MIAMI COUNTY — With schools and daycares closed in the effort to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus cases, kids in Miami County, and across the nation, are at home. While many schools have resorted to e-learning, some parents are still left searching for ways to keep kids entertained and happy through this period of isolation.
With the social restrictions put in place by Gov. Mike DeWine limiting gatherings to less than 10 people, one local business got creative thinking “outside of the box.”
Troy’s Studio 14 Creative Arts Center is usually busy with art projects and pottery painting sessions. When the state started to limit business activity, owner Dawn Spoltman started to offer “Pottery to Go” kits. Spoltman photographed the studio’s pottery selections and prices, glaze color options and added brushes for each clear box kit. Patrons then could pick up their kits at the studio at 8 North Market Street by “touch-free” appointment or have them delivered curbside to their vehicle. Parents return the pottery back to the studio to have it fired and then come back to pick up the completed pieces.
When it first launched on social media, the project took off with hundreds of shares on Facebook and among local families searching for creative outlets.
Harper Jones, 7, of Troy, picked up her pottery project at Studio 14 in downtown Troy last week. Jones is a first-grade student at Cookson Elementary School.
Jones’ mother Aluscia said she had been trying to find projects to do while school had closed. When she saw Studio 14’s pick-up pottery project on social media, she immediately ordered Harper a unicorn, hedgehog and duck to paint on a rainy day.
“She was so excited to pick up her kit,” Aluscia said. Harper said her favorite subject is math and misses her classmates and school.
“This will give us something to do together and look forward to getting back from the store,” Aluscia said.
Spoltman has the help from her husband Mark and her daughter Libbey to help put kits together for families.
The studio also plans to offer a “Canvas to go” option as well.
“The response and the support has been overwhelming,” Spoltman said.
For information about the studio, search for Studio 14 Creative Arts Center on Facebook.
Local libraries, though closed to visitors, are encouraging kids and families to check out their websites for digital libraries and other activities.
Piqua Public Library offers The Ohio Digital Library, where visitors can borrow eBooks, digital audiobooks, digital magazines, and videos, using their library card and password to log in.
If you do not know your password, or if your card is expired, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For those without a library card, The Ohio Digital Library has provided a log in to patrons with a temporary card until business resumes as normal. Visit www.piqualibrary.org for more.
Tipp City Public Library also offers Ohio Digital Library, along with online learning resources, at www.tippcitylibrary.org. TCPL is also posting occasional live videos on its Facebook page, including guest speakers and story time.
J.R. Clarke Public Library offers various resources and databases online for people of all ages, at www.jrclarkelibrary.org, and is also holding a virtual Easter scavenger hunt.
From now until Wednesday, April 8, kids can visit the library’s website to get a PDF of what to “hunt” for. Once a child completes seven out of 10 of the challenges, they’ll be entered to win an “Easter Meal Gift Basket,” which includes a holiday ham and rolls and all the fixings. Completed forms may be dropped off in the library’s dropbox.
Troy, Tipp City and Milton-Union libraries are also offering the website “hoopla” as a way to keep entertained. “hoopla” is a digital service consisting of a large selection of movies, TV shows, music, audiobooks, eBooks, and comics for library patrons. A library card is needed to join, which can be applied for online.
Kids can also go on “virtual field trips” thanks to numerous organizations, businesses, and museums worldwide, including the following:
• The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will host a Home Safari Facebook Live each day at 3 p.m., highlighting an animal and including an activity for kids to do at home. Videos will be uploaded to the zoo’s Youtube page afterward.
• The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is offering Facebook Live videos every day, and also offering contests and sing-a-longs for kids.
• The Louvre in Paris; The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; The British Museum in London; The Museum of Natural History in D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia; and The Vatican Museums are all offering free virtual tours.
• Discovery Education is offering virtual field trips to watch on-demand and each comes with a “companion guide” full of standards-aligned, hands-on learning activities. DE also has a virtual learning page on its website, at www.discoveryeducation.com/community/virtual-field-trips/.
When DeWine recently gave the “stay-at-home” order, he reminded citizens that going outside is not forbidden, and will offer an often much-needed respite from staying indoors, especially for kids, so long as “social distancing” is still practiced.