Learning at Home During the COVID-19 Crisis

In-home Learning with Detroit PBS KIDS

Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, Detroit Public TV is responding to the learning needs of families with children at home as a result of Michigan schools being closed because of the COVID-19 crisis by adjusting its entire daytime programming schedule.  DPTV will offer blocks of programming geared to specific age groups on its main broadcast channel (56.1), as part of a collaboration with Michigan’s public television stations and the national PBS system.

While Michigan schools are closed this school year, weekday programming will be as follows:

  • Current PBS KIDS programming (Ages 2-8 years old) – 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Grades 4th-8th – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Grades 9th-12th – 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

View next week’s schedule.

Daily Newsletter

Detroit PBS KIDS (logo)

Detroit PBS KIDS

Daily Newsletter
In-Home Learning and Fun!

Music has a way of bringing us all together. And it can be a lot of fun — to listen to, dance to, or play!

Get your day jump-started with the Farmington Community Band and this performance of “Slava!”

App of the Day: PBS Parents Play & Learn
A PBS app designed specifically for parents, PBS Parents Play & Learn, provides more than a dozen games parents can play with their kids, each themed around a familiar location — including the new “In the Garden” game, plus the grocery store, a restaurant, the kitchen, and many more.

Preschool: How Music Makes You Feel
Explore emotions with your preschooler with this Daniel Tiger video.

Grades K-2: The Addition Expedition | Sesame Street
LL Cool J and Elmo are headed on an addition expedition. They count and add the different birds singing in the bushes. Then they find two frogs and two rabbits hopping, making four total animals hopping.

Grades 3-5: Pitch: Making Guitars
Vibrations are the basis for all sound. Controlling the frequency of sound-producing vibrations is the key to creating and playing musical instruments. In this video, two cast members from ZOOM demonstrate how to make guitars out of boxes and rubber bands, as well as how the sounds these instruments make can be manipulated.

Grades 6-8: DragonflyTV | Hip Hop Mix
All music has a beat, and the number of bpm (beats per minute) affects the ability of hip-hop dancers to bust a move. Kyla and Jenna work with a DJ to mix the hip-hop tracks, and learn that accommodating their moves to particular tracks makes for better dancing performances.

Grades 9-12: Hip-Hop Sampling
This resource from the Independent Lens film “Copyright Criminals” teaches students about sampling and how it came to be widely used in the early days of hip-hop music. It also explores the socio-economic conditions that gave rise to hip-hop as a form of cultural expression, and introduces the seminal work of the rap group Public Enemy.


10:00 am: “Navajo Math Circles
Hundreds of Navajo children in recent years have been collaborating mathematicians from around the world. The students using a model called math circles, where the students are in charge of exploring mathematics to their own joy and satisfaction, with potentially long-lasting results. Education for Native American children hasn’t always been so positive. Explore more with this resource.

4:00 pm: “Chasing the Moon”
In part one of three, Chasing the Moon tells the story of how the Russian satellite Sputnik launched the space race. The film details the early days of the Mercury and Gemini missions, played out against the backdrop of the cold war.


Some of your kids have distance-learning with their school district. Some don’t. If you’re one of the tens of millions of parents nationally who are now essentially homeschooling your kids, NPR has some tips to help you keep your kids engaged and everyone sane. And just to make it fun, it’s a comic: “How to turn your home into a school without losing your sanity.”


Wrestling with technology to stay in touch with your students? Trying to upgrade your tech skills for whatever comes next? DPTV has compiled some great PBS Resources to help you with PBS Learning Media, Google Classroom, and Remind.


Hip Hopscotch
Hop along and you’ll learn the importance of exercise to blood circulation.


The lineup for the Detroit Jazz Festival 2020 has been announced. The annual festival — now in its 41st year — is scheduled for September 4th through the 7th. For a little flavor, check out this clip from an episode of American Black Journal last August.

App of the Day: Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen
Let your preschooler “bake” without the mess! Cookie Monster and Elmo help them build words on some virtual cookies. Get a preview in this video. NOTE: This app is NOT free; it has a small fee.

Preschool: Ideal Jobs for Preschoolers in the Kitchen
The key is to give kids 3-5 jobs that match their skill level and that they will enjoy. Some suggestions:

  • If your child loves to pound, bring out the bread dough and let your preschooler pound away
  • Stirring pancake batter
  • Tearing lettuce for salad
  • Adding ingredients
  • Assembling a pizza

Grades K-2: Pancake Science
Work on some serious math and science lessons while making pancakes.

Grades 3-5: Cooking with Kids
These recipes kid-friendly recipes from PBS cooking shows are not only a great learning experiences, but also food that everyone will have fun making!

Grades 6-8: Tweens in the Kitchen: Cooking with Your Big Kid
Help 10- to 13-year-olds gain confidence in the kitchen with skills, techniques, and recipes compiled by Epicurious.com — just right for the tween set.

Grades 9-12: 13 Super Easy Meals Teens Can Make Themselves
Give the family cook a night off and let the teens take over the kitchen with these recipes from Martha Stewart.


These activities to be done in conjunction with DPTV’s new At-Home Learning programming schedule:

7:30a – Nature Cat: “Cook” for birds in this animated game.
12:00n – NOVA: Bigger than T-Rex: What foods did dinosaurs eat?


One note: while we have grade-level suggestions for our content, do allow your child to pursue anything that interests him or her. Allowing the child to follow their own interests can result in very rich learning experiences.

Learning does not have to be highly structured, as this article points out.


Did you know that PBS has a special site just for teachers? PBS.org/education is all about the art and practice of your career. The Teacher Lounge is a great way to connect with award-winning educators from all over the country.

For example, Kristen Harris from Atlanta has some advice about staying calm and taking care of yourself in this time of uncertainty.

If you are trying to figure out or prepare for distance learning, Kara Williams, from Lowell, Massachusetts, has shared her experience with distance learning at all grade levels.


Playworks Michigan wants to keep kids engaged in play while they are home. They will be broadcasting #PlayAtHome Recess live on Facebook at Noon, 2pm, and 4pm. Monday through Friday. Tune in for stretching and warm-ups, interactive games, cheers, and cooldown activities. Check out this one-minute sample called “Morning Stretch” to start your day!


Little Guide Detroit: Spirit Week
Our partner Little Guide Detroit wants to lift everyone’s spirits. They’ve declared this week of March 30th to April 3rd as Spirit Week. Monday is “Superhero Day,” and they’d like you and your kids to power up for the week ahead and dress up as your favorite super hero! Snap a photo, share it on social media with the tag @littleguidedetroit, and lift everyone’s spirits!


It starts with taking care of yourself.

There is no doubt we are in a time of great uncertainty. That’s one reason we are emphasizing self-care and taking time as an adult for your own needs during this period.

It’s important to remember that we are not helpless in light of current news events. We can always choose our response. If you are struggling, here are some things you can do to take care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty:

  1. Separate what is in your control from what is not.
  2. Do what helps you feel a sense of safety.
  3. Get outside in nature–even if you are avoiding crowds.
  4. Challenge yourself to stay in the present.
  5. Stay connected and reach out if you need more support.

Learn more at Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty.



Want to play cards? If it’s been a while, here’s a refresher for playing Crazy 8s.

Looking for a new card game? The people who make Bicycle cards has games for all ages on their website — along with the rules (just in case an argument breaks out!).

A news story this week reported there has been a big run on jigsaw puzzles from online retailers. As an alternative, you could try a game of Balance Building. Pick uneven or unstable objects such as cards, paper cups, or rocks and challenge your kids to build as high as they can or in various shapes. The kids will be learning to solve problems, but you don’t have to tell them that!

Need a variation on HopScotch? Try playing “Letter Hopscotch” and build some reading skills. A little bit of sidewalk chalk required.



Is somebody in your household mourning the delay of the 2020 baseball season? So was Ken Burns, so he’s released his multi-part history of “Baseball” for the sports fans in your family. All episodes can be viewed for free on the free DPTV App, the PBS Video App — also free — which is available for Roku, Apple, and other cord-cutting devices, as well as on your mobile phone or tablet.

Not to be outdone, Antiques Roadshow has a collection of baseball and sports memorabilia on their website, including a Joe DiMaggio bat valued at more than $80,000. Check out the vintage 1940 Michigan Wolverine football helmet!


On Thursday, a group of more than 20 community organizations in Detroit held a virtual town hall to help spread information about the coronavirus and resources in the city. Because of a simultaneous internet and Facebook outage, the event did not reach everyone who wanted to see it. DPTV recorded the COVID313 virtual town hall, and you can view it here.

Are you an emergency worker looking for child care? The state has set up a referral and placement system for the young children of emergency workers. The information is available in multiple languages. Get more information and apply here.


App of the Day: PBS KIDS Games App:  Scribbles & Ink
The PBS KIDS Games App is free and has a lot of different games. One of them — Scribbles & Ink — encourages children to draw. Get some additional help from the creator of Scribbles & Ink in these videos.

Preschool: Draw Your Feelings
You can have lots of different feelings when something difficult or unexpected happens. Drawing pictures is one way you can help yourself feel better.

Grades K-2: Paint-a-long with Peg + Cat
Use this game with children to combine shapes to draw Peg, Cat, and all their friends. Peg can help children every step of the way–or, she can leave them to make their own beautiful painting.

Grades 3-5: Ready Jet Go! | How to Draw Sunspot
This playlist features tutorials on how to draw your favorite PBS KIDS characters. Practice drawing characters from Let’s Go Luna!, Ready Jet Go!, and Scribbles and Ink.

Grades 6-8: Art Basics with Dick Termes: Drawing Cubes
Artist Dick Termes introduces cubes and how to draw them in space with an artistic angle so that you can see dimensions. An animated video shows many examples of cubes in the real world.

Grades 9-12: Graphic Novels with Thien Pham
Ever wondered how comics are made? How about how to draw your own? In this video, Thien Pham, a graphic artist from Oakland, CA, will show you step-by-step how to create your own comic, from writing the plot to drawing the four-panel itself.


If you ever watched the movie Fame! then you know Debbie Allen who played the dance teacher Lydia Grant. She’s now the Artist in Residence for Dance at the Carr Center in Detroit – who shared these videos from her storied career. We encourage you to watch with your kids and then try to copy her moves!


Drawing and coloring can be very relaxing. Some members of the Detroit PBS KIDS education team have become addicted to mobile apps that are tech-y versions of paint-by-number pictures. There are lots of options online and in the app stores.

To close out the week, we also wanted to share with you this interview that DPTV’s One Detroit team recorded earlier this week with Dr. Erin Hunter, a clinical psychologist with the Center for Child and Family at the University of Michigan. Her key message: Relax. “We are not going to be perfect. We are going to make mistakes (as parents).”


If you’ve been watching DPTV, you’ve probably seen promotions for an upcoming special series called “American Portrait.” PBS Education is offering a four-part virtual professional learning series for teachers to help engage students in the project. The goal: Calling on people across the country to use photos, videos, and words to tell their own stories about what it really means to be an American today. More details and registration information here.


If you have a child with special needs, the Autism Alliance of MI provides a number of resources on their website, including Henry Ford Health System’s weekly webinar on Wednesdays called Autism Parent Survival Kit: Entertaining Your Child During the COVID-19 Lockdown. The first one is Wednesday, April 1, at 1pm. Find this and other helpful resources here.

FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT: This weekend, Arthur is the featured star of Family Movie Night on Detroit PBS KIDS. It will be back-to-back hours of Arthur!

  • At 8pm, it’s “Arthur: D.W. and the Beastly Birthday.” D.W. runs away to the island of Ukubonga after her fifth birthday doesn’t go according to plan, while Arthur’s school trip to the planetarium magically transports him four years into the future.
  • Then at 9pm, it’s “The Rhythm and Roots of Arthur.” Arthur’s family and Buster take a trip to the Read family farm where they learn about traditions and family.

Both shows are available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.


App of the Day: Molly of Denali | An Alaskan Adventure
Designed for young readers ages 4-8 to explore information text sources, Molly’s life and adventures are enhanced by using and creating books, online resources, field guides, indigenous knowledge from elders, maps, charts, posters, photos, and more.

Preschool: Daniel Tiger’s Storybooks
Read, play, and learn with Daniel Tiger’s Storybooks — a collection of favorite stories from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood! Stories are available in English and Spanish.

Grades K-2: Rhyme Time Bingo
Play this Super WHY! game, Rhyme Time Bingo, to practice rhyming your way to a prize! Students are challenged to pick which word rhymes with the given word and with each correct rhyming pair, a portion of a picture is revealed!

Grades 3-5: Storytelling with Words and Pictures
Create your own comic book story, and along the way learn the basics of how stories are structured, gain vocabulary about storytelling elements, and explore how the arts, specifically drawing, can be a valuable way to tell stories.

Grades 6-8: NOVA | Dolphin Reading Test
We know dolphins are smart, but can they read ? In this NOVA video animal trainer Teri Bolton, from the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences in Honduras, has trained Cedana the dolphin to perform specific actions when seeing certain two-dimensional symbols. It appears that Cedana has learned to read, another sign of intelligence.

Grades 9-12: Playing with Shakespeare’s Language
In this lesson drawn from the PBS Series Great Performances, you’ll see how the Public Theater transformed Shakespeare’s language for a contemporary performance of Much Ado About Nothing.

Freeze Dance Rhyme Dance
Crank the tunes and let the dancing begin. Unlike the regular game though, when the music stops, a designated person calls out a word. If the other dancer(s) can’t respond with a word to rhyme with it within a designated time period (say five to 10 seconds), that person is out!

Time to shop? The shelves at grocery stores aren’t as bare as they were before the school closings, but the supply chain is still adjusting to keep up with the unprecedented demand. A lot of the shortages have been driven by families stockpiling staples. But sustainability expert Shelie Miller at the University of Michigan says there’s no reason to believe groceries will not be available. She offers these tips if your pantry is running low:

  • Create a meal plan and shopping list, being sure to plan for snacks and treats.
  • Stick to your shopping list.
  • Only buy food that you actually expect to eat.
  • Remember that the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables can vary from a few days to several weeks.
  • Plan to eat, prepare and/or freeze perishable items before they spoil.
  • Be mindful of how much storage you have. If you plan to freeze ingredients or make meals ahead to freeze, make sure you have enough space in your freezer.
  • Be creative with pantry items and other foods you have on hand to reduce the number of overall grocery trips you need to make.

As long as everyone only purchases what they can reasonably expect to eat, there will be less stress on grocery stores to meet demand.

If you are an essential worker and need child care please click here.

Student voice is also important in this election year. The folks at KQED Learn in San Francisco are working with the PBS Newshour to help turn Election 2020 into a powerful educational tool for middle and high school students. The goal is to empower students to share their take on issues that matter to them. Learn how your students can create and publish audio or video commentaries for a national audience. The Election 2020 media challenge has a number of free toolkits to support this standards-aligned program co-hosted by the National Writing Project and PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs.

Words carry important meanings, and for Americans, the words at the National Constitution Center are particularly important. The center calls itself the “center for civic education” about our federal government. Check out the Interactive Constitution section and be sure to watch the virtual tour.

Feeling overwhelmed? In need of answers? The Detroit COVID313 Community Coalition of Families, Parents and Students has organized a virtual townhall. The town hall will provide an opportunity for you to receive information and resources to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. Topics will include education, public health, childcare and securing basic needs. Scheduled participants include DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, Michigan Superintendent of Schools Michael Rice, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive, State of Michigan, and Denise Smith, Implementation Director for Hope Starts Here.

Call in to 646-876-9923 (then dial 334 719 351), join a Zoom session or visit the Detroit Public TV Facebook page this Thursday, March 26th from noon-2 p.m. to learn more and ask questions.


App of the Day: Cyberchase 3D Builder
Bumbling bots Buzz and Delete accidentally zapped the houses in Botopolis totally flat. Help rebuild the town by turning 2D shapes into 3D structures.

Preschool: Building Bridges | The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!
Join Nick, Sally, and the Cat in the Hat as they learn about bridges and what makes them work!

Grades K-2: Building is a Breeze | The Ruff Ruffman Show
Explore structural science as Ruff Ruffman helps kids looking for a way to keep their mini-golf tower from tipping over in the wind. Will cutting holes in the tower keep it from falling?

Grades 3-5: Building a Fence | Cyberchase
Harry needs to put up a fence in his grandmother’s backyard, but there are no instructions and each piece of fence is a different length. How will Harry solve the problem?

Grades 6-8: Design: Building a House
Have you ever wondered how a house is constructed and where its building materials come from? This collection of images depicts the multi-step process of building a house made from wood and another from bricks.

Grades 9-12: Hot Shots & Hot Jobs: Engineering Solutions
Why is Engineering a Hot Job? Learn why three students went into Computer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering. Check out the resources and see if Engineering is the career path for you.

Not everything is shut down by the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. You can still go to the grocery but should limit your trips and plan your meals. Most stores how have limits on how much you buy to discourage hoarding. Some stores offer delivery.

You can also get prescriptions refilled, but you may be asked to wait in your car while someone brings it to you.

You can order food from a restaurant but be sure to follow instructions about how to receive the food. Delivery may not be available to your home, and pickup may require you to stay in your car.

Playdates and sleepovers are discouraged by officials and by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), who says social distancing only works if we stay — well — distant from each other. But connecting kids by Facetime, Zoom, or other video chatting can help them stay in touch with their friends and family members.

If you are worried about the amount of time your kids are on screens, the AAP does have some ideas for making screen time a fun whole family activity.

A number of education organizations are posting resources for educators to use for distance learning. Here are a few we found:

CAN I GO OUTSIDE? Yes. Take a walk. A run. A hike. Just keep your distance from other people — at least six feet. Keep your kids off playground equipment, which could spread germs. Most dog parks are closed, but you can walk your dog — on a leash — on the trails of a Michigan State Park, which remain open for the moment with no park pass required.

TIME MY MOVE: Choose a move and see how long your child can perform it while another person uses a timer to measure. How long can they balance on one foot? How long will it take to run a certain distance? How long can they keep up a balloon?

This virtual field trip from Great Lakes Now has three components: coastal wetlands, algae, and lake sturgeon. Each video is a quick five minutes. Lesson plans on the Great Lakes are available at GreatLakesNow.org.

Want more Great Lakes? The Michigan Sea Grant and University of Michigan film series Lake Effects has moved online to GreatLakesNow.org. You will need to download the Zoom app to your device, then you can join the call on Thursday at 7:00pm. This week’s topic is Invasives, a discussion of species — both plant and animal — that were not originally part of the Great Lakes ecology. It’s the second in a four-film series on Thursdays touching on different Great Lakes topics.


App of the Day: PBS KIDS Measure Up!
Your child will learn early math concepts focused on weights and measures, length, width, height, and capacity while going on an adventure through Treetop City, Magma Peak, and Crystal Caves.

Preschool: Pizza Math!
This video features “Many Ways,” a song written and performed by Mr. Steve from PBS KIDS. Math concepts like part, whole, half, quarter, and fractions are introduced in this song using familiar examples. Don’t forget to check out the real pizza activities here too.

Grades K-2: Bathtub Splash | Peg + Cat
How many buckets of water will it take to fill the tub for Peg and Cat? First, make an estimate. Don’t worry, it’s just a guess. Then let’s try it to find out! Dump the containers of water into the tub as Peg counts aloud, and watch it get sudsier and sudsier until it’s full and super-sudsy!

Grades 3-5: Catch the Centigurps | Odd Squad
This game from Odd Squad will help children with counting up to 100 by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s. They can help the Odd Squad team capture Centigurps in this fast-paced game!

Grades 6-8: The Hunger Games: Probability
Connect probability to popular literature. This activity teaches about statistics using the lottery system featured in The Hunger Games.

Grades 9-12: Real-Life Math | Baseball
Watch and listen as the assistant general manager of a major league baseball team explains how he uses math in this video from Arizona PBS.

The news that we’re being asked to stay home longer than originally planned is likely to be as hard on your kids as it is on you. The team at Zero to Thrive at the University of Michigan reminds us that kids are watching everything, especially how we adults react to the news. They have a number of suggestions about talking with your kids and developing a “family purpose” for these weeks.

With the extension of stay-at-home time, many teachers are being asked by their districts to shift to distance learning. PBS can help. PBSLearningMedia.org has a wealth of lesson plans on all topics and all grade levels, tied to state standards. Many tie directly to PBS broadcast shows like NOVA, Masterpiece, and American Experience. Detroit Public Television has a distance-learning resource list online here.

Need a refresher on using your PBS LearningMedia account, or need to create one? Until the end of March, our partners at public media station KQED are providing a twice-daily, 15-minute walkthrough via Zoom, with the opportunity to ask questions at the end. 10:30 and 6:30 ET (note that on the sign-up page, these are presented in Pacific time.)

Happy Healthy Kids | Stretchy Self
In this episode of Happy Healthy Kids, kids can turn environmental and animal attributes into stretching poses. Physical activity helps kids build muscles, bones, and brain cells!

Received your census form yet? The Census has provided a virtual field trip to turn this every-ten-year event into a learning experience. Kids can learn about the upcoming 2020 Census and how census data is collected and used. This virtual field trip also features interviews with subject matter experts and an interactive challenge.

At the Kennedy Center in D.C., Artist-in-Residents Mo Willems invites you into his study every day at 1:00 p.m. for LUNCH DOODLES. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together.


App of the Day:  Ready Jet Go! Space Scouts
Earn your Space Scout badges by designing, building rovers on the Moon and guiding a spaceship through the solar system; Kids also have to figure out how to grow vegetables on Mars.

Preschool: Ready Jet Go! Flashlight Constellations
Be inspired by this short video of a father and his child working together to create their very own constellation! Craft information included.

Grades K-2:  Sky Patterns: Sun, Moon, and Stars
The Sun, Moon, and stars have predictable patterns.  Interact with the animated storybook to observe and predict patterns in the sky.

Grades 3-5: Space Hygiene: Showering in Space
Astronaut Mike Fossum demonstrates how to shower in space in this video from NASA.

Grades 6-8:  Why Isn’t There an Eclipse Every Month?
Students will work with a variety of models of the Earth–Sun–Moon system to understand and explain why solar and lunar eclipses are rare.

Grades 9-12: Is There Life in Space?
Learn the various techniques scientists use to find planets and other astronomical bodies. Then you will compare whether those planets might have water, what kind of atmosphere it has, and whether you could actually live there — or meet someone who already does.

Sesame Street is encouraging all of us to care for others in these tough times. Visit the site with your preschoolers to get a virtual hug from Elmo!

Still trying to find a routine that works in your home? The early childhood experts at High Scope in Ypsilanti have some advice about ways to reduce stress and conflict with children.

Want to use this time to build your skills? Up to 5 SCECHs are available by completing the FREE online literacy education modules available through MAISA and the Early Literacy Task Force (ELTF). Get more information at LiteracyEssentials.org.

Over the weekend, public health officials closed playground equipment and fitness equipment structures because of concerns about transmission of the coronavirus. Most parks remain open for walking on trails, biking, and other outdoor activities — so if the weather allows — get out there!

In the meantime, MSU Extension continues to offer a daily family Yoga class on Facebook at #MiStrongerFamily. Class starts Monday through Friday at 9:30a for a half hour.

Many local organizations have gone virtual during this period, scheduling performances, visits, and other activities on Facebook, Instagram, and online. Here are a few to check out:

We’re hoping that you’ll carve out some “ME” time for self-care and connecting with your “village” this weekend!

VIRTUAL HAPPY HOUR, ANYONE? Emotional connections are important. physical distancing has become necessary. Social distancing also creates emotional distance. Psychology Today has some ideas for connecting with others during this time.

CREATING A RELAXING SPACE: Need a space to get away within your own home. The Blissful Mind has seven suggestions for making your bedroom or corner a space that will encourage relaxation and mindfulness.

This weekend might be a good time to bring the whole family together to talk about what worked and what didn’t work in your daily routines this past week, and plan adjustments for the week ahead.

ESTABLISHING ROUTINES: For most of us, life feels anything but normal right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, schools closed and working from home. But you can create a new normal for your family by having consistent routines.

Have a little one? Sesame Street has suggestions just for you.

CAN WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? Found yourself refereeing the latest he said-she said debate? PBS KIDS For Parents has some suggestions.

EVERYONE NEEDS A JOB: The word “chore” might sound like drudgery. But teaching kids how to do household chores is a meaningful part of growing up. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!

As a family, make a list of things you’d like to do during this period of time. Display the list, and then cross things off as you do them.

Is there something your child is passionate about doing? Have them teach the adults how to do what they do! Caution: some laughing is likely.

Train the dog. Fido is probably delighted to have folks around the house all day. Now’s a good time to teach him new tricks and correct bad behavior. Here’s some tips from the American Kennel Club.

Leave your own four walls behind with some activities and links that will take you to new places and experiences:

Learning Resources and Activities

App of the Day: PBS KIDS Scratch Junior
PBS KIDS Scratch Jr. lets kids create their own interactive stories and games. Learn coding by programing games and activities featuring characters from hit PBS KIDS shows like Wild Kratts, Nature Cat, WordGirl and Peg + Cat. PBS has prepared a number of games, puzzles, and learning plans for parents and kids to play together, and for teachers to teach science and math concepts.

Experiment with different instruments, sounds, and rhythms with this PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC® online game. After choosing a drum set, xylophone, or harp, children make changes in order to create their own unique musical instrument, and then play along with the Pinkalicious & Peterrific characters in a musical performance.

Grades K-2:
Animals and Plants Can Live in a City!
Guide students as they explore how animals and plants meet their basic needs in a city, with help from Plum and her friends from PLUM LANDING. In this interactive lesson, students learn that animals need air, food, water, and shelter, while plants need air, sunlight, and water. Students watch videos and engage with drawing and sorting activities to reinforce their learning. This lesson is designed for teachers to present to students.

Grades 3-5:
Feed the Dingo: An Ecosystem Game
Players strive to create a balanced desert ecosystem in which each animal has enough food to survive over a period of 12 days, in this interactive game from PLUM LANDING. Players see how the different species of plants and animals in a desert depend on one another. They also experiment with how changing the amount of one resource affects the whole ecosystem.

Grades 6-8:
Newton’s Triple Play: Baseball Science
In this lesson, students watch a video and animations that relate Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion to baseball and apply what they’ve learned about these laws to another sport or other real-life situation. During the lesson, students complete three formative online assessments – one for each law – and a summative review, in which students fill out a chart by matching descriptions to each law. At the end of the lesson, students produce a media project and write an essay that demonstrates their understanding of these fundamental physical science principles.

Grades 9-12:
NOVA Polar Lab
The interactive NOVA Polar Lab uses 360° videos, interviews with scientists, and mini-games to send students on an immersive quest to understand how the poles are key to understanding Earth’s climate–past, present, and future.

Frustrated? Overwhelmed? Kids getting handsy? Grab a cardboard box, pop bottles, cans, discarded cereal or cracker boxes, shipping packaging bubbles, anything around the house that can be destroyed. Pile it up, have the kids write or draw words or ideas about their feelings on the items (we drew the Coronavirus germs – the little one just scribbled. Also fine!) then take them outside and have a SMASH PARTY! Jump, punch, kick yell, slam and smash your way to a more peaceful self. For added relief, label those feelings by their physical attributes and yell them out! (“I HAVE SMASHING FEELINGS!! I HAVE PUNCHING FEELINGS”) Be sure to set up some important rules for safety. Make sure the surface you are smashing on is something like grass or carpet. Have children go one at a time or set them up with separate piles to ensure they don’t get hurt. Parents, definitely get in on this one. It will feel better than you expect and you’ll be modeling mental health for your kids while helping yourself to feel better and be more emotionally available to your kids.

A Symphony of Science
Take a music break! The thought of Spring brings thoughts of birdsong and joy. Beethoven’s iconic Ode to Joy from his Ninth Symphony is part of A Symphony of Science from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. This DSO Concert video features music that you and your children will recognize. The DSO worked with the Michigan Science Center to provide a guide for educators (and parents), all free online.

Here at Detroit PBS KIDS, we are frequently asked by educators what our programs are teaching. Here’s a chart (in English and Spanish) that tells you the academic focus of each PBS KIDS program and the age it is designed to serve.

These programs are designed very carefully, reviewed by expert educators, and tested with children to make sure they are engaging and “doing their job” as TV programs. For instance, University of Michigan Professor and national literacy expert Dr. Nell Duke was the principal advisor on one of our newest shows, Molly of Denali¸ which not only celebrates Native American Culture, but also teaches informational literacy.

Thursday night, the PBS NewsHour team provides in-depth coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, answering questions from citizens around the country. Tune in for this special broadcast on Detroit Public Television at 8:00 p.m. There’s additional materials available online here.

Meanwhile, FRONTLINE’s reporters are working on a series of documentary reports in the coming weeks – with the first one scheduled to air April 21st.

Learning Resources and Activities:
App of the Day:

The Sesame Street App
Come spend time on Sesame Street with video clips and games featuring Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, and more of your favorite, furry friends. Sing along with Sesame Street music videos, learn your ABCs and 123s, and just have fun! These educational videos and games were designed to teach your child school readiness skills while delivering on Sesame Workshop’s mission to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.

Sink or Float? The Ice Block Science Experiment
Get your child thinking about why some things float and some sink with this easy activity that freezes toys into an ice block. Your child can observe which items stick out on top of the ice, and which items get frozen on the bottom.

Grades K-2:
Proud Pictures, Drawing What We Learned
Discuss accomplishments: Tell your child about a skill you learned that made you feel different. Invite your child to share how he felt when he learned to do something new, like tie his shoes, pour juice or write his name. You may want to define new words for him, such as “proud.”

Grades 3-5:
Create and Crack Codes for Pattern Practice
Spotting tricky patterns and cracking secret codes is the only way to solve some of the oddest cases that land at Odd Squad Headquarters, and now it’s training time for agents everywhere. Only with careful practice can agents hone their pattern-sleuthing skills to put things right every time – and potentially become a Patternista like their fearless leader, Ms. O.

Grades 6-8:
Mission US: For Crown or Colony
Mission US is a multimedia project featuring free interactive adventure games set in different eras of U.S. history. The first game, “For Crown or Colony?,” puts the player in the shoes of Nat Wheeler, a 14-year-old printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston. As Nat navigates the city and completes tasks, he encounters a spectrum of people living and working there when tensions mount before the Boston Massacre. Ultimately, the player determines Nat’s fate by deciding where his loyalties lie.

Grades 9-12:
Ocean Circulation in the North Atlantic
Students explore the ocean’s role in redistributing the Sun’s energy on Earth in this interactive lesson from WGBH. Students are introduced to factors influencing global ocean circulation, with a focus on the significant North Atlantic region. Through data visualizations from NASA, students investigate how factors such as sea surface temperature, density, winds, and various types of ocean flows interact in the transport of heat from equatorial regions northwards in the North Atlantic.


We’re relying on technology a lot to get us through the day – whether adults on their phones or computers, and kids in front of the television.   Let’s not turn into SCREEN-POTATOES!   Find some time to exercise with PBS KIDS and Arthur!


Feeling like you should be spending more time reading with your kids, but work and chores keep calling you away?   Several of our education partners have recommended Storyline Online. On this site, a number of familiar actors and actresses read stories to kids — many in dramatic fashion!

And if part of your “me” time is binging episodes of The West Wing, there are at least TWO stars of the show reading books on this site!

Has “distance learning” become the phrase-of-the-month in your world? Have questions? Check out this page at DPTV.org for resources assembled by PBS and others to help you get up to speed with Google Classroom, Remind, and other resources.

It’s not too late to learn about the resources PBS has for the classroom. Join the virtual workshop tonight with the PBS Education team, to learn about PBSLearningMedia.com and how it might help you. There are materials for students of every age, from Pre-K to 12 and beyond.



Want to understand more about coronavirus, COVID-19, and the measures public health officials are encouraging us to take? Frontline will have a broadcast special Confronting Coronavirus Thursday at 8:00 p.m. on Detroit Public Television. This program will focus on public and personal health, as well as the economic impact on the United States and around the world. The program will feature a virtual town hall with questions from people across America. Learn more about the coverage in this online letter from Frontline Executive Producer Raney Aronson.

Learning Resources and Activities:
App of the Day: Play and Learn Science App from PBS (free on iOS and Android devices) offers learning games for the family. Play with shadows, control the weather, roll and slide objects down a ramp, choose the best materials for an umbrella — all while building science inquiry skills and learning core science concepts.

Pigeon Trouble from Sesame Street
Learn to follow directions by helping Bert to clean up his house. Put objects in, next to or on other objects to help things look tidy. (This game is only compatible with desktop computers.)

Grades K-2:
Fish Camp Game | Molly of Denali
Use this “Molly of Denali” digital game to extend and expand students’ use of informational text as well as their knowledge of Alaska Native culture. In the game, Molly, her friend Trini and Trini’s dad use an informational book and its features, such as the table of contents, labeled diagrams and pictures with captions, in order to find out how to “catch” salmon with a traditional Alaska Native fish wheel or a canoe, rod and reel. Narrated by Molly, the game is accessible for readers and nonreaders alike.

Grades 3-5:
St. Patrick’s Day | All About the Holidays
You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and Irish culture and heritage. There might not be as many festivals and parades this year, but you can still wear green and learn all about St. Patrick (who wasn’t, incidentally, born in Ireland) and all the traditions that go along with his special day from this fun video.

Grades 6-8:
Digital Adventure 360° Interactive Experience: Penguins
Detroit Public TV and the Detroit Zoological Society take teachers and students on a virtual field trip inside the habitat of penguins. The interactive experience explores new and innovative approaches to learning and teaching by using 360-degree technology.

Grades 9-12:
Moon Formation and Earth | Interactive Lesson
Students learn about the giant impact hypothesis for the moon’s formation, and how the Apollo moon rocks have contributed to scientists’ understanding about our closest solar system neighbor. Students evaluate how key pieces of data support the giant impact hypothesis and provide insights into Earth’s early history. A computer simulation helps students visualize the moon-forming impact.

Was Monday tough? With Michigan schools closed and many people working remotely until at least April, we’re all trying to figure out how to cope.

You may find some of the resources on this page helpful, as you and your family settle into new routines. Thanks to our partners at the Macomb ISD for sharing this with us!

One way to cope — MOVE! MSU is offering a family yoga class at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday through Zoom and through their Facebook page.

Need a refresher on using your PBS LearningMedia account or need to create one? Until the end of March, our partners at public media station KQED are providing a twice-daily, 15-minute walkthrough via Zoom, with the opportunity to ask questions at the end. 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. ET (note that on the sign-up page these are presented in Pacific Time).

Haven’t used PBS Learning Media? Sign up for a free webinar to learn all the tricks. Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET.

St. Patrick’s Day
Tuesday is St. Patrick’s Day, a day for “wearing of the green.” Take time for a “find the green” game:

    • What will you wear that is green today?
    • How many green things are in your house?
    • What green foods do you like to eat?

What kind of food do they eat in Ireland? Share some time preparing a meal as a family. Check out these recipes and put a little Irish in your St. Patrick’s Day menu.

Things that make you smile:
Want more Penguins?
With Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium closed to people, a penguin named Wellington had a chance to see what the aquarium looks like on the other side of the glass.

Learning Resources and Activities

App of the Day: PBS KIDS Games
PBS KIDS Games app has more than 100 free games for your 2-8 year olds.  In this safe learning environment, kids learn science, math reading, creativity and more.   Play mazes, puzzles, dress-up, coloring and more.  The games feature their favorite PBS KIDS characters and help teach everything from the ABCs and shapes to reading and math.   Free for iOS and Android devices in the app store, and no in-app purchases required.

Preschool to Grade 2: Make a Boat
Will a toy car float?  How about a tin pie plate?  In this short video from The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That! Nick and Sally test some objects in their backyard wading pool (a bathtub makes a good substitute), to see what will float and what won’t.

Grades 3-5:  Measuring Length Precisely
In this video segment from Cyberchase, the CyberSquad must remove a voice box from a giant statue without touching the laser alarms that protect it.  They need an exact measurement, and your student will be asked to help!   A ruler is needed.

Grades 6-8:  Dunk Tank!
In this interactive math game, learners explore mean, media, mode, range and how to recognize which central tendency best represents a set of data.

Grades 9-12: Making Cents
This video series teaches teens and pre-teens how to manage their money and foster an entrepreneurial spirit.

If you are a teacher preparing to guide student learning online, DPTV and the PBS Education team have compiled an extensive list of curriculum-aligned resources online. PBS LearningMediais a Google Classroom friendly collection of videos, interactives, lesson plans and more.

PBS LearningMedia is hosting the webinar, Distance Learning With PBS LearningMedia for educators of all ages on Wednesday, March 18. This one-hour virtual learning event, hosted by PBS master trainers and educators, will highlight a variety of tips, from student activities to digital tools and PBS LearningMedia hacks. Featuring insights applicable to elementary, middle and high-school classrooms, the session will focus on skills, tips, and techniques that educators can apply immediately to prepare for successful distance learning, whether working with students in person or sharing lessons online.  Register for the webinar

SPECIAL EVENTS: Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History Month and DPTV is offering programming and resources to celebrate.

On Monday, March 16, Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum will premier a new episode, “I am Madam President.”  Instead of going back to the past, Xavier, Yadina and Brad will go the future.  What will they see?

Airs on Detroit PBS KIDS (56.2) at 7:30am and 7:00pm Monday, March 16th, and available on demand Tuesday through the PBS KIDS app.

And check out these tips for Raising a Self-Confident Girl.  (They work great for boys, too!)

How to speak to your kids about the Coronavirus

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As you plan for a variety of scenarios in response to the global COVID-19 health crisis, we wanted to share a few tips, tricks, and resources you can use to support distance learning.

View Distance Learning Resources

If you want to catch up on what is happening with COVID-19 in your own community, we’ve provided links to county, state, and national resources with trusted information.

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