anne mikolay 2018For some, curfews and social distancing are not the stuff of happy parenting. The prospect of kids slouching on the sofa playing video games or watching Netflix for the next fourteen days is hardly appealing. However, social distancing does not have to interrupt learning. In fact, Facebook and other sites on the internet have introduced some very informative and entertaining programs to meet the needs of youngsters stuck at home during this unexpected but very necessary period of self-restriction.

Do you have children who love animals? Monday, March 16th, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden launched its “Home Safari Facebook Live” program designed “to keep kids learning” during their time off from school. Each weekday at 3:00 pm, the zoo will livestream animals and exhibits at the zoo. Monday’s initial offering was a visit with Fiona, the first Nile hippopotamus to be born at the Cincinnati Zoo in over 75 years. Rico the porcupine is set to make an appearance this week as well. Kids can view the program on the zoo’s Youtube channel or Facebook page or at

Some things never go out of style! Leave it to Scholastic, the public educational company familiar to parents and children across the country, to bring the classroom into your home. To “keep kids thinking and growing,” Scholastic has introduced their Learn from Home website, divided into four categories: PreK and Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2, Grades 3 and 4, and Grades 6 plus. Each category includes daily videos, readings, and projects. Currently, Learn from Home features a week’s worth of content; more is on the way. As a Scholastic lover from way back and as a former PreK teacher, I highly recommend this program. Their “Rabbit Roundup” activity/video for little ones is utterly charming!

Kids getting antsy? has comprised a list of twenty virtual field trips. Kids and parents can virtually visit zoos around the world. See pandas! See polar bears! Kids can travel the world and never leave their chair. Visit England or the Great Wall of China. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art without taking the subway! See the Louvre in Paris without taking a plane!

If your children ages 7 to 12 are intrigued by science and math, join Facebook’s Science Mom and Math Dad each day for presentations featuring science/math lessons, crafts and games. Kids can even submit their questions and comments to the hosts. The online school is livestreamed on Facebook or Monday through Friday 11:00 am to 1:00 pm EST.

For additional free entertaining and educational websites for kids that include hands-on activities, check out

Closer to home, Middletown Art Center’s popular Doodle Dude is offering live art lessons via Facebook for ages five and up weekdays at 1:00 pm. All the kids need to have fun and learn to draw is pencil and paper.

On a more serious note, kudos to TreColore in Middletown!!! They posted the following on their Facebook page: “We would like to let our community know that any child affected by school closures or economic difficulties can stop by TreColore Pizzeria between 12 pm-3 pm and pick up a free slice of pizza and a fountain drink for lunch. Please call us 15 minutes in advance at (732) 671-1800 for your order.” Now that’s kindness and community awareness in action! Thank you, TreColore.

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Anne Mikolay

Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...