Staying Busy: Virtual Experiences

Cary, NC — Going a little stir-crazy? You’re not alone. We’ve compiled a list of 12 virtual experiences to keep your whole family busy this week, some of which directly support Cary businesses.

Virtual Experiences for Kids

1. Learn to Doodle with Mo Willems of the Kennedy Center

Kids across the country are tuning in and sharing their masterpieces.

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems is an educational drawing class scheduled for each weekday at 1 PM through March 27. The teacher in these videos is the Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence and explores new ways to doodle, draw and write with kids tuning in all over the world. Willems invites families to grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join in on the fun on the website. Pro tip: before watching a video lesson, print out the activity page. This week it’s all about drawing a cat in seven easy steps.

2. Live Concerts from Mr. Jon & Friends

Coming to your living rooms live from Maryland is the musical stylings of Mr. Jon & Friends. This band makes energetic family music for kids and it’s all about fun, movement, and laughter. You can catch up on previous jams on their Facebook page and see their full schedule of live streams on their events page.

3. Keeping TV Time Educational

There’s no doubt that kids are thrilled to have more TV time during school closures. But, in addition to the cartoons, there are plenty of shows that incorporate a learning element. This article explores 30 options on Netflix alone that teachers (or parents) can encourage kids to watch, separated by age groups from elementary to high school-aged students. Whether your child is into science, history, arts or music, there are plenty of choices out there to stream or watch online. See this article for a list of 21 top educational Youtube channels providing free educational entertainment all on your time schedule.

4. Let the Zoos Come to You

The Riverbanks Zoo of Columbia, SC is streaming live to their Facebook page Monday-Friday starting at 10 AM during their temporary closure to the public. These live videos, called “Z-Learning” are all about having kids meet and learn about animals from Milo, the zoo’s Conservation Communications Manager. With 170-acres of zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden to explore, there is sure to be many animals and plant life to learn about. All of the Z-Learning videos are available on the Zoo’s Facebook page and website if you want to catch up on the ones already recorded.

The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro has also begun to post similar videos to their Facebook page. And, if you just can’t get enough, the Cincinnati Zoo has at home safaris with activities to do at home posted to their Facebook page.

5. Live Story Time with Children’s Authors

Authors Mac Barnett and Oliver Jeffers are both offering readings of their popular kids’ books through their Instagram pages.

Barnett, who has authored many books including “Extra Yarn,” “Billy Twitters” and “His Blue Whale Problem” streams an out-loud reading on his Instagram page every weekday at 3 PM and plans to do so until he runs out of books to read.

Jeffers, author and illustrator of “Here We Are,” “The Fate of Fausto” and  “Imaginary Fred” offers the same out-loud style readings every weekday at 2 PM and includes a bit of background into the making of each book. Tune in to his live readings on his Instagram page to give your children a one-on-one interaction with a talented author.

Virtual Experiences for Adults

6. Brush Up Your Cooking Skills with an Iron Chef

The Food Network Facebook page is chocked full of recipe and guided cooking videos from world-class chefs that you can view anytime. This week on the Food Network Kitchen page, Iron Chef Michael Symon is bringing a 10-day series called “Daily Dinner Live” where he takes you through recipes that can be made using a limited pantry. He is part way through the series now with recipe videos up including one-pot chicken, chili, tacos, burgers, sloppy joes, an easy pasta bake and more. Each video is roughly 20-30 minutes long.

7. Garth Brooks Puts on Live Concert & Plays Fan Requests

Tonight, Monday, March 23, the famous country artist, Garth Brooks is putting on a live concert on his Facebook page and will be playing songs requested in the comments from fans. If you are finding out about this concert after the fact, still check to see if the video is posted following the live stream!

8. Nightly Operas from the Met

Every night, the New York City Metropolitan Opera House offers a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series on the Met website. Each performance is available for a period of 23 hours, from 7:30 PM until 6:30 PM the following day. The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers. See what’s playing now.

9. Video Chat a Friend or Family Member

One of the best gifts we can give during such an isolating time is our company, even if it’s through a screen for now. Set up a few meetings this week using whatever video chatting platform is best for you. If you need help getting started or just want a few pro tips, see our article on the basics of video chat.

Virtual Experiences Supporting Cary Business

10. Music Lessons From Cary’s School of Rock

School of Rock Cary made the decision to end face-to-face lessons and band rehearsals at least until the end of April in an effort to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Fortunately, the virus hasn’t stopped the Rock n Roll.

School of Rock is continuing individual lessons remotely via Zoom so that teachers will not go without a paycheck and students will be able to maintain a sense of normalcy. Due to the success of the school’s first week of remote lessons via Zoom, they have decided to continue accepting trial lessons. To set up a free, 30-minute trial lesson, visit the Cary School of Rock website and enter your information or call (919)439-6086.

11. Dance Challenges and Activities with Graceful Expressions

Each day, Monday through Saturday, Graceful Expressions Dance Education of Cary is posting different assignments, challenges and fun activities to do from home. These will include Tutu Tuesdays, Workout Wednesdays, Family Fun Fridays and more. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for all the fun.

12. Virtual Classes and Activities with the Little Gym of Cary

The Facebook page for Little Gym of Cary is full of pre-recorded videos with topics of dancing, sign language, stretching, creative movements and even be time stories. Keep the kid entertainment local by tuning into the gym’s TLG at Home series.\

Know of any more virtual experiences we missed? Please share in a comment below!

Story by Ashley Kairis. Photos courtesy of Cary School of Rock, Food Network Kitchen, The Riverbanks Zoo and the Kennedy Center public pages.