Have you heard about Snapology? Named Entrepreneur Magazines #1 STEM/STEAM enrichment program, it's Discovery Centers are located around the United States and, lucky for us, also close by in Bridgeville, PA. Oh - but as with most things, it's closed due to the outbreak. No problem!
Each day, your kids can participate in one of Snapology's winning programs in Snapology's virtual classroom. Program themes change daily and each session allows just 20 children to enroll - allowing for lots of interaction with other remote students.
"So What's a Class Like?" You Ask
Based on their guiding principle that children should learn through play., Snapology designs courses to ensure that children are actively engaged in hands-on, interactive learning activities using LEGO® bricks, K’Nex and other technology like laptops and iPads. "We sneak in the educational concepts. Shh, don't tell them it's educational!"
You can check out the Snapology website to see what themes are coming up and make your reservation for sessions (each costs only $10).
Celebrities, authors, illustrators, beloved animated characters, and educators are available to you at home for online storytelling sessions. We've found some good ones to get you started.
If you have Amazon Prime, look for Bookaboo - a really fun kids show featuring a puppet named Bookaboo who has to have a daily story fix. He gets his satisfaction when celebrities read children's stories to him. BTW, if you don't have Amazon Prime, you can find Bookaboo on YouTube for free.
Storyline Online, a program of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, features celebrated actors reading children’s books. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more.
Tim Hartman, Storyteller
Tim Hartman, Storyteller and native Pittsburgher, has been professionally acting, singing, writing, cartooning and storytelling for nearly 40 years. He's committed to posting a new story every day on his blog.
Center For Puppetry Arts
The Center For Puppetry Arts is livestreaming stories every day. Check their website for a schedule of stories and times then head over to their Facebook page to see the live stream.
How to Find More
For even more suggestions, check out this article from Romper which has links to authors who are grabbing their favorite books and have recorded themselves reading. Or, according to CoolProgeny, you can "search the hashtag #OperationStoryTime on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to find a beloved author."
Here are some of their recommendations:
Are you a history buff? Think you know everything about Pittsburgh and the area? Or maybe you just have a kid who needs to do a history project while being home schooled. Regardless, the Senator John Heinz History Center has links to lots of great sites via "History From Home," a collection of virtual history offerings.
If you were asked "what small town in Washington County produced 3 star major league baseball players?" would you know how to find the answer? You'd find the answer in the KDKA Radio Time Capsule, a collection of audio clips covering tons of topics.
Maybe war history is more your thing. We Can Do It! WWII is an exhibit recently run at the museum. You can view an online virtual tour from the comfort of your sofa and learn about the war and how Pittsburgh was involved in winning it.
Want to know how much involvement Pittsburgh had in the space race? Probably more than you imagine. Find you what you didn't know by checking out Pittsburgh Goes to the Moon.
Besides the History At Home the Heinz History Center's main site will get you to tons of other great resources to keep you interested or help your kids with their homework. Be sure to check them out!
Now You Can Try Out eBooks and Audiobooks With Just Your Library Card.
Are you looking for a convenient way to read the current bestsellers on your phone or tablet? Need to load up on a couple of audiobooks to listen to? We have an awesome app that will let you tap into our collection of eBooks and audiobooks in no time.
It’s called Libby by Overdrive.
Libby is an easy-to-use combination of a book reader and audiobook player, offering a next-generation approach to managing and digesting digital content.
Best of all – Libby is free to use, requiring nothing more than a Heritage Public Library card. Don't have a card? No problem. Just call or email the library and we can get you set up.
It’s really easy to associate Libby with your Heritage account. Download the Libby app then get out your library card and open up the app. You’ve completed the hardest part of the install already.
From there, Libby, powered by OverDrive, will help you find Heritage and sign in. Everything happens in a few taps.
You now have access to OverDrive’s catalog of 2 million plus eBooks and audiobooks. Plenty to keep you entertained for hours!
Heritage Public Library has just secured free access to TumbleBooks, a world leader in online children’s books. TumbleBooks has made its family of online libraries available for free to all public libraries until at least August 31.
Its flagship product, TumbleBookLibrary is a collection of animated talking picture books, read-alongs, ebooks, quizzes, lesson plans, and educational games which is used by thousands of schools and public libraries in over 100 countries across the world.
In addition to providing the above items geared towards young kids, there are also special collections for math (TumbleMath), teens (TeenBookCloud) including graphic novels, a series for adult romance readers (RomanceBookCloud), and audiobooks (AudioBookCloud). Check out the links below to get instant access - no sign up needed.
Our Night Lights session featured books, games, and activities that got the kids thinking about all the different things that light up in the night. This session was special as we introduced another new item to the kids - our light table and magnetic light blocks. So much fun!
The Very Lonely Firefly
by Eric Carle
When a very lonely firefly goes out into the night searching for other fireflies, it sees a lantern, a candle, and the eyes of a dog, cat, and owl all glowing in the darkness. It even sees a surprise celebration of light. But it is not until it discovers other fireflies that it finds exactly what it's looking for.
by Susan Gal
Susan Gal tells the story of a child’s evening routine through all the different kinds of lights that shine in the night. From the porch light by the front door, to the firelight (and firefly light!) of a backyard cookout, and the candles on a cake, everything seems to glow in this warm and cozy book.
Thanks to a grant received from the Pennsylvania Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Heritage Public Library has been able to make a sizable purchase of Montessori-level toys and games to add to its collection. The goal of adding these items is to better provide high-quality programming and support families as they strive to raise children to be curious and embrace life-long learning.
Items purchased included books for very young children and toys specifically designed to enhance tactile learning, abstract thinking, exploration, and group play. These are areas seen as necessary to further learning of skills for jobs of the future - especially STEM occupations.
Want to see more? Click on the video below:
Items in Heritage's new Play & Grow Toy Library have been extremely well received. Used in storytime sessions, they've already been proven highly useful in introducing new concepts and promoting curiosity followed by the engagement of some of the most timid children.
Outside of storytime, the toys and games are available for use at any time by anybody - and they are really popular! We already have people coming in specifically to explore what we have and then enhance that learning by taking home books that help reinforce what the children learned while playing.