If you’re going a little crazy after being at home for so many weeks, I understand. The situation can be even more difficult if you have kids—all those canceled play dates, classes, and extracurricular activities can make it hard to know how to make the long days interesting.
Luckily, I have some fantastic local resources that can help you when you just don’t know what to do next. From online camps to ordering a craft to do at home, I’ve got some really fun ideas for the next time you’re desperate for a new activity. Plus, if you can support a local business or organization, all the better!
Classical Ballet Academy
Classical Ballet Academy is keeping the community dancing with a complete schedule of online classes for May and June since they can’t hold in-person classes. This keeps your kids active, working towards their goals, and connected with their peers. A virtual performance for family and friends will be held at the end of the season!
Even better, the classes are free, though you can help Classical Ballet Academy by making a donation if you’re so inclined. If you’re interested in joining, just email [email protected].
Dance with Joy Studios
Dance with Joy Studios is a local wellness center that normally holds a plethora of fitness and dance classes for kids and adults alike. They have ballet, contemporary, folk, hip-hop, modern, and ballroom dance classes, as well as fitness classes like yoga and Zumba.
If you’re interested in joining in the fun online, check out the full calendar of events right here.
Portland Music School
Portland Music School is offering a way to keep your kids from falling behind on their music lessons with their new virtual lessons! You can set up a free preview lesson with a music teacher, and the school offers morning, afternoon, and evening lessons depending on your schedule (which is probably pretty open these days)!
Lessons can be taken via computer, tablet, or phone and are $20 per 30-minute lesson. This is a fantastic way to help out music teachers, many of whom have had multiple streams of income dry up recently and could really use the work. It’s a win-win!
The Beaverton School District is offering Brain Boost workouts with fun themes (a Star Wars kids’ workout, anyone)? Just go here to join the fun any day when your kids need to get out a little extra energy.
Trackers Earth Portland
Trackers Earth Portland is offering innovative online classes and camps for kids. These interactive classes are designed for maximum individualized attention and engagement from kids. These classes and camps capitalize on opportunities for adventure and learning EVEN in a virtual setting. Check out the options for your kids here.
NW Children’s Theater and School
The lack of being able to get together and act isn’t stopping NW Children’s Theater and School! They’re offering online classes, and classes are being offered tuition free. For information on signing your kids up, just go here.
Multnomah County Library Resources
Having the library closed is pretty sad! It’s such a wonderful place to go with the kids and find all kinds of entertainment. That said, the library has done a wonderful job of giving us resources we can use.
First up, the Multnomah County librarians are doing YouTube story times with your kids. Check out the playlist online, because they’re adding new videos almost daily. Get a few pillows and a snack and let the kids enjoy some of their favorite stories with their favorite librarians.
Live Homework Help
Especially with the homeschool rather than regular school happening these days, you might just need some help with your kids’ homework. Did you know that the library offers live tutoring help from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese? What a fantastic service for us homework-frazzled parents!
Access to Digital Media
Did you know that the library pays for services that allow you to access digital media with nothing but your library card? That’s right—these services are completely free for you as a Multnomah County Library card holder.
Kanopy: Kanopy gives you free access to thousands of movies with your library card.
Hoopla: Stream movies and TV shows, read comics and books, listen to audiobooks with a Hoopla account connected to your library card.
Mango Languages: Use this time to learn a new language—Mango has basic courses up through comprehensive grammar classes.
Travel Portland Video Series
One of the best things about Portland is its incredible community of creative people doing all kinds of interesting things. Though they’ve had to change how they get creative recently, they’re still doing what they do best. Get a glimpse into Portland’s creative community with Travel Portland’s weekly video series. So far, we’ve seen everything from cooking demos to concerts.
Red Yarn Music Show
Red Yarn music shows are all about community gathering and connection, which can be very hard to do over video. However, this Portland performer has figured out how to do it with his virtual music shows. He’s known for his warm personality, puppetry, and lyrics, and kids (and adults, let’s be honest) love his shows.
Livestream Red Yarn’s shows on his Facebook page or catch the replays later!
If you’re feeling desperate for something different to do, Mimosa Studios has a really fun option. They’re offering to-go painting kits with all the supplies you need to create your own masterpiece at home, including paint, brushes, and instructions. Paint your own mug, figurines, or bowls. This project would be a really fun one to do with your kids.
Kits are delivered for free within 10 miles of the studio, or you can pick them up. When you’re done painting, the studio will pick up the pieces for you and they will be available for pickup when they reopen.
If you’ve run out of craft ideas or supplies, get a craft to go from the Craft Factory for just $14! Each kit comes with a craft base and an assortment of embellishments—choose from a robot, fairy house, rocket, owl, crown, or the new option added each week.
I hope this list of Portland resources helps tide you over until life feels a little more normal and some of the regular activities our kids do can resume. If I’ve missed any great local resources for kids, please leave me a comment below!
Free on-line classes each week sponsored by the boarding school out in Sheridan where I used to work. They are fun and animated and generally involve “doing” something. This link is the calendar of classes for ages 1-18.