K-12 Schools are Suddenly Closed for the Rest of the School Year. And Museums, Libraries and Camps, are Suspended, Too.
⫸⫸⫸ DAILY at 10 am — Tune in for live kid challenges We are in an unprecedented time right now. The coronavirus pandemic has caused state and local authorities to shutter schools and businesses in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.
What’s next and how can we be diligent to protect and provide for our families during COVID-19?
During planned school breaks, we normally have summer camps, museums, libraries and parks in our arsenal. School may be out, but we have a myriad of other places to go to keep kids engaged.
But this time, West Michigan is “closed” and busy kids everywhere are feeling the strain. Add to that the fact that mom and dad still have to work, and the usual child care options of grandma or a neighbor kid are gone, and we are in a crunch!
What’s next?! – You Come to GRKIDS to Updated Info on Community Resources, Teledoc Options, and Things for Kids to Do
Although there are so many unknowns and rapid changes are occurring daily, our team is hard at work to prepare, connect, and provide helpful resources, as well as remind you, “we are in this together!”
Below you’ll find community, homeschool/educational, food and lunch, childcare, telemedicine resources plus things to do at home and non-germy options.
Your Facebook page has probably blown up with info on community resources, but it’s hard to remember it all and find something that you saw on a friend’s page two days ago. (Or was that in a Google search?…)
We’re gathering them all here as we learn of them, so this can be your one-stop shop.
If you have sources you love and ways to help our community stay informed, please comment below so we can bulk up this list for each other. This article will be updated daily.
Working from home is in the GRKIDS wheelhouse. These tips can help you work remotely.
Coronavirus Closures and Cancellations: Grand Rapids, Michigan
News Sources for Grand Rapids
Continuous updates from WGVU – Grand Rapids Public Radio.
Michigan.gov has some helpful links and Q&A for families, childcare providers, teachers, and more.
COVID-19 Resources – Table of Contents
Things to do at Home With Kids
It’s hunker down time! I’m sure you’re probably already whipping out all of your arts and crafts, games, movie choices, books, and more. If you need some new ideas, here are some awesome ways to get through these next few weeks at home.
If you have ideas of things to do at home please comment below! This article will be updated daily.
First, Join our 21-Day Challenge!
Every day at 10 am on the GRKIDS Facebook page will be posting fun interactive videos from team members and other exciting people around Michigan starting Monday, March 16th. We love giving your kids something to look forward to!
More At-Home Videos and Activities for Each Day of the School Closings
GRKIDS has a fun activity for kids every day at 10 AM on our Facebook page.
Josh Gad (Olaf!) is reading us a bed time story every night. Find it on his Twitter feed.
Science Mom is live-streaming cool science, math, crafts and games.
Fiona the Hippo and friends from the Cincinnati Zoo are doing a Home Safari Facebook Live weekdays at 3 PM.
Mo Willems invites kids to do Lunch Doodles with him his YouTube channel.
Try These At-Home Activities
Make art with these sweet painting tutorials.
I love Pobble.com’s Non-Screen activities you can do at home.
Try these Indoor activities from BuzzFeed.
Make playdough with Martha Stewart’s homemade playdough tutorial.
Play board games without the board.
Try out some new recipes for baking and meals and have the kiddos help.
Watch Frozen 2 Early – thanks, Disney!
Hudsonville area kids can work on projects for the Hudsonville Fair.
How Kids can Travel the World – From Home
Tour these 33 National Parks for Free (Must have Google Earth activated)
Take a Virtual Tour around 12 Famous Museums.
Try one of these 30 virtual field trips.
Non-germy Out-of-the-House Fun With Kids
Museums and libraries are closed, and it is not advisable to hang out at the playground, but there are still other places to explore outside.
If you have ideas and places that are non-germy please comment below! This article will be updated daily.
Fresh Air Ideas
Walk the neighborhood
Walk the dog
West Michigan is loaded with trails, and this time of year, the weather is nice, but the bugs haven’t figured that out yet! (Well, except for the ticks. Remember to check for ticks!) Always keep a six foot distance from other visitors on the trails.
Some of our favorites include the following. (We chose trails that didn’t have the tempting play structures nearby.)
Grand Ravines has a cool suspension bridge and paved paths.
Rockford Dam/White Pine Trail
School at Home/Education Resources
Some of you are thrilled to try on a teacher hat in these coming weeks. Others aren’t nearly as excited.
Regardless of your feelings on teaching your children, one thing is sure: these educational ideas can help any family pass the time at home.
There are too many resources flying around social media to know which ones are the best options. Thankfully, we have some great teachers and educators on the GRKIDS team. I’m gleaning from them and we’re passing these great at-home learning options along.
If you have ideas or are already homeschooling, we’d love your helpful tips, please comment below! This article will be updated and added to daily.
Khan Academy is a free education platform.
Google is offering its premium workspace chat for free through July.
Scholastic’s offering daily learning experiences – “Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys.”
Education Companies offering free subscriptions. (It’s a huge list, but feel free to sift through it.)
Go Noodle for free educational and active games.
PBS Kids offers digital or streaming options.
10 FREE learning websites from BSC Teacher Education.
Places you can get a Telemedicine Visit and Other COVID-19 Testing Info
It’s allergy season, other sicknesses are going around, and the coronavirus is in Michigan. It will be so helpful for us parents to have a doctor readily available.
If you know of a place offering telemedicine appointments please comment below. This article will be updated daily.
COVID-19 Testing Info
Spectrum Health has a hotline to help id COVID-19 patients.
Spectrum Health’s Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing
Ottawa County residents can schedule an appointment for the drive-up testing station in Grand Haven. Call 616-935-7810 M-F, 9 AM – 5 PM.
Kent County residents can call 888-535-6136 for help with testing.
Food/Lunches for Kids in Need
As our city’s kids are home until April many will be in need of lunches and meals. Our stellar public schools have worked tirelessly to set up alternate meal locations throughout the county. Here’s what we’ve been able to vet.
If you know of a place that’s offering food for families please comment below. This article will be updated daily.
School Lunch Programs During COVID-19
Byron Center Schools offering free breakfast and lunch.
How Cedar Springs students can get meals.
Forest Hills Schools has meal pickup at the high schools on certain days and times.
Grand Rapids Public Schools is feeding any students 18 and under at seven locations. Not limited to GRPS students.
Holland Public Schools is also feeding its students.
Muskegon Public Schools is still providing breakfast and lunch.
Other Community Food Banks
Buist Community Assistance Center – Byron Center
Hand 2 Hand provides weekend meals to kids in need.
Dogs Need Food, Too!
For those needing pet food assistance, contact Grand Rapids Pitbull Alliance.
Ways Your Family Can Help
Support Local, Small Businesses
As I watched America buy all the toilet paper this week, and I saw dozens of images of empty grocery store shelves, I thought, “I’m set. My great friend Maggie McGuinness is a soap maker. Meijer can run out – I’ve got supply.”
At a time like this, it’s really helpful to know your local artisans and small businesses. Small businesses have the coffee, soap and foodstuffs you need.
Costco and Home Depot may be wiped out, but Maggie has soap. My coffee shop The Sparrows Coffee Tea & Newsstand has free shipping of coffee beans. I can order books from Schuler Books and my farmer friends have beef, pork and chicken. If you’ve never paid attention to local, small businesses before, now is the time. (Please message me if you know a local maker in the tp business… and I don’t mean the crochet kind!)
Keep Giving To Your Community in These Ways
Just because everything seems closed, it doesn’t mean that needs disappear. People still need food. (Some need it now more than ever!) They still need medical help. Here’s how you can lend a hand in the next few weeks.
Please comment below if you know of additional ways to help in this way!
Grand Haven is having a special community food drive
The Red Cross is asking the healthy people give blood through this time.
We’re Going to Get Through This – Together!
Grand Rapids, this is a wild time. But also totally survivable. Let’s encourage and support each other as much as we can during this time. If we can survive the polar vortex, we can survive anything, right??
Thank you for helping our community by sharing your ideas, resources, and support!
We’re going to get through this – together!