Part 3: Essential Resources for Families

You and your patients may be stuck at home more frequently than you feel is good for the soul right now, but if you dive into the resources available in the virtual world, you may be able to improve your real one.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more family friendly businesses and resources than ever have established a strong online presence in order to offer an escape for so many who are cooped up, working from home, and enjoying family night … every night.

Zoos are offering behind-the-scenes sessions, with the Toronto Zoo even offering online school credits.  Libraries are offering early literacy tools, and teams of parents are banding together to help others like them get through all the social isolation with a sliver of sanity.

In this series about keeping your family healthy during the pandemic, we’ve listed a few suggestions worthy of exploring. This post, however, is all about gathering some of the best we’ve found into one spot – for parents of kids of all ages.

For young ones who aren’t in school, Storytime Station (courtesy of the Edmonton Public Library) offers songs and rhymes online to develop early literacy. It’s a great spot for three-to-five-year-olds to spend some time.

Cubby – a weekly newsletter loaded with links that parents recommend – has all kinds of ideas from people just like you on everything from eating, playing, and lifestyle at home with kids. You can sign up for free and choose for yourself what to explore more deeply through their links.

For teens and adults looking to learn more about Canada, Canadian Geographic offers a free digital subscription (with in-app purchases) that offers a chance to learn more about the places within our own borders that you may not have considered as vacation spots before the borders closed.

Likewise, you can explore the world with the entire archive of National Geographic with a US $12 subscription for the year.  We also like National Geographic for Kids, both the magazine and website, with lots of good activities aimed at multiple age levels.

If your kids have a keen sense of wonder, the TELUS World of Science brings it into your family’s home through do-it-yourself experiments for the whole family. They involve common household items, step-by-step instructions and learning outcomes. (Who knew an imploding pop can could teach you about air compression and invisible ink reveals the secrets behind oxidization?) also offers some cool experiments online. It also lives up to its name with an interactive map that can guide you to a list of things to do right in your area of the country.

Knowing how important it is to keep the kids physically active (especially if winter has hit your part of the country already, or feels like it’s stalking you from the end of your street), BOKS might be just what you’re looking for. It’s a free activity program designed to get kids active and establish a lifelong commitment to health and fitness. The not-for-profit initiative of the Reebok Canada Fitness Foundation is government funded as a partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada, expanding and enhancing physical activity in Canadian K-9 schools.

If you’re willing to shell out a few dollars for a monthly kit for your kids – or for yourself, with some of them rated from ages 14-104 – KiwiCo is a great company that combines learning with fun. And if your kids love getting mail, which can be rare outside of bills these days, they’ll be excited before they even know what the package holds inside. KiwiCo offers both arts and science boxes at reasonable prices – getting the young ones to dive into everything from geography to engineering.

Older kids and adults can learn how to make or fix almost anything at, which includes step-by-step instructions for electronics, woodworking, crafts, cooking and more. You may want to avoid making a time-delay switch circuit with your toddler, but now is a great time to get them into the joy of cooking. Maybe the recipes offered can even get them to eat Brussel sprouts.

Missing out on big events is one of the biggest disappointments of the current coronavirus environment, but in some cases, the events are coming to you digitally. One example was the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, which is going digital from Nov. 10-14. You can pre-register to take part from anywhere in the country. If you’re missing out on something special you usually attend in person, check out their websites to see if they’re going with a digital experience for 2020.

Making time for family and sharing experiences is more important than ever. If you’re feeling the tug of work, make sure you give yourself every advantage in the work-life balance battle by using quality medical transcription services you can trust for your doctor dictation.

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