As we look ahead to at least another month of staying at home whenever possible, parents are starting to feel a quarantine induced ennui. Luckily, many companies are doing their part to fight this listlessness by offering up their services free of charge* during this interesting time.
We’re compiling our favorite finds and listing details and a link here. Keep checking back as we will continue to update with more great finds.
1. Free Audible Children’s Books
Story time isn’t just for little ones. If you are as desperate to limit screen time as we are then consider checking out this awesome list of popular children’s books. There are books for all ages from Winnie the Pooh to Harry Potter to Brave New World. Pro-tip: Have your child(ren) lay on their bed or on the floor and listen with their eyes closed. They’ll be transported to a magical world and you’ll get a break!
2. Free HBO
Starting April 3 HBO is unlocking more than 500 hours of programming. While this doesn’t include some of it’s most popular shows (sorry, no Game of Thrones) it does include plenty of family-friendly movies including The Lego Movie 2, Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Storks, Smallfoot, and more. To access this free programming simply download the HBO Go or HBO Now apps.
3. Time for Kids
How is homeschooling going for you? Here’s a way to make it a bit easier and not feel so bad about needing to teach “old math” to your common core kids. Time for Kids is making its digital library free for the rest of the school year. This content for grades K-6 includes turnkey teaching tools like worksheets and quizzes and can be downloaded onto your phone, computer, or tablet.
4. Skype a Scientist
If your child (or family) thinks that a Q&A with a real live scientist sounds awesome, then this is the free resource for you. All you need to do is complete a simple form where you choose what topics you are interested in, what kind of scientist you want to chat with, and when you are available. Then you will be matched with the right scientist and your kids can ask any questions they want and get immediate answers. How cool is that?
5. Google Arts & Culture
There are some really amazing and cool things you can do with the Google Arts and Culture app. Many readers might be familiar with this app from a couple years back when it first launched. Remember when everyone was taking a selfie and then posting the historical paintings that best matched their face? While that was pretty cool, the app is so much more than that now and includes virtual tours of famous museums and historical sites.
6. Explore the World: Live
One of my kids’ newest obsessions is the Explore.org livecams. While my 7-year-old’s favorite cam so far tends to be the Kitten Rescue cam, you can watch amazing scenes from all over the world and they are all live. Wanna watch the northern lights in Manitoba, Canada? How about gorillas in the Congo? Tropical reefs in Australia, you can watch that too!
7. Cards Against Humanity: Family Edition
This popular (and very adult) card game was already working on a family edition to be released in the fall of 2020. They decided to make a beta version of their PG-rated game available early to help families that might be looking for a distraction.
*For the purposes of this list we are only including completely free, no-obligation offers.
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.