Art&Seek Jr: Creative Outlets For Cooped Up Kids

Two weeks ago I began work on what I thought would be this week’s Junior. The topic was going to be — “Things To Do On Your Fabulous Staycation.” As it turns out, this is a completely different ‘Staycation’ than what I imagined. And it’s not so fabulous.

Instead of motoring around town to petting zoos, museums, and festivals we’re now staying put–literally.

We’re all in this together, so with that in mind we’ve come up with a handy-dandy list of things to keep the kiddos occupied. Some of these activities are local and from our friends in the North Texas art scene whom we hope to see again very soon.

We know, it’s not spring break without a trip to the zoo. Here’s how our North Texas zoos are keeping us up to date with daily goings-on of our animal friends.

Photo: Dallas Zoo

Log on to the Dallas Zoo’s Facebook page and you’ll get to watch zoologists do their animal encounters every day at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, we got a peek at the lovely lionesses, Lina & Jasiri. And Monday, March 16, reptile zoologist Shana F. told zoo fans all about Lewis, the super handsome Grand Cayman rock iguana. There is also a video of sweet baby zebra Malawa and his mom Keeya enjoying the spring weather. Check them out at #bringthezootoyou.

The Fort Worth Zoo is also hosting animal encounters via their Facebook page. Zookeepers and staff are bringing you daily video updates while they’re closed. The video on March 17 featured a talk on giraffes and their unique adaptations from Olivia, an interpretive specialist. While you’re on their page, don’t miss a cute video of Hector, the Patagonian mara, bouncing through the zoo on a leash. He stops to say hello to otters Benji, Hudson and Makita, who are quite curious about their furry visitor.

Photo: Oil and Cotton

The nice folks over at Oil and Cotton Creative Exchange in Oak Cliff are really jumping into action and making lemonade out of lemons. In addition to live-streaming three-hour spring break camps, they are also packaging up all of their one-hour weekly classes to send home. You can purchase art supplies as well as the online classes through their website, over the phone, and on social media. They also offer curbside pickup and local delivery.

When you’re bored, nothing passes the time like a coloring book. The littles can find a bumper crop of very cool coloring pages on Twitter by typing in the hashtag #ColorOurCollection. Museums and libraries worldwide have contributed free coloring books of their collections and made them available online free of charge. Fill up the printer with paper and color to your heart’s content.

Sometimes, something as simple as doodling can help the world stop spinning. Children (and adults) can practice the calming power of doodling daily at 1 p.m. ET with Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems. For those of you who live under a rock, Mo is genius behind “Don’t Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus,” the “Elephant and Piggie” series, and my personal favorite, “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale.” For the next few weeks, the author/artist invites audiences into his studio virtually for a daily “Lunch Doodle” where they can doodle alongside him and make art together.

Photo: Storyline Online

Explore new books and revisit old favorites with Storyline Online. The free literacy site is the brain-child of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and is extra special because it features actors reading to children. There are lots of books to peruse. You can hear everything from Betty White reading “Harry the Dirty Dog” to  James Earl Jones’ rendition of  “To Be A Drum.”  Each video includes an activity guide that you can follow up with home lessons and learning.

Got a kid who’s mad about LEGOs? Tap into that obsession at the spring break camps hosted on Bricks and Minifigs Facebook page. The LEGO Masters at the BAM Plano shop will conduct a 30-minute to 1-hour FB live video every day (except Wednesday) at 1 p.m. with instructions on how to build amazing LEGO marble mazes! Over the course of the week, they will discuss multiple building techniques and ideas that kiddos can use to build mazes over and over for hours of fun! Kids will need a 10”x10” baseplate, technic marble, and lots of pieces. If they don’t have these parts, they have kits available for purchase.

Photo: NPR

Are your teens and tweens in mourning because of cancelled concerts and music festivals? Try one of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts on for size. The fun, low-key performances are the perfect distraction for these long stressful days we’ve been having. This week, catch former One Direction singer Harry Styles.

For even more resources be sure to check out KERA’s Education Coronavirus Toolkit. You’ll find tools and materials specially curated for parents and caregivers with school-aged children at home, as well as for educators who are teaching children remotely.

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