By Marjorie Rice
The Coronavirus outbreak is playing havoc with family plans for the coming weeks.
Favorite spots to take kids – libraries, recreation centers, the Heard Museum, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, and Arizona Science Center – all are closed. Movies are out. Restaurants are closed for dining in. Fun gyms like Flip Dunk Sports are closed.
What’s a parent to do?
Happily, Phoenix has an extensive network of parks. While indoor recreation facilities are closed until further notice, parks and trails remain open for all but large gatherings. Now might be a great time to walk off some of that pent-up energy – for parents and for kids. Visit phoenix.gov/parks for locations and times. Some of the parks and outdoor recreation spaces in North Central Phoenix include Dreamy Draw Recreation Area at 2421 E. Northern Ave.; Murphy Bridle Path at 6005 N. Central Ave. and Madison Park at 1440 E. Glenrosa Ave.
Favorite spots for kids’ parties and play, such as the Teapot at 818 N. 5th Ave., are closed. So is Chuck E. Cheese, but there’s a bright spot – for $20 parents can order a family fun pack with two large pizzas, a goody bag with games and toys and 800 tickets for your young one to use on a future visit. Check it out at chuckecheese.com.
While the Heard Museum currently is closed, events occurring after April 5 were scheduled to proceed at press time. These include the Katsina Doll Marketplace April 11, Día Del Niño April 26 and the Larger than Memory Exhibition opening May 1. Visit heard.org for the most current information.
Parents also can share the Heard’s Teachers Resources webpage for curriculum packages and other materials and information that might be helpful for anyone looking to keep young family members and friends entertained and educated during off-school days. That is located at heard.org/education/teacherresources.
Speaking of webpages, PBS KIDS has several free resources for kids, including a daily newsletter with activities and tips. The PBS KIDS Video app is available on mobile, tablet and web-enabled TV, with free videos and a live stream of the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel. The PBS KIDS Games app has nearly 200 educational games available for download. You’ll find links for all these at pbs.org/parents/kidsdaily. You’ll also find “How to Talk to Your Kids about Coronavirus.”
Also online is Cnet’s guide to online classes for every age and interest. It’s a long internet address, but worth the keystrokes: cnet.com/how-to/coronavirus-closed-schools-here-are-online-education-classes-for-every-age-and-grade/.
One suggestion from the site: Storyline Online, a wonderful project where actors read children’s books, with artful illustrations, sound effects and music. It’s a great change from yet another viewing of “Frozen II.” Check it out at storylineonline.net.
And to help kids (and maybe mom and dad) work out some wiggles, get out the yoga mats and search on Google for “yoga videos for kids.” You’ll find dozens including these: youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga and childhood101.com/yoga-for-kids-brain-breaks.