Category Archives: Fun

Welcome to Sunshine Week 2021!

Sunshine Week is a celebration of the public’s right to see U.S. government records. Initiated in 2005, Sunshine Week features events sponsored by groups interested in the public’s right to know about its government, including government agencies, news organizations, universities, and libraries. These public events are designed to raise awareness about how important openness and transparency in government are for a democratic society. This year, Sunshine Week is celebrated the week of March 14-20, encompassing the March 16 birthday of James Madison, known as the “father of the Bill of Rights.”

Sunshine Week events

A Sunshine Week events calendar describes each event, date and time, and how to register or join. For example:

  • On March 15, Open the Government will host a panel discussion of the Trump Presidential Library and records, “What Presidents Do to Keep Us from Knowing What Presidents Do.”
  • Also on March 15 is the New England First Amendment Coalition online webinar, “Keeping the Light On: Holding Government Accountable,” examining “the values of open and responsive government and how all citizens play a role.”
  • The News Leaders Association webinar on March 18 features a discussion by journalists “on how they navigated barriers to public records to tell important stories about COVID-19, official misconduct and beyond.”
  • Join the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition on March 18 for an online discussion, “Truth Be Told: The Proliferation of Online Misinformation and Disinformation — And What We Can Do About It.” Sign up at
  • The DC Open Government Coalition is holding a webinar on Thursday afternoon, March 18. The full schedule is on their website. There are three panels exploring the laws about open data, meetings and records; education data; and accessing the state of access to D.C. records and agency compliance with public requests.

Federal agencies often celebrate Sunshine Week. This year, the events are virtual, including:

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) celebrated Sunshine Week by introducing a bill (H.R. 1929) to update the Presidential Records Preservation Act of 1978, assuring that good records management practices are applied to electronic messages.

Open Data Day

In actuality, the celebrations begin on Saturday, March 6, with Open Data Day, a global effort to bring together individuals interested in increasing access to information online. There are many online events this year, headquartered in the United States and abroad. Search for events in which you might wish to participate at

NOVA students are informed citizens

Students should understand what information is available from the government and how to gain access to it. Participating in a Sunshine Week event might be your first step in discovering what to do when obstacles are in your way.

Watch this space throughout Sunshine Week (#SunshineWeek) for more about openness and transparency in government!

Learning while enjoying

With summer upon us, many activities designed for children in another time, including camps, are closed down this year. We are likely to hear some whining from little ones tired of being trapped at home: “There’s nothing to do.” If you are working from home and your day-care options remain limited, you might create a plan for your children (or your younger siblings) that will keep them on track for the coming school year but still be enjoyable and distinct from the online schooling they experienced this spring. For example:

YouTube Learning now offers #CampYouTube with options to fit any child’s interest—from A (for Adventure or Arts) to S (STEM, Sports). The site also features campfire talks, craft projects, and a recipe for S’mores bars that do not require a campfire.
• The Children’s Museum in Washington, DC, is offering STEAMwork summer virtual programs, Monday through Friday @ 3PM. Using project-based teaching to foster students’ skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) activities for each day of the week have a different focus: Monday is early childhood, Wednesday for elementary school grades, and Friday is for full family engagement.

If you’ve got a budding scientist in your home, there are several good resources to keep your child entertained all summer long in “Summer Science Resources for Families.”

Brooklyn (NY) Red Hook Public Library (RHPL) begins its summer programs for children on July 6 with four themed units:
• In Small Worlds, children will share their observations of ants or moths with scientists
Near Worlds will look at the community of Red Hook, creating a collaborative local map and photography project
Big Worlds looks at how Red Hook interacts with communities in the US and around the world
• For those interested in outer space, Far Worlds will be your best choice, with projects relating to astronomy and the global environment.

Children can choose to participate in any or all “Worlds.” There will be one Zoom session each week for children ages 5-7 and another for those aged 8-11. Each unit includes five days of activities. Online projects are completed via ClassDojo. Watch this site for programs geared toward children older than 11.

The arts (and crafts) online
Their doors may be closed but theaters and museums are connecting with young art lovers through free classes, art games, and activities. The weekly calendar of events at Lincoln Center at Home plainly denotes #ConcertsForKids. Add them to your calendar so you won’t forget. This week, there’s The Villalobos Brothers’ Mexican folk music (June 24 @ 7PM); previously archived #ConcertsForKids are available on-demand, including Soul Science Lab’s Soundtrack ’63 about the African-American experience in America and Celisse (Henderson).

New York City’s Metropolitan Opera Global Summer Camp is a free eight-week virtual camp for students to discover the world of opera. Each Monday, a teacher introduces campers to a new opera. (The weekly schedule is available at While all students view the same opera each week, they are divided into two age groups, ages 8-12 (Grades 3-6) and 12-18 (Grades 7-12). This assures that daily activities and discussions are at the appropriate level. There is an informative FAQ page for those who want to know more.

During the “lockdown,” the Kennedy Center’s Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems invited children into his studio to doodle together. The 15 episodes and downloadable activities are archived at Children are encouraged to tag their masterpieces #MoLunchDoodles on the social media replacement for the kitchen fridge.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan launched CMOM at Home at the beginning of the pandemic. There’s a different theme each day of the week—Magical Monday, Feel Good Friday, and Storytime Saturday—featuring videos and creative art projects designed to continue the learning long after. 

Every two weeks, the New York City-based Whitney Museum of Art launches a new Kids Art Challenge presenting a work in its collection and guiding the child through the process of creating a similar work. The Whitney Summer Studio, a six-week program of free 40-minute Zoom art classes, begins on July 6.

It’s not just American museums creating art activities for children. The Tate Museum in London, UK, has a site set aside for exploring and making, Tate Kids. Children can tour the collections and learn about artists and their works. There is “instruction” for painting and drawing, crafting with scissors and glue, sculpting, and coloring. The games and quizzes are designed to teach children about color and design.

If you’re running low on coloring books look no further than #Color Our Collections available for downloading and printing. The New York Academy of Medicine asked libraries and archives from around the world to share their coloring books and related materials, now accessible to all via links at With over 500 institutions from around the world contributing to the collection, there is bound to be something for the budding artist at your home. If you want to combine learning with this activity, try The Library of Virginia Coloring Book 2020 that tells the story of Women’s Suffrage in Virginia.

After all, we are a library
The great thing about online is that you needn’t rely on your local public library for storytime or the Summer Reading Program. Find a library that offers programs catered to your child’s interests:
• There are live storytimes each Tuesday and Singalongs each Thursday at 9:30AM on Muskego (WI) Public Library’s Facebook page and the library’s summer reading program can be accessed at
• The Los Gatos (California) Public Library offers storytime via Facebook; its summer reading program can be found at
Robert R. Jones Public Library in Coal Valley, IL, hosts Storytime with Ms. Angie featuring “Pete the Cat” every Thursday at 11AM Central/12PM EDT.
Pickens County (South Carolina) Library System uploads videos and craft projects for kids children from museums and libraries throughout the county each day, including storytime and summer reading.

Lest you think that Facebook is the only social media site used for storytime, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (Ohio) has a YouTube channel. In addition to its Virtual Storytime, the Brooklyn (NY) Public Library calendar of upcoming events features events for youth and family, including summer reading, exercise, virtual sign language, and English conversation (for those learning to speak English). You can find the full virtual programming calendar at

Publishers have taken up the challenge as well and there is no better example than the multiple options from HarperCollins. HarperKids from Home offers storytime with read-aloud activities each day at 12PM (EDT) and you can follow them on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm, the publisher offers Shelf Stuff, a home video series for children ages 7-12 is accessible via YouTube and Instagram. Virtual Epic Reads from favorite authors are posted each Friday at 4PM on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

The International Children’s Digital Library is a great place to find award-winning books for children of all ages, at all reading levels. Users can even browse for books by country. Click the dropdown menu to view books by language—there are 18, from Arabic to Thai. Pick out a title tonight and read it with your child!

Friday Fun

“Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”
― Veronica Roth, American author

Nick Heath, a British sports commentator and journalist, has taken to commenting on ordinary people going about their daily activities in lieu of no live sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic…with hilarious results! View his twitter feed for more  @nickheathsports.