Stuff to do

virtual volcano tour

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand ... one year into the COVID-19 pandemic and many of us are still locked down or unwilling to travel and explore. So here is yet another update to our online compendium of stuff to do.

We received an email recently from Hampton Troop 40 whose girl scouts are still "Connecting Cultures" virtually via Zoom and had found this site useful. In return they shared a couple of suggestions:

First up was the Smithsonian's site, which offers lots of wonderful narrated tours. For those who know the me behind the curtain here, you won't be surprised I enjoyed these photos of orchids and this one as well. 🙂

But they didn't stop there! They also shared this link of virtual field trips with this explanation: One of our superstar scouts Skylar is a self proclaimed "geography nerd" (she loves playing Geoguessr) so she's been sharing a lot of cool tips with us! .. she noticed we did not include that site so they most considerately sent it to us. Thanks to Judy, Skylar and Troop 40!

And that's it for this update.

Yet another update of stuff to do -- whether you're trying to beat the heat by staying indoors or social distancing and various other COVID-19 safety precautions.

Time Waster of the Day

Some time in April [read that as when I noticed what was going on, ahem .... ] one of my [too] many email ebook newsletters [what the hay, lets give a shout-out to] started including a Time Waster of the Day, which promoted sites and videos to entertain.

First up was 5 Volcanoes You Can Explore from Your Couch offering spectacular 3D views of volcanoes from the comfort of your own home.

How's this for a flashback to better times, eh? Free Tetris!

Another graphic toy to play. Neonflames Although we don't really get it, it's quite fun to play with. We tried both click and drag with the right mouse button as well as some individual clicks. Ooooooh, check out the tweak menu to change settings. This is probably a lot more fun on a touch device, such as a tablet.

Although similar to the GoogleEarth National Parks link below, Virtual National Park -- from the National Parks Service itself -- offers more options to explore national parks from the comfort of anywhere in the world through online galleries of photos, videos, webcams, podcasts and sound recordings. There is also a section just for kids!

For those who love books -- y'all know who you are! -- 7 spectacular libraries you can explore from your living room.
If that makes you antsy to enjoy that inimitable aroma, you can add to the magic with book-scented candles:

Books not your thing? How about adding a little music to your life with the Chrome Music Lab - Song Maker.

Budding scientists and bakers -- not to mention plenty of others -- can take a stab at making your own homemade yeast. The funky science of yeast, the gassy microbe behind your pandemic bread. Also, you can make your own sourdough starter with no yeast.
All that sourdough you've been making could help scientists ...

Something most everyone can use these days: ‘The Science of Well Being’: Yale’s most popular class ever available via Coursera. Skills you will gain: gratitude, happiness, meditation and savoring. Check to see when the next class is available.

Here's another one that's useful in these social distancing days. This comes from the good folks at Consumer Reports: 'Backyard' Oasis: Ways to Create a Better Space No Matter Where You Live. This is their guide to finding a bit of peace on a lawn, nearby green space, a balcony or even out an apartment window.

This one comes with a warning that this graphic site is highly addictive -- Sketchpad 5.1 Mind you, that's graphic as in drawing / sketching as opposed to another meaning of graphic. 😉 They follow with: Do you do the gram? Instagram that is. Follow them on Instagram and share what you've created. My skills lie elsewhere so this one is not for me.

Ready for some more virtual travel? From Smithsonian Journeys Take a Virtual Tour through Holland and Belgium. Note to self: Visit this one when tulips are in bloom!

For those times when you think you've seen it all: List of Best Internet Rabbit Holes.

Whether you are still committed to staying home or cautiously heading out, here are some great recipes from your favorite restaurants. Which one will you try first? 21 Copycat Restaurant Recipes You Can Make In Your Own Kitchen.

Do ya think we're alone here? Use These Webcams to Hunt for UFOs, Bigfoot, Ghosts and Monsters!

This one is different: Multiplayer piano -- join a cacophony of creativity, or play alone.

Welcome to Short Story Club -- It's like a book club, but for short stories! You'll read a short story, then join a live discussion with the author on Zoom.

Quiz time! How much random K-12 Science Knowledge Do You Still Have? It's harder thank you think.

Pyramids! [That's a nod to any Discworld / Terry Pratchett fans out there] Get away from it all with a virtual tour in the tomb of Ramesses VI in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor.

From prehistory [sort of] to fantasy. Revisit a world where heroes exist and there is always a happy ending. THE UNOFFICIAL MCUTV SERIES Revisit the Marvel Cinematic Universe, reimagined as a multi-narrative TV series.

Boyfriend Lets His Quarantined Hairstylist GF Experiment With His Hair And Here’s What She’s Done So Far(21 new pics). Wow! Just wow! These are hilarious. [patting self on back for avoiding a hairlarious pun.] Hair's the first set.

Ready to spend a little more time in the kitchen? Raspberry Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies, Naan, Bagels and more! 20 Five-Ingredient Recipes To Bake If You're Bored, Stressed, Or Hungry

Here are some how-tos on a valuable life skill! 17 Beginner Sewing Techniques That Will Make Your Clothes Last A Lifetime.

Search for Bigfoot, Nessie, UFOs, and ghosts from your home.

15 Wild Wikipedia Pages About Old Hollywood Actors, Movies And Scandals.

Have a little bit of cute for your day! Guy Makes Tiny But Elaborate Hobbiton For Family Of Mice Who Visit His Garden.

From the guy who brought you package thief glitter bombs comes the ultimate in anti-squirrel bird feeder defense! Building the Perfect Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder.

Back to the kitchen! 18 Comfort Foods That People Are Eating Around The World - With Recipes

Disney food! 12 Disney Recipes to Recreate at Home. BONUS:
Disney’s Grilled Cheese Recipe Is Exactly the Comfort Food You Need Right Now.

17 Flawless Jokes About Books All Readers Will Laugh At -- because we do not live by bread alone.

Blow the perfect (or largest) bubbles! Backed by SCIENCE! Physicists determine the optimal soap recipe for blowing gigantic bubbles.

If you feel the need for a dose of cuteness right about now, we present: Explore the world from your computer screen! A list of live camera feeds! See puppies, fish, sunsets and more!

Toilet Paper Hoarder Game! Too soon? A quick little game where you try and get toilet paper for your family.

And we're headed back to the kitchen with 22 Recipes That Will Help Make You A Better Cook.

Time for a change-up! Insanely Realistic Sand Sculptures Of Animals.

The 12-Minute Exercise That Keeps Helen Mirren Fit at 74.

Remembering When Women Ruled a Wild West Town

Yet another hilarious one! Artist Reimagines Celebrities In Different Recognizable Cartoon Styles And The Result Is Totally Spot On!

Here's a fun yet educational time waster. Stuck at home together? Nat Geo's got you covered. Check out these 12 activities to entertain and educate your kids. Find out your dinosaur personality!

YUM! 5 mouthwatering ways to hack a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.

People Brilliantly Recreate Bad Amateur Paintings.

Incredible Living Sculpture In The Lost Gardens Of Heligan Changes Its Appearance With The Seasons

Jim Henson on Making Muppets 1969. Jim Henson and Muppeteers show kids how to make puppets from simple things like socks.


UPDATED! We've added the items mentioned in the digital editions with live links.

Wondering how to fill the time of you and yours when there's no school, no sports, no dining out, no chatting around the office water cooler, social distancing, etc., etc.? From free online entertainment to virtual tours of all sorts of places, not to mention cute animal live streams and videos. And books! Where would we be without a good book to read? A book? That's right. When I was your age, television was called books. It's all here!

Open culture

There's a great site called Open Culture that tags itself as the best free cultural & educational media on the web. Don't let the words culture or education stop you from exploring their site!

Focus on the word that precedes them: FREE! In the words of Bill Watterson's Calvin to his bestest buddy Hobbes: [and I'm paraphrasing here because the book isn't in front of me] Learning is OK as long as no one is making you do it -- then they were spellbound by a book on snakes one summer day.

But back to Open Culture, this site garnered some recent internet fame by offering a listing of free coloring books available for download from 113 museums. They've been scouring the web to find stuff that's free -- movies, books, audiobooks, language lessons, and more ... much, much, more -- since September 2006.

Just imagine how much free stuff they've find in all those years? Let me hook you with a few names here: John Wayne, Hitchcock, Oscar winners -- yep, free movies. 1,150 of them. There's tons of classical music -- yep, I just lost ya -- but they also have 9,000 Grateful Dead concerts. Time to return to those Deadhead days of yore?

Scroll down to their list of nearly 100 categories and see what catches your eye / interest or the interest of your little ones.

Washington County Public Library

Home Safari from Cincinnati Zoo: While the Cincinnati Zoo is closed and kids are home from school, the zoo is offering a Home Safari Facebook Live each weekday at 3 p.m. where they will highlight one of their amazing animals and include an activity you can do from home.

Storyline Online: Check out this FREE children's literacy resource featuring the world's best storytellers reading books aloud. Each video includes an activity guide with lessons for K-5 students to do at home:

Plus, the folks at the Washington County Public Library system remind us, their online and digital resources are available 24/7, inviting you to explore everything they have to offer on their website. Download eBooks and audiobooks on Overdrive, Libby, and RBDigital, stream through Hoopla, download magazines with Flipster, and listen to your favorite songs with Freegal.

Virtual tours

Travel the world -- or just the United States -- right from your comfy chair.

Museums: Check out "Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch (Video)" from the fine folks at Travel & Leisure magazine.

If you don't see your favorite -- or one on your bucket list -- Google Arts & Culture teamed with more than 2,500 museums and galleries to offer virtual tours. Check 'em out!

Famous places: Google Arts & Culture also offers virtual visits to other places, including the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, Easter Island, Antarctica, Palace of Versailles, Van Gogh or just his bedroom in Arles and more, oodles more.

National parks: Google Earth has virtual tours of 31 U.S. National Parks – from Acadia right on down to Zion.
Theme parks, zoos, Google’s world top wonders including the Egyptian pyramids and the Great Wall of China, or through Google Earth’s Wonders of the Ancient and Modern World. Several sites offer virtual tours of Hawaii, The Vatican, etc. Just punch 'em into your favorite search engine.

The sky's not even the limit-- you can virtually tour Mars! NASA and Google combined forces to offer a 3D replica of the Martian surface.

Another great list comes from The Insider, which shares 18 ways to leave home without actually leaving the couch, from virtual zoo exhibits to museum gallery tours. Some places they suggest include: Monterey Bay Aquarium with free live streaming from jellyfish to penguins, Disney World and Disneyland, a virtual rollercoaster ride – plenty available on YouTube, San Diego Zoo features live and pre-recorded videos of koalas, apes, pandas, more penguins and others, Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, and a free mobile app from NASA that lets you virtually step into mission control!  And more, many more.

Tyler County Public Library

The last library in the area to remain open, Tyler County Public Library is now closed due to the Stay at Home Order signed by Gov. Jim Justice Monday, March 23. Director Rosanne Eastham said on Facebook that she will put WiFi slips on the door to the old section at 11 a.m. and will be in the building Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during normal hours. Call the library at 304-758-4304 if you have any questions.

This was posted on their Facebook page – an excellent idea because we know there are plenty of seamstresses in these parts! The link has instructions on How to make a face mask for first responders and healthcare workers. If you can sew and have the material that is approved, consider making these masks.


This opportunity has been posted/shared by Tyler County Public Library, Paden City Public Library and New Martinsville Public Library.

TumbleBooks, a world leader in online children’s book databases, announced it will make its family of online libraries available for free to all public libraries until at least Aug. 31.

Its flagship product, TumbleBooklibrary is a collection of animated talking picture books, read-alongs, ebooks, quizzes, lesson plans and educational games used by thousands of schools and public libraries in over 100 countries across the world.

Links with username and password are posted below. We hope everyone enjoys this great free offer.

TumbleBooks’ databases are easy to use and feature unlimited access from home! Our patrons can read as many books as they want, when they want, and on any device. There are no check-outs, holds, or bulky downloads. Books are available instantly.

We have included Direct Links for each account, which do not require library cards or authentication! The links will log users in with the click of a button.

– K-6 children's ebook database
Direct Link:
– K-6 math ebook database
Direct Link:
 – gr 7-12 ebook database
Direct Link:
– all ages audio book database
Direct Link:
– a huge collection of steamy Romance novels for the older crowd
Direct Link:
Password:  A3b5c6

Paden City Public Library

Paden City Public Library, under the advisement of the West Virginia Library Commission and The Association of Rural & Small Libraries, has decided to close to the public until further notice. This closure includes the suspension of all programs for the time being. BUT, according to director Danielle Ice-Davis, they will try to post helpful resources for learning and entertainment on their Facebook and Instagram pages as they are made aware of them; check their sites regularly for updates. They will try to post every few days as they get more information. Further, they will continue working during regularly scheduled weekday hours (as long as it is safe to do so). If you have questions or need help accessing e-books or things of that nature, call the library 304-337-9333 and they will try to help you. Also, they will put Wi-Fi login slips outside the door each day so patrons may use from the parking lots – they just can’t open the doors to the public or checkout physical books. And don’t worry about having overdue items, no late fees will be assessed until after things return to normal. Library hours Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from noon to 7 p.m.; Wednesday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday hours will vary.

Nature videos

Schrader Environmental Educational Center, the nature department of Oglebay Institute, on Lodge Drive in Wheeling is posting or sharing a nature video every day at 3 p.m. Check them out online or on their Facebook page.

Wetzel County Museum

Wetzel County Museum invites you to check out their online scrapbook collection.

New Martinsville Public Library

Due to the concern for the safety of the patrons and employees, the New Martinsville Public Library will be closed until further notice. Items may be placed in the book return or wait until the Library has reopened. All fines will be waived.

Check out their online resources  @

WV Reads: Read books on your tablet or phone
Available through the Libby app

Access to 63 popular magazines for adults and children

Designed for genealogy and family history research

   World Book Online

Copyright 2018. West Virginia Library Commission

Reading Through It Together

The following suggestion came from Penguin Random House. Brightly  is one of their subsidiaries: Life is full of new and unexpected changes right now and if you’re a parent or caregiver, those changes can include suddenly having to homeschool and provide childcare.
To help you navigate your day-to-day, the fine folks at Brightly  have put together educational resources and engaging activities so there’s always something to keep your kids occupied. Whether you’re looking to keep them focused on learning, just need some peace and quiet, or a little of both, they say they’re here for you. And together, we’ll get through this.

Gardening activities

In his mostly regular Facebook updates, Charles frequently mentions getting outside and working on the garden plot. Following along, here’s a site with a plethora of plant potential – all kid-friendly yet many suitable for all ages. Choose from make-at-home chia seed plant people, kitchen scrap gardening, grow your own salad, terrariums and fairy gardens, making seed balls and/or mud pies – and plenty of seasonal activities to boot.

Kid-Friendly Videos

Amazon is offering free access to more than 40 titles of kid-friendly Prime Video content to anyone with a standard Amazon account.

Tour a local museum!

During this time of social distancing, each weekday at noon the fine folks at Campus Martius Museum are posting on their Facebook page very short videos and/or photos of different objects, collections and exhibits at the museum.

Listen to some local entertainment

The Monroe Theatre in Woodsfield is posting videos of local performers almost nightly on its Facebook page.

Almost Heaven inspiration awaits

If you’re looking for activities to do while at home, then you’ve found the right place. WVTourism offers a checklist to guide you in planning your next adventure. Have the kiddos try the West Virginia-themed word search, a great opportunity to explore and learn about the Mountain State.

Feel free to post a comment below or drop us an email at web.movinformer at so we can add your favorites as well as your favorite sources for entertaining young and young-at-heart during this, um, unusual circumstance.