Portland’s treasure trove of family-friendly artists, musicians, and storytellers are proving that screen time during the pandemic can be a much-needed infusion of socializing for kids at home. Just about every day of the week, you and your kids can tune in to live concerts on Facebook and Instagram, check out a live storytime, or enjoy a performance from the Oregon Symphony– mostly free or donation-based. Read on for ways to connect with and support our city’s beloved arts community!

Photo: via Red Yarn Productions

Red Yarn 

This beloved Portland musician is livestreaming his Homespun show three days a week on Facebook, with all the foot-stomping music and funny “critters” (puppets) little ones love. Kids are invited to suggest dance moves, share ideas for staying active at home, and draw pictures of their favorite Red Yarn critters to share with other friends online.

Where: Facebook
When: Mon. & Wed. 10 a.m.; Thurs. 4 p.m
Donate: Venmo @redyarn; Cash App $redyarn; PayPal PayPal.Me/redyarnpdx

Mr. Ben

Gentle guitar and ukulele and all your preschooler’s favorite songs. Mr. Ben is one of the pioneers of Portland’s kindie music scene. Pop in for his live Facebook singalongs, or sign up for one-on-one Facetime ukulele lessons on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Where: Facebook
When: Mon. 5 p.m.; Tues. & Thurs. 10 a.m.
Donate: Venmo @mrbenmusic; Cash app $mrbenmusic

Papa Steve Cooper

Join Papa Steve for interactive silly music on five different instruments, teaching social skills while entertaining kids and families.

Where: facebook.com
When: Music on Mon. 11 a.m.; Storytime Tues. & Thurs. 7:30 p.m.

Pointed Man Band

With imaginative lyrics and a wide range of musical styles, this kindie music fave makes “music for both the grown and still growing.” Join in weekly for live solo sets from lead singer Dan Elliot’s piano nook.

Where: Facebook
When: Mon. 4 p.m.
Donate: PayPal pointedmanband@gmail.com

Photo: via Mo Phillips

Mo Phillips

Sunny guitar music from a cool dad, singing love songs to his couch, among many other joy-filled numbers. You and the kids can catch him live from his living room twice a week! Impossible not to dance and laugh along.

Where: Facebook
When: Tues. & Thurs. 10:30 a.m.
Donate: Venmo @mo-phillips-1

Micah and Me

Twice a week, you and your crew can join three dads Justin, Ryan, and Aaron for livestream dance parties on Zoom. Head to their Facebook page for meeting details. Miss it? Catch up later on YouTube.

Where: Zoom
When: Tues. & Fri. 10:30

The Oregon Symphony

Take a Minute for Music with the Oregon Symphony, and get to know musicians through short performances and talks.

Where: orsymphony.org
When: 2-3 times per week; times vary
Donate: orsymphony.org

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Rose City Book Pub

Geared toward 2nd & 3rd graders, this storytime features a Glencoe Elementary School teacher reading aloud from different books, followed by a “mathtivity” to do at home. Hop on Facebook Live to listen to the latest tale.

Where: Facebook
When: Weekdays 2 p.m.
Donate: rosecitybookpub.com

Library Storytime

Missing library storytime? See your favorite librarians read aloud from favorite books, and sing familiar songs.

Where: youtube.com
When: Updated daily

Other Live Events and Resources to Explore

Do check out local kindie musician Kelli Welli’s Pandora playlists, complete with coloring pages to print out and color while you listen! Beyond Portland’s borders, there’s a whole lot more to explore. Want to hear Michelle Obama read aloud from her favorite kids’ books? Search hashtag #readtogetherbetogether for live storytelling on instagram. And don’t forget to support Mississippi Pizza, kindie musician concert venue, so they can open for more dance parties once this is all over.

-Melissa Poulin

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