ocean science, ocean conservation and maritime history on Wednesdays, while Fridays feature both live dissections and feeding videos.
Nature At Home with The Reserve
Among the goodies you can find at The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo’s website is a gateway to outer space. The Reserve’s At Home page has a link to JPL, where you can discover astronomy-themed activities, NASA’s images from space, and a video from JPL’s youth space school musical. Those who favor robins over rockets, meanwhile, can follow links to the Audubon Society and the opportunity to become a backyard birder.
The San Diego Zoo Online
You couldn’t attend the Zoo’s World Penguin Day, Earth Day and Spring Break events, but you can share in the celebrations — after the fact at least — by visiting the Zoo’s website. Explore there a little more and you can discover craft activities, coloring pages and games (like Elephant Odyssey and Polar Bear Plunge) along with science lessons for middle- and high-schoolers.
OC Fair’s Pig Cam
After pigging out on Peppa Pig episodes, your child might want to go whole hog and watch the real thing. Take a peek then at the OC Fair’s Pig Cam: You might catch them at feeding time, or possibly play time, or maybe nap time. Centennial Farm also has some activity sheets that will show how to churn your own butter as well as telling the story of the Farm’s magnificent oxen.
Doheny Virtual Aquarium
Since you can’t visit the aquarium currently, you can visit virtually! Introduce yourself to their menagerie of marine creatures — from a Thornback Guitar Fish to Spot Fin Croakers — through their selection of nearly 20 short videos. Plus, additional educational activities can be found on the aquarium’s website, including simple identification games for small children and Nature Notes about sea critters for older kids.
— Michael Berick