32 Best Kid-Friendly Livestreams to Keep Them Learning
With social distancing rules in place, children spend much more time indoors – and online. Everything from online school to homework help to birthday parties has entered the digital space – including extracurricular fun. Although there are still DIY crafts, indoor activities and backyard games to keep them entertained IRL, they can also take advantage of the Internet for dozens of live streams for kids that give them a little vacation mental.
The best places to look are the locals: local gymnasiums, libraries, dance studios, and musicians have started offering music lessons, singing, dancing, and hours of history on Facebook and Instagram. And once these times are set, you can filter these live broadcasts whenever the blues I’m bored start hitting.
- Atlanta Zoo: The Panda Cam live stream is still broadcast on the Georgia Zoo website.
- Cincinnati Zoo: Every day around 3 p.m. local time, the Zoo organizes a Home Safari on Facebook Live.
- Explore.org: The site is home to dozens of live cams of wild animals, as well as streams of puppies and kittens.
- Georgia Aquarium: The aquarium’s live webcam gives you an overview of its belugas.
- Houston Zoo: There are seven live cameras from the zoo running here, so you can record a different animal every day, including elephants, rhinos and giraffes.
- San Diego Zoo: There are 11 live webcam options here, so if the baboons are boring, you can switch to koalas.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium: There are 10 different live cameras running, but you’re going to want to go straight to the sharks (doo doo doo doo doodoo).
Drawing and reading
- Mondays with Michelle Obama: Former First Lady Michelle Obama, in collaboration with the literary initiative “Reading together, being together” from Penguin Random House, will read a story to the children every Monday at noon ET from April 20 to May 11. Books include There is a dragon in your book and Miss Maple’s Seeds, among others, and they will broadcast live on the PBS Kids Facebook page and YouTube channel.
- Dav Pilkey at home: Pilkey, creator of the characters Captain Underpants and Dog Man, teaches children how to draw his characters through Friday videos on his website. He also offers home activities on the theme of his books.
- #DrawTogether With Wendy Macnaughton: Every day at 1 p.m. ET, this illustrator leads a 30-minute art lesson for kids on Instagram. You can view past lessons on YouTube.
- Good night with Dolly: Every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, Dolly Parton will read a bedtime story to the kids on her YouTube channel. This is done in partnership with the singer’s library Imagination, which since 1995 has donated more than 135 million books to children.
- LeVar Burton reads: The unique Rainbow reading the host will do three live Twitter readings per week. He will read children’s books on Mondays at noon. AND, YA books Wednesdays at 6 p.m. ET, and adult books on Friday at 9 p.m. ET.
- Mo Breakfast Doodles: Mo Willems, author / illustrator of Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus, offers an illustration lesson for lunch every day of the week. You can find them on the Kennedy Center website, where he is artist in residence.
- Oliver Jeffers: The author of Here we are does a live reading every day at 2 p.m. ET on her Instagram.
- #OperationStorytime: The authors of children’s books organize live readings of their stories. To follow #OperationStorytime on Twitter for the schedule.
- Penguin Kids Storytime: At 11 a.m. (ET) every day of the week, kids can listen to a story and participate in a “child’s challenge” on Instagram Live.
- Pete the Cat Club: Friday at 12 p.m. ET, Pete the Cat’s official Instagram is hosting the Pete the Cat Club, where kids can get creative and do something.
- Read together, be together: Penguin Random House has partnered with Parents magazine to get authors and celebrities to read their favorite books. The readings take place at 3 p.m. EAST.
- Story time with Josh Gad: Gad, who voices Olaf in frozen movies, streams live story readings on Twitter. Follow his account for the calendar.
Music, dance and movement
- Berkner Breaks: Children’s music legend Laurie Berkner hosts a music break most days of the week at 10 a.m. on Facebook Live.
- BroadwayHD: For older children, the BroadwayHD streaming service has a library of 300 musical theater performances, and you can get a free seven-day trial.
- Yoga Cosmic Kids: Although not technically live, this YouTube channel offers yoga videos for kids, including routines inspired by Frozen and Moana.
- Lincoln Center at Home: The legendary New York institution broadcasts live its #ConcertsforKids program, which includes everything from tap dance to Asian folk music. The concerts are broadcast on its own website as well as on Facebook and YouTube at different times; check LincolnCenter.org for the schedule.
- Mark Kanemura Dance Parties: Kanemura, a backup dancer for Lady Gaga and a former competitor on So you think you can dance, hosts dancing parties on his Instagram. Follow his account for the calendar.
- Mr. Jon and his friends: Mr. Jon hosts music and puppets during a daily performance at 10:30 a.m.ET on Facebook Live.
- Happy Hour without nap: During the weekends, the musicians go to Facebook Live to broadcast live family musical performances.
- P.E. With Joe: Fitness trainer Joe Wicks has decided to become “the country’s P.E.teacher,” with 30-minute student workouts posted daily at 9:00 am ET on YouTube.
- Peanut butter and jam sessions: Linton Chamber Music usually does these classic preschool themed sessions in person, but you can now find them at 10 a.m.ET on Facebook.
- “Elmo Playdate”: Sesame Street will broadcast a half-hour special, “Elmo’s Playdate”, which should resemble a live conference call. In it, Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby and all of Sesame’s friends – as well as celebrities like Anne Hathaway, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tracee Ellis Ross – will find new ways to play together during social estrangement and will thank the everyday heroes who help during the current health crisis. It will be broadcast for the first time on April 14 at 7 p.m. AND on HBO, HBO Latino, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, truTV and PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and streaming platform. It will also be rebroadcast throughout the month.
- Crayola crafts: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 p.m. ET, Crayola is hosting a live demo with designer Lynn Lilly on Facebook Live.
- Delish’s cooking with the kids: Check out Instagram Live every day of the week at 1 p.m. AND for a mini cooking lesson. Instagram also lets you know in advance what you’ll need, so be sure to follow.
- Laurel’s Princess Parties: On Facebook Live, this team organizes three princess-themed evenings a day. The theme and activities change every day, so be sure to check the weekly schedule.
- Manufacture with GH: Every Wednesday and Friday on Facebook Live, Good Housekeeping hosts its own handcrafted demos. They are not all specifically aimed at children, but they may be able to participate depending on the project.