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!
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.
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.