Getting creative in captivity

See frolicking farm babies: Lift your spirits for real with videos of adorable baby animals set to cheerful music, courtesy of the Minnesota Zoo. Your kids will love the time-lapse videos, including a chick hatching, and animal story times, especially the hilarious goat one.

Work out for free: The YMCA is offering free-for-all workout videos (yes, even for non-members), including yoga, bootcamp, barre, cycling, Pilates, dance, tai chi, kickboxing, weightlifting and youth sports, plus videos made especially for kids and older adults. You’ll also find Facebook Live exercise and mediation sessions, plus Daily Dozen challenges for kids, which include 12, five-minute bursts of activity that don’t require any special skills or equipment.

Zoom for mental health: NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and its partners are offering a rich schedule of classes for all ages, including how to cope with resiliency during COVID-19.

Try diamond painting: This intricate new crafting trend involves attaching tiny, shiny, faceted beads (square or round) to sticky, paint-by-number patterns using a special wand. It requires patience and dexterity, so we recommend it for children who are at least 5 years old. Because you’ll likely spend more than a week on each project (great for adults, too), it’s perfect for the pandemic. See,, or

Listen to the Okee Dokees (above): Step 1: Immediately go buy the Okee Dokee Brothers new two-disc album, Songs for Singin’ — a hardcopy with its included songbook. Step 2: Memorize the opening track, Hope Machine. Step 3: Watch a fan video of a kid singing the song while playing a toy banjo ( and any bitterness in your heart will melt.

Join Team Women: Whether you’re trying to stay energized about your work-from-home career or hoping to start a new adventure, this fab networking and personal development organization is going strong in the digital world. See a list of virtual and livestream events.

Get to know autism: Ask your kids if they know someone with autism and/or if they know how to be a good friend to someone with autism. If they don’t have many answers, it’s time to educate them about the spectrum, which now includes an estimated 1 in 59 children. You can find books with characters on the autism spectrum at or find Cameron Goes to School by a Twin Cities mother of four.

Put on a science show: The STEM toy company Thames & Kosmos is delivering free, high-quality science activities, including DIY Science Shows your kids can put on at home. They’re really cool and pretty cute, too.

Color a local landmark: Though our coloring contest concluded earlier this month, you can still download and color the amazingly cool page, featuring the wonderfully iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculptural fountain.

Remember, parents can color it, too! When you’re done, tag us @mnparent on Instagram and we’ll share your works of art.

Find more stay-at-home survival ideas at