Playtime: Talking to kids about COVID-19, plus online learning resources as schools close for six weeks

An excerpt from  “cool zine” available for download teaches kids about the virus.

School is out for six weeks, currently the plan is to return Monday, April 27, in response to the Covid-19 virus as we try to“flatten the curve.” School being out creates many different challenges for families, today we are going to talk about some of the free resources for information on talking to the children in your family about Covid-19, access to ebooks and audiobooks via the Edmonds School District platform, online library cards that allow access all of their online options for ebooks, audiobooks, movies, and more, activities provided by South County Fire, plus the links to educational sites that has been in circulation on social media.

The Washington Department of Health is offering a guide on “Talking to Kids About COVID-19.”

One of their suggestions is to make sure they have the right information and help them learn how to find “reliable” information on the internet. Their suggestion is “More DOH blog and CDC website, less YouTube.” When we sat down to eat last night and I asked my kids if they had any questions, I fully expected two of those sighs that are also sort of an ugh, but one launched into press conference style questions and the other needed some (more) friend theory debunking. The DOH also suggested a “cool zine” from NPR that you may have seen on social media, it is a compilation of information from interviews from experts and teaches kids about the virus, gives them info on handwashing, and assures them “There are a LOT of helpers out there who are working to protect you. It is NOT your job to worry.” You can find Talking to Kids about COVID-19 HERE and NPR’s zine HERE. The DOH says you can find daily updates and the latest information at and that if you have questions after visiting their site, you can “contact our call center 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, at 1–800–525–0127.”

Through a post shared from Alderwood Middle School PTA , I was reminded that Edmonds School District Students have access to ebooks and audiobooks via SORA. Before sharing the information, we gave it a go here and both of my kids were able to access this option, one via their school issued Chromebook and the other through my laptop, using their school email address and password. I made a quick call to my elementary age son’s librarian and she confirmed that this was the way to log on. The morning of the last day of school before the closure, she made a post on our school’s closed Facebook group that she was going to try to get as many library books in as many hands of kids as possible. Her urgency in considering each child was one of the reassuring moments of that day. You can access SORA via

You can also access eBooks and audiobooks, and a whole lot more, via With all branches closing to the public March 13 at 6 p.m., they are offering online library card registration with no in-person visit needed at This link will also lead you to all of the online resources they have available. I detail those resources and how to access them — free movies, documentaries, games, and activities — HERE. The library also promised to provide daily activity ideas on Twitter, which you can find @SnoIsleLibrary.

If you are looking for education resources for your student, there have been a couple of things circulating on social media. The first is a shareable Google Doc that has links to educational sites that promise that you can access them for free. I have taken a quick look at the list and recognize some names and only clicked on a couple of links. If you’re nervous about that part, you can use the list as a guide of what to do a search for.

The aforementioned school librarian just emailed me some information on how to access some of the free educational tools included in the viral Google Doc via our district. She recommends using to access MobyMax, Typing Club (grades 2-6,) RazKids (grades K-3,), and Amplify. In order to sign in via you’ll need your student’s district username and password. You can find this username on Skyward under Student Information – online you should be able to find it “ at the top of the Student Information section,” on the app I had to choose one of my students, go to Student Information, and then near the top next to my student’s first name there was a lowercase i symbol and once I clicked that it showed the username.

Activities and ideas are coming from unexpected places, which I guess makes sense in these unexpected times, but South County Fire has some options for your time at home. The options, many of which involve printing, include coloring pages, connect the dots, and a story. The page also links to which had videos, games, apps, and more activities including coloring pages, hidden picture puzzles, and mazes.

We don’t know yet what the full plan is for schools yet. Per the flurry of emails from each of the schools my kids attend, the district and its teachers are working on educational resources for students; though so far, these are not things that would be graded and turned in

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.

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