Schools Closed? The Mega List of Sanity-Saving Ideas for Families


Schools are closed. Restaurants are closed. Libraries are closed. Stores are closed. Entertainment spots are closed. No play dates. No real dates. Just four walls and our families.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, friends — this is tough. But we can do this. We are in this together.

And we at City Mom Collective are here for you. We have assembled a massive post of sanity-saving ideas to help get you through the next few weeks. Online educational resources. Board games. Movies. Plus, lots of other activities to keep little hands and minds busy.

These resources come from our huge network of writers, who live in communities across America and even military moms stationed around the globe. We care what is happening to you and your family. 

So, let’s get to it…

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Online Educational Resources

Parents are suddenly teachers, too. We didn’t train for this. (We appreciate you more than ever, teachers!) But ok… we will do our best. Fortunately, we have countless resources at our fingertips that are fun and educational.

  • ABC Mouse – Designed for children aged 2-8. More than 9,000 activities and the first month is free.
  • ABC Ya – More than 400 fun and educational games for grades pre-k through 6.
  • Adventure Academy – From the creators of ABC Mouse, this is the next step — designed for kids 8-13. Sign up for a free month.
  • Duolingo – Free. Learn a language (or multiple languages). Simple and fun.
  • Go Noodle – Think of it as “active screen time” to wake up kids’ bodies and engage their minds.
  • History for Kids – A student started building this site when he was 12 as part of a school project. History, described in terms kids will understand.
  • iCivics – Free civics games and resources. Great even for the older kids.
  • Khan Academy – Free online videos, exercises and quizzes. This nonprofit’s mission is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.
  • Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems – Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus. Draw him instead. Visit Mo’s studio virtually once a day at (or after) 1 pm EST.
  • National Geographic for Kids – The little-person version of the 132-year-old yellow border magazine.
  • PBS Kids – Hop on the Rocky Mountain PBS website to play with Daniel Tiger, Elmo and other favorites.
  • Prodigy Game – My kids will turn off X-Box and ask to play math games here instead. Seriously. It’s designed for grades 1-8.
  • Scholastic Learn at Home – Free 20 days of articles, videos, learning challenges and stories. Children can complete them in any order.
  • Typing Club – Free online typing tutorial for kids.

The above list should get you started. More comprehensive resources below:

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Family Board + Card Games

My family loves playing games. A few of our recent favorites are Trekking the National Parks, Throw Throw Burrito (a dodgeball card game) and Exploding Kittens. If those don’t sound like your style, check out these ideas for all ages:

Apps + Podcasts for Kids

Let’s face it. None of us want our kids to sit on devices all day. But sometimes, we need a few minutes (or an hour) to get things done. There is no shame in handing your kiddo a tablet, mama. We have all been there and we will all be there again.

Your kids might even accidentally learn something.

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Books + Audiobooks for Kids (and Moms)

Books. If your kids like to read, this is your secret weapon right now. Otherwise, now would be a great time to cuddle up and show them the beauty of books.

Fortunate enough to still have open libraries? Hop over today and stock up. If libraries in your area are closed, many are still allowing you to check out electronic materials from home. Set up your kids’ tablets (or yours) and check materials out straight to the tablets.

Prefer paper copies? Check sites like Scholastic and Barnes & Noble. Or call your local book shop to see if they are accepting orders or shipping.

Here are some great book ideas:

Need more ideas? One of the writers at Seacoast Moms Blog is a librarian. Lucky! Here are a slew of reading-related thoughts from her.

Don’t forget to catch up on reading yourself!

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Family-Friendly Movies + TV Programs

Have your kids seen ET? How about Goonies? An American Tail? Land Before Time? Oldies, but goodies, friends. Maybe it’s time to check a few out from the library or find them on your favorite streaming service.

Movies give you solid time to get things done while your kids relax. Have an extra hour or two? Sit down, snuggle with your littles and enjoy the moment.

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Other Activities to Keep Kids Busy

School’s out. It’s hour three. They’ve watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Three times. You’ve read some books. You need more… Ask and you shall receive, dear mamas.

Anxious about Coronavirus? Some Resources for You, Mama

OK. So here’s the thing. We’re moms. That means we’re tough. But it also means we worry — about our families and about the world at large. That’s just part of our DNA. But we don’t have to go it alone, friends. Here are thoughts from other moms around the country — may their words give you comfort.

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Other thoughts? This is 2020. Use delivery services, curbside takeout, grocery pick up and anything else that will make your life easier for the moment. Lean on each other. Be kind. And please… comment below with your own tips, thoughts and recommendations. The more we share, the more we can help each other.