With Forsyth County kids home while schools are closed through at least spring break, parents are suddenly thrust into the role of part- or full-time educator. On top of that, many are having to work remotely as government and health officials urge citizens to practice social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused the novel coronavirus.
This is new territory for a lot of families, but technology is here to help. Sure, tech has its pitfalls, but society is also rediscovering its usefulness to connect with families, stay informed and provide educational opportunities while isolated in our homes.
Families can still explore an active volcano, learn to paint a sloth or come face-to-face with a lion by the power of Facebook, podcasts, webcams and more.
Check out some ideas below and see if they make this social distancing moment just a little bit more bearable -- and educational.
● McHarper Manor, a visual arts studio in Ohio, is hosting free art and craft video tutorials for elementary-aged kids every day at 1 p.m.
● Leaf and Loaf chef Sue Snape, out of Marietta, is hosting daily "Fun with Food" video cooking lessons. Past recipes have included super granola power balls and green salads. Each comes with a printable handout available the day before.
● With schools closed, Seattle musician Mikey Gervais has had to take his interactive musical act for preschoolers online. Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time (that's 2:30 p.m., Eastern Time), Gervais, who goes by the stage name "Mikey the Rad Scientist," performs a music show on Facebook Live that uses catchy tunes to teach kids about science and nature.
● Little Stories for Tiny People -- A children's podcast featuring original audio stories written, performed and produced by Rhea Pechter, of Maryland.
● But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids -- But Why is a show from Vermont Public Radio based on kid-submitted questions about topics big and small, including their most recent episode about the coronavirus.
● Circle Round -- A show from WBUR, Boston's public radio station, that according to its website adapts "carefully-selected folktales from around the world into sound- and music-rich radio plays for kids ages 4 to 10."
● Rangers give tours at five of the country's most majestic National Parks in Google's The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks -- and in 360-degree immersive video, no less.
● The Louvre in Paris is, like many places around the world, closed to the public until further notice, but some of its exhibits are still accessible by online virtual tours.
● You can still enjoy the beluga whales, penguins, sea otters and more at the Georgia Aquarium through a collection of webcams.
● Every day at 3 p.m., the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden introduces viewers to a different animal at the zoo in its "Home Safari" series.