COVID-19 has caused a global pandemic, forcing people across the country and the globe to severely limit their interactions with friends and family members as well as travel, shopping trips and many other common activities. And with kids across the country home from school indefinitely, plenty of parents are now serving as teachers along with their regular household duties.

Nonprofits have been hit hard, too. In many cases, social distancing guidelines can prevent organizations from completing their mission to the fullest extent. That’s especially important to note in cases where nonprofits work with large numbers of volunteers or provide services in close proximity to the people they help.

However, COVID-19 hasn’t stopped nonprofit work in its tracks. The passion for service and belief in supporting others remains strong across the nonprofit landscape. Specifically, many groups that enable the achievement of educational goals or otherwise work to benefit children have continued to offer their services in this difficult time while also respecting social distancing rules.

Parents working at home and watching their kids can draw on the following resources to engage, inspire, educate and delight.

Virtual trips and exploration

Field trips are valuable learning experiences for children and adults alike. Everything from seeing a historical re-creation of a village in operation to traveling to a zoo or museum offers educational opportunities as well as cultural enrichment. While it’s not possible to make many such trips currently, there are plenty of digital alternatives:

The San Diego Zoo offers a variety of live cameras that show animals of all types and stripes going about their days, from burrowing owls and condors to koalas, pandas and tigers. With the zoo’s focus on creating more natural, less confined habitats, it’s an opportunity to see animals in more realistic settings.

Google Arts & Culture isn’t technically a nonprofit, but this project from the tech industry leader is committed to providing access to high-quality images of artwork from the museums of its partners. Its free Museum Views program allows parents and children to take tours of museums across the globe. And, especially important for the parents of young kids, the tours can start and stop on demand.

Education and relaxation

A number of nonprofits are emphasizing a broad mix of virtual programming that combines opportunities for play, learning and both at the same time.

The Boston Children’s Museum encourages younger kids and parents to play together. Its list of 100 Ways to Play, developed in honor of its 100th anniversary, offers plenty of opportunities for experiential learning.

The Brooklyn Public Library offers diverse programming for children of all ages as well as adults. Topics range from toddler yoga and storytime to poetry workshops for teens and discussions about the tax implications of the CARES Act. While all of the library’s physical locations are shuttered, it’s still going strong with virtual programming.

Khan Academy, a digital learning platform for children and adults, created daily schedules for students from ages 4-18 to help them continue their education while schools are closed. The site also offers a variety of guides for parents and teachers for additional support.

Although not a nonprofit, Scholastic provides access to a variety of learning materials for a wide age range of students – prekindergarten through ninth grade – that enable reading, thinking and growing. The company also offers additional resources for parents and teachers. 

In a time of uncertainty, nonprofits are here to help parents and their children learn, engage, grow and have fun, too.