The pandemic’s impact on all of our schedules has created challenges even for kids who normally don’t get bored. Many options for entertainment, fellowship and travel simply can’t happen safely during this summer of social distancing.

Maybe you miss playing with your friends, going to theme parks, dancing right in front of the stage at Fridays After Five or heading off to camp. Now the heat is cranking up, and getting even a little time outdoors isn’t easy, so each of us can be forgiven for getting a bit frustrated.

One way to battle boredom during any summer break, but especially this one, is to keep your school skills sharp. Summer is a great time to investigate new subjects you might not have covered in school yet and new interests that are just waiting to be discovered.

Set a goal for the rest of your summer break to do something each day to stay physically fit and something to keep you in good academic shape. That way, when school’s back in session, you’ll already be back in practice navigating online learning and you won’t have to deal with the “summer slide” your folks and your teachers worry about.

When it’s too hot to be outside, tune in a local public television class created for you. Teachers call it “showing initiative.” And your parents will be impressed, too, which never hurts.

Local public television VPM offers its VPM Classroom collection of classes designed for fourth to 10th grades starting at 1 p.m. weekdays. Here’s your chance to play outside while it’s cooler, have some lunch with your family and then settle in for some subject matter.

If early afternoon isn’t a good time for you, the programs can be streamed at any time at

The shows, which will air through Aug. 14, include “NASA at Home,” “Super Science Show with Joe,” “Cooking Up Science with Miss America,” “Read Write Now,” “Freedom’s Fortress” and “Creative Corner.”

Instead of merely watching, you can participate in experiments and activities during these shows. Many of them will suggest finding supplies around the house so you can follow along. You’ll be diving into such topics as poetry analysis, visual arts and American history.

And because the programs appear on public television, you won’t have to worry about finding internet access, emailing for reservations and links or hearing over all the feedback.

In case your parents ask, all of the classes conform to the Virginia Standards of Learning.

Head to to get all the details.

Music by kids

Kid Pan Alley is celebrating the release of a new single, “On Our Way to Liberty,” with its latest Virtual Concert Series event at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Soul/folk singer-songwriter Lea Morris is featured on the new song with Howard Levy of The Fecktones. Also performing will be Evan Espinola with Lorraine Duisit, and Kid Pan Alley founder Paul Reisler with Cheryl Toth.

Reisler wrote the song with fourth-graders at Richmond’s Patrick Henry Elementary School during a Music of Art residency with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Sunday’s event also celebrates the museum’s reopening.

The inspiration for the song comes from a painting, “A Ride for Liberty” by Eastman Johnson, that shows a Black family escaping slavery on horseback.

Head to to reserve your space; choose between Facebook Live or Zoom. The fun is free, and there’s an online tip jar for the musicians.

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