For Parents

Share Online Stories, Games, and Activities with Kids


03/13/2019 | Online Storytime

Do you need to keep a house full of kids entertained for an afternoon? IndyPL can help! Choose some to share with guests and some to watch during your child's own downtime.We'll keep adding to the ideas here so check back often!

See also Teaching Your Class From Home? We Can Help!

1. Stream Story Time, Movies & Shows for Kids

You can use your IndyPL library card to stream movies for kids from two different services:

Detailed information about each of these services is available on our download and stream page. You can learn more about all of our streaming services here including directions and video tutorials.

Our favorite Kanopy Kids category is, of course, Story Time! (If you open this link and there are no listings, click "Go to Kanopy Kids" in the upper right corner. Scroll down and click on "Story Time.")

Our favorite Hoopla category is, you guessed it, Hoopla Picture Book videos. There are hundreds of stories available like Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Pair a story or two with favorite book character printables for an afternoon of story time fun that includes some off screen activity. Here are some instant online story times to get you started:

Kids also shouldn't miss 100+ Video Read Alouds and 100 MORE Free Video Read Alouds - no library card required. Choose from old classics like Where the Wild Things Are or a newer favorite like Little Jumbo. It isn't library story time...but you will still hear “I want to hear it again!”

Children's book authors are also stepping up to help you. Many of them are offering online readings, story time, Q and A sessions, and more. It depends on the author what they have in mind but it will be fun to find out! Learn more

Kanopy Kids Storytime

2. Enjoy Picture Book Read Alongs

Read Along Stories play like a movie. They look like the sample shown here. The words to the story appear on the screen as it is being read aloud. For some, as each word is pronounced, it is highlighted.

Doug Unplugged Screenshot

Read Along Stories are great reading practice!

  • Hoopla Read Alongs
  • Like Hoopla, Kanopy is streaming movies of picture book read alouds. Our favorite Kanopy Kids category is, of course, Story Time! (If you open this link and there are no listings, click "Go to Kanopy Kids" in the upper right corner. Scroll down and click on "Story Time.")
  • TumbleBook Library (Pre-K through grade 6) - Choose the red Read Along tab. Here is a wonderful video tutorial to learn everything you need to know to use the TumbleBook Library.
  • Brightly Storytime Flip-a-Long Watch the pages turn as the story is read aloud.
  • Unite for Literacy A collection of picture books that include audio narration options in several languages.
  • World Book e-Books includes a large collection of early readers read alongs.

3. Read e-Books

You can use your library card to check out e-books and e-comics for kids from each of these services. Detailed information about each of these is available on our download and stream page. If you have never borrowed from one of these platforms before directions are available:

TIP: Hoopla has created a collection of bonus borrows that don’t count against your monthly borrowing limit. You can borrow as many as you'd like! There are A LOT of children's books on their list.

TIP: TumbleBooks have no loan limits and no waiting.

TIP: There are often long wait lines for e-books. Bookmark OverDrive's No Wait, No Problems e-Books for Kids to find e-books that are currently available for checkout.

4. Listen to e-Audiobooks

Just like e-books you can use your library card to check out e-audiobooks for kids from these same services. Detailed information about each of these is available on our download and stream page. You can learn more about all of our e-audiobook services here. If you have never borrowed from one of these platforms before directions are available:

Children can hear a story seven days a week on our Call-a-Story phone line. Call (317) 275-4444 or toll free at (877) 275-9007.

TIP: TumbleBooks have no loan limits and no waiting.

TIP: There are often long wait lines for e-audiobooks. Bookmark OverDrive's No Wait, No Problems Audiobooks for Kids to find e-books that are currently available for checkout.

TIP: You can listen to Neil Gaiman read aloud his Newbery Award winning novel for kids, The Graveyard Book.

TIP: Dan Gutman is reading Miss Blake is a Flake each day at 2:00 PM EDT on Facebook Live. If you have missed some you can view the archive and start at the beginning to hear the story in order.

TIP: Audible, Amazon's e-audiobook library, has free streams on a select number of children's stories. See the Free Audible Library. The service will be available for as long as schools are closed. The books are separated into six categories: "Littlest Listeners," "Elementary," "Tween," "Teen," "Literary Classics" and "Folk & Fairy Tales for All." Books are available in English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Italian.

Favorite Book Character Printables

5. Play Online Games & Do Printable Activities

We will continue to add online activities to this list:

6. Read e-Magazines for Kids

You can read and download full issues of popular magazines for kids with your IndyPL library card. We offer two different platforms for borrowing e-Magazines for kids:

Detailed information about each of these services is available on our download and stream page. You can learn more about all of our e-audiobook services here.

7. Try a New Language

Here are three online libraries that offer free e-books for kids in different languages. Uniteforliteracy is a large collection of e-book picture books for young children. You can choose to hear stories in more than 40 languages. The International Children's Literature Database has digitized children's books from all over the world in more than 50 languages. We have selected some online stories in Spanish to help get you started here. Click on a book cover to read the story.

StoryWalk at Ruckle Street Park

8. Take a Walk and Read a Story

Take a walk and read a story as you go! We invite you to visit StoryWalk® in Ruckle Street Park at 3025 Ruckle Street. Stroll through the park and read a book displayed in mounted frames. Stories are rotated on a monthly basis.

Just keep appropriate social distance while there and wash your hands when you get home!

Test Tube Photo

9. Try a Science Experiment with Things You Can Find at Home

Looking for some fun activities to pass an afternoon? Here are several science experiment ideas that use materials easily found in your house. A couple of them might require a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy, but mostly you can just raid the garage, kitchen, or bathroom cupboard for the ingredients. Many experiments you will want to do OUTSIDE! Each experiment will give you directions as well as suggest websites and books that will help you explain what science is at work during the experiment. Here are direct links to some favorites:

10. Draw Every Day with Mo Willems and Jarrett Krosoczka

You are invited into the drawing studios of two favorite children's book authors every day for drawing lessons - they could break the record for the largest simultaneously attended drawing class for kids! On Draw Every Day with Mo Willems and Jarrett Krosoczka we have provided links to these drawing classes, printable favorite character drawing pages, links to a couple online video read alouds as well as links to e-books and streaming drawing movies you can check out with your IndyPL library card.

11. Visit Dav Pilkey at Home

The creator of Dog Man and Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey, hosts Dav Pilkey at Home. The show features fun and free activities that are available online including how-to-draw demonstrations, read-a-louds and resources from the collections of the Library of Congress. For more books like Dog Man to check out with your IndyPL library card go to Graphic Novels for Kids - Dog Man and More.

12. Get Off-Screen and Out the Door! Activities for Kids in Your Backyard, Garden or Park

Kids on e-learning days need recess - probably really long ones! Here is a collection of ideas from e-books and websites you can access from home. They are teeming with ideas for fun outdoor art, science, and engineering projects and games that are just plain fun. Unplug and get muddy!

13. Watch a Puppet Show, Then Make Your Own and Put on a Show!

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of a puppet theatre, learn how puppets work, watch puppet shows, or watch a video tutorial that will show kids how to make their very own shadow puppet theatre and puppets.

Do you need help learning how to download and stream library materials? Contact the Webmaster or Call-a-Librarian at 317 275-4184.

14. Read Alouds and Author Workshops for Kids @Home

There are many children's book authors, publishers, and other organizations making videos and online activities for kids while they are not in school right now. These creators are reading books aloud and inviting kids into their studios and work spaces to see how both the words and illustrations in stories come to life.

Virtual experiences like these make great additions to your schedule at home while you try to build some routine into your child's day. There are some treasures here that are more than up to the challenge and well worth the screen time!

15. Celebrate Amazing Mamas - Online Story Time for Mother's Day

Watch the video read alouds Is Your Mama a Llama?, Owl Babies, Hug You, Love You, Read to You and many others. Enjoy online activities and find e-books and audiobooks you can check out from home with your IndyPL library card.

16. Read Right Now! Libraries - Online Story Time for National Library Week

Watch a video read aloud about the day something different happens at story time - a LION comes to listen! Enjoy more online activities and find e-book and audiobooks you can check out from home that celebrate the fun of books and libraries.

17. Turn It Up! Online Story Time about Music and Virtual Concerts for Kids

Music is everywhere! There's music in the rhythm of language, in the sounds of nature, and even in the cars driving by. Listed here are musical stories you can read right now, just click on a book cover to open it and hear the story. Read them together and listen for music all around you. We have listed some printables and online activities you can do at home, including instructions for making your own instruments as well as some virtual concerts you can enjoy from home.