As Michigan begins to slowly reopen from a global pandemic, most of us have come to terms that online events will continue to be a part of our lives for a least a little while longer. Meetings via Zoom have become our new normal on the job. Taking classes or going on virtual adventures have become the norm for our kids.
Although some people are eager to begin gathering in person, some of us are not so sure. Area organizations are continuing their online events to help keep your child engaged, even if they can’t visit in person this summer. Take a look at our top 10 list of online events for littles:
Abrams Planetarium, on Michigan State University’s campus, provides learning opportunities on astronomy and space science. “Experiment Along” is the planetarium’s Facebook Live series which takes place every Monday. During the Facebook Live events, you and your child can conduct the experiments with the experts. Upcoming online events include rockets, craters, and supernova explosions. The planetarium also offers storytimes every Thursday through August.
Although the Capital Area District Libraries (CADL) canceled their in-person activities, they are continuing through online events. Families can participate in the Summer Reading Challenge or join the library staff for Facebook live storytimes. “CADL Tales” storytimes allows ages six and up for entertaining stories and songs. Facebook Live events take place every Monday and Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. through August.
It’s no secret that I love visiting Impression 5 Science Center in person (check out my post on Tips for Your First Visit to Impression 5 Science Center). But until they reopen their doors, visiting online is our only option. Impression 5 offers a Facebook Live series called “Science Investigations.” The weekly series allows your family to explore hands-on science together. There are only a couple events left in June, but I’m hoping they continue throughout the summer.
Who doesn’t love a story and craft with your favorite princess or superhero? When the COVID-19 pandemic began, my Facebook feed was flooded with online events for kids. My daughter loves the ones that feature her favorite characters, mostly princesses. Not only do the princesses stay in character, they also sing songs, read books, make crafts, and even teach yoga during the free online events. We frequently visit Laurel’s Princess Parties Facebook page for weekly Facebook Live events. There are several other companies in Michigan and neighboring states with these types of offerings. Most of them also host private parties and personalized calls for a fee.
Get your little one moving and grooving! Mr. Ben from Munchkin Music Makers teaches your child music classes in the comfort of your own home. Munchkin Music Makers provides music enrichment classes to preschools and daycares in the greater Lansing area. Silly songs and dancing for everyone will take place Monday through Friday at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom and Facebook Live.
Potter Park Zoo is home to over 160 species of animals, many of which are threatened or endangered. The most recent and exciting news from Potter Park Zoo was the birth of black rhino calf, Jaali, in December 2019. I know I’m dying to see Jaali in person, but my daughter and I are loving the photos and videos of the animals. The zookeepers are utilizing online events to show us behind the scenes at the zoo. Watching the animals at mealtime and playtime really puts a smile on your face. If you want to take your zoo knowledge a step further, the Potter Park Zoo blog offers activities and lessons for kids to become citizen scientists.
Fishing can provide a little outdoor fun and get your child closer to nature! Project F.I.S.H. is a sportfishing education program that utilizes volunteers to teach kids how to fish. On the Project F.I.S.H. Facebook and YouTube accounts, families can take part in how-to video projects to encourage practical fishing anywhere. Virtual lessons include creating a pop can fishing reel and basic fishing knot tying.
Schuler Books in Okemos is hosting weekly kids storytime Facebook events. Families can jump into the pages of their favorite books. Schuler Books staff members also sing songs, make crafts, and go on a new adventure each storytime. All Facebook events are available to view every Monday and Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
tinkrLAB in the Meridian Mall was created in 2014 with the intent to teach kids about invention, building, and making. Each Friday, tinkrLab posts interactive and engaging Facebook DIY projects with household items. Creations include lava lamps, elephant toothpaste, and more.
The 4-H Children’s Gardens at MSU looks to promote an understanding of plants and the role they play in our daily lives. Their mission is to nurture the wonder in a child’s imagination and curiosity. Although the butterfly house is closed, you can visit them through their “Butterflies in the Garden Virtual Field Trips.” The virtual field trips allow you and your child to explore butterfly collections, learn about butterfly anatomy in the lab, and much more.
Online events and learning continues at MSU. With the cancellation of the 2020 Michigan State University Science Festival, organizers took the opportunity to develop alternative programming. Web-based resources, digital presentations, and activities you can do at home are all a part of their digital library. Check out their website for additional online events and activities for littles from multiple area organizations.
Choosing the Right Event for You
It is great seeing a variety of local organizations continue offering creative ways for families to visit and participate in their programs virtually. I hope this list of online events helps you and your family stay entertained at home, as you decide when to safely attend in-person activities.