Amidst a sea of community events canceled and organizations halting gatherings of all kinds, it's tougher to find activities to occupy your time during the COVID-19 pandemic — especially for children.
When the usual outlets to expend children's energy — parks, schools or the library — are off-limits, parents have had to get creative. Luckily there are people dedicated to giving kids unique chances to learn, grow and, at the very least, help eat up some time during quarantine.
The best way to combat children's eventual claims of boredom is to keep a schedule, said Carla Barrientos, behavior specialist with Kern County Superintendent of Schools. While in school, students move from one activity to the next, the structure is important to fight off boredom, she said. Barrientos recommends having designated times for reading, when to use technology and craft time.
"Kids love schedules," Barrientos said. "Keep as much of a schedule as you can. We're taking this day by day and having structure helps."
With everything going on, Ariel Dyer, a Beale Memorial Library associate, felt panicked. As a librarian, she does more than just help people find books; she leads story times, hosts a movie night and other activities. After brainstorming with other library staff, Dyer and her colleagues figured out ways to still offer the programs to the people.
"A lot of what libraries do is being a resource for the community," Dyer said. "We shouldn't ask what people need, we just need to do something. We've provided this before — now we're getting more eyes on it."
"I think it helps to show the community that we're familiar faces," library associate Fahra Daredia said. "A lot of these kids recognize us and we're showing them we're in this with them."
Kern County Library, with its 24 branches, has been making a concerted effort to still provide for and entertain the community. Virtual programs include e-books, daily story times, yoga sessions, English and Spanish conversation groups, and even letting kids read books out loud to help boost confidence. All of these programs can be found on Kern County Library's Facebook.
"This has forced us to rely on each other like never before," Dyer said.
The Kern County Museum posts history lessons led by curators and sends weekly emails from Lori Brock Discovery Center full of resources for kids to stay entertained. From coloring pages to learning tools. To sign up for the email, visit kerncountymuseum.org.
For budding artists, look no further than Tripp's Art Class, a YouTube channel with step-by-step tutorials to help beginner-level artists. Cartoonish characters abound with Terry Tripp's short and simple but informative videos that are posted five days a week. Tripp, an art teacher at Golden Valley High School, started the channel so his students wouldn't fall behind. He made sure that the supplies needed was limited so virtually anyone with access to YouTube, a pencil, an eraser and paper could join the fun.
"I'm just doing exactly what I do in my classroom," Tripp said. "This isn't anatomy of the human body. I encourage to loosen up on the pencil and that it's OK to make mistakes."
Outside of Kern County, there is even more offered, like Seattle Symphony Orchestra providing livestream performances, Washington, D.C., meteorologist Doug Kammerer offering a weather lesson every day via Facebook Live and El Comalito Collective Cultural Arts Center featuring virtual paint parties in English and Spanish that serve as mini-cultural lessons.
Edgar-Arturo Camacho, the founder of El Comalito Collective, said that he wanted to offer something every week to let people have an artistic outlet.
"The first one we did was powerful — we had 40 viewers and we've just seen that number grow from people all over," Camacho said. "For two hours, they can enjoy something and not worry. It's this really beautiful thing."
There is a world that can be explored with just your fingertips to keep children from uttering the dreaded phrase "I'm bored."