If you're anything like us, adjusting to the "new normal" means finding new ways to keep your tadpoles entertained (and hoppy, and educated) from home. There are days when our Tad and Lily are content to blow bubbles, do puzzles or play games together in peace. But there are also some days when they remind me of the kiddos from "The Cat in the Hat," forlornly looking out the window and waiting for some excitement to come their way, especially when the weather is less than favorable (rain, rain go away!).
While it's an adjustment, we continue to be so grateful for the little things. The museums that have made their exhibits toadally virtual so that we can tour comfortably from home. Our local movie theater delivering fresh popcorn to make movie night that much more "normal" (and delicious!). Even streaming services making in-theater movies available to watch at home. They all put a little pep in our step. While it's a challenging time, these are small reminders that we're all in this together. That's why we've rounded up some toadally awesome resources to share with you! If your tadpoles are hoppin' for some at-home entertainment like ours, we've got you covered. Here is a comprehensive list of family-friendly activities that can be done at home ... and they are all toadally free. (Psst ... we'll continue to update this list as more resources come our way, so be sure to hop back!)
Toadally Fun, Family-Friendly Activities to Do at Home
For the Wizards
- Virtually tour "The Magic of Hogwarts" exhibit at the British Library. Take in Harry Potter-inspired art, online exhibits in-line with Hogwarts curriculum, including Herbology and Divination, and real notes and sketches from J.K. Rowling herself.
- Make up a new Wizarding World spell. if you don't have a wand handy, color an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll! Accio!
- Listen to the first book in the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," on Audible. (This was released as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in the U.S.; the English version is narrated by Stephen Fry, and is also available in Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese. Thanks, J.K. Rowling!)
- Visit the Harry Potter at Home hub, the one-stop shop for Harry Potter puzzles, craft videos, quizzes, and a ton of magical extras for wizards and muggles alike.
- Discuss which Hogwarts House each member of the family belongs to. If this leads to some spirited debate, don't worry: The Harry Potter at Home hub has a quiz to settle the matter!
- If you've never ridden Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (at either Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Studios Florida), we've got a treat for you! One of the best parts of the attraction isn't the ride itself — it's the queue! Hop along with us as we tour Hogwarts Castle (and don't froget to wear you house colors!)
For the Gamers
- Do you wear a crown? Do you live under the sea? Play "Guess Who!" or 20 Questions. (Games with no pieces to misplace are my favorite!) Take a guess at which Wizarding World, Disney or Pixar character each person is thinking of.
- Create your own scavenger hunt! Break up into teams and make a list of clues about items around your house for the other team to find.
- If you have an Amazon device, ask Alexa to play "Disney Hits Challenge" to put your knowledge to the test! Bonus: When you answer correctly, you get tidbits of Disney trivia! (Did you know that "hot dogs" were Mickey's first words?)
- DIY (then play) Mickey Tic-Tac-Toe!
- Looking for at-home carnival games, like the ones you'd find at Pixar Pier? How about corn hole (or bags, depending on where your lily pad is!) or ring toss (pool rings onto an empty two liter bottle)? Challenge your tadpoles to make up a game for the family! (Just make sure the rules are written down before you begin ;) )
For the Dreamers
- Bring your own world, attractions and characters to life in Imagineering in a Box from Khan Academy. For Pixar fans, there's also Pixar in a Box to delve into the art of storytelling in film.
- Want to learn more about the Imagineers? Take a virtual tour of Walt Disney Imagineering!
- Each day, Disney is hosting Disney storytime, with special guests reading Disney-inspired books for tadpoles at home. Celebrities such as John Stamos and Ming-Na Wen (the voice of Mulan) have participated so far. We can't wait to see who's next!
- "Way down deep inside I've got a dream!" Dream along with some of your favorite Disney characters, including Rapunzel, the OG dreamer Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty.
- While we can't physically be at the Disney Parks in either California or Florida, Google Street View has made it so we can virtually walk through both the Happiest Place on Earth and the Most Magical Place on Earth, as well as several other Disney Parks. We can practically smell the churros!
- Reach out and find your "Happily Ever After" without ever having to stake out a spot! All of your favorite Disney parades and shows come alive through the magic of YouTube ... both new AND old favorites! While you're at it, check out the fan-favorite "Disneyland Forever" or the brand-new Disneyland parade, "Magic Happens."
For the Artists
- Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Learn to Draw" YouTube series is a perfect pick for the artistically inclined. First up, learn how to draw Olaf from "Frozen" Supervising Animator Hyrum Osmond!
- Chalk your walk! Need some inspiration? Check out the chalk art from this year's EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. Draw your favorite characters, create a real-life Chutes and Ladders board or map out a hop scotch course.
- Make your own Mickey Pom Pom garland!
- If you have musical theater fans, be sure to follow @DisneyOnBroadway on Instagram! From live choreography and music workshops on Mondays (seriously — "Frozen" and "Newsies" were the first two workshops!), to a weekly talk show hosted by Broadway Genie, Michael James Scott, featuring performances, games and special guests, it's a wish come true for theater froggies.
- Have you ever seen Storytelling at the Royal Theatre, where guests are treated to a retelling of their favorite Disney fairy tales? Why not do the same at home? (Sheets make a great stage curtain!) Encourage your storytellers to re-enact their favorite moments at home, whether it's them as the actors or toy versions of the main characters. Don't froget props to set the scene and tickets for attendees!
For the Movers and Shakers
- Hair up! Have a dance party to the "Trolls" soundtrack ... and get ready for even more hoppin' tunes with Poppy and Branch, as "Trolls World Tour" will be available on-demand on April 10!
- The "Get Moving with Disney Family" series offers Disney-inspired workouts for the whole fam. Break a sweat to your favorite films, including "The Jungle Book" and "The Incredibles."
- Play freeze dance tag! Boogie along with the music, but be sure to freeze when it stops, or you're out!
- Dance along to the "Get Up and Go!" series, inspired by Disney's Broadway shows, such as "Newsies" and "The Lion King."
For the Mini Foodies
- Enjoy a Dole Whip at home. That's right — hop onto either the Disneyland or Walt Disney World app to recreate this classic tropical treat!
- Cook up some churro bites, courtesy of Disney Parks Blog.
- Bake a treat with the Minions' favorite food ... bananas! Whether it's banana bread, banana pancakes or even a good ole' banana, we know they'd love it.
- And speaking of pancakes ... try some "Onward" -inspired brownie pancakes.
- Be ... their ... guest! Let your tadpoles curate a culinary cabaret for you! Feel free to invite some stuffed animals to attend for a true "character dining" experience ;)
- Enjoy Toy Story Land's S'mores French Toast at home. (Try not to lick the screen!)
For the Adventurers
- Hop over to "The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks" via Google Arts & Culture, where Park Rangers take you along with them on a breathtaking adventure through Kenai Fjords (Alaska), Hawaii Volcanoes (Hawaii), Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico), Bryce Canyon (Utah) and Dry Tortugas (Florida) National Parks to explore the parks' hidden gems. Likewise, the National Parks Service has several virtual tours available. Raft through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, or explore the vast geological wonders of Yellowstone National Park.
- Google Maps has some incredible tours available online. Among the far-off destinations that the adventurous type may enjoy are Al-Khazneh, which you may recognize as the Temple of the Sun from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Or, explore the ancient Temples of Angkor, hidden in the dense jungle of Cambodia. The temples have a very Indiana Jones feel, but gamers and film buffs may recognize it for another reason — part of "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" was filmed there.
- If your adventurous spirit has you jonesin' (see what I did there? Like the famed archeologist, Dr. Jones?) to see some artifacts, the Louvre has several collections available to tour virtually, including the famed Egyptian Antiquities collection.
- Board a troop transport on a rugged (and thrilling) tour of the Temple of the Forbidden Eye! The Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland Park offers up plenty of danger for the brave at heart. Just don't look into Mara's eyes!
For the Animal Lovers
- NatGeo@Home is a treasure trove for parents and kiddos alike. With videos, science experiments and crafts, there are a ton of resources centered around the natural world to keep your wild one learning and doing at home.
- Drop in on the San Diego Zoo's animals via live cam! Watch koalas, giraffes, baboons, elephants penguins and more as they go about their day at the zoo.
- Attend an Aquarium of the Pacific Online Academy class. Participate in live online courses for kids from Pre-K to 12th grade. Plus, check out the aquarium webcams of sharks, penguins and jellyfish (whoa, jellies, dude!).
- Dino lovers, we didn't froget you! The American Museum of Natural History has an entire site dedicated to paleontology for kids, including information about fossils, talks with scientists, games and quizzes.
- Of course, this list wouldn't be complete without Disney's Animal Kingdom! One of Lily's favorite shows at the park is "UP! A Great Bird Adventure." Watch as birds of all shapes, sizes and colors fly above the audience, and learn about their natural behaviors in the wild.
For the Jedis
- Practice your best Chewie roar!
- Have you checked out Star Wars Kids yet? Hop over to see new animated shorts, games, comics, coloring pages and more, all geared toward younglings.
- Take a tour of the International Space Station, or explore the real surface of Mars, as recorded by NASA's Curiosity rover!
- Listen to Wow in the World! There are several toadally awesome episodes of this NPR podcast just for kids about space, but the episode "Mini-Moon!" is the most recent. You can even download a printable worksheet to go along with the episode!
- Eat a lightsaber ... err, popsicle. You can finish with a real lightsaber fight if you've got one! Or, check out the top-secret scrap metal operation going on in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Savi's Workshop. Which saber would you build?
For the Thrill-Seekers
- Ever wondered how roller coasters work? Explore the science that makes Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, well, toadally rock. Then, make your own coaster launch!
- We have loved watching coaster fans relive their favorite coaster moments from their living rooms! Queue up the ride video, then put your arms up! (Tadpoles may enjoy coaster cars such as laundry baskets on mom or dad's lap or a rolling office chair).
- Legendary Imagineer Joe Rohde is giving guests a virtual tour of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Follow along as he shares amazing insight into the planning of some of the park's most iconic areas, such as Expedition Everest. Hop over to his Instagram to hear more!
- Take a virtual dive on Orlando's tallest, fastest roller coaster: Mako at SeaWorld Orlando! Did we mention you get a front row seat?
For the Travel Lovers
- Draw a picture of your dream vacation. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? What do you want to do while you're there? Where will you stay? What will you eat?
- Color your favorite vacation memory to date. (Bonus points if you can show off real photos of the vacation to look through together!)
- Create a DIY Passport! Let your kiddos color each page and add a stamp once you've done an activity related to that destination. Make some authentic cuisine, watch a movie set there or look up some fun facts about that location together. The possibilities are endless!
- Globetrot in your PJs! Pair your favorite fictional characters with a tour of their "homes" for an educational, EPCOT-esque tour at home. Climb up the Eiffel Tower and check out the views, then snuggle up for "Ratatouille." Walk along the Great Wall of China, then see it portrayed in "Mulan."
- Check out our Travel Activity Book for even more travel-related activities!
Checking in! How are you and your tadpoles staying busy? Did we miss anything on our list? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!