Children's Activities at Home, free resources for children and adults

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One Time Events

Little Labcoats presents Dinosaurs!  Join Labcoat Leader Niki on Monday, August 6th at 4 pm. Study how the earth changed from the time dinosaurs lived to today. Examine different dinosaurs and what allowed them to survive in their environment.  Class led by popular young scientist Niki Apostolicas. 

NASA Perseverance to Mars Join Piyush Khopkar, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, in an interactive Zoom event on Wednesday, August 12, at 4 pm  Learn about Mars and the newest NASA rover Perseverance’s upcoming trip to the red planet.  Register here.

FableVision Computer Animation Workshops Children can make their stories come to life in animated video clips.  Children will participate in 3 sessions, starting with a kick-off workshop on Monday, August 17, at 4:30 pm.  For ages 6+. *  This event is a 3 part series, you must be able to attend all three sessions* Register here.

Recurring Events

Playdate with Librarian Paula Head Children’s Librarian Paula leads an online playgroup for toddlers and preschoolers.  Learn fingerplays, simple games and songs to do with your children. Thursdays at 10:30 am starting July 23. Check each session weekly for registration information.

Reading to Tucker, a trained, hypoallergenic, therapy dog!  Help your children build confidence in reading with one-on-one 15 minutes sessions. For ages 6 and up. Check each session weekly to see what time slots are available.

Live Lego Club with Veronica and Marianna Wednesdays at 3 pm!  Visit your friends virtually with building with LEGO bricks at home. *There will be no LEGO Club on 8/12 because of NASA Perseverance to Mars.*

Ravenous Readers Bookclub: Starting on July 7th, bring your lunch and a favorite book or two to share! Or just hear about what other kids are reading. Also, get special sneak peeks at what’s new and listen to a chapter or two from some favorite books! Not sure what to read? Check out our booklists!
*Individual registration required for each session*
Grades 1-3 meet on Mondays at 12pm starting July 6th
Grades 4-6 meet on Tuesdays at 12pm starting July 7th

Bookventurers Bookclub: If a lunchtime book group isn’t your thing, check out Bookventurers for grades 3-5 on Wednesday, August 19, at 4:30pm.  Share your favorite tales of mythological creatures, unicorns, dragons, fairies and more! Registration opens August 5th.

Take-and-Make Crafts and STEAM Kits: Bored? Do you want some fun crafts to do? Look no further! Come pick up a take-and-make craft bag from the library! Check the calendar to reserve your bag and see the upcoming kits. Then email the children’s department at neechild @ pictures of your projects that we can share via social media!  

Live Tween and Teen Craft Hours: Meet with librarian Erin Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:30pm! Visit your friends virtually while working on any craft of your choice! Have any questions or need suggestions on projects? Email Erin at neeya @
*Individual registration required for each session*
Craft session for ages 10-12 meet Wednesdays at 3:30pm starting July 15th
Craft session for ages 13-18 meet Thursdays at 3:30pm starting July 16th

Needham Children's Youtube Channel

Want to check out some storytelling videos with librarian Paula? 

Or maybe you want to have some zany ABC adventures with Mr. Steve as we work our way through the alphabet?

Want to make some crafts with librarian Ms. Elise? Try out Spin Art, Scribble Art, & Potato Prints among many others!

Or maybe you want to jam with Stacey Peasley, Ed Morgan, or Sarah Gardner?  

Want to learn about new books with authors and illustrators? Want to see how Mo Willems, Dav Pilkey, and David Hyde Costello draw? Want an astronaut to read you a story from SPACE?! Find all this and more on Needham Children’s YouTube Channel!!!

Virtual Mazes

Enchanted Forest Escape Room Can you make it past the wolf and through the virtual Enchanted Forest? Enchanted Forest 2 more adventures with all-new puzzles, riddles, stories, and challenges! created by Lucia Dolan of the Needham Library

Escape the Titanic virtual escape room created by T. Bennett of Rowley Library

Greek Myths Maze can you answer Athena's riddle?  Outrun Zeus's lightning bolts?  created by Ann Carpenter of the Brooks Free Library

A Pokemon Journey created by Melanie Terrill of the Taunton Public Library.

Star Wars Escape Room created by Newton Free Library

Stuck at home? Even more fun online activities 

Online Comics and Graphic Novels for children of all ages - free until August 31, 2020

Authors Everywhere: Fun youtube activities such as drawing and writing prompts with authors and illustrators such as Diane Magras and Grace Lin!

Code at home: Created by Girls Who Code, they will upload an activity-some online, some offline, of varying levels of difficulty—over the course of the next few months.

GoNoodle: Short indoor gym videos for kids, also has meditation and yoga videos.

Harry Potter at Home: Find all the latest magical treats to keep you occupied - including special contributions from Bloomsbury and Scholastic, nifty magical craft videos (teach your friends how to draw a Niffler!), fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more for first-time readers, as well as those already familiar with the wizarding world. We’re casting a Banishing Charm on boredom!

National Geographic Kids: Games, videos, and readings about geography, biology, zoology, and more.

Tumblebook Library (*requires a library card): An online collection of TumbleBooks – animated, talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading in a format they’ll love.

TumbleMath: A comprehensive online collection of storybooks involving math and other mathematical concepts all in the amazing TumbleBook format complete with animation and narration!

USS Constitution Museum: While you're waiting for the museum to reopen so you can use your summer reading entry passes check out the Virtual Museum! There are downloadable family activities, interactive maps of Constitution's 1812 cruises, highlights from the collection, videos, and a rotating schedule of family-friendly programs, including A Sailor's Life, Live!. We are also thrilled to share our dynamic online game, A Sailor's Life For Me, where people of all ages can step into the shoes of a sailor preparing for the War of 1812.

Virtual Tours: Want to see museums in London, Seoul, Paris or São Paulo from your couch? Look no further!

WGBH Distance Learning Center: Massachusetts Department of Education and PBS partnership website with preschool to 12th grade educational resources organized by grade level for families during the current health crisis.

WGBH Family Activity Center: Help your children birth through age 8 learn and grow by doing fun activities at home. Collect points and enter a weekly raffle for a chance to win a $25 gift card (open to Massachusetts residents only). Resources are available in English and Spanish.

Online Story Times

Neil Gaiman: Watch the latest Neil Gaiman videos and see Neil (and some famous friends!) read The Graveyard Book and Coraline in their entirety.

Reycraft Books: Each day join for author/illustrator read aloud that represent a vast tapestry of cultures, lifestyles, and experiences, and they share their unique voices and visions through their craft.  

Storytime Online: streamed videos featuring actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Betty White and dozens more.

Storytime with Pete the Cat: The birds are singing, the sky is bright, the sun is shining, I’m feeling ALRIGHT! Come join our favorite cool cat Pete for virtual storytime.

Wonderbook Weekends: Join Wonderbooks and Playaway  on instagram on Saturdays and Sundays at noon for a free kids read-along.

Anti-Racist Resources

Books recommendations, videos, articles and other tools for anti-racist teaching for children

Coronavirus Resources

Trinka and Sam Fight the Big Bad Virus for young children by C.M. Ghosh Ippen and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.  Available for download in English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese.  

Covid-19:  What Can Kids Do?  A picture book with good habits of health for kids to follow to defeat Covid-19

Be a Coronavirus Fighter: This informative picture book explains the current virus situation in simple terms and urges children to help fight it!

Coronavirus for Children: This informative picture book for ages 5-10 explains the current situation with clear and accessible information.

CDC cloth face covering guidelines and make a no-sew mask. You can also make star wars face masks if you’re feeling creative.

Myth Busters: Typical questions and answers regarding the coronavirus.

Needham Resilience Project: Needham Youth and Family Services are encouraging everyone to make and display their own flags as a sign of resilience. Get your flag here

Remember Me?:  a brand-new picture book that hasn’t been illustrated or published yet. This is the story of kids who are living through this hard time, just like the rest of us.

Talking about Covid-19 with young children: With all of the news and frightening information going out from many different sources, early childhood expert Dr. Jean Feldman is here to help young children feel less anxious about the coronavirus.

Parents’ Corner

Amazing Educational Resources: A list of Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School Closings. From math to history to art to foreign language to augmented reality software, here is a constantly updated list of activities to try at home.

ART in PLACE: Social Distancing in the Studio with the Eric Carle Museum. Spark your own creativity as you see what 21 picture book artists are working on now!

Audiobook database for all ages
Audiobooks from tumblebooks! Instant audiobooks at you fingertips!

Author Videos: Check out author and illustrator videos on our youtube page

Crabtree Ebook database: With the recent closures of schools and libraries due to COVID-19, it has been challenging for educators, and parents to access much needed educational children’s books to keep students reading and learning. Crabtree is offering FREE access to the Crabtree Complete eLibrary until August 30, 2020! Access over 2000 PreK-9+ curriculum nonfiction and fiction ebooks! 

DIG Pre-K at Home (*requires making a free account): a parent portal online learning platform that features Dr. Jean’s educational videos, The Letter People Songs, The Letter People Games, and a comprehensive Resource section with extensive activities to complete at home. Also check out their Frog Street free ebooks where you can access over 250 English and Spanish electronic books, activities and songs from the Frog Street.

Home Learning with DK: Take some of the pressure off with our fantastic range of downloadable content that makes learning fun. Perfect to use as additional teaching resources, these digital activity packs help take children beyond the book, engaging with their imagination and creativity as they color, draw, play, and write.

ISS Image of the Week: engages kids and caregivers by matching breathtaking photographs of planet earth taken from space with context, educational resources and activities to inspire dialogue about planet earth, the exploration of space, and humanity’s role in the universe.

JLG @ Home: Join Junior Library Guild as they’ve made their subscription service free and browse eBooks for Elementary, Middle School and High school, JLG Digital gives you and your readers unlimited access to read books online from any device!

KhanAcademy: Educational website with lessons organized by grade and subject.  Parents can monitor progress.  Has suggested daily schedules for preschool through 12th grade for families during school closures.

Mad Science North Boston (*email signup required): Mad Science is providing our communities with FREE DAILY STEM ACTIVITIES to supplement children’s current home lessons. They ar designed with individual grade modifications for grades K-5, do not involve additional screen time and follow DOE curriculum frameworks. Here is a sample of one of their activities, build a worm farm.

Open Library: an open, editable library catalog, building towards a web page for every book ever published. Books are available with no holds, no waiting during this time.

Playaway CARE: a page of links you can share about meditations, fitness, education, and entertainment resources that are free or discounted right now. 

Premier Martial Arts Norton (*requires joining a facebook group): Now offering free online interactive martial arts classes!

Star Bright Books:  To help support teachers, educators, librarians, parents, and caregivers, they are permitting FREE digital access to 4 picture books (3 English, 1 Spanish) each week! Titles will be rotated on a weekly basis.

Star Autism Support Media Center(*requires making a free account): access to a variety of downloadable and printable resources. These practical, on-demand materials address the learning needs for students at a variety of developmental levels.

Stay Engaged, Have Fun, Relieve Stress: The Massachusetts Library System updates daily with new activities and updates regarding streaming storytimes and other resources to share to help students and families while school is out.

Story Preservation Lab K-3 (requires making a free account): Story Preservation is working in collaboration with master storytellers to bring timeless fictional stories – fairytales, myths, folklore, and contemporary tales of enchantment – into K-3 classrooms.

Sunita Willams Home Support and Resources: a page of resources developed by Needham Schools with resources and ideas to help you with your children during this uncertain time.

Inclusion in the list may not be interpreted as the library’s endorsement.