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5 virtual things to do with kids this week: April 27-May 3

Watch the snapping jaws during feeding time at Gatorland, talk to a Disney character for a bedtime goodnight, make a Mother’s Day gift.
Gatorland alligator handler Donnie Aldarelli shows off Chester, a 14-foot alligator, during the daily "School of Croc" show the attraction has been putting on its Facebook page since the park closed because of coronavirus concerns.
Gatorland alligator handler Donnie Aldarelli shows off Chester, a 14-foot alligator, during the daily "School of Croc" show the attraction has been putting on its Facebook page since the park closed because of coronavirus concerns. [ Gatorland ]
Published Apr. 27, 2020
Updated Apr. 29, 2020

This is normally the space I devote to 5 things to do under $5. But for now, we are going to offer five new things that we’ve discovered this week that you can do with your kids while social distancing. Feel free to send me your discoveries in the coming weeks. If you want to find or add more virtual events, we have a whole calendar of them at tampabay.com/things-to-do.

1. Gatorland’s School of Croc: One of the funnier daily bits of morning madness comes from Gatorland, the retro roadside attraction on I-4 south of Orlando. At 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday, the quirky cast of Gatorland’s staff goes live on its Facebook page to conduct what they call School of Croc. Gatorland worker Savannah Boan is charming and funny as the park shows off animals such as the giant croc Bonechrusher, Burmese pythons, turtles and baby animals. Even from the distance of a laptop, it’s hard not to flinch as gator wrangler Donnie Aldarelli gets dangerously close to those chompers as they snap at hunks of meat he tosses into their maws. Viewers get shout-outs during the live show, and the staff takes questions from the Facebook feed to make it interactive. In the afternoon, an even more lighthearted show goes live at 3 p.m. on Gatorland’s YouTube channel, Gatorland Vlogs, titled Later Gator, where they showcase live-action encounters with the staff and the animal stars at the park. gatorland.com.

Disney has a bedtime hotline that parents can sign up to give their kids a personalized phone call from a favorite character. It's available for one call per day through April 30.
Disney has a bedtime hotline that parents can sign up to give their kids a personalized phone call from a favorite character. It's available for one call per day through April 30. [ Disney ]

2. Disney Bedtime Hotline: Could your house use a little pixie dust right now? The Disney Bedtime Hotline has been engaged, according to ShopDisney.com, to let a classic character wish your kids goodnight. Parents can call toll-free 1-877-7-MICKEY (that’s 1-877-764-2539) and choose one of five special messages for their little ones from Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck or Goofy. The hotline is running for a limited time and ends 3 a.m. Friday. There’s a limit of one message per call. If calling on a mobile phone, standard mobile charges may apply. For other entertaining ideas, including free downloadable sleep activities, check out shopDisney.com/BedtimeHotline.

3. Take music lessons: Headphone maker Ausounds has launched a free five-week course of virtual music lessons it is calling Lil’ Maestros that the whole family can take. The digital lessons teach guitar, piano, percussion, music theory, improvisation and more. And you don’t even have to own an instrument since instructors show you how to use a tablet app to learn how to play. There have also been guest appearances from industry experts, such as Brian Kennedy, five-time Grammy winning producer and songwriter. New episodes go online weekdays at 3 p.m. at ausounds.com/pages/lil-maestros. And you can catch up with the previous lessons, which have all been added to the Ausounds YouTube page.

Thrill St. Pete's 2018 version of its zombie dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" could help inspire kids to participate in the project, in which professional filmmakers guide students around the world in "The World's Largest Zombie Movie."
Thrill St. Pete's 2018 version of its zombie dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" could help inspire kids to participate in the project, in which professional filmmakers guide students around the world in "The World's Largest Zombie Movie." [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Tampa Bay Times ]

4. World’s Largest Zombie Movie: Kids in grades K through 12 can take part in filming the world’s largest zombie movie. Professional filmmakers guide students in this worldwide project that originated in Florida. Sign up at worldslargestzombiemovie.com to get a portion of the script. They sent out the first wave of assignments on April 24, but on May 1, they will announce a new wave of registrations for additional filmmakers to join in. Each group gets another part of the script and a week to film their part. They will continue this process, getting footage from new waves of filmmakers from all over the world, for different chapters of our zombie saga. May 1 will be the world premiere of Chapter 1 on the site. Future chapters will premiere at later dates.

The Young Art craft store chain is closed but they are holding a cardmaking class for Mother's Day on eventbrite. Kids will learn in 30 minutes how to make an origami butterfly card.
The Young Art craft store chain is closed but they are holding a cardmaking class for Mother's Day on eventbrite. Kids will learn in 30 minutes how to make an origami butterfly card. [ Young Art USA ]

5. Mother’s Day Cardmaking Class: With its craft stores closed, California-based shop Young Art is holding a class on eventbrite.com on Thursday to teach kids ages 4 and older how to make origami butterfly cards for Mother’s Day. It only takes some square paper and colored pencils. Register for YoungArt USA’s 30 Minute Mother’s Day Cardmaking at eventbrite.com to receive an event link; find more information at youngartusa.co. The class is $5.99, and it starts at 4 p.m. Thursday.

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