The DeKalb Public Library has compiled a list of free resources for parents (and others!) who need ideas for engaging activities while practicing social distancing. Some require a DeKalb Public Library card, but many are available for anyone. This list will be updated periodically.
Looking for ideas to have playful learning at home? We’ve created a variety of videos to help you. For a complete listing of videos by topic, click the playlists on the left. You can find our latest content on or our website.
Former first lady Michelle Obama teamed up with PBS Kids and Penguin Random House to host a free weekly read-aloud series. For four weeks Michelle Obama read from one of her favorite children’s books in an event called “Mondays with Michelle Obama.” To view on Facebook please click here.
Julie Andrews Edwards, of Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, Princess Diaries fame, invites you to Julie’s Library, where she reads picture books. These public media broadcasts are free podcasts for families to enjoy.
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Home Safari Events
Each weekday, starting at 2 p.m. Central time, the Cincinnati Zoo will introduce one of their animals, and include an activity to do at home. Go to Cincinnati Zoo’s Facebook page for the Facebook Live event.
The Aquarium of the Pacific has live images of sharks, sea jellies, fish, and penguins
Check in on sea otters, moon jellies, open sea creatures, or a kelp forest.
Watch giraffes, gorillas, elephants, and more
Live and recorded webcams of pandas, penguins, koalas, and other animals
Take a tour of real farms and see what they’re like
Arts and Crafts
Creativebug.com has more than 1,000 award-winning art & craft video classes taught by recognized design experts and artists. DKPL card required.
Daily drawing session with author Mo Willems every weekday at 12pm Central time.
Since 1993 World Trade Press has been dedicated to providing large-scale databases of country information to schools, libraries, academic institutions, global businesses, NGOs, and government agencies. Our content is wide, deep, and insightful, and is relied upon by more than 1,300 organizations worldwide.
In response to the challenges created by the global public health crisis of COVID-19, Project MUSE is pleased to support its participating publishers in making scholarly content temporarily available for free on our platform. With many higher education institutions moving into an exclusively online learning environment for the foreseeable future, we hope that easy access to vetted research in the humanities and social sciences, from a variety of distinguished university presses, societies, and related not-for-profit publishers, will help to support teaching, learning, and knowledge discovery for users worldwide.
Daily projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing. Pre-k and up
STAR Net “STEAM Ahead @ Home” Initiative
Free resources for ages 4-18, or a free app for ages 2-7. Requires signing up for a free account.
We Are Teachers
25 Amazing Virtual Field Trips for Kids—Spring 2020. Field trip out of the question? Think again. Thanks to technology, it’s now possible for kids to visit all kinds of places from the comfort of their classroom (or home!). We’ve compiled a list of the best virtual field trips for you, so enjoy your “visit”!
The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read-Alouds & Activities. With kids at home and parents looking for educational activities, many of our favorite authors are offering online read-alouds and activities on social media. We’ve rounded up over 50 of the best virtual author activities below!
Do you have what it takes? Solve a series of clues to solve the puzzles and “escape”. Don’t worry, it’s just for fun, free, and you can’t get stuck inside! Check out our collection of digital escape rooms created by librarians all around the world – how cool is that? These escape rooms are designed for children of different ages, or for families to work on together.
DPLA connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more—are free and immediately available in digital format. The cultural institutions participating in DPLA represent the richness and diversity of America itself, from the smallest local history museum to our nation’s largest cultural institutions.
The Illinois Digital Archives is a repository for the digital collections of the Illinois State Library as well as other libraries and cultural institutions in the State of Illinois. It contains historical photographs, slides, glass negatives, oral histories, manuscripts, letters, federal government documents, postcards, posters, videos, newspapers, and maps.
Newspapers.com is the largest online newspaper archive consisting of 514 million+ pages of historical newspapers from 12,100+ newspapers from around the United States and beyond. Newspapers provide a unique view of the past and can help us understand and connect with the people, events and attitudes of an earlier time. DKPL card required.
Reach conversational proficiency in 72 languages, including English as a Second Language, good for tourists or beginners. Free app for iOS and Android available. DKPL card required.
We’re blown away by the overwhelming response to our 3-month offer for free guitar, bass and ukulele lessons. It’s clear we need music more than ever. So, we’re keeping it going and extending the offer to the first 1 million who sign up for Fender Play. There’s no cost. No catch. Just music. We’re all going to be spending more time inside – so we might as well make some noise.
Weekday Live Streams with Mr. Jon & Friends
Mr. Jon & Friends will be hosting weekday live streams of music and movement for kids at 9:30 a.m. Central time each day. Watch live, and then come back to re-watch alter as often as you’d like. The live stream events run from Monday, March 16th to Friday, March 27th. You can find all the info on their Facebook page.
Archive of the nation’s busiest performing arts center.
Daily series of free streaming opera presentations, available to stream from 6:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. the next day.
Reading and Storytimes:
Joan Aubelel will be rescheduling her visit to the library for sometime in late spring or summer. In the meantime, thank you to Joan for making her memoir available to the public!
This will feature new video content created by Pilkey himself on Friday mornings at 8:00 a.m. ET on social media channels and the websites of the Library and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company. Beginning April 1, fun and free activities will be available online including how-to-draw demonstrations, engaging read-a-louds and inspiring resources from the Library of Congress’ collections. View this on Facebook or Scholastic.
Welcome to the Harry Potter At Home hub where you’ll find all the latest magical treats to keep you occupied – including special contributions from Bloomsbury and Scholastic, nifty magical craft videos (teach your friends how to draw a Niffler!), fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more for first-time readers, as well as those already familiar with the wizarding world. We’re casting a Banishing Charm on boredom!
Nightly live-streamed storytimes on Facebook Live at 8 p.m. Central Time
Learn the basics of how to create your own READ® poster and fun ways to customize and make it your own. Download the free poster file and follow along.
Children’s author Mac Barnett will be reading one of his books out loud, on Instagram Live, every weekday at 2 p.m. Central time until he runs out of books to read.
Artist Oliver Jeffers will be reading one of his books and talking about being a writer every weekday, at 1 p.m. Central time.
Over 1100 titles for grades K-6, including unique animated, talking picture books, read-along chapter books, graphic novels, math stories, national geographic videos, non-fiction books, playlists, as well as books in Spanish and French. Requires DKPL card.
eBooks and educator resources for middle schoolers and high schoolers. Requires DKPL card.
An online collection of eBooks and read-along chapter books, non-fiction books, graphic novels, educational videos, and audio books specifically for kids in grades three to six. Requires DKPL card.
The following sites contain free eBooks and e-audiobooks that are no longer covered by U.S. copyright:
Virtual Field Trips
Check out a 360 degree tour of Mars from the Mars Rover
Air Pano is a group of Russian photographers that takes 360 degree photos and videos of important places around the world. Many beautiful places are available to explore.
STEM field trips to the Johnson Space Center, arctic tundra, and more
Virtual tours of some of the historic museum’s most famous collections
Collections related to the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic civilizations.
Modern Korean art and design.
Tour one of the world’s most beautiful buildings.
Watch live footage of the Mud Volcano, Fountain Paint Pot, and more
PressReader provides full text, full color access to over 4000 newspapers and magazines from 100 countries in 60 languages. The issues are current and archived for one to two weeks. Included are the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and USA Today. Requires DKPL card.