Children's Activities at Home, free resources for children and adults

Sign-up for Online Events on our Calendar 

Once upon a Fairy Tale with Diane Edgecomb: Master storyteller Diane Edgecomb entertains young and old with this delightful re-telling of unusual fairy tales.  From enchanted bears, to determined princesses, to a wild ride with a fairy-band, Once Upon a Time has never been this fun!  Register starting on June 29th.

Didgerdoo Down Under: View new video from Didgeridoo Down Under made just for Needham!  Video will be posted with week-long access beginning July 6th. 

NASA Artemis to the Moon: On Wednesday, July 15th @ 3 pm. Patricia Moore of NASA’s Artemis Communication Team will describe the upcoming Artemis mission to the moon, what it’s like to work at NASA, and the many different careers in STEM one can explore. Register starting on July 1st.

Little Labcoats Science Trivia Night!  Join Labcoat Leader Niki and be assigned to a lab team to compete with your lab team in a Science trivia game.  Monday, July 20, at 4 pm. For grades 3 to 5.  Register through the online calendar above.

Alchemy with Ed the Wizard Thursday, July 23, at 4:30 pm Ed the Wizard shares his secrets with you.  Learn how to look through solids, defy gravity and other acts of magic.  For ages 5 and up.  Register through the online calendar above.

Papa Joe Storytelling Monday, July 27, at 4:30 pm join Master storyteller Papa Joe tells amazing tales for all ages.

Playdate with Librarian Paula Head Children’s Librarian Paula leads an online playgroup for toddlers and preschoolers.  Learn finger plays, simple games and songs to do with your children.  Thursdays at 10:30 am starting July 23. 

Reading to Tucker, a trained, hypoallergenic, therapy dog!  Help your children build confidence in reading with one-on-one 15 minutes sessions.  For ages 6 and up on Tuesdays starting at 9 am.  

Live Lego Club with Veronica and Marianna Wednesdays at 3 pm!  Visit your friends virtually with building with LEGO bricks at home.
*There will be no LEGO club on Wednesday July 15th.*

Ravenous Readers Bookclub: Starting on July 7th, bring your lunch and a favorite book or two to share! Or just hear about what other kids are reading. Also get special sneak peeks at what’s new and listen to a chapter or two from some favorite books! Not sure what to read? Check out our booklists!
*Individual registration required for each session*
Grades 1-3 meet on Mondays at 12pm starting July 6th
Grades 4-6 meet on Tuesdays at 12pm starting July 7th

Bookventurers Bookclub: If a lunchtime book group isn’t your thing, register for Bookventurers for grades 3-5 on Wednesday July 15th @ 4:30pm! In July we’ll be talking about Abby and Jonah and all their adventures in the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski!

Take-and-Make Crafts: Bored? Do you want some fun crafts to do? Look no further! Come pick up a take-and-make craft bag from the library! For our first session we will be making bird feeders; just register online to reserve your slot for a bird feeder (one feeder per family please). Then we’ll have a virtual meeting on July 17th at 11am where you can show off your projects OR email pictures of your projects that we can share via social media!

Needham Librarians and Musicians Online

ABCs with Mr. Steve!  Come and join storytime with Mr. Steve on his YouTube Channel Zany adventures with A to Z and every letter in between!

Craft Time with Preschool Palooza’s Ms. Elise on her YouTube channel. Try out Spin Art, Scribble Art, & Potato Prints.

Ed Morgan Sing Along Concert and I Hope I Never Get too Big

Enchanted Forest Escape Room: Can You Make it through the virtual Enchanted Forest? Enchanted Forest 2: more adventures with all new puzzles, riddles, stories and challenges!

Music with Sarah: Are you missing monthly music with Sarah Gardner? Join her for a virtual music class!

Wee Ones Storytime: Join Ms. Paula, for a virtual Child’s Play aimed at children 0-2 years old and their caregivers. Sing along with favorite songs such as The Wheels on the Bus and Where is Thumbkin.

Storytelling with Ms. Paula on her YouTube channel including Three Billy Goats Gruff and Assipattle and the Stoor Worm in the oral tradition of the Orkney Islands of Scotland.  For children ages 4 and up.

Stacey Peasley’s  Music video just for Needham and her Official Music Videos  Always a preschool favorite!  

And check out videos on Needham Children’s YouTube Channel.

Coloring Sheets to Print

Imagine Your Story Reading Log for Summer Reading Program

Masks from Imagine Your Story Princess, Dragon, Knight, Unicorn

Imagine Your Story theme Goldilocks Reading to the Three Bears, Fighting Sea Monsters, Flower Fairies

Scavenger Hunts: In the Kitchen, At Home in the House

Stuck at home? Even more fun online activities 

Escape the Titanic virtual escape room created by T. Bennett of Rowley Library

Star Wars Escape Room created by Newton Free Library

Online Comics and Graphic Novels for children of all ages - free until August 31, 2020

Authors Everywhere: Fun youtube activities such as drawing and writing prompts with authors and illustrators such as Diane Magras and Grace Lin!

Code at home: Created by Girls Who Code, they will upload an activity-some online, some offline, of varying levels of difficulty—over the course of the next few months.

GoNoodle: Short indoor gym videos for kids, also has meditation and yoga videos.

Harry Potter at Home: Find all the latest magical treats to keep you occupied - including special contributions from Bloomsbury and Scholastic, nifty magical craft videos (teach your friends how to draw a Niffler!), fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more for first-time readers, as well as those already familiar with the wizarding world. We’re casting a Banishing Charm on boredom!

Lunch Doodles With Mo Willems: Join Mo (Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!) and have some great fun doodling and learning about art!

National Geographic Kids: Games, videos, and readings about geography, biology, zoology, and more.

Puppet Play with David Hyde Costello: Join local author/illustrator and the Palmer Public Library for the process of making a table-top puppet show, and invites viewers to contribute their ideas for the second part of the show.

Tumblebook Library (*requires a library card): An online collection of TumbleBooks – animated, talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading in a format they’ll love.

TumbleMath: A comprehensive online collection of storybooks involving math and other mathematical concepts all in the amazing TumbleBook format complete with animation and narration!

Virtual Tours: Want to see museums in London, Seoul, Paris or São Paulo from your couch? Look no further!

WGBH Distance Learning Center: Massachusetts Department of Education and PBS partnership website with preschool to 12th grade educational resources organized by grade level for families during the current health crisis.

WGBH Family Activity Center: Help your children birth through age 8 learn and grow by doing fun activities at home. Collect points and enter a weekly raffle for a chance to win a $25 gift card (open to Massachusetts residents only). Resources are available in English and Spanish.

Online Story Times

Neil Gaiman: Watch the latest Neil Gaiman videos and see Neil (and some famous friends!) read The Graveyard Book and Coraline in their entirety.

Reycraft Books: Each day join for author/illustrator read aloud that represent a vast tapestry of cultures, lifestyles, and experiences, and they share their unique voices and visions through their craft.  

Storytime Online: streamed videos featuring actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Betty White and dozens more.

Storytime with Pete the Cat: The birds are singing, the sky is bright, the sun is shining, I’m feeling ALRIGHT! Come join our favorite cool cat Pete for virtual storytime.

Storytime from Space: While in space, astronauts are videotaping themselves reading these books to the children of Earth.

Wonderbook Weekends: Join Wonderbooks and Playaway  on instagram on Saturdays and Sundays at noon for a free kids read-along.

Coronavirus Resources

Trinka and Sam Fight the Big Bad Virus for young children by C.M. Ghosh Ippen and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.  Available for download in English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese.  

Covid-19:  What Can Kids Do?  A picture book with good habits of health for kids to follow to defeat Covid-19

Be a Coronavirus Fighter: This informative picture book explains the current virus situation in simple terms and urges children to help fight it!

Coronavirus for Children: This informative picture book for ages 5-10 explains the current situation with clear and accessible information.

CDC cloth face covering guidelines and make a no-sew mask. You can also make star wars face masks if you’re feeling creative.

Myth Busters: Typical questions and answers regarding the coronavirus.

Needham Resilience Project: Needham Youth and Family Services are encouraging everyone to make and display their own flags as a sign of resilience. Get your flag here

Remember Me?:  a brand-new picture book that hasn’t been illustrated or published yet. This is the story of kids who are living through this hard time, just like the rest of us.

Talking about Covid-19 with young children: With all of the news and frightening information going out from many different sources, early childhood expert Dr. Jean Feldman is here to help young children feel less anxious about the coronavirus.

Parents’ Corner

Amazing Educational Resources: A list of Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School Closings. From math to history to art to foregin language to augmented reality software, here is a constantly updated list of activities to try at home.

Audiobook database for all ages
Audiobooks from tumblebooks! Instant audiobooks at you fingertips!

Author Videos from Penguin Random House Publishers:

  • Author Matthew Cherry and illustrator Vashti Harrison talk you through  their picture book Hair Love and its creation here.
  • Author and illustrator Rob Harrell is here to introduce you to his newest middle grade novel Wink!
  • Padma Venkatraman, author of the critically acclaimed The Bridge Home, is here to answer your questions.
  • Watch author and YouTuber Akilah Hughes try to describe the plot of a YA novel here with only the title for context! Then check out her own hilarious memoir, Obviously.

Crabtree Ebook database: With the recent closures of schools and libraries due to COVID-19, it has been challenging for educators, and parents to access much needed educational children’s books to keep students reading and learning. Crabtree is offering FREE access to the Crabtree Complete eLibrary until June 30, 2020! Access over 2000 PreK-9+ curriculum nonfiction and fiction ebooks! 

DIG Pre-K at Home (*requires making a free account): a parent portal online learning platform that features Dr. Jean’s educational videos, The Letter People Songs, The Letter People Games, and a comprehensive Resource section with extensive activities to complete at home. Also check out their Frog Street free ebooks where you can access over 250 English and Spanish electronic books, activities and songs from the Frog Street.

Home Learning with DK: Take some of the pressure off with our fantastic range of downloadable content that makes learning fun. Perfect to use as additional teaching resources, these digital activity packs help take children beyond the book, engaging with their imagination and creativity as they color, draw, play, and write.

ISS Image of the Week: engages kids and caregivers by matching breathtaking photographs of planet earth taken from space with context, educational resources and activities to inspire dialogue about planet earth, the exploration of space, and humanity’s role in the universe.

JLG @ Home: Join Junior Library Guild as they’ve made their subscription service free and browse eBooks for Elementary, Middle School and High school, JLG Digital gives you and your readers unlimited access to read books online from any device!

KhanAcademy: Educational website with lessons organized by grade and subject.  Parents can monitor progress.  Has suggested daily schedules for preschool through 12th grade for families during school closures.

Library Notes: A summary of resources Needham library patrons can access from home, including brief descriptions of the resources and how to access them.

Mad Science North Boston (*email signup required): Mad Science is providing our communities with FREE DAILY STEM ACTIVITIES to supplement children’s current home lessons. They ar designed with individual grade modifications for grades K-5, do not involve additional screen time and follow DOE curriculum frameworks. Here is a sample of one of their activities, build a worm farm.

Novelist* (*requires a library card)
Fiction database that allows readers to search for books, reviews, annotations, and more. It also includes, Author Read-alikes, What We’re Reading, Book Discussion Guides, BookTalks, and Annotated Book Lists.

Open Library: an open, editable library catalog, building towards a web page for every book ever published. Books are available with no holds, no waiting during this time.

Playaway CARE: a page of links you can share about meditations, fitness, education, and entertainment resources that are free or discounted right now. 

Premier Martial Arts Norton (*requires joining a facebook group): Now offering free online interactive martial arts classes!

Star Bright Books:  To help support teachers, educators, librarians, parents, and caregivers, they are permitting FREE digital access to 4 picture books (3 English, 1 Spanish) each week! Titles will be rotated on a weekly basis.

Star Autism Support Media Center(*requires making a free account): access to a variety of downloadable and printable resources. These practical, on-demand materials address the learning needs for students at a variety of developmental levels.

Stay Engaged, Have Fun, Relieve Stress: The Massachusetts Library System updates daily with new activities and updates regarding streaming storytimes and other resources to share to help students and families while school is out.

Story Preservation Lab K-3 (requires making a free account): Story Preservation is working in collaboration with master storytellers to bring timeless fictional stories – fairytales, myths, folklore, and contemporary tales of enchantment – into K-3 classrooms.

Sunita Willams Home Support and Resources: a page of resources developed by Needham Schools with resources and ideas to help you with your children during this uncertain time.

Inclusion in the list may not be interpreted as the library’s endorsement.