Resources for Parents in Polk County During COVID-19

April 6th, 2020 by

While social distancing and isolation have been hard on all of us Floridians during the COVID-19 outbreak, I think it’s safe to say that it’s been incredibly hard on families with young children at home. Many Central Florida parents are now tasked with trying to teach while working remotely, a lack of access to childcare if you do work for an essential business, and children are bored because they haven’t been able to go to school, see their friends, or do most of the things they normally do.

At the Kelley Automotive Group, it is important for us to be here for our local Polk County community, and a lot of our efforts go back to supporting children and families in our community. While many of those endeavors including donating $100,000 to the Polk County Youth Fair, sponsoring local youth sports teams, or supporting existing community events like Full Moon Howl that help support children and families, right now we’re hoping to be able to shed some light on some free resources available to families during these trying times.

Here are ten resources available to families and students to help:

  1. Reading Rainbow is back! Ok, not really, but LeVar Burton will be hosting a livestream story hour three times a week on Twitter. Story time for children will be at 12 p.m. ET on Mondays, and the Young Adult story time will be at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesdays. He’s even hosting one for adults at 9 p.m. on Fridays!
  2. Nike is helping your student athlete keep a routine. All Nike members (and signing up for the Nike Training app is free, so anyone can be a member) will have free access to Nike Training Club Premium until further notice. Not only does the app have free workouts that are perfect for athletes who want to stay on top of their game for next season, but there are workouts for a variety of skill levels to help get the family moving while we don’t have access to all our favorite activities. Just search “Nike Training Club” in the app store.
  3. Learn a new language … for free. If you or your child has ever wanted to learn another language, now is a great time to get started. Rosetta Stone is offering their tool free for students for the next 90 days.
  4. Is your child missing Disney? They have an opportunity to learn how the magic happens (for free) with Khan Academy’s online Imagineering in a Box class. This class could help jumpstart their imagination and help them create their own stories, which will certainly keep them plenty occupied while their stuck at home!
  5. America’s Test Kitchen is offering free options to help you cook. While it’s important to support local restaurants during the pandemic, eating out every day isn’t feasible for most of us. America’s Test Kitchen is stepping in to help with 50 of their all-time favorite recipes for free (they normally charge a monthly subscription fee).
  6. Free HBO. I know it may not be ideal to think of your (probably older) child spending more time in front of a screen during the pandemic, but sometimes you have to pick your battles (and do you really want to hear more live updates about Animal Crossing?!). In order to help keep us all entertained, HBO made 500 hours of programming available, no subscription required. Content ranges from series like “The Wire” to movies like “Detective Pikachu.”
  7. AT&T is funding free access to Caribu. Caribu is a video-calling app that integrates children’s books, coloring activities, and games, and it will now be free until May 24, 2020. It bills itself as both a learning and social tool, and it could be vital in helping families maintain connections while they can’t actually be together. With popular titles like Thomas & Friends and Barbie, Caribu may be a great way to help young kids and grandparents stay connected!
  8. Samsung is offering a 30-day free trial of Samsung Kids+. Anyone with a Samsung phone or tablet can sign up for a 30-day trial of kid-friendly, parent-controlled fun and educational service, which hosts popular titles like “My Little Pony” and “The Cat in the Hat.”
  9. Spectrum is offering free internet and WiFi. For 60 days, Spectrum is offering free access for new accounts for students and teachers. Households with Pre-K to 12th grade or college students–and households with teachers–who don’t already have an account will be able to sign up for free to help students stay connected. They’re also waiving installation fees for these new accounts.
  10. Sesame Street is offering free eBooks for little ones. In addition to offering resources on home learning for young children, they’re offering access to hundreds of Sesame Street eBooks for free. The website is also offering ideas and videos for activities that can be done at home to help keep your little one engaged!

Whether you’re near our stores in Lakeland, Bartow, Winter Haven, Auburndale, or Chiefland, or just stumbled upon this by accident, we hope this helps add a little joy to your family life in these unprecedented times.

If you and you children are in need of food assistance during this time, please keep in mind that Polk County Public Schools has resumed providing children with school breakfasts and lunches as of March 30th. You can see the pick up hours and locations at polkschoolsfl.com. Big Brother Big Sisters of Tampa Bay has additional resources listed on their website.

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