When the Library is Closed

Looking for things to do at home with the kids? Here are some reading and activity suggestions and online resources recommended by our Children's Librarians.

Lessons & Educational Supports

Amazing Educational Resources: An online spreadsheet tracking education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings.

Children’s Book Council: Book publishers have created a wealth of content to support educators, librarians, booksellers, parents, and caregivers.

Learn at Home: Resources for elementary and secondary students from the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Bedtime Math: Daily prompts to make math easy and fun to talk about. Try adding into your bedtime routine!

CBC Curio.ca: Online streaming platform, currently with complimentary access, with collections of educational videos.

Khan Academy: A non-profit providing free education through fun lessons, like “Imagineering in a Box.”

NASA STEM @Home: Science, tech, engineering, and math activities for families with kids in grades K-4.

PBS LearningMedia: PreK-12 Resources for Emergency Closings, curated collections of lessons, videos, and activities at each grade level.

Scholastic Learn at Home: Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing.

TVO in the Classroom: Educational videos, articles, and games for students in grades K-12

TVO mPower: Math games for K-6, aligned with the Ontario curriculum

Vroom by Bezos Family Foundation: A free app and website with brain building tips for kids 5 and under.

Storytimes & Book Readings

Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre: ASL Stories, eBooks, and other ASL educational resources for parents and kids.

SAG-AFTRA Foundation: Listen to famous actors and personalities like Betty White, Oprah, and Kristin Bell read children’s books.

We are Teachers: The Big List of children’s authors doing online read alouds and activities

Zoos, Museums & Other Experiences

Access Mars: Use VR technology to explore the real surface of Mars, as recorded by NASA’s Curiosity rover.

Cincinnati Zoo: Facebook Live videos highlighting a new animal each weekday at 3pm, and shared via Youtube after the live stream.

Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants: Live free events with scientists and explorers around the world, hosted Live on Youtube.

Food Farm 360°: Online virtual tours of Canadian farms, compatible with VR.

Harry Potter - A History of Magic: Experience the British Library’s Happy Potter exhibit, now available online.

The Louvre: Online tours of select exhibits.

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Live cams allow you to visit everything from jellyfish to sea otters.

Ripley’s Aquariums: Daily live events with aquarium animals and downloadable educational materials.

San Diego Zoo: Live cameras in various zoo exhibits, paired with educational resources.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Self-guided tours of select current and past exhibits.

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

Virtual Museum: Google Arts & Culture virtual tours

Explore Ontario Museums Online

Health & Wellness

Cosmic Kids Yoga: Youtube yoga lessons designed for young children.

Headspace: Guided meditations in a mobile app, offering free trials and recommended meditations for this time.

Monterey Bay Aquarium: calming ocean videos and guided meditations to bring relaxation.

Games & Activities

All Kids Network: Crafts, worksheets, colouring pages, printable mazes, dot to dots, and more.

Breakout EDU Fun @Home: Problem solving games for K-12 with educational topics.

Draw Every Day with JJK: author and illustrator Jarrett J Krosoczka posts daily drawing lessons on Youtube.

Funbrain: Online games, books, and activities divided by grades K-8.

Harry Potter at Home: Fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more for first-time readers, as well as those already familiar with the wizarding world.

Hour of Code: Coding tutorials that teach computer science while kids create games and animations.

The Kennedy Centre presents Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems: Draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually once a day for the next few weeks.

Math Playground: Free online math games and puzzles, for grades 1-6.

National Geographic Kids: Games, articles, and videos all about animals and the environment.

PBS Kids: Online games featuring popular TV characters.

PBS Kids Design Squad Global: Videos, games and design challenges to promote engineering and design skills.

Pete the Cat, Harper Collins Children’s Books: Songs, videos, and activities about everyone’s favourite cat.

Seussville, Random House Children’s Books: Activities, crafts, and printables.

Todd Parr Fun!: Printable and online activities from always positive author Todd Parr. Be sure to check out the Things That Make You Feel Good activity book.

Cozy Sundays: Grab a blanket, get cozy, and enjoy an episode of a family-friendly TV show on Kanopy Kids, a movie from Hoopla, or a read-along on TumbleBook Library.

Book Club Mondays: Check out an eBook from our Overdrive collection. Every Monday, read a few chapters of your novel out loud as a family. Don't forget to have someone recap what you read last time.

Game night Tuesdays: Embrace your competitive side. There’s so many different games you can play!

  • Board games
  • Card games: Crazy Eights, Go Fish, War
  • Paper and pencil games: Tic Tac Toe, Hangman, Squares
  • Create your own board game
  • Create your own matching memory game
  • Tray memory game
  • Learn Chess

Challenge Wednesdays: Get inventive and think outside the box to complete a family challenge.

  • ABC scavenger hunt
  • Fort building challenge
  • Learn 5 words in a new language (use Transparent Language Online to help)
  • Recycling bin challenge (Raid your recycling bin for containers and boxes, pick 5 items and combine them into a new invention)
  • Loose Parts challenge (Find 3 unrelated items, like toothpicks, yarn, and toilet paper rolls, everyone gets 10 minutes to combine those 3 things into something useful)

Active Thursdays: Get moving today! Some of our favourite ways to get going:

  • Borrow an album from Hoopla and have a dance-off
  • Hide and Seek
  • Backyard obstacle course
  • Laser beam maze

Kindness Fridays: What can you do today to be kind to those around you, and those who have to keep their distance right now?

  • Write a nice message or draw a fun picture and hang it in your window
  • Write encouraging sayings on the sidewalk with chalk
  • Rake a neighbour’s lawn
  • Do someone else’s chores
  • Call, text, or email someone you care about
  • Write a nice note for someone in your home

Creative Saturdays: Get imaginative and resourceful, and let your creative side shine on Saturdays!

  • Invent a new snack
  • Make an indoor “campsite”
  • Create a puppet from an old sock
  • Turn lunch into a picnic
  • Make your own picturebook
  • Write a poem

BPL Kids Monthly Literacy Calendar: April

What's Live Online

More resources on our kids website

Resources for parents on our kids website

Kanopy Kids - stream movies using your library card

Explore TumbleBooks online books for kids

Streaming movies on Hoopla

APPLY for your library card online now