Mar 21, 2020 - Health

The best-selling illustrator keeping kids busy with #drawtogether

Photo courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton

Graphic journalist and best-selling illustrator Wendy MacNaughton is hosting a live 30-minute online drawing class for children, Mondays through Fridays at 1 p.m. EST.

Why it matters: Parents have been hit hard by the impacts of coronavirus, with many working from home while managing their kids' daily schedules and schoolwork. These videos engage kids and encourage creativity while giving parents a break.

How it works: MacNaughton's #drawtogether classes include silly songs, deep breathing exercises, open-ended questions and lots of time to relax and draw.

  • These classes are on Instagram live, accessed via the "live" button on MacNaughton's page.
  • This week, many schools announced they would remain closed through the school year, and MacNaughton, who is also a trained social worker, says she's planning to host classes through that time.

What they're saying: "When we're drawing the hair on a dog, you are drawing one line after another line after another line after another line," says MacNaughton. "That process is calming for me and for them. I hope that it helps them access that that calm place inside themselves when the world's going a little crazy outside."

  • Ada, a 7-year-old in Washington, D.C., tells Axios, "It makes me feel happy and comfortable. She makes me laugh and she's really good at teaching."

Bonus: MacNaughton points out some other book authors and illustrators offering parent resources:

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Schools and universities across much of China have closed due to the coronavirus outbreak and are being forced to hold classes online for the foreseeable future.

Zoom in: The video platforms being used are closely monitored by censors, and some teachers are finding their lessons unceremoniously ended when they hit on controversial topics, the AP reports.

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Coronavirus: Columbia University the latest to cancel in-person classes

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Why it matters: The Ivy League school is the latest educational institution to suspend in-person classes and move studying online in response to the outbreak as the virus continues to spread across the U.S., which now has more than 500 cases, per data from Johns Hopkins and state health departments.

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Schools turn to ride-hailing services to transport students

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When startups set out to become the “Uber for kids” several years ago, they predicted parents would use them to ferry children to and from school and activities — but they’ve since found a much bigger customer: schools.

The big picture: Companies like HopSkipDrive and Zum are getting much of their business from schools using their services to replace or supplement the traditional school buses, especially for students with special needs or for trips outside of existing routes.