Virtual Fun For Kids: Special Online Programs During School Shutdown

Take part in everything from karate lessons to drawing lessons at home

By Kara Murphy March 18, 2020

Businesses, organizations and kid heroes -- both in Erie and beyond -- are finding creative and virtual ways to stay connected with customers and fans during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Here are some we've included on our calendar of events to help you and your kids stay entertained, happy and learning during this uncertain time.

From the Erie area:

10 a.m. weekdays: Edinboro Family Martial Arts Center helps you get active with free online karate lessons.  Visit Edinboro Family Martial Arts Center Facebook page to watch the event live or anytime of day.

11 a.m. weekdays: Once Upon a Party's princesses and superheroes host story time, games, singing, performances and more. Tips are welcome for performers, but not required to watch. Visit Once Upon a Party's Facebook page to watch the event live, or anytime of day.

Everywhere else:

1 p.m. weekdays: Lunch Doodles With Mo Willems. Author and illustrator Mo Willems, best known for his "Pigeon" series of books and" Elephant and Piggie" series, is doing a daily lunch doodles for kids. He'll draw with them and show kids around his studio. New episodes posted daily at 1 p.m. EST. Find the current episode on the Kennedy Center website, and back episodes by searching Willems' name on YouTube.

3 p.m. weekdays: The Cincinnati Zoo introduces kids to zoo animals and allows them to ask questions in real time to zookeepers during daily "Home Safaris." The zookeepers also give kids a daily activity related to the featured animal. Visit the Cincinnati Zoo Facebook page to watch the event live, or anytime of day.

7 p.m. weekdays: Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf in the Frozen movies, is reading children's books every day at around 7 p.m. on Twitter. You can watch live, or watch a replay anytime here.

Know of other local businesses offering virtual fun for families or kids during the school shutdown? Let me know at and I'll add it to the calendar!