A Virtual Playground of Fun

As the world shuts down, many, many organizations have opened up…virtually, that is. On both a regional and national level, there are all sorts of entertaining diversions you can turn to without ever getting out of your PJs.

For a little listening music while you read, click here to hear Berklee students’ incredibly moving rendition of What the World Needs Now.

For the Little Ones

With schools closed, the tykes in your life are in need of more love, attention and fun, and we found lots of online diversions.

Storyline Online; Photo via SAG-AFTRA

Storyline Online; Photo via SAG-AFTRA

Storyline Online, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s storytelling website, features famous folks reading children’s books. In a moment when we could all use an added dose of comfort, Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog is just what the doctor ordered. The New England Aquarium has upped their game with the already popular First Friday Facebook Live series and is now sharing videos daily, sometimes more frequently. For a different take on the virtual aquarium experience, but one that’s just as swimmingly fun (sorry, we couldn’t resist), the Monterey Bay Aquarium has 10 live webcams streaming from throughout the park. There’s even a shark cam! The cameras stream from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. EST.

Monterey Bay Aquarium; Photo via www.co.monterey.ca.us

Monterey Bay Aquarium; Photo via www.co.monterey.ca.us

For kids that love movies, but watching one with just Mom and Dad is, like, totally lame, Netflix has partnered with Google in creating a web browser extension that allows people to watch movies in sync with each other. Add a heaping bowl of popcorn, and you’ll have a happy kid on your hands — at least for 90 minutes or so. This would, of course, work equally well for watching a rom-com with your gal pals. Guys, you’re on your own.

For Everyone

As of this writing, most government officials were encouraging people to get outside to enjoy some fresh air and exercise, which is a great idea as long as social distancing is practiced. For those who are understandably leery of being around other people, the National Park Service is offering virtual tours of many of its parks; CBS.com has a list.

BroadwayHD; Photo via LinkedIn

BroadwayHD; Photo via LinkedIn

While the Great White Way is temporarily dark, you and your family can sample BroadwayHD with a free seven-day trial period. Should watching Peter Pan, Phantom of the Opera, and The King and I from the sofa prove fun for the whole family, a monthly subscription is just $8.99.

Virtual Grown-Up Time

People missing après-work cocktails with colleagues are turning to Zoom, that much-maligned teleconferencing tool that requires one to put on real clothes for virtual meetings, for online happy hours. Perhaps enjoying a Quarantini with friends will make the current situation slightly less scary.

Many performing artists are putting their star power to good use…at a distance, of course. Scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed and you’ll find singers and musicians doing free, live concerts; bonus points for those are doing it from home with no thoughts of staging, styling, or, in some cases, even brushing their hair. Steve Winwood tickles the ivories for his dog. Anthony Hopkins does it for his cat. For more polished performances, Billboard.com is continually updating their list of scheduled virtual concerts.

Anthony Hopkins and Niblo; Photo via ClassicFM.com

Anthony Hopkins and Niblo; Photo via ClassicFM.com

In a decidedly un-childlike reading of Maurice Sendak’s beloved Where the Wild Things Are, Christopher Walken talks about the underlying implications of the book: you know, murder and knives and stuff.

You don’t need to actually understand hashtags to grasp the universal meaning of one that is at the top of the trending lists as of this writing: #InThisTogether.

Be safe. Stay healthy.