Tips & Tutorials

Inside Scoop: Digital Day Trips and Indoor Outings for Cooped-Up Kids

Sesame Street Playdate
Image: Sesame Workshop

With schools closed and many parents working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic, some families have reached the limits of how long their children can stand being stuck indoors. If you’re looking for ideas that don’t involve spending more hours in front of the TV or building another blanket fort in the living room, you’ve come to the right place. From story time to backyard biome projects, here are some digital day trip ideas that will help you stay sane while staying home.


Podcast: Let actors and comedians liven up story time

The Story Pirates media company launched in 2004 with a unique mission: to hunt for super-creative stories written for kids by kids. When you’re too tired to read one…more…book, tune in to their latest podcast, where actors like David Schwimmer, Claire Danes, Dax Shepard, and Rutgers alumna Regan Sims MGSA’18 will regale them with tales about farting, llamas, a banana clown, and more. Explore their website, too, for a treasure trove of other media and details for kids interested in submitting their own work.


Websites: Tell them how to get to Sesame Street

Rutgers alumna and Sesame Workshop senior vice president Rosemarie Truglio DC’83 has responded to the COVID-19 crisis with an initiative called Caring for Each Other, which offers resources to support children and families. For example, Elmo recently hosted a virtual play date with friends Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anne Hathaway, and Tracee Ellis Ross. Or take a digital day trip to Sesame Place, with the Count-less videos on the YouTube page David’s Adventure. Go to a 4-H Club meeting

The New Jersey 4-H Club, a program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, recently launched a 4-H from Home page. One of its perks: Rutgers experts are hosting one-hour Earth Day at Home webinars every Monday at 6:30 p.m. on topics like creating a backyard wildlife habitat and planting a vegetable garden. Kids can also select a 4-H Service from Home project to support health care workers or neighbors facing food insecurity.


YouTube and Audible: Discover new stories from local authors

Social distancing is tough for kids to understand. That’s why in her March 24 reading of her debut picture book, One Hug (Harper Collins, 2019), New Jersey elementary school teacher Katrina Moore bookends her reading with some encouraging words. Moore is just one of the “success stories” from the 2016 Rutgers One-on-One Conference, which connects creatives with industry professionals. Juvenile fiction readers may prefer listening to the audiobook From the Desk of Zoe Washington, written by Janae Marks, who attended the same writers’ conference.


YouTube and Disney+: Experience the magic of Disney parks

Kids love Disney, but without a single park open for the first time since Walt Disney debuted Disneyland in 1955, children are left with a little less magic in their world. Luckily they can turn to YouTube ride-through videos to simulate the full experience of Disney rides (and those from other parks) in all their gut-wrenching glory. Kids can also enjoy the classic Haunted House Disney ride in the form of a movie as part of a seven-day free trial of Disney+. Watch for Rutgers alumna Dina Spybey MGSA’91 playing the part of a ghost named Emma. Just for fun, follow up with your own virtual tour in Disney’s The Haunted Mansion online experience.