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Resources for At-Home Learning

March 16th, 2020
Categories: Adults, Kids, News, Seniors, Teen, Tweens
Tags: ,

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.

Recently Added:

Time Outside

Time Outside believes that everyone deserves a breath of fresh air and that time spent outside is beneficial to the individual mind and body and community.


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.

Animal Webcams:

Aquarium of the Pacific Webcams

The Aquarium of the Pacific has live images of sharks, sea jellies, fish, and penguins

Monterey Bay Aquarium Webcams

Check in on sea otters, moon jellies, open sea creatures, or a kelp forest.

Houston Zoo Webcams

Watch giraffes, gorillas, elephants, and more

San Diego Zoo Webcams

Live and recorded webcams of pandas, penguins, koalas, and other animals

Shedd Aquarium Live Stream

Enjoy a variety of fish live with the Underwater Beauty webcam at the Shedd Aquarium!

Virtual Farm Tours

Take a tour of real farms and see what they’re like

Arts and Crafts

Creativebug has more than 1,000 award-winning art & craft video classes taught by recognized design experts and artists. DKPL card required.

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

Daily drawing session with author Mo Willems every weekday at 12pm Central time.

Educational Resources:

A-Z the World

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.

Discovery Center Museum

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.

DuSable Museum of African American History

Learn about African American history though art, historical items, documents, and more.

Guggenheim Museum

Explore some of the Guggenheim Museum virtually from home.

HITN Learning

Cómo puedes disfrutar las fotos con toda la familia

¿Celebraciones, rompecabezas y juegos con fotos familiares? ¡Si! Encuentra excelentes ideas aquí.

Using Your Neighborhood to Encourage Conversations with your Preschoolers

There are lots of ways to get your preschooler chatting. Start in your neighborhood.

Usa tu vecindario para fomentar las conversaciones con tu niño en edad preescolar

Hay muchas maneras para lograr que tu hijo converse más. Empieza por tu barrio.

Enjoy Homemade Empanadas

Here is a delicious and easy recipe the whole family can make together!

Museum of Science and Industry – Science at Home

Learn from home with a variety of science activities and videos.

Prepara empanadas en casa

Encuentra aquí una receta fácil y deliciosa para preparar en familia.

Project MUSE

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.

Scholastic Learn at Home

Daily projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing.  Pre-k and up

STAR Net “STEAM Ahead @ Home” Initiative

Virtual Program: Sky Heroes

Hands-on Activity: Daylight in a Bottle

How-to Video: Daylight in a Bottle

Digital App: Star Maze

Webinar: Imagine Your Story… with a STEAM Twist!

Activity Guide: Edible Destruction

Khan Academy

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!

PBS Learning Media


Digital Escape Rooms

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.


Digital Public Library of America

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.

Illinois Digital Archives

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. 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.

Language Learning

Mango Languages

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.


Fender Guitar Lessons

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.

Musical Mornings at Home with Angie Carter

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.

The Kennedy Center Digital Stage

Archive of the nation’s busiest performing arts center.

Metropolitan Opera Nightly Met Opera Streams

Daily series of free streaming opera presentations, available to stream from 6:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. the next day.

Sydney Opera House

Featured are several online exhibits from the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Reading and Storytimes:

10 Books To Nurture Budding Young Activists

37 Picture Books That Celebrate #BlackJoy

The Dance: A Story of Love, Faith, and Survival

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!

Dave Pilkey at Home

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.

Harry Potter at Home

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!

Julie’s Library

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.

The Lucky Trikes Storytimes From a Short Distance 

Nightly live-streamed storytimes on Facebook Live at 8 p.m. Central Time

Mondays with Michelle Obama

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.

READ® Posters

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.

Story time with author Mac Barnett

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.

Stories with author Oliver Jeffers

Artist Oliver Jeffers will be reading one of his books and talking about being a writer every weekday, at 1 p.m. Central time.

TumbleBook Library

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.

TumbleBookCloud Junior

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:


Project Gutenberg


Virtual Field Trips

Access Mars

Check out a 360 degree tour of Mars from the Mars Rover

Air Pano

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.

Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips

STEM field trips to the Johnson Space Center, arctic tundra, and more

The Louvre–Paris

Virtual tours of some of the historic museum’s most famous collections

Million Mile Secrets

Field trips have long been a way for children to become engaged in learning through fun, but with closures around the world, in-person visits haven’t been a possibility for quite some time. That’s where we can help, offering this handy guide for at-home learning through virtual visits to all of your favorite places around the world.

National Museum of Anthropology–Mexico City

Collections related to the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic civilizations.

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art–South Korea

Modern Korean art and design.

The Vatican–Rome

Tour one of the world’s most beautiful buildings.

Yellowstone National Park

Watch live footage of the Mud Volcano, Fountain Paint Pot, and more

World Events


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.


Preschool For All Expansion (PFAE)

The NIU Preschool For All Expansion program is open to both DeKalb residents and NIU student families. The program hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday but extended care is available through private pay or Child Care Assistant Program (CCAP) funding. To enroll, children must be age four by September 1 of the program year

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