A Coronavirus survival guide for you & your family

Resources to help reduce your anxiety level, stay healthy, manage working at home, and entertain a family in self-isolation.

The coronavirus world is a crazy place – with the situation changing so rapidly, it is hard to keep up. Nonetheless, a few things look certain – chances are you will need to self-isolate, entertain kids who are bored of being stuck at home, and juggle teaching online and research with your family demands. While health professionals and your local authorities are providing the information you need to stay safe, you may be feeling the need for other types of support. Here, we provide activities to help entertain your family while in isolation or observing social-distancing, and some resources to help manage the stress and any anxiety you may be experiencing. And, don’t forget to reach out to your work colleagues, particularly if they (or you) are far from family – they may need your support more than ever right now.

We have split these resources into five sections, so click on the appropriate photo to jump to your area of interest:

Addressing anxiety about Coronavirus

Are you worried about what COVID-19 means for your young family? You are not alone, both PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia and Lifeline have resources to help you deal with anxiety and look after your mental health during this time. Or for tips on navigating uncertain times, have a read through the suggestions from Women’s Agenda.

Keeping your kids happy, healthy & informed

Its not always easy to know how much to tell your children about illness and similar scary topics, so how can you keep them informed about coronavirus, get them to take hand washing seriously, but not overwhelm them with information?

Check out the resources below to help find a balance that suits you and your family.

Lets face it, hand washing is not the most exciting activity, so how can you help your family look forward to standing at the sink? The Teach This website has an amazing array of age-appropriate resources to get your little ones scrubbing those hands!

Kids are going to ask you questions about what is happening – so how can you answer those questions? This article from Vox on ‘How to answer 7 big questions kids have about the coronavirus pandemic’, is a great place to start. Or have a look at this article from Forbes for some tips on explaining coronavirus and social-distancing to your kids.

If you want to give your kids access to age-appropriate news coverage, then ‘Behind the News’ aims to help kids aged 8-13 years old understand what is going on in the world around them.

Keeping your family entertained during self-isolation

First things first – how can you balance work and kids when isolated at home? Here are 6 strategies from Women’s Agenda to help you develop flexibility and boundaries. Now how are you going to keep your family entertained? Check out the great resources below, and thank you to Professor Gretta Pecl, one of our advisory board, members of the Centre for Marine Socioecology, and some Hobart mothers, who provided ideas for this list.

Ideas For Toddlers

For all those parents out there trying to keep your toddlers entertained – we know how you feel – here are some great ideas for short attention spans from the 5 Minute Mum, who has all sorts of quick activities up her sleeve!

Trying to keep away from the TV? Then give audio books a try – while schools are closed audible has free stories available.

And now for one of our favourites – how to make edible slime!

Games, Stories & Random Activities

National Geographic is a mine of activities and information to help you have family fun and learn about the world.

A series of games and printables to keep the younger kids entertained.

The story box library has your favourite stories told by great storytellers. Some of the content is free.

Ever wanted to learn about royal palaces? Well now is your chance!

Want to play like Brian May? Well now you can with mini concerts and tutorials from the man himself on instagram.

A selection of indoor activities to keep boredom at bay.

Here are some great podcasts your kids can listen to, if you are minimising screen time.

If your children are missing their friends, then they can meet up with them in new worlds on the internet.

For a range of non-science activities, check out the ideas curated by Women’s Agenda.

Find Some Zen

If your kids are bouncing off the walls and you need to find some calm, then have a listen to Parenting in a Pandemic by Susan Kaiser Greenland.

Staying Social

A number of online communication platforms have made some or all of their resources free to help keep you connected with your friends, family and workplaces during COVID-19. For a run down on how to access these, check out this article.

Science activities and careers

Become A Citizen Scientist

Questagame helps kids learn about nature while also collecting data that is used by scientists to protect biodiversity. To make these difficult times a little more pleasant (and healthy, educational, fun), QuestaGame is offering to set up a free team for your school. QuestaGame allows kids to play for their school from anywhere – at home, in the backyard, a local park – discovering life and doing REAL science, while having fun competing against other school teams.

Interested in helping the Smithsonian with their research? Now you can help them with their climate change work from home.

By signing up to become volunteer with DigiVol, you can help collect data for a range of science projects, such as checking photos from camera traps to support Malleefowl conservation.

Interact With A Scientist

Skype a scientist’ does calls for families for free (as well as school classes) , you can request a skype call from almost any type of scientist for your kids and they will match you up – how amazing is that! Also if you as a scientist want to be matched with a family you can sign up here.

Message Mehmet the Space Doctor on Twitter and he will tell you the times he is doing astrophysics online for young kids. More info about him and his outreach can be found on his website. Oh and he can do classes in Spanish too!

Or if your child needs some maths inspiration, you can set up an online visit from a mathematician.

Virtual Field Trips

30 virtual field trips you can go on – ever wanted to go to MARS or the Great Wall of China? Here is your chance! Or if you have exhausted all those options, this array of online field trips will have you exploring everywhere from the Bahamas to Rome (thanks to Bella and Luke for this link!), or there are these family-friendly options (thanks Megan for this link!). 

National park tours from the comfort of your own home.

A twitter thread of live animal cams to look at – naked mole rats, owls, lions, pandas, koalas, sea otters sloths and HEAPS more.

If your kids love the ocean then have a scroll through the stories and interactive media on Ocean School.

Ever wondered what it might be like to meet a giant-panda or a tiger? Now is your chance with Google’s 3D animals.

Animals around the world are suffering from a range of human related impacts. Here is some great info on threatened animals found in one of the largest subtropical areas of wilderness in the United States – the Florida Everglades (Thanks to Steph Mendelson for sharing this resource).

Online Courses

Varsity tutors offer an array of online courses and tutoring options including: Virtual School Day – over 100 free live K-12 classes to help parents fill their children’s day with enriched learning. Some popular classes are “Intro to Spanish for Kids”, “Coolest Women in History”, “Java Programming Basics”, and “The Story of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”. Starting in June, you can access: Virtual Summer Camps – these free half-day, week -long summer camps will be filled with enrichment-based classes in subjects like foreign languages, chess, theater, coding, Minecraft, how to be a detective, and photography.

Scholastic free daily courses for primary school kids stuck at home.

Classes for ages 3-18, some free then $5 per lesson.

Daily class schedules for students ages 4-18 to keep them learning from home.

Reading programs for kids age 7-13. These programs are free at the start.

The ‘Entire list of education companies offering free subscriptions due to schools closing’.

Free lessons on Netflix for kids. These are targeted at classes 3-8 but can be adapted easy for older or younger children. 

To challenge the young adults in your brood (or learn some new skills yourself), 365 data science courses are free for the next few weeks, or you can buy a subscription to Brilliant, which has over 60 interactive maths, science and IT courses available.

The Letters to a Prescientist team has put together an array of age-appropriate resources to support distance education.

Videos

The ‘True facts’ videos on YouTube are hilarious but educational animal videos explaining real life histories of animals via comedy.

A stack of educational shows are available on Netflix.

At a reduced rate of US$12 a year, you can now access any of the educational documentaries on Curiosity Stream.

You can learn from scientists about a range of topics, from fossils to how birds stay warm in live webinars from Smithsonian Science How.

Science Activities For Home

An array of free science activities you can do at home, from making pinhole eye glasses, to info on minerals and rocks and food webs.

NASA STEM at home – launch rockets, build a moon habitat and more for kinder to higher Ed.

How good are you at scat – the poo kind? Become a certified ‘crapologist’ – great for little kids (and bigger ones) that think poop is funny.

Free kids ‘mega-magazine’ – what is light, how does smell work, and a bit of art and history too! 

Learn about the oceans with the Monterey Aquarium.

Careers With STEM

Schools are often the location of career conversations: deciding on university courses or exploring which subjects are needed for a particular career path. But at the moment, your home is likely to be the focus of these types of discussions. So where should you start? Careers with STEM have some amazing resources for you to help your budding scientist plan their future. Read the Careers with STEM magazine for free online and to help guide your kids through the magazine, there are accompanying teacher resources available to download. Need some light relief? Then check out the selection of short quizzes on everything from planning your space career to testing your ability to spot a ‘deep fake’ from a real photo. Note, if you want some good science-related Dad jokes have a look at these gems.