May 28, 2020 – JK Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series) has released her new book entitled The Ickabog for free on-line. Rowling started posting a chapter each weekday on May 26th and will continue to do so through June 10th. The new children’s fairytale isn’t part of the Harry Potter series, according to Rowling, but rather will take place in its own imaginary land. You can read The Ickabog by going to https://www.theickabog.com/
Along with the book, Rowling is hosting a children’s illustration contest for The Ickabog. There will be drawing suggestions on the author’s website, but contestants are encouraged to let their creativity “run wild.” The winners will be featured in the published print and eBook editions in November. The winning illustrations will also receive a signed copy of the book along with a prize package of Scholastic books for the winner’s school or library of choice.
May 26, 2020 – Trains are cool! I love trains…how about you? If you do, let’s take a train ride from the comforts of your own home. You can take a brisk train ride through the Swiss countryside or journey around the Arctic Circle. Virtual train rides offer viewers the chance to zone out and calm the mind, while seeing new landscapes, some of which many people will never experience in real life, quarantine or not. Plus, you don’t have to worry about train fare or if the onboard amenities are up to par. So grab your favorite refreshment and snacks and choose between 13 different train rides (or take them all) at TRAIN RIDES
May 21, 2020 – Let’s go to the museum! In fact, let’s go to a number of museums! Today’s On-Line Activities include links to a number of museums.
The National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC has several virtual tours integrated directly onto the web. Using Web VR means that virtual visitors can utilise any headset, provided a Web VR enabled browser it used. The tours include both permanent and past exhibitions with the core tour offering dozens of panoramic images that can be navigated via an on-screen map or interactive arrows. What the tour lacks in supporting content (there’s no additional multimedia for the exhibits) it certainly makes up for in scope and range, with dinosaurs, sea life, geology and more in focus. Take the tour at: http://naturalhistory.si.edu/vt3/
Created with InstaVR, this virtual tour from The Smithsonian presents the Renwick Gallery in interactive form. Nine leading contemporary artists created site-specific, gallery-sized installations and you can navigate through the halls of the museum to explore them. Multimedia tags can be selected to bring up additional information, videos and more. See it at: http://americanart.si.edu/multimedia/wonder360/
There are eight more such museum tours at: https://www.virtualiteach.com/post/2017/08/20/10-amazing-virtual-museum-tours
May 14, 2020 – “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”. ― Plato.
There are so many different types of music for us to enjoy — some of us prefer one type, while others have many musical interests. During this difficult time, many musicians have taken to the Internet to share their talents. A simple search of the Internet reveals many sources. May I suggest:
For Pop music enthusiasts, you can watch a classic concert by Prince & the Revolution – The Prince Estate (in partnership with YouTube) will host a three-day streaming event of Prince and the Revolution featuring an historic concert captured at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY, on March 30, 1985. The event begins at 8 o’clock tonight at Prince & the Revolution
How about some Jazz with some crossover pop singers like Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Bruce Willis, Robert Cray, and more. It’s part of the Jazz Foundation of America’s #TheNewGig: COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund Concert. The concert begins at 8 pm and can be viewed at Jazz
Maybe you prefer Classical Music: Today from 6-10pm Live Stream Mini-Marathon on Music on the Rebound: Claire Chase plays selections from Density 2036 (2013-2020) from her living room in Crown Heights, Brooklyn to raise money for the New Music Solidarity Fund. Solo flute works by Steve Reich, Marcos Balter, Mario Diaz de Leon, Felipe Lara, Nathan Davis, Suzanne Farrin, Du Yun, Dai Fujikura, Richard Beaudoin, Pauline Oliveros, Phyllis Chen, Pamela Z, as well as surprise world premieres and special guest appearances every hour. Go to: Classical
Whatever type of music you like, it’s out there. Just let your fingers do the typing on your keyboard, search out your favorite type of music, and enjoy!
May 12, 2020 – Are you a rollercoaster person? For those of us who are, you can’t beat the thrill of those ups & downs. You can’t replace the real feeling of a good rollercoaster ride, but — for now — here’s a little something to keep you entertained at home. You can virtually right eight rollercoasters and get the front seat each time by going to Rollercoaster Rides
Maybe, rollercoasters aren’t your thing. Well, you can take your pick of rides at Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Park in California by visiting 30 virtual Park Rides
Or maybe water-park rides are your favorite! You can check some of the water rides at American Dreams Meadowlands
May 7, 2020 – Let’s go travelling today…and for this first one, we’re heading 352-million miles away! How about a virtual tour of Mars?! On November 26, 2011, NASA launched the Curiosity – a rover that has given us a 360-degree view of the real surface of Mars. For this one, you need to use Chrome, Firefox, or Edge to view at https://accessmars.withgoogle.com/#
Don’t feel like traveling that far. No problem. Try a virtual tour of the Great Wall of China. Several walls were being built from as early as the 7th century BC by ancient Chinese states; selective stretches were later joined together by Qin Shi Huang (220–206 BC), the first emperor of China. Little of the Qin wall remains. Later on, many successive dynasties have built and maintained multiple stretches of border walls. The most well-known sections of the wall were built by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Go to https://www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china
Still too far? No problem…don’t blow your stack, as the old saying goes – rather let Old Faithful blow by taking a tour of Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, with parts in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful geyser, and can be viewed at https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm
May 5, 2020 — Today, we celebrate Cinco de Mayo — so here’s some Cinco de Mayo virtual fun!
While Cinco de Mayo officially celebrates the 1862 Mexican army’s victory over the French, it’s become a holiday that people across the world celebrate. Typically, most people would spend the day eating at Mexican restaurants and throwing parties—but in these unprecedented times, we’re having to adjust how we celebrate. Luckily, there are so many Cinco de Mayo ideas you can use to have a fun fiesta at home this year. There are still ways to have fun with friends and loved ones and—of course—eat and drink your heart out. Cinco de Mayo looks a little different in 2020, but we’re still ready to celebrate.
If you don’t have people to celebrate with at home—or even if you do—gather your friends on a group Zoom (or other such site) call. You can play some fun music, create a Mexican-themed game or just chat while eating Mexican food. Cinco de Mayo is better celebrated with others—even if it’s virtually.
Take some time—maybe while listening to that Cinco de Mayo playlist you just made—to learn some traditional Mexican dance moves. Jarabe Tapatío (the Mexican Hat Dance) or La Conquista (which narrates the story of the Spanish conquest) are good places to start. Here’s a site featuring the Jrabe Tapatio, La Conquista, and more: https://www.cocoro.tv/2017/05/top-5-traditional-mexican-dances/
Or, if you’d rather just sit on your couch, you can always watch videos of the dances as well.
Tune into the hottest Mexican musical artists using Amazon Music, Spotify, or some other similar site (kids, make sure you have permission from your parents/Parents, don’t miss out on the fun!). Find a playlist that already exists or create your own. This is a great way to have some seriously fun music in the background while also supporting Mexican musicians at the same time!