© 2022 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Get the latest news about the novel coronavirus from Iowa Public Radio and NPR News.

These Iowa Organizations Are Here To Help Parents With Kids At Home

Special to IPR
Learning to homeschool young kids while social distancing is challenging. But you're not alone. Here are some resources to help.

The United States' timeline for social distancing now stretches through at least the end of April, according to the latest recommendations from the White House coronavirus task force. While the world adjusts to the new normal, many parents face the added challenge of finding ways to keep their kids engaged while waiting to return to school or daycare. 

Thankfully, many of the local museums, science centers and libraries that have had to close their doors to the public have found ways to provide their services online. 

If you're a parent who feels extra grateful these days for daycare, public school and the trained professionals who do the important and heavy lift of educating our children, we recommend you explore some of the opportunities listed below to engage with your kids. If you know of others, let us know!  


Ames Public Library
Live on Facebook Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. 

The Ames Public Library is closed through May 15, but many of their services are available online. Stream and download audiobooks, e-books, magazines and more using your library card. 
The library will also be hosting a story time on Facebook Live on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. 


Iowa PBS
Live on Facebook Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. 

Besides their offering of Healthy Habit videos for kids, Iowa PBS is leading a guided Virtual Learning Camp aimed at kids 5-8 to work on literacy and math skills. The station will also be hosting storytime live on their Facebook page each Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. 

Like the Iowa PBS Facebook page to be notified when storytime is live! 

Wildlife & The Outdoors

Talk of Iowa For Kids" Wildlife lessons
Every Tuesday, wildlife biologist Jim Pease and others will teach us about Iowa's wild creatures and wild places on Talk Of Iowa For Kids! Tune in Tuesdays at 10 a.m. 

Blank Park Zoo 
The staff at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines have created a webpage full of lessons for kids aged 2 through grade 8 that parents or family members can conduct at home. The zoo is also hosting a series of live and pre-recorded videos on their Facebook page: Watch “Zoo Creates,” a craft activity time, or “Ruby’s Adventures,” as keepers chat and take care of the animals. 

A schedule of daily activities will be posted weekly on the Blank Park Zoo website. 


The National Mississippi Museum & Aquarium
Live on Facebook weekdays at 2 p.m. 

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque will be live streaming “Social Distance Learning” videos on their Facebook page each day at 2 p.m. Tune in for educational history, science and conservation content from the staff at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and the Mathias Ham Historic Site in Dubuque. 

Catch up on the museum's Social Distance Learning videos on their website. 


The River Music Experience
Live on Facebook weekdays at 10 a.m.

Inspired by a mission of getting people to listen, learn, and play music, the River Music Experience in Davenport will be live-streaming “Music Lab” - a 30 minute music show hosted by Education Director Bret Dale - from their Facebook page every weekday morning at 10 a.m. CST. Kids can enjoy plenty of songs and discussions on music and life. 

Like RME's Facebook page to be notified when "Music Lab" goes live.

Science & Interactive Play

The Putnam Museum and Science Center 
The Putnam Museum and Science Center in Davenport has put together a web page full of “kid-tested and Putnam-approved” science experiments and activities to keep kids engaged and entertained. The museum plans to roll out additional learning experiences in the coming weeks, including streamed content from the museum’s Facebook page, more at-home experiments to try and a virtual tour to unearth treasures from the Putnam collection. 

Get started on your pop rocks experiment on the museum’s website.




The Iowa Children's Museum
The Iowa Children's Museum in Iowa City will be providing activities aimed at keeping kids busy and learning through their social media. The museum is posting DIY-style activities that families can do with items they likely already have in the house and kids games from around the world.

Try a new game out now on the museum's Facebook page.



"Talk of Iowa For Kids" Iowa history lessons
Every Thursday, Iowa historian Tom Morain and others will teach us about Iowa's history on Talk Of Iowa For Kids! Tune in Thursdays at 10 a.m.

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch is creating a series of Distance Learning videos - live zoom lessons for kids in pre-school through high school (depending on the lesson). The series will cover topics on politics, civics and history from Hoover's term as president of the United States. 

See a full line-up and register for the Distance Learning presentations on the library's website. 

As the newsletter product coordinator, Madeleine (she/her) manages and writes for Iowa Public Radio’s newsletter portfolio, including The Daily Digest and Political Sense.