What’s Happening

05/27/2020 – MOSI reopens May 27

The Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI), 5401 E. Fowler Ave., again will open its doors as “the intersection of science, technology and innovation in the Tampa Bay region, where conversations and learning happen, knowledge is exchanged and new ideas are celebrated,” on May 27. All guest-facing MOSI staff will be required to wear face masks; entry/exit doors will be propped open to avoid touchpoints; all staff will have a temperature check; and, indoor attendance capacity will be at 50% (does not include open-air Science Park). To read the entire reopening plan, visit tinyurl.com/ydeet39e.

06/01/2020 – History center hours to resume

The Tampa Bay History Center is set to reopen to the public on June 1 at 10 a.m., in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the state, in adherence to health and safety recommendations outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and following the recommendations from the American Alliance of Museums.

• There will be limited capacity in galleries and theater presentations. Some hands-on gallery interactives have been temporarily disabled.

• Staff will wear protective equipment, and the center will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular schedule.

• Guests are encouraged to wear a mask and utilize the sanitation stations provided.

• Timed-entry tickets for the gallery should be purchased in advance at TampaBayHistoryCenter.org, starting May 22.

• Adult admission levels will be reduced by $2. All other tickets will be $12.95 for seniors age 60 and older, military, first responders and students; $10.95 for ages 7 to 17; and free for children age 6 and younger.

Visitors should call ahead or check the center’s website for up-to-date information and announcements.

06/01/2020 – Tampa Museum of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art will open its doors again, in phases. Art+ members and sponsors only can visit on May 30 and May 31. On June 1 at 10 a.m., the museum will open seven days a week to the public, resuming its regular hours of operation. It also will participate in the Museums for All program for the unemployed and underemployed who receive food assistance (SNAP) benefits. These guests simply need to show their EBT card at the ticket desk for free admission. Also reopening will be the Riverwalk Café and the museum store, following all directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and government officials. Prior to a visit, guests are encouraged to go to TampaMuseum.org, for details. For information, call (813) 274-8130.

06/01/2020 – Zoo prepares to reopen

ZooTampa at Lowry Park will move forward with a detailed modified operations plan for a target reopening date on or about June 1. These are a few of the new guidelines and protocols to help ensure public safety:

• Limit the number of guests to 50% of comfortable capacity

• Social distancing of 6 feet or more will be required and enforced

• Restrict the zoo’s indoor venues to 25% capacity, emphasizing outdoor seating, with staff supervision

• Add safety and thermal monitoring stations at point of entry, hire on-premise EMTs

• Provide PPE (personal protection equipment) to employees and offer masks to guests

For a complete list of protocols and information, visit ZooTampa.org.

While closed, ZooTampa will continued to clean and sanitize zoo grounds and provide care for the 1,100 animals who live at the zoo.

06/15/2020 – Modified camp program

Pasco County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources will host a modified 2020 Summer Day Camp program, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Online registration starts May 30 at 10 a.m. Guests must register for all six weeks to participate. The program will run Monday through Friday, June 15 through July 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is limited to Pasco County residents ages 7 to 11. Safety practices will include temperature taken daily; no field trips; sign-in/check-out at your vehicle; reduced camper-to-staff ratios; increased sanitizing of facilities and equipment; and, face coverings required for staff. Camp is subject to cancellation based on renewed restrictions from the state or a positive COVID-19 test within the camp. Register online at bit.ly/PascoCreateAccount.

06/27/2020 – Zephyrhills Summerfest

The sixth annual Zephyrhills SummerFest now is scheduled for June 27 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Zephyr Park, 38116 Fifth Ave., in Zephyrhills. Before the festival, there will be a morning market featuring 50 local artisans and vendors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then, the event will kick off with a dance competition for kids, followed by watermelon-eating contests for youth and adults, and will end with a 30-minute fireworks show over the lake. Families also can visit local food vendors, bounce houses, face painters, balloon twisters and more. For updates and information, visit SummerFest Zephyrhills on Facebook.

07/04/2020 – Lutz Fourth canceled

The GFWC Lutz-Land O’Lakes Woman’s club has decided to cancel its traditional Lutz 4th of July Celebration, parade, Guv’na race, cake bake, and all other associated activities that day, amid ongoing concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made for the “safety and well-being of its members, the public with all the families, youngsters and oldsters, and everyone in between, who have attended and enjoyed these festivities for decades,” according to an email from the woman’s club.

07/11/2020 – Monster truck rally

A Monster Truck & Food Truck Rally Festival is scheduled to take place on July 11 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., at The Grove, on Wesley Grove Boulevard in Wesley Chapel. There will be a Street Legal Truck Competition and Food Truck Competition; as well as more than 20 food trucks, 100 artisan craft vendors, inflatables, games, family activities, corn hole, a batting cage and live entertainment. There also will be more than $2,500 in prize money. For details and updates, visit WesleyChapelEvents.com.

Alumni at USF offers family activities

The University of South Florida (USF) Alumni Association is offering a couple of fun family activities, online.

Visit bit.ly/35UwVxw to make your own and hang out with Flat ‘Rocky,’ the UFS Bulls mascot.

And, download an eight-page Craft-A-Bull booklet at bit.ly/3fN0wgQ, that includes coloring pages with school logos, Rocky the Bull, and even an origami project.


At-home recess

The Connerton Community Association in Land O’ Lakes offers these creative game ideas for kids to take a break from eLearning or from being inside.

  • Aqua limbo: Use the stream from a water hose as the stick for a game of limbo.
  • Balloon volleyball: Break into two teams and sit on the floor facing each other. Using your hands, do not let the ‘volleyball’ touch the ground. Another version is paper plate balloon volleyball: Use paper plates to bat at balloons.
  • Box road: Flatten out a box and draw a road in marker. Add blocks, trucks and other toys to build a city.
  • Bug hunt: Grab a clipboard, a piece of paper and a marker, and head outdoors. Use a magnifying glass and a plastic jar, too, for more fun.
  • Button jewelry: Buttons come in so many interesting sizes, shapes and colors. Kids can string them into necklaces or bracelets.
  • Flower painting: Dip a full flower into paint and use as a paintbrush to create unique artwork.
  • Freeze Dance: Choose a person to be in charge of music. When the music starts, everyone dances – the crazier, the better. When the music stops, dancers must freeze in their position. Anyone caught moving is out of the game, leaving the last one left as the winner.
  • Frisbee tic tac toe: Tape a cheap shower curtain to the ground and make a tic tac toe grid with colored tape. Stand behind a given line to throw a Frisbee (you will need nine Frisbees) on a square.
  • Glow-in-the-dark bowling: Pop glow sticks into 10 bottles of water to make bowling pins you can use at night.
  • Indoor/outdoor hopscotch: Use painter’s tape to create a hopscotch grid on carpet or tile. Instead of stones, use crumpled up paper.
  • Kitchen utensil bubble wands: Collect your slotted spoons, fly swatters, spatulas and anything else that has holes in it. Make your own bubble solution and head outside to see which utensil creates the best bubbles.
  • Outdoor field hockey: Grab pool noodles, balloons and a laundry basket. Use the pool noodles as the stick to move the balloon across the yard to score a goal in the laundry basket.
  • Paper boat race: Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool by blowing through a straw to propel them.
  • Rock hunt: Collect rocks and paint them for use as garden decoration, paperweights or pet rocks.
  • Sponge bullseye: Draw a bullseye on the driveway and assign a point value to each circle of the target. Kids stand at a starting line and throw a wet sponge at the target.

Be inspired, by a mom

The website, b-inspiredmama.com, offers a variety of activities for kids and parents.

  • Creating parenting
  • Family recipes
  • Kids crafts, including painting and handprint art
  • Play & Learning, including fine motor skills; sensory play and processing; and the outdoors
  • Printables

Also, visit WhatMomsLove.com for information on baby health; energy-busting indoor games; printables; and, recipes.

Books online

Gutenberg.org: Choose from free ePub and Kindle eBooks for download or reading online

LibriVox.org: Free audiobooks to listen to on computers, iPods or other mobile devices

PoemHunter.com: Includes poems, poets, quotations and poetry eBooks


Coloring pages

Lovepop Cards is offering a dozen free coloring pages, to print. For designs of butterflies, bunnies, sea animals and more, visit LovepopCards.com/blogs/pop-up-cards/coloring-pages.

Cool & useful websites

LifeHack.org has put together a list of cool and useful websites for kids that are engaging and safe, and an educational value for parents.

  • 4Kids.org partners, along with the Scholastic newsletter, offers games and opportunities to explore the news.
  • ABCya! has language arts, math and more, and can sharpen a child’s computer skills with typing games.
  • Amazing Space is a site suited for older children, and offers a view of outer space through the Hubble telescope or the night sky.
  • Brain POP has movies, games, an experimental arena and more for kindergarten through 12th grade. Brain POP also has resources for ESL students.
  • bubblesphere is full of recipes for making bubbles and lets kids post their experiments.
  • Chillola.com offers kids a chance to learn English, Spanish, German, French or Italian. Kids can interact with other kids from around the world by sharing their art, poems and more.
  • CIA for Kids is suitable for kindergarten through 12th grade. Kids can explore the world of the CIA, figure out puzzles, print coloring pages, and more.
  • CryptoKids (built and maintained by the National Security Agency) can teach kids cyphers and making secret codes, and how to scramble messages and passwords.
  • Dance Mat Typing (offered by the BBC) gives the kids a chance to learn ‘dance moves’ from a wise old billy goat. Educational games also are available in Mandarin, French and Spanish.
  • Funbrain mixes education with games for kindergarten through eighth grade. There also is a books and comics section.
  • Funology offers ‘the science of having fun,’ including experiments, recipes and craft pages.
  • Giggle Poetry challenges kids to rate poems with a ‘giggle meter,’ and has word and reading games.
  • Hackety Hack is for budding programmers ages 13 and older.
  • Invention at Play offers word play, problem-solving with virtual blocks, and more that can lead to a new invention.
  • Kids Web Japan is for kids who are into Manga comics or curious about another culture. There are games, virtual culture, learning activities, animated cards for kids to send, and kid-worthy news.
  • Kodable teaches children ages 5 and 6 how to write a computer code, through a self-guided game.
  • Lil’ Fingers Storybook introduces toddlers to the world of reading. There also are games and videos.
  • Mr. Nussbaum has games for preschoolers through eighth grade, along with educational tabs on history, math, science and more.
  • Peep and the Big Wide World offers coloring pages, games and interactive educational material for ages 3 to 5.
  • Switch Zoo: Animal Games lets kids make their own animals, build the right habitats, and more.
  • The Great Plant Escape is geared to fourth- and fifth-graders, and teaches kids about plants and their systems through problem-solving.

Daily Masses resume

Bishop Gregory Parkes, with the Diocese of St. Petersburg, issued a statement saying that churches can slowly begin the process of returning to public worship. As of May 11, churches can gather from Monday through Saturday, and must adhere to social distancing guidelines, and only allow for 25% capacity. Locally, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, 2348 Collier Parkway, will conduct its daily masses Monday through Friday at 8 a.m. Those attending must wear a face covering or mask, practice social distancing at 6 feet apart, and receive communion in the hand only. The facility will be sanitized after each Mass. For information, visit LadyRosary.org.

Date ideas for adults

  • Breakfast in bed: Whip up some pancakes or French toast for breakfast in bed. Even better, have breakfast for dinner!
  • Mixology Night: Test your mixing skills and make crazy cocktails for a chance to try a drink you’d never try at a restaurant or bar.
  • Play the Newlywed Game: Ask your partner questions that you’re curious about, such as “Does he know your favorite color” and “Does she know your favorite junk food.” This is a fun way to learn more about each other.
  • Plan your dream vacation: Even when there’s nothing on the horizon, “take a trip” by talking about it. Where is your dream destination and what would you do there?
  • Take personality quizzes: Personality assessments hone into different characteristics. Compare yours against your partner’s to see how you can better work together.
  • Wine and cheese tasting: Make yourself a charcuterie plate and try a few different types of wine.

DIY (Do It Yourself) websites

HowCast.com: Covers dance and entertainment, food and drink, love and relationships, arts and crafts, and more

HowStuffWorks.com: Topics include science, tech, money, adventure, animals and more

Instructables.com: For anyone who likes to make things – electronics, crafts, cooking and more

WikiHow.com: How-to instructions in 19 subjects, including cars, family life, home and garden, animals and pets, sports and fitness, and more

Documentaries online

TopDocumentaryFilms.com: Thousands of documentaries on topics that include biographies, crime, economics, environment, history, mystery, nature, philosophy, society, sports, and more

DocumentaryHeaven.com: Offers archaeology, business, celebrity, countries, evolution, human rights, lifestyle, music, space, spiritual, and more

Educational materials online

Chatterpack.net: Online resources for arts and culture, learning, well-being, music, literature, prayer and more

DuoLingo.com: Learn a language, for free

EtymOnline.com: Etymology explains the history of what words mean and how they sound, whether 600 or 2,000 years ago, through a dictionary and stories

Free art lessons: bit.ly/2IQtInY (has a link to lesson plans and supply lists)

Hippocampus.org: 7,000 free videos in 13 subject areas, for middle school to college

KhanAcademy.org: Daily schedules for kids ages 2 to 18 and remote learning resources

LizardPoint.com: Geography lessons on countries, states, cities, physical features and more, including interactive map quizzes

Mystery Science: bit.ly/3d0vWiq (free science lessons for kindergarten through fifth grade)

PlanesandBalloons.com: Educational and printable activities (worksheets, seasonal and coloring pages) for young children

Scholastic Learn at Home: bit.ly/2vxRimy (active portal of free daily courses)

SeaWorld.org: Educational resources for hands-on learning through classroom activities, videos, animal bytes and info books, and teacher guides

Shark Story Hour at 10 a.m., search Atlantic White Shark Conservancy on Facebook

Enrichment courses

Saint Leo University is offering free enrichment courses. Faculty members representing a variety of degree programs will teach 10 self-paced courses on an array of topics ranging from budget baking and backyard birding to quarantine spirituality for the family.

The school’s Center for Alternative Pathway Programs is offering these complimentary online courses to help individuals find respite and relaxation from stress.

Courses being offered include: Backyard Birding; Boosting Your Immunity: Staying Healthy ‘n’ Fit in Isolation; Budget Baking; Effective Strategies for Working Remotely; From Pantry to Garden: Planting Dried Beans; Happy Little Art Activities; Keeping a Naturalist Diary; Quarantine Spirituality for the Family; Stress Management for Health Care Professionals; and, Stress Management for Youth.

Complete course descriptions can be found at Info.online.SaintLeo.edu/capps-community-courses.

Expanded virtual plant clinics

UF/IFAS Pasco County Cooperative Extension Service now is hosting virtual plant clinics five days a week, through Zoom video conferences, or email at .

Clinics on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit Bit.ly/pascoplantclinic.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, tune in from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., to Bit.ly/plantclinicTueThur.

A Pasco master gardener volunteer will offer advice for lawn and garden issues, including pest identification, weed control, spring growing tips and more.

Residents also can call the UF/IFAS agents and teams for phone consultations Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (352) 518-0156.

Explore, the world

Explore is a multimedia organization that documents leaders around the world who have devoted their lives to extraordinary causes. Its growing library consists of more than 250 original films and 30,000 photographs from around the world.

The website features a wide range of topics—from animal rights, health and human services, and poverty to the environment, education, and spirituality. Delivered in short, digestible bites, Explore films appeal to viewers of all ages, from children learning about other cultures for the first time to adults looking for a fresh perspective on the world around them.

More than 105 live-stream cams are available, including African wildlife, bears, hummingbirds, gorillas, the northern lights, pandas, a birder’s paradise (bald eagles, falcons, osprey), bats, ocean life (seals, whales, otters, shark), pandas, and more.

Visit Explore.org.

Florida Aquarium to reopen

(Courtesy of The Florida Aquarium)

UPDATE: Online reservations now are required to visit the aquarium

The Florida Aquarium marked its 25th anniversary like most people do, with cake. Joining the festivities were the aquarium’s African penguins, an endangered green sea turtle named Sheldon, an octopus and otters. The aquarium opened its doors March 31, 1995 on the edge of downtown Tampa. The marking of its anniversary comes amid the (COVID-19) pandemic, but The Florida Aquarium did not want its historic day to pass by without taking a moment to thank the community for its longstanding support, thank its founders, and civic and community leaders for their vision, and thank its staff and volunteers for their dedication since opening day. Current plans are to reopen May 15; however, the aquarium remains in constant contact with public health officials and is prepared to open when safe to do so.

For Mind and Body websites

Emotional ABCs: bit.ly/39TYhFf (social-emotional learning resources and programs)

Emotional Health Activities: bit.ly/3a1EfZE (30 activities to download and use, for parents and students)

GoNoodle.com: Movement and mindfulness videos

Mindfulness and relaxation apps for kids with anxiety: bit.ly/3a1DSOK (15 apps for overcoming stress and anxiety)

Mindfulness Resources for Teens: bit.ly/3b6ibNg (techniques to develop skills to be present and aware every day)

ZenHabits.net: Daily meditation and breathing exercises

Free online activities

  • ABCya.com: Practice math and reading skills while playing fun games.
  • AYearOfManyFirsts.blogspot.com: Get educational ideas.
  • EntertainKidsOnADime.com: Sign up to read the blog for a list of 100 activities to do at home with kids.
  • FromABCsToACTs.com: Offers links to educational websites for kids, including Make Me Genius, The Magic School Bus, Cool Math, The KIDZ Page, NGAkids Art Zone, BBC History for Kids, Steve Spangler Science, Mission US, The Happy Scientist, Youngzine, Fuel the Brain, Mr. Nussbaum, Exploratorium, Turtle Diary, e-Learning for Kids, Sesame Street, Fun Fonix, Tvokids, The Story Starter, NASA Kids’ Club, Crypto Club, Earthquakes for Kids, Smithsonian Learning, Study Jams and more.
  • FunBrain.com: Play games while practicing math and reading skills.
  • HighlightsKids.com: Read, play games and conduct cool science experiments.
  • Kids.NationalGeographic.com: Learn all about geography and fascinating animals.
  • MOSI: Visit Facebook.com/MOSIinMotionTampa, Facebook.com/mositampa or MOSI’s Instagram page (@mosi_tampa): Live videos of 15-minutes of demo/hands-on activities and ideas about various concepts, along with “Field trip Fridays.”
  • PBSKids.org: Hang out with your favorite characters while learning.
  • Reading.ecb.org: Click on “Get into the book” to play games that practice reading strategies.
  • Retro Fitness will live-stream free daily classes on Facebook Live. Tune into the free home workouts at 6 p.m.
  • ScaryMommy.com/astronauts-story-time-in-space-kids-books/: Watch astronauts reading stories from space.
  • Seussville.com: Read, play games, and hang out with Dr. Seuss and his friends.
  • Smore.com/wfg8d: Tools, tips and info to support eLearning news for Pasco County parents.
  • StarFall.com: Practice your phonic skills with these read-along stories.
  • StorylineOnline.net: Have some of your favorite stories read to you by movie stars.
  • SwitcherooZoo.com: Watch, listen and play games to learn about amazing animals.
  • The Boca Raton Museum of Art is launching new virtual educational and enriching. experiences online and through its social media channels. A special series, “Keep Kids Smart with Art,” will be available to help parents and children who are home from school. Visit the museum website, BocaMuseum.org, or social media channels: @bocamuseum or #BocaMuseumAtHome, for updates. “Being inspired and creative have not been canceled,” according to the museum’s website.
  • The Florida Aquarium has launched SEA-SPAN Facebook Live, so guests can still ‘visit’ the aquarium. To watch live, check out the Aquarium’s Facebook page at 10 a.m., to be entertained and educated from your own home. Sessions also will be posted to FLaquarium.org and on YouTube, so the shows can be watched on demand.
  • Tinyurl.com/toxrwnn: More than 60 math sites are listed that can provide standards-based math curricula, practice activities and games, assessment tools and instructive insights, and professional development.
  • Tinyurl.com/rq8uhf3: NASA has made its entire media library publicly accessible, and copyright free.
  • VirtualSchoolActivities.com: A collection of sites to live webcams, virtual tours/trips, and other miscellaneous fun academic sites, including the Atlanta Zoo, the British Museum London, the Great Wall of China 360, Library Science Center: New Jersey, National Museum of Natural History: Smithsonian, National Park Service Virtual Tours, Spy Museum, Wolf Conservation Center, and much more.
  • Washingtonian.com: Search “Mo Willems.” Willems, author of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus,” “Knuffle Bunny,” and the “Elephant and Piggy” series, will host a livestream “Lunchdoodle” video every weekday at 1 p.m. Videos can be viewed at Kennedy-Center.org/education/mo-willems/.

Fun for boys & girls

The website, FrugalFun4Boys.com (it includes girls, too), offers these different categories:

  • Learn: Art, history, math and literacy, music, and STEM activities
  • Play: Active play, baby play, LEGO, family fun, and things to make and do

Different age levels are available, from age 2 and older. There are seasonal ideas, too.

Glazer Museum at home

The Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa is still closed due to COVID-19, but it has launched an online resource, GCM at Home.This section contains videos, printable activity pages, recipes and other fun ideas to try. Visit GlazerMusem.org/GCMatHome. Topics are: Eat, experiment, explore, make, move and solve. Activities include how to make fresh pasta; a DIY airplane launcher, water xylophone, or lava lamp; Cheetah and Stellaluna activity sheets; bird watching; compost bin construction; sensory spaghetti, and much more. The museum also offers resources for the family at GlazerMuseum.org/CommunityResources.

Harry Potter fans

Visit WizardingWorld.com/collections/harry-potter-at-home for special contributions from Bloomsbury and Scholastic, including magical craft videos, articles, quizzes, puzzles and more. The site is for first-time readers and those already familiar with the wizarding world.

Healthy habits

Experience Life is helping people to navigate and to build resiliency during the pandemic, starting with healthy habits.

Visit ExperienceLife.com to find 31 ways to embrace healthy habits, while social distancing.

Suggestions can be found for:

  • Preparing new recipes, and trying your hand at grain-free baking
  • Taking your workout outside, taking an exercise class online, and taking a neighborhood stroll
  • Getting a good night’s sleep, and taking a break to recover from stress
  • Decluttering the closet, giving your home an energy audit, and cleaning out the refrigerator
  • Growing your own herbs/seeds, planning a low-mosquito garden, making a bee bath, feeding the birds, and watching live animal cams
  • Starting a new hobby, reading a book (or 10), and touring museums online
  • Staying in touch; easing anxiety by starting a journal; grounding yourself through meditation; thanking a grocery store worker, health care provider or delivery driver; finding safe ways to volunteer; and staying updated on the news

Holocaust Museum virtual tour

The Florida Holocaust Museum is offering a virtual tour of the museum’s permanent exhibition, “History, Heritage and Hope,” online at TheFHM.org/learn/virtual-tour!

The exhibit spans the first floor of the museum and features original artifacts, videos and photos. It presents the history of the Holocaust – beginning with the history of antisemitism and life before World War II, followed by the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, and anti-Jewish legislation. This virtual exhibit is a collaboration between The Florida Holocaust Museum and the University of South Florida’s Tampa Library and Department of History.


Walmart is offering online craft projects, DIYs, creative how-tos, and tips for all things arts n’ craftsy. Categories include family and living; favorite reads; health and wellness; recipes and entertaining; style; technology; crafting tips; holidays; and, general ideas. Visit tinyurl.com/ybdzbw62.


Premier League Stars is offering videos and activities to support math, literacy, PE and more online at PLprimarystars.com. There are family challenges, too. Sign up for the newsletter to receive updates on new home learning resources and challenges.

Indoor Creativity

Encourage kids to use their imaginations and:

  • Build a fort
  • Write a story
  • Put on a fashion show
  • Make dinner together
  • Build a house made of playing cards
  • Put on a puppet show
  • Make an indoor bowling set by using empty paper towel rolls and a ball
  • Learn to draw
  • Put on a play
  • Make indoor hopscotch using masking tape on tiles
  • Do a family chore together
  • Have a dance party
  • Have a tea party
  • Set up a play store with a shopping basket and merchandise
  • Make a sock toss game using mismatched socks filled with beans or rice and see how many you can score in a laundry basket
  • Write in a journal
  • Make an indoor obstacle course
  • Fill a mason jar of things you want to do when the lockdown is over
  • Thank a health care worker with a chalk drawing, a painting, collage or a drawing
  • Decorate T-shirts
  • Make a scrapbook
  • Draw a self-portrait
  • Paint a recycled jar
  • Make your own superhero costume

Outdoor creativity

  • Paint a fence outside with water
  • Put old wallpaper on a fence and do some outdoor painting

Inside creativity

  • Board games and puzzles: Pull out that 5,000 piece puzzle or have a family game night.
  • Cooking and baking: Slow down, make an old family favorite, or have a family cook-off.
  • Have a picnic: Spread a blanket out over the floor, nibble and watch the rain fall if it’s keeping you inside. Otherwise, head out to the yard for some picnic fun.
  • Learn a Tik Tok dance: Tik Tok, a new social media platform for 15-second videos, features specific dances, so why not learn one? The sillier, the better.
  • Make believe: Have a tea party, or play princess and superheroes. Encourage kids to use their imaginations to come up with their own characters.
  • Make a pillow fort: Grab those pillows and build a fort. You can even add in board games and card games to play inside the fort.
  • Take family photos: Have some fun dressing up and taking family photos in the place you love the most….your home.

Limited-access park openings

Pasco County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources have reopened additional locations as of May 6, to allow essential recreation activities, in accordance with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Phase One: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for our state’s recovery.

Federal and state social distancing/gathering guidelines remain in place.

Groups of more than 10 will not be permitted, and social distancing of 6 feet remains necessary.

Additional limited access openings include walking and fitness trails, open space areas (excluding athletic fields), outdoor tennis courts and outdoor basketball courts at these facilities:

  • Land O’ Lakes Heritage Park, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
  • San Antonio Athletic Complex, 12750 Oak St.
  • Veteran’s Memorial Park, 14333 Hicks Road, Hudson
  • Wesley Chapel District Park, 7727 Boyette Road

To ensure the safety of team members and customers, all athletic fields, playgrounds, shelters and pavilions remained closed until further notice.

Live online classes

Outschool.com offers free schooling resources for educators, families, and those who want to learn. Social, fun, safe learning experiences are taught over live video chats. There are more than 15,000 classes. Class subjects include the arts, English, life skills, music, social studies, coding and tech, health and wellness, math, science and nature, and world language. There also are favorites like Harry Potter, Dungeons and Dragons, Fortnite, Lego, Pokemon, Minecraft, cats, dogs, unicorns, and adventure. Joining is free. Classes start as low as $5 each.

Lutz garden club

The Orange Blossom Garden Club of Lutz will not host its annual June Memorial Scholarship Luncheon, and also will not meet in July and August. The club hopes to resume its meetings in September with guest speakers.

Museums around the world

Music lessons online

HowToPlayPiano.ca: Free lessons on learning music theory and piano

JustinGuitar.com: Join for free, for lessons and songs

Netflix adds programs

Educational shows on Netflix can help preschoolers learn through targeted play, activities and other resources. The online streaming service offers preschool unit studies, science activities, leaning games, printables and more.

Netflix now has added more Leap Frog learning to its preschool programming, including Leap Frog Letter Factory, Phonics and Numberland. These programs join Adventures in Shapeville Park, Math Adventure to the Moon and the Amazing Alphabet Amusement Park.

Other series that are offered include Veggie Tales, The Magic School Bus, Octonauts, and The Hive.

Old-fashioned skills

Teach your children some skills that are still important and relevant today.

Around the house:

  • How to sew on a button, how to iron a shirt
  • How to hammer a nail, how to hang a picture, how to fix something
  • How to do laundry, how to wash dishes
  • How to plan a healthy meal, how to read a recipe, how to make scrambled eggs, how to make a salad, how to make a smoothie, how to set a table, how to have good table manners
  • How to play with a baby, how to care for a pet
  • How to dust, how to vacuum
  • How to clean the refrigerator, the kitchen and the bathroom
  • How to change a lightbulb
  • How to open, close and lock windows
  • How to use a fire extinguisher
  • How to garden


  • How to write a letter, how to write a thank-you note, how to address and stamp an envelope
  • How to make a phone call, how to take a message
  • How to converse with an elder
  • How to genuinely apologize
  • How to introduce yourself
  • How to notice the needs of others
  • How to ask questions to get to know someone better
  • How to seek counsel from someone more experienced
  • How to give someone the benefit of the doubt
  • How to admit a mistake


  • How to balance a checkbook, how to write a check
  • How to budget
  • How to wait and save for something

Vehicle maintenance:

  • How to check tire pressure, how to put air in a bike tire
  • How to pump gas
  • How to change a flat tire


  • How to read a map
  • How to weigh pros and cons
  • How to refill a stapler
  • How to select a thoughtful gift

Online STEM center

The Florida Aquarium has launched a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) online learning resource, designed to provide parents and school kids with educational resources.

The free resource, called Digital Resources in STEM, is for kids of all ages, and teachers, too.

The site has more than 40 hours of video content, including lectures from scientific leaders; curriculum for high school, middle school and elementary students; STEM learning activities; and printable coloring sheets.

The site also will be continuously updated with content the Aquarium is generating on its social platforms, as well.

To access the resources, visit Learn.flaquarium.org.

Online tutorials

Prodigy Cultural Arts, a University Area CDC (Community Development Corporation) program, is offering free online tutorials, in response to the pandemic.

The program’s instructors have developed video tutorials on the topics of: life skills, painting, drawing, dancing, bass guitar, the shaker (musical instrument) and more. Additional videos are being developed on a variety of subjects, and are expected to be added weekly.

The videos all are available at UACDC.org/prodigyonline.

The University Area CDC also is working on Get Moving! exercise videos, which will be free to the public. Visit UACDC.org/getmovingonline.

Outside activities

  • Backyard barbeque and fun in the sun: Grill up some hot dogs and hamburgers, and make a topping bar. Add in some outdoor games, like a water balloon fight, Red Light Green Light, or hopscotch.
  • Backyard camping: Set up a tent and sleeping bags to get out of the house. Make it educational by trying to spot constellations in the sky.
  • Bird-watching and bird feeders: Search online to find the different types of birds that live in your area. Order a pair of binoculars (or use your own) and explore the community. Bring the birds to you with a DIY bird feeder, like a pinecone covered in peanut butter and bird seed.

Photo contest

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB) is hosting a Wildflower Photo Contest. Whether in pastures, private backyards or sand dunes, wildflowers help to create habitats, help to conserve water and help to reduce erosion. To enter, share your wildflower photo and tag the organization on Facebook @keeptampabaybeautiful or Instagram @keeptbb. Submissions from across Tampa Bay will be accepted through May 31. The winner will be announced on June 1 and will receive KTBB swag.

Photography activities

Local photographer Jeanine McLeod, owner of Cloud 9 Studios in Wesley Chapel, has developed a free weekly series on her Facebook page and blog, to help keep kids creatively active while at home.

The series will feature activities such as an at-home photography scavenger hunt; learning stop motion animation; stay-at-home photography lessons; and, a photography journal to remember the history we are living.

The first two activities for kids are posted at

For information, call Cloud 9 Studios at (813) 997-1340, or email .

Recycled art exhibit

The Florida Aquarium will present “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea” now through the end of August. This is the first time the Reef at Risk exhibit will be displayed in Florida, with the artwork designed to fit specific upstairs areas in The Florida Aquarium.

The exhibit educates about the negative, devastating effects of plastic pollution, and aims to spark positive changes in consumer habits. The art installation is built entirely from plastics found in oceans and waterways around the world. Since its launch in 2010, Washed Ashore has collected nearly 26 tons of garbage from more than 300 miles of Pacific coastline.

There are 18 sculptures, including a 12-foot shark, a 16-foot parrotfish and a 20-foot coral reef.

The exhibit is included in the general admission aquarium ticket.

Screen-free things to do

  • Create a scavenger/treasure hunt. Make up your own or use ideas listed below:

Indoor scavenger hunt. Make a list of what your kids can search for throughout the house, such as: A toy with wheels, a book with the first letter of your name in the title; a pair of matching socks; four things that are green; something very soft; a toy smaller than your hand; something round; a book with numbers in it; five Lego items that are all different; a photo of someone you love; an item you can see yourself in; an item that makes you feel cozy; a toy that has three different colors; a movie that has “s” in the title; and, your most squishable stuffed animal. Offer a snack as a treat….after everything gets put back where it belongs.
Outdoor scavenger hunt. Make a list of what your kids can search for out in nature, such as: Five leaves that look different; a stick that is longer than your hand; a rock with spots on it; a flower; a flat rock; 10 blades of grass; something you love to play with; a piece of trash you can recycle; something that is brown; something that is heavy; something that is very light; something that needs sun to live; an item smaller than your thumb; something that starts with the letter ‘m’; and, something that smells good. Offer a snack as a treat, when the mission is complete.

  • Teach practical skills, such as how to: sew on a button; flip a pancake; plant a seed; balance a checkbook; pound a nail; do laundry; create a budget; start a fire; fry an egg; make jam; write a journal; or sprout a potato.
  • Encourage kids to make a gift or greeting card for someone.
  • Bake some cakes or biscuits.
  • Sort through old photos and make a scrapbook of memories.
  • Organize belongings and throw out what you don’t need. Have kids organize their rooms.
  • Draw or create a family tree. Make an art gallery at home to show off artwork.
  • Let your child spend some time with friends on Skype or on the phone.
  • Show your child how to take care of plants and let them garden, too. Or, plant some flowers in pots if you don’t have a garden.
  • Have a film day and watch a favorite movie. Ask your child to write a film review or draw a movie poster.
  • Make finger puppets and create a theater out of a box.
  • Start a family book club. Discuss your favorite characters, what part you liked best and why.
  • Have an indoor family picnic.
  • Make potato stamps, and stamp paper or a shirt.
  • Go camping in the yard or living room.
  • Make your own mini golf course. Find ideas online.
  • Ask kids to design a game that you can make the next day: such as a paper boat race or homemade skittles using a tennis ball and empty toilet paper rolls.
  • Try paper origami. Find instructions online.
  • Ask the kids to put on a play or magic show, using dress-up clothes and props from around the house.
  • Play board games and card games.

Note: The status of local libraries continues to evolve. Check library websites, or follow on Facebook and Twitter for further announcements.

Send a note to a veteran

Friends of the Baldomero Lopez State Veterans Nursing Home is launching Operation FAV (For Any Veteran), in which anyone can send a veteran at Baldomero a friendly note of hello.

The nursing home, like others throughout the world, has been closed for visitors, leaving the residents somewhat isolated.

The community can band together to let them know that we are thinking about them. School-age students are invited to participate, too.

Make up a card, note or letter and address it to:

For Any Veteran
Baldomero Lopez State Veterans Nursing Home
6919 Parkway Blvd.
Land O’ Lakes, FL 34639

The staff at Baldomero will make sure the cards and notes are distributed to its veterans who have not had visitors. Cards also can be sent in bulk to the address.

Story times for kids

  • Local Wesley Chapel resident Aaron Strong is reading bedtime stories through YouTube (search Strummy83). Strong pulls from his two sons’ collection to read one, or two, favorite books every night at 7:45 p.m. Readings sessions last from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. Themes have included The Cat in the Hat, Curious George and The Berenstain Bears. And, once in a while, a guest will pop up. Previous videos can be watched at any time at YouTube.com/user/strummy83.
  • Learning Express Toys of Citrus Park is offering virtual story time through its Facebook page, at Facebook.com/LearningExpressCitrusPark/. All story time attendees have a chance to win a prize giveaway. One child already won a Paw Patrol gift basket.
  • Levar Burton from “Reading Rainbow” will live stream reading sessions on Twitter. Kid sessions are Mondays at noon, young adult are Wednesdays at 6 p.m., and adults can tune in on Fridays at 9 p.m.,
  • Library of Congress is collaborating with “Captain Underpants” author and illustrator Dav Pilkey to create weekly videos for kids, and adults. On Fridays at 8 a.m., Pilkey will release new videos with reading aloud, drawing demonstrations and more. Activities might include tips for creating your own character or acting out scenes from “Dog Man,” part of the ‘Underpants’ universe. Visit LOC.gov/engage.
  • Sesame Workshop has made a trove of eBooks available for free. The 110 total titles can be downloaded from all the major eBook platforms, such as Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Google Play, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo. At the moment, there is no expiration date to the free access. Everything, from letters and numbers, to animals and music, is covered by books centered around Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover and other members of the Sesame Street Gang, at all different age levels. Also, the “Caring for Each Other” portal is full of activities to keep kids busy. Find it online at SesameWorkshop.org, under the Press Room link.
  • StorylineOnline.net, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, streams videos featuring actors reading children’s books. The online stories are available 24 hours a day for children, parents, caregivers and educators worldwide.

Summer camps

The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), 4801 E. Fowler Ave., in Tampa, is scheduled to begin its summer camps from June 1 to Aug. 7.

MOSI will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for keeping campers and spaces safe, including a cap on the number of campers; only campers and camp personnel will be allowed in the camp classrooms; campers will bring their own food; handwashing will be encouraged multiple times a day and hand sanitizer will be available; and more.

Registrations now are being accepted.

For information on the Summer Science Camp and questions, visit MOSI.org, or call (813) 987-6000.

Symphony performances

Florida’s classical radio station WSMR is teaming up with The Florida Orchestra and the Sarasota Orchestra to broadcast twice weekly live-recorded performances from the classical music ensembles.

The station and its parent organization, WUSF Public Media, are reaching out to listeners in light of the fact that orchestras are not in a position to host live performances, out of health concerns.

The recordings are a mix of performances from this season and from the symphonies archives, and will air through June 11. Listeners can stream the concerts online at WSMR.org.

If you miss an on-air broadcast, you can listen on demand at WSMR.org for one month after the air date.

Theater offers movie school

Tampa Theatre is offering a new way to entertain, educate and enlighten its audiences. The Tampa Theatre Movie School is a new, online “edu-tainment” initiative designed for parents with kids of all ages to use movies as the basis for guided learning.

On the Movie Suggestions page, classic titles are divided into categories for feel-good comedies, fantastical journeys, family friendly frights, action-packed adventures, and uplifting stories of teamwork and friendship.

All of the films are available to stream on common platforms, like YouTube or Google Play, or are included in the subscription services like Netflix or Disney+.

On the Project Guide page, families can find research questions, discussion prompts, art projects, ideas for dramatic play, and printable resources to help build an educational experience around the chosen movie.

The initial collection of Movie School resources can be found at TampaTheatre.org/tampa-theatre-movie-school/.

The theater is planning on adding more educational content, too.

Themed scavenger hunts

Use suggested ideas or make up your own!

Book Scavenger Hunt:
Ask your child to flip through the pages of books at home to find an animal, someone helping someone, a sun, something that makes you laugh, a bug, someone sleeping, a character eating, a pet, a cat, a superhero and a bike.

Inventor Scavenger Hunt:
Find something that you can turn, something that is bumpy, something that is metal, something you put together, three things that are round, something you twist, something shiny, something you can roll, a tube, three things that are squishy, something clear, and something that can bounce.

Math Scavenger Hunt:

  • Find two pencils and one blue crayon. How many items do you have?
  • Find five blocks and two pennies. How many items do you have? Take away three blocks. How many items are left?
  • Find four socks and two stuffed animals. How many items do you have all together?
  • Find eight crackers. Eat four of them. How many are left?
  • Find three spoons, four books and one orange crayon. How many items are there in total?

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt:
Find something in each of these colors: red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple. Name a fruit that is red. Name an animal that is yellow. Name a vegetable that is orange. Name a plant that is green. Name a flower that is purple. Find something outside that is blue.

Spring Scavenger Hunt:
Find a yellow flower, three different shaped leaves, something that is red, a spider web, something that flies, two things you see in the sky, something that is long, something that grows that is green, two birds, some water, something purple and something that crawls.

Tourist destinations

Visit these websites for virtual tours and to learn more about these famous tourist destinations:

Virtual tours online

Field Trips: bit.ly/3b4XuS5 (San Diego Zoo; Yellowstone National Park; explore the surface of Mars and the Curiosity Rover; Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams; Virtual Farm Tour: FarmFood 360; panda cam at Zoo Atlanta; animal cams at Houston Zoo; and, Georgia Aquarium)

TheChinaGuide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china: The Great Wall of China

Louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne: Visit the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries

RocketCenter.com: Visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Museum in Huntsville, Alabama: click on Science Never Stops for STEAM videos exploring museum artifacts, hands-on science, live astronomy demonstrations

SeeWinter.com: Take a 20-minute virtual field trip with Clearwater Marine Aquarium every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to learn about marine life and explore the local environment. The Aquarium also is offering free homeschool activities, under the Education Station link.

TravelandLeisure.com/travel-news/Carlsbad-caverns-new-mexico-virtual-tour: Go underground from your couch the caverns in New Mexico

Water Matters education

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is offering free online resources that can be accessed by both educators and students at WaterMatters.org/Education.

Parents can download an activity sheet and have children calculate how much water is being used at home daily and devise ways to reduce the use.

There also is a teacher resource block that includes:

  • Virtual Watershed Excursions: Students can learn about ecology, history, restoration and recreation through the exploration of major watersheds online. Each ‘tour’ comes with a teacher’s guide and a student worksheet.
  • Short Water Education Videos: Watch short five-minute videos that cover a variety of water-related topics, such as the water cycle, wetlands, watersheds and more. A teacher’s guide is included.
  • Student Workbooks and Teacher Guides: Student workbooks are available for all grade levels and cover many topics. All workbooks and teacher guides are available for download as PDFs. If the workbooks cannot be printed out, the PDFs can be used as a guide and answers recorded separately.

Write to Unite

Young Writers has launched “Write to Unite,” a creative writing campaign  to help raise the nation’s spirits, according to a news release.

First established in 1991, Young Writers works with schools and parents to encourage young people to engage in creative writing, as a way to express feelings.

Write to Unite is free and aims to bring people together regardless of background or age.

Help spread positivity by writing a poem, a story or giving a thoughtful message to loved ones.

To take part, visit WriteToUnite.co.uk, for a selection of resources and templates.

View the trailer for the campaign at Youtu.be/m_lenUHvJC4.

Participants are encouraged to share this opportunity with family and friends on social media.

Use the #writetounite hashtag.