Programs turning to Facebook to offer activities for children

| March 30, 2020

School closing during the coronavirus pandemic means many children are spending days and weeks at home. For kids it can also mean absence of extracurricular activities and interaction. Some local folks have come up with some engaging ideas for fun activities using Facebook.

OSU Extension Coshocton County has a Kids in the Kitchen program on Facebook. This is an opportunity for families to tune in and learn to make kid-friendly recipes with their children while they are home from school.

Emily Marrison, family and consumer sciences extension educator and her children 12-year-old Nathan and 10-year-old Julia are working from home teaching cooking classes online.

This program is the perfect balance while her children are home to be part of a cooking video that shows parents and children how to prepare easy recipes together. Marrison said her children are using this experience as part of their 4-H project Let’s Start Cooking as well.

The recipes are simple to intermediate and take very few ingredients.

Nathan made carrot cake pancakes with maple cream cheese topping the first week.

His next recipe, creamy peanut butter dip called for only three ingredients – peanut butter, yogurt and orange juice.

“It doesn’t sound as good as it tastes,” Marrison said.” We try to do something a little bit different each time.”

Children are also learning proper use of utensils with parent supervision of course. An example would be safety with knives when slicing apples. These experiences give children confidence in the kitchen, Marrison said.

Via Facebook Live families can join Marrison and her children as they share kid friendly recipes to make together. Episodes include… White Chicken Chili and Double Corn Bread You can find these recipes to follow along on the website

“We will do this as long as the kids are home, one week at a time and see how much time we have together,” Marrison said.

Jon McFarland Championship Martial Arts and McFarland’s Krav Maga & Fitness is posting classes on Facebook every day until the crisis is over.

McFarland tells his students, “While your home; practice. You’ve got a lot of time to practice.”

It’s the best thing to keep them busy.

“I tell them, when you wake up, make your bed, clean your room, then throw a few kicks, throw a few punches,” McFarland Said. “Whatever you are working on, like any sport, the more you practice the better you will be. I miss my students. I like to interact with them every day.”

McFarland makes his videos appropriate for all age levels so that everyone can get something out of it.

“Parents tell me they love the videos,” he said. “That makes me feel good.”

There is a place after watching the video for student to leave a comment.

“I want to know they are watching and practicing,” McFarland said.

The online classes start with warmups, light stretches, then go into kicks and punches and self-defense moves.

“Videos last about 15 minutes, so we get right into the drill,” McFarland said.

His students range from 3 years old to 70 years old. The 3 to 6-year-old group are the Little Ninjas. Students are taught respect, discipline and self-confidence. Absolutely no bullying or fighting.

“If you are being a bully or starting fights then find another teacher,” McFarland said. “That’s my policy.”

McFarland will be hosting his fourth annual karate camp from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at Kids America.

“All kids are welcome,” he said. “You don’t have to be a student to attend.”

For information on McFarland’s Martial Arts School, contact him at 740-502-7707.

Jennifer Nelson of Miss Jennifer’s Dance Studio also is keeping her students engaged and connected while the stay-at-home order is in effect using daily challenges and videos on Facebook.

“We normally see our students at least once a week and we miss them,” Nelson said. “We are going online to give students practice, some fun activities and challenges.”

Geared for all ages and levels the Facebook videos are designed to help students practice at home for their upcoming Recital scheduled for May 30-31.

“We are hoping to keep this date, or we will bump it into June if necessary,” Nelson said.

Anne Cornell, Pomerene Community Studio Artist and the Artist of Residence for Keene Elementary School through the Ohio Arts Council Teach Arts Ohio, is offering Flash Art Camp for children at home during the crisis. Video projects are live every weekday on Facebook at 2 p.m. A means of keeping everyone creative and engaged until the end of the school year.

“It’s part of not being able to be in schools, so how do I reach kids to keep everyone creative and engaged until the end of the school year?” she said. A half hour class on Facebook live from the Pomerene Center was the answer.

The first theme was a sculpture project titled Free as a Bird. Students studied birds and looked at their characteristics including such things as the shape of their beaks. Children learned their beaks are shaped according to what they eat. Using aluminum foil, paper, twigs and weeds, paint, flour and water for paper mache, they learned about the anatomy of birds.

Included in the classes are lessons in art, art history and Artists.

“It’s more of an exploration,” Cornell said.

Tune in with your children and grandchildren daily at 2 p.m. live on Facebook/ Pomerene Center for the Arts to watch Flash Art Camp. To watch past episodes anytime go to

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