Keep the Kids Busy: Activities and Educational Resources From Performing Arts Organizations

Opera Time at the Center. Courtesy of Seattle Opera

Are you at your wits end trying to come up with ways to keep your children occupied during the shelter-in-place order? With many people in the country social distancing for the past month, and facing a few more weeks, finding new activities for kids may seem impossible.

Local arts organizations understand the difficulty and are offering a myriad of ways to help. We’ve assembled a list of performing arts organizations from the Greater Seattle Area and San Francisco Bay Area that are providing both educational and fun resources for toddlers to teens. These range from arts and crafts, to sing-alongs, to reading resources. So grab those kids and embrace the home life.

Literary Study

California Shakespeare Theater is offering its library of in-depth study guides to support students, teachers, and parents during school closures. Dive into MacbethA Midsummer Night’s Dream, black odyssey, and many more. View full guide list.  

This Friday and the following week, you and your teen can join Seattle Rep on Zoom for their book club on Jane Austen’s Emma. The book club will discuss themes, characters and adapting the story for the stage. Plus, they will host a teens-only discussion following the general public portion of the book club where they will host activities like chapter discussions and writing exercises. Join now.

Music and Sing-alongs

Every Saturday morning, Seattle Opera presents Opera Time, a musical storytelling program lead by a teaching artist. Opera Time is appropriate for children in pre-K through 2nd Grade. This week’s installment features an easy at-home craft (make your own shaker instrument—out of an empty toilet paper roll!) and an interactive, sing-along reading of children’s book Mortimer. View videos all on YouTube.

Every week, Seattle Symphony presents new family programming videos for young ones. Meet the Instrument teaches children about orchestra instruments by musicians of the Symphony. Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots is hosted by John Turman (read our interview with him here) and includes sing-alongs and musical clips shared by members of the orchestra. This week’s focus is on percussion. View all videos on YouTube.   

Arts, Crafts and More

Seattle Children’s Theatre is offering daily activities as part of the SCT @ Home program. With an aim of keeping small hands and minds busy, the activities include games, coloring pages, drama activities, crafts and more. The range from fun to educational, including subjects like social and emotional learning from The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane or puppet building from PinocchioView all activities here.

Seattle Children’s Theatre is also presenting Ghost Light Stories every Friday evening. These 15-minute episodes take a look at things that scare us, thrill us, and ignite courage. The stories are hosted by Kathryn Van Meter, interim artistic director. View videos here.

California Shakespeare Theater is challenging all K through 12th Grade students to perform their favorite 90-second Shakespearean monologue and to upload it to social media as part of #ShelterHereabouts K–12 Edition. When uploading the video, use the hashtags #ShelterHereabouts, #Calshakes, and #CreateAtHome, and tag @calshakes and @calshakesconservatory. Cal Shakes will repost on their social media platforms and website for all to enjoy.

Seattle Shakespeare Company is inviting you and the kids to participate in a Shakes-bear Hunt. As part of a nation-wide effort to provide a bright spot during this time, people are placing bears in their windows for children (and adults!) to find as they spend time outside. Seattle Shakespeare is inviting you to join in with Ruffles Shakesbear. They’ve created their own bear that you and your kids can print out and place in the window of your home for others to find. And if you happen to see Ruffles when you are out and about, be sure to take a picture and tag @seattleshakespeare.