Kids & Masks: Helpful Online Resources

With the school year fast approaching, and mandated masks a new way of life, parents are faced with the challenge of teaching their children how and when to wear a mask, and helping to make them feel comfortable and safe, as well. Learning about masks and practicing with them now will make it easier for your child to transition to wearing one at school.

A few basic strategies include finding a mask that your child wants to wear (maybe with a favorite character, print, or color), wearing your own mask comfortably and confidently while you’re around your child, and having your child get used to wearing a mask in your home while doing familiar or fun activities.

A very timely and relevant article we have found online is How to Help Kids Adjust to Masks Before School Starts. It covers 16 easy, practical, fun activities you can do with your child to practice mask-wearing.

This same site provides an article here with sensible ways to introduce your child to wearing a mask, and another article here that breaks down tips for mask-wearing by the child’s age.

University Hospitals has published an article entitled How to Help Your Child Get Used to Wearing a Mask. It explains that masks can be unsettling in a number of ways for children and suggests ideas for caregivers to ease that anxiety.

Here are a few more related sites, with videos and ebooks for kids, and articles for caregivers:

We hope that those resources will help you find some tips and ideas that work for your family.

When you are ready for your child to practice wearing a mask outside your home and to interact with others, consider a trip to the Hudson Library to choose a few books and chat with our friendly mask-wearing librarians!

Fun Educational Sites for Summer and Beyond

As the school year winds down, parents and caregivers may be looking for resources to keep the kids engaged and learning throughout the summer, so that they beat the summer slide and are ready for classes in the Fall.

But since fun is the name of the game in the summer, will kids really want to feel like they’re still in school? Well, probably they will not, but never fear, because there are some great sites that are not only educational, but lots of fun, too!

Here is a list of ten free learning websites, with games and lots of entertaining and educational content for kids in the summer and all through the year. Check them out!

Outdoor Family Fun at Home

Just because we are at home doesn’t mean we have to be bored or feel stuck! It’s time to get everyone outside and enjoy some fresh air, play some games, and maybe even learn something new.

Here are 20 ideas for outdoor family fun at home, brought to you by our fun-loving Youth Services staff!

  • Play hopscotch (learn to play here).
  • Play four square (learn to play here).
  • Set up a driveway tic-tac-toe game (learn to play here).  
  • “Paint” things outside, using large paintbrushes and buckets of water.
  • Enjoy a family car wash at home (for your family’s cars, bikes, scooters, etc).
  • Play “I Spy” on a family walk.
  • Have some old-fashioned fun with a backyard game of Duck Duck Goose, Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, Freeze Tag, or Red Rover.
  • Get your moves on with a family dance party.
  • Make a homemade outdoor obstacle course.
  • Make a birdhouse out of things you find at home (for one version, see here).
  • Take a backyard safari.
  • Paint some rocks to decorate your porch or yard.
  • Take a walk around the neighborhood and find objects of every shape and color. Make it more challenging by looking for specific combos like a red square, a blue circle, etc.
  • Make a kite and see if it will fly (such as this one).
  • Do an indoor activity outside, such as coloring, reading, playing a board game, or telling a story.
  • Have a picnic meal in your yard, and let the kids help plan it.
  • Find shapes in the clouds, the trees, etc.
  • Collect Spring flowers to press and display:
    • trim flowers to desired length.
    • flatten the flower.
    • press between wax paper inside a heavy book for about two weeks.
  • Make your own bubbles:
    • 1 1/2 cups of water
    • 1/2 cup of dish soap
    • 2 tsp sugar (optional: sugar slows down water evaporation, which lets the bubbles last longer)
    • bubble wand (or anything with holes that can be dipped into the solution: fly swatter, slotted spoons, etc)
  • Check out these creative outdoor literacy activities.

Most of all, have fun with your family, make some memories, get some fresh air, and stay safe!

Harry Potter and Other Fun Links for Tweens and Teens

We were so excited to watch as Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter himself!) reads chapter 1 of “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone” at the “Harry Potter at Home” website here. Have you checked it out yet? An amazing cast of narrators – plus several surprise guests – will be reading sections of this first book in the widely popular and beloved series by J.K. Rowling.

Here are several online sites that we have found to entertain and encourage tweens and teens to learn something new and maybe even be inspired to volunteer a little time to an online project, right from the comfort of home. Students could even inquire at their schools or community groups to see if any of the online volunteer opportunities could be counted toward service hours.

Fun sites:

Volunteer sites: