Posted Mar 19, 2020
Family life is already starting to look much different, and in the coming weeks, it seems likely to continue to change. One thing that won’t change is our commitment to helping families save, have fun, and explore more.
Our team has put together this list of freebies to help families during this crisis. We’ll be adding to it often, so bookmark this article so you can come back and see what’s new. Stay safe, healthy and remember that fun, learning, and laughter make for great medicine.
Storytimes & More
Do, Do, Doodle - The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ first-ever Education Artist-in-Residence, Emmy Award®–winning writer and New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, Mo Willems, has launched an online video series that invites viewers to virtually join him in his studio for a LUNCH DOODLE every day for the next few weeks. A new LUNCH DOODLE will be posted to the Mo Willems page daily at 1 p.m. ET.
PB&YAY! - Bestselling author of "Peanut Butter and Jellyfish," National Book Award finalist "Hey Kiddo" and the "Lunch Lady" series, Jarret J. Krosoczka is hosting an all-ages drawing masterclass on his website and his YouTube channel.
Captain Underpants - The Library of Congress is collaborating with "Captain Underpants" author and illustrator Dav Pilkey to create weekly videos for kids (and adults!) who might want to try their hand at drawing while we’re social distancing at home. Each Friday, the Library will launch a short video of Dav drawing and reading aloud. The content will be available on their website and social media channels.
Harry Potter at Home - J.K. Rowling has launched an online hub for kids, families and fans where you’ll find magical craft videos, fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and more to "banish boredom."
Star Studded Stories - The stars are turning out for storytime, too! Storyline has an extensive catalog of some of your kiddo’s favorite stores read by some of your favorite celebrities.
Stuck For A Story? - Author of "Stuck," "Lost And Found," and others, Oliver Jeffers will read one of his books every day at 2 p.m. on Instagram TV, then archive the reading on his website.
Operation Storytime - On Facebook? Then you’ll want to check out #OperationStorytime. The collection of authors, actors, creators, and personalities reading wonderful stories is growing daily. We’d love to see you share your family’s storytime together, too. Use #WhereKidsPlay to share with us. One good thing that could come out of this crazy time is everyone feeling more like a community from wherever we are.
Curated Educational Programming - Litton Entertainment recently launched THE DAILY SPLASH, an online hub to give kids and families free access to a library of over 3,000 episodes of educational, inspirational and thought-provoking programming featuring trusted hosts like animal ambassador Jack Hanna, conservationist and scientist Jeff Corwin, journalist and humorist Mo Rocco and more. Kids can visit the Great Barrier Reef, go hiking in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, visit an elephant sanctuary in Malaysia, reboot and recharge with at-home yoga, and so much more.
Kiwi For FREE! KiwiCo develops engaging hands-on science and art projects that spark curiosity and inspire kids of all ages to become creative problem-solvers. All KiwiCo projects are designed by in-house experts comprised of educators, makers, engineers, and even rocket scientists (for real!), and tested by kids, so hands-on fun and learning is guaranteed. And NOW you can get a month of KiwiCo inspiration in a box FREE! Click HERE for our special freebie.
Listen To A Story - Audio books are a fantastic option for the kids and for you too. Listen while you workout or in a quite spot in the house were you can just relax. Audible just made hundreds of titles in their vast audio library free until things get back to normal.
Catch A Movie Together (sort of) - Netflix has a cool, free Chrome extension that lets you go to the movies together when you can’t actually be together. Gather up your kids’ pals and watch something fun together. Don’t forget the popcorn!
Facebook Flicks - Host a Facebook watch party. Gather the sleeping bags and favorite stuffies in the TV room, add some snacks and watch something with friends. Think of it as a virtual slumber party!
This one isn't free, BUT it is worth mentioning. Several major movie studios are making their in-theater movies available on demand. That includes things like the latest Troll's flick.
Momni App offers a timely solution to the current childcare crisis by helping parents get in contact with local families to offer or receive childcare services. Parents are able to find childcare that will not expose children to large groups typically seen at traditional daycares and schools. In addition, Momni also provides work-from-home opportunities for those hourly and contracted employees who may be without work during Coronavirus-related closures. They are waving their fees through April 30, 2020.
AirConsole - AirConsole is a cloud-based video game console that is accessible from every home through the web browser. Smartphones are used as gamepads. No additional hardware is required for a full video game console experience. AirConsole boasts a library of 150 games across a variety of genres. They are offering free access to all of their video games during the Covid-19 crisis.
Prodigy - A fantasy-themed math-based game combines playtime and learning. Your kids can level-up on the fun and the learning with this game that is great for ages 7 through 13.
Baby Bus - Preschoolers, there is an app for that! With this Baby Bus, they’ll plant a magical seed and then go along for an adventure as it sprouts.
HeadSpace - We mentioned this app in our advice and resources article for parents. Since that time, the HeadSpace team that specializes in teaching mindfulness and meditation to all ages, has rolled out a special, free section that provides content specific to dealing with stress during the Coronavirus pandemic.
LEGO® City My City - With this app children can explore the ocean in a LEGO submarine, put out fires, steer Coast Guard helicopters and chase crooks who escaped from the LEGO City Jail. Not only is it free, since it’s an app, you don’t run the risk of stepping on any LEGO!
Free Virtual Field Trips
San Diego Zoo Kids - When you can't get up close and personal with the animals the next best thing is right on the San Diego Zoo's page built for kids. See the animals LIVE via their animal cams, play games, read stories, learn about conservation and MORE!
Explore Mars! - Get a 360-degree view of the red planet with video feeds from the Mars Rover. Seriously, this one is so cool you might find yourself checking in on Mars long after the kids have gone to bed.
Watch Giant Pandas Play - While the Nation's favorite free zoo is closed, guests can still watch the frolicking antics of two of their favorite inhabitants via the National Zoo's Panda Cam. Watch giant pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang chomp on bamboo, play in trees and tumble in the grass!
Talk With The Animals - While the Cincinnati Zoo is closed so we can all stay safe, kids can still drop in for a Hope Safari on Facebook Live. The zoo will go live every weekday at 3 p.m. ET to put their amazing animals in the spotlight. Each safari will feature fun information and activities for kids. Who knows, you might just catch a glimpse of Fiona their famous hippopotamus!
Explore Space From Your Living Room - The new NASA at Home website includes dozens of tutorials on different STEM activities for kids, ranging from building a moon habitat, an edible spacecraft and rockets that kids can build in their backyard.
Explore History With A Virtual Tour Of George Washington's Mount Vernon
It's all a click away, the mansion, outbuildings, gardens, and grounds. Working on a history lesson with the kids while you're all home? This is the perfect field trip that allows them to see history as it was back when George and Martha were helping to build a nation.You can even play George himself with their Be Washington game. Check the website for the schedule of live stream events and lessons with the museum staff.
Fine Arts Fun
Catch at Kennedy Center Concert - The Kennedy Center is offering free, live digital "Couch Concerts" streaming directly from artists' homes on the Kennedy Center website every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4 p.m. while the Center remains closed.
Tour The Louvre - Perfect for pint-sized Picassos, artistic teens, and parents, too, the world-famous Louvre museum in Paris, France has several online tours available. When we’re stuck at home what better way to travel than through exploring some of the world’s most amazing art?
Pick Up A Brush - After that online tour of the Lourve, encourage your kids to start exploring their own inner artist. Simplified Classes with Emily Lex has a free, downloadable watercolor painting book to get them started.
Catch A Broadway Show - The lights of The Great White Way may have been dimmed by Coronavirus but, as they say, the show must go on(line.) BroadwayHD is offering CertifiKID subscribers 30 days of FREE access to over 270 Broadway shows, including well known titles like "Cats," "Peter Pan," "The King and I," "Miss Saigon," "Oklahoma," "Kinky Boots" and more! High definition cameras capture the excitement in front of an audience and deliver the best angles, video quality, and audio quality right to your living room.
The Show Goes On - Like almost all venues across the country, The Kennedy Center has had to shut the doors on in-person performances. But the show still goes on with their free videos. Rumor has it that they’ll be adding more features regularly until life gets back to normal.
Dance. Dance. Dance - If you're old enough, you'll likely be able to finish this quote, "You want fame... ____." The movie and then the hit TV series, "Fame" were both a big deal way back-in-the-day and Debbie Allen played her role as the tough-love dance teacher to perfection. Debbie will be hosting dance classes LIVE on Instagram. So, dig out those leg warmers, get the kids in tights, and get ready to dance with one of the greats!
For The Grownups
For College Students - With colleges closing, many students are left to wonder what to do with all that cool dorm stuff you set them up with. U-Haul is offering 30-days of free storage for college students during this crisis.
Free Wifi & Data- Phone, cable and internet providers are stepping up to help out students, customers, and families in need by offering free wifi and unlimited data. As of the publication of this article, Comcast, AT&T, T-Mobile, Cox, and several others are participating. We expect that list will grow so be sure to check with your carriers.
Work, Learn & Connect AT HOME- Several services that provide video conferencing are now offering the use of their platforms for free. This is a great way to keep working if you or the business you work for can offer services remotely. It’s also a wonderful way to learn and have the kids stay connected with family and friends while most of us are staying home.
Keep Moving- Staying healthy right now doesn’t just mean avoiding the virus. It also means getting in a workout when you can. Exercise can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and actually keep you well. Many leaders in the fitness industry are offering free online programs. Joining that growing list are places like Planet Fitness, Fab Fit Fun, Peloton, Snap Fitness, Fitness On Demand and more.
SiriusXM - Free access to SiriusXM's full lineup of premier streaming content through May 15th, including news and information, entertainment, faith-based content, music channels, and more. Anyone who is not already a SiriusXM subscriber can download the SiriusXM app or go to SiriusXM.ca/streamfree, and start listening free of charge, with no credit card or commitment required.
Get Some Fresh Air - National Parks across the country are now free. Get some fresh air while maintaining your social distance and enjoy!
Tired Of Cooking? Oh boy, we get that. Here is a list of food freebies and discounts. We're adding to it so check back often.
Order Up!- With restaurants, bars, and eateries closing or limiting their offerings to carry-out and delivery, it may feel like there aren’t a lot of options available for meals you don’t have to cook yourself. Not so! Chains like Denny's, Chipotle and KFC are offering free delivery and many services like Uber Eats and Grub Hub are offering reduced fees. In a number of cities, smaller, independently-owned eateries are now offering delivery as well. Be sure to check with your favorite places to see if they have something to offer, it's a great way to get a meal and support local small businesses that are suffering during this time.
Burger King - Get up to two FREE Burger King kid's meals with your drive-thru or carry-out order. Noodles and Co
Noodles & Co - Known for serving classic noodle, Zoodle and Caulifloodle dishes from around the world, today announced it now offers free delivery through Noodles.com. The offer of free delivery applies to all orders of $15 or more placed via Noodles.com or on the Noodles Rewards app effective through March 31, 2020 at participating locations.
EAT LOCAL - Have a favorite local eatery your family is missing right now? Check their website, Facebook page, or give them a call. In cities and towns across the country, small, locally owned restaurants have been forced to close their doors in an effort to help keep us all healthy. But, that doesn't mean they are all closed. Many are offering pick up and/or delivery. Reach out to them. They need our support now too.
We Are Teachers (and we're here for you) - Teachers from all over are offering free storytimes and more via the We Are Teacher website.
Free Olive Garden - Olive Garden is offering a new buy-one, get-one free meal deal for take-out orders from their restaurants across the country. In true never-ending style, customers are able to use this offer as many times as they like.
50+ Free Printable Word Search Games - Laura Kelly Designs sister site, Me & My Inklings has a huge catalog of word search puzzles with 50+ of them being offered to families as a free resource for creative, educational, FUN!
Time Magazine for Kids - The publisher's of one of America's most renowned magazines, TIME have now made their entire catalog of Time for Kids resources available for FREE for the remainder of the school year. Time for Kids has teaching tools, worksheets, quizzes and more for both parents and teachers to help keep children engaged and excited about learning.
Language Learning with Babble - As schools and universities across the U.S. close, leading language learning app Babbel is offering all K-12 and college students free access to its app until the end of the term (mid June 2020). To receive free three-month access, students (or their parents or guardian) need to apply via this link using their valid school email addresses. They will then receive a coupon code for 3 free months.
Science Fun From National Geographic Kids Science Lab - Make a lava lamp, DIY your own ice cream - in a bag!, learn about rain clouds and more from National Geographic Kids.
We'll be adding to this list as often as possible. The same goes for our other resource articles like Family Lockdown: A Guide to Getting Through Coronavirus with Kids.
CertifiKID was founded by a mom with a passion for helping parents provide the best experiences for their children on a budget. From outings to adventures, classes to camps, theater to sporting events, amusement parks to getaways, CertifiKID provides the best family-friendly experiences at unbeatable prices. Sign up for family-friendly deals in your area and start saving!
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