These kind acts are the light we need in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic

We're seeing how social distancing can actually bring us closer to one another in some truly unexpected ways.

coronavirus viral love story

We're in a deeply unsettling, downright terrifying time right now—there's no denying that. The Coronavirus is swiftly spreading, and there's little we can do to stop it. Schools are shutting down, cases are rising, business are struggling—this is, unequivocally, a dark time. And if it has you feeling down, you're absolutely not alone.

But through the devastation, the fear, the unknown, there have been slivers of pure light. We're seeing people come together thanks to this nasty virus. We're seeing young people help elders. We're seeing how family members show up for one another in times of need. We're seeing how social distancing can actually bring us closer to one another in some truly unexpected ways. And you know what? Those are the sort of things we need to hold on to right now.

Here are some of the sweetest moments we've seen go—we hate to say it—viral in the past few days. They represent the good that can come from such a scary situation, and we're so inspired by the way people have come together in the midst of all this.

Viral video shows Chinese singer holding a concert to entertain others quarantined during coronavirus

As we're quickly learning, social distancing can be extremely difficult. It's natural that we will succumb to feelings of loneliness, isolation, boredom and fear if we take the necessary precautions to flatten the Coronavirus's curve. But the neighbors of 27-year-old professional singer Wang Congjin were in for a treat: Wang put on an impromptu concert from his balcony.

The video, which was filmed last month, shows the young musician singing into a microphone. As he performed, neighbors began waving their phones in a show of solidarity—it's such a beautiful visual of how people can find new ways to connect in a time of social distancing.

Unfortunately, the concert was called off, according to MSN: Authorities were concerned about infections being transmitted between residents. Still, the gesture itself is so wonderfully inclusive and thoughtful.

Italian neighbors make music together from balconies, windows and rooftops

How do you find joy when your entire country is on lockdown thanks to a terrifying, poorly understood virus? You band together (literally!) with the people who live near you...and without making close contact with those people, you manage to bond in a way that is artistic, uplifting and incredibly unifying.

Quarantined residents came together from their homes to make music: According to the New York Times, it started with the country's National Anthem. Residents joined in the music-making in different ways: Some played instruments, others banged pots and pans. Poignantly, the music ended with a nationwide round of applause for the healthcare workers who are putting it all on the line to save the country's ill.

All of Italy is under house arrest, and the country has seen incredibly grim statistics where the Coronavirus's spread is concerned: The country saw 368 coronavirus deaths in just one day. The situation is tragic and horrifying but wow—what an unbelievable way for the country to come together in solidarity. We have goosebumps just thinking about it.

A husband's romantic gesture to his isolated wife goes viral 

Talk about the real-life version of The Notebook: Bob Shellard and his wife, Nancy recently celebrated their 67th anniversary....unfortunately, they were forced to practice social distancing from one another on the big day.

Since Nancy is in a nursing home, Bob was unable to visit his bride due to coronavirus restrictions. But, he was still able to celebrate with her in a seriously romantic way. Bob stood outside his wife's window and held up a sign that read "I've loved you for 67 years and still do. Happy anniversary." 😭

We. Are. Melting.

Nancy stayed inside, but waved and blew her husband kisses through the window. We sincerely hope this beautiful couple can be reunited soon.

Spanish trainer leads a group fitness class from his roof

Thanks to the coronavirus, Spain is on complete lockdown, which means people cannot go anywhere in the country. We're starting to get a taste of what that sort of restriction feels like in the United States, and we know that after a few days on lockdown, anyone would start to feel stir crazy.

But a Spanish trainer did something that undoubtedly helped brighten the day for the people who live near him. He stepped onto his building's roof and led a full fitness class from that spot. Amazingly, residents began stepping out onto their balconies to join in the guided workout.

The scene was amazing: Residents from all parts of the building came together to execute the same workout as the leader called encouragement and instructions out to them.

We all know how restless you can get when you're cooped up in the house, and this workout likely made a world of difference to these residents. Getting up and getting your blood flowing can be a game-changer when you're quarantined at home, but so many of us don't quite know where to begin when it comes to exercise, and many of us are missing the energy of a group fitness class.

This trainer gave these people an invaluable gift: The motivation to do something active, the encouragement to take a healthy step, the camaraderie of doing something in a group, and the reassurance that there are others out there who are doing their part during this crazy time.

Children's author Mo Willems launches daily virtual doodle parties

There are child-friendly coronavirus schedules floating around the internet, but let's be honest: Keeping a child entertained is much easier said than done. If you're searching for a way to keep your little ones engaged while social distancing, here's the answer.

Mo Willems, children's book author, will be holding a daily lunch doodle session. The recurring event, which will take place virtually, of course, will encourage kids to draw, explore and write. Points for being both educational and entertaining!

Mo, who is the education artist-in-residence at the Kennedy Center, will go live at 1 pm EST weekdays to doodle alongside the families that join his virtual party. "I'm really looking forward to it," Moe says in a video announcement. "Because there's nothing more fun than doodling with a friend."

If this sounds like something your crew would love, join in on the fun right here!

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds donate $1 million to relief efforts

It's no secret that the Coronavirus's implication extend beyond the threat it poses to our health. The virus has also thrown many families and businesses into financial crisis—and groups and people alike need our help right now. Enter Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, who recently donated $1 million to be split between Feeding America and Food Banks Canada.

"Covid-19 has brutally impacted older adults and low income families. Ryan & I are donating $1 million to be split between @feedingamerica and @foodbankscanada," Blake wrote in a post shared to her Instagram feed. "If you can give, these orgs need our help...Remember the love that can travel through all this," she wrote. "Communities are stepping up—shopping for the elderly, making lunches for children. We can all do something for one another, even if that's simply staying home."

Of course, most of can't give anywhere near this amount...and that's okay. But if you feel compelled to do something to help the people who are hit so hard by this virus, and if you have some extra to give, consider following in this couple's incredibly generous example and pay it forward.

How to 'ride' Disneyland + Disney World attractions from home during coronavirus 

Last week Disney announced it was closing its parks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Disney fans were understandably disappointed, but now many are living vicariously through old videos of the ride experiences offered at the parks.

As first reported by Rich Juzwiak at Jezebel, "There exists something of a cottage industry of YouTube videos showing the full experience of rides at Disney (and other parks)—often from line to drop-off." A theme park fan, Juzwiak admits videos aren't a good substitute for roller coasters but the medium can capture some of the magic of the "of dark rides—the slow-moving attractions that guide riders through truncated narratives of Disney movies".

So if you're stuck at home with the kids you can still visit Disneyland virtually, thanks to point of view videos of rides like Space Mountain, Frozen Ever After, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and of course It's A Small World.

For more videos check out the original post on Jezebel or this great list at Romper.

Why rainbows on windows are going viral in the age of coronavirus 

If you go for a walk today (and you should, we can still go outside, just not in groups) you might notice rainbows and other colorful displays on windows in your neighborhood.

This is how parents are showing love and solidarity with first responders and essential workers during this difficult time.

Mom and writer Robyn Landa posted the about photo to Instagram, explaining that her school district asked all parents to post rainbows in their windows "to brighten up our spirits and help brighten up the sporks of our community members who are taking care of us....doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics, police officers, firefighters, trash collectors and delivery drivers," she writes.

Other parents are using similar window dressings to create social distancing compliant scavenger hunts for kids out on walks with their parents.

The displays are proof that we can stay connected to our communities in creative ways during these hard times.

Ellen DeGeneres is calling celebs while social distancing 😂

Ellen DeGeneres isn't working but that isn't stopping her from making viral content from home.

The talk show host has posted multiple videos of herself calling other celebs who are self-isolating and they are helping people smile during this tough time.

In one video Ellen calls Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel.

"Whatcha doing?" she asks Timberlake. He and Biel say, "nothing."

"Me too," says Ellen. "All right, well, I'll talk to you later."

So she calls John Legend and Chrissy Teigen.

"It's Ellen," she said. "What's going on?"

The two tell her "not much" and explain they're just hanging with Miles and Luna.

Ellen says: "I wish I had kids right now…I'm so bored."

She's making light of a serious situation but it's nice to laugh during this difficult time. Our kids will keep us busy during the isolation period (but there will probably be times when we are just as bored as Ellen).

Kristen Bell + daughters dance while separated from quarantined Dax Shepard 

Kristen Bell's husband, Dax Shepard recently traveled, so he's staying at a friend's empty place and keeping his distance from Bell and the couple's daughters, 6-year-old Lincoln and 5-year-old Delta.

Bell and the girls are keeping their distance but obviously keeping Shepard in their hearts during his self-quarantine.

"We were missing him so much, we did the only logical thing we knew how to do. Danced outside his window," Bell wrote on Instagram.

Totally logical (and wonderful) during these unprecedented times.


When you ask any two mamas to share their experience with breastfeeding, you are bound to get very unique answers. That's because while the act of breastfeeding is both wonderful and natural, it also comes with a learning curve for both mothers and babies.

In some cases, breastfeeding won't be the right path for everyone. But with the right tools, resources and social support systems, we can make progress toward the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to continue breastfeeding through the first year of a child's life. After all, breastfeeding helps nourish infants, protects them against illnesses, develops their immune systems and more. Not to mention that mothers who breastfeed experience reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

With National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this month, it's a great time for mamas (and expectant mamas!) to gather the supplies that will support their feeding journey—whether it looks like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping or combo-feeding.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Designed for regular use, this double electric breast pump allows mamas to customize the cycle and vacuum settings that work for them. The 100% SoftShape™ silicone shields on this pump form-fit to a wide range of breast shapes and sizes—which means more comfortable, more efficient pumping. And every pump comes with two complete Dr. Brown's Options+ bottles, giving you everything you need to go from pumping to feeding.


Dr. Brown’s™ Breast Milk Collection Bottles

There's no need to cry over spilled milk—because it won't happen with these storage bottles! Make the pump-to-feeding transition simpler with Dr. Brown's Milk Collection Bottles. The bottles adapt to Dr. Brown's electric pumps to easily fill, seal and transport, and they work with Dr. Brown's bottle and nipple parts when your baby's ready to eat. (Meaning no risky pouring from one bottle to another. 🙌)


Breast Milk Storage Bags

With an extra-durable design and double zip seal, your breast milk will stay fresh and safe in the fridge or freezer until it's needed. Plus, the bags are easy to freeze flat and then store for up to six months, so your baby can continue drinking breast milk long after you are done nursing.


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump with Options+™ Bottle & Bag

Here's something they don't tell you about breastfeeding ahead of time: While feeding your baby on one side, the other breast may "let down" milk, too. With this one-piece Silicone Breast Pump, you don't have to let those precious drops go to waste. The flexible design makes pouring the milk into a bottle stress-free.


Dr. Brown’s® Manual Breast Pump

No outlet in sight? No worries! With this powerful-yet-gentle Manual Breast Pump, you can get relief from engorgement, sneak in some quick midnight pumping or perform a full pumping session without any electricity needed. With Dr. Brown's 100% silicone SoftShape™ Shield, the hand-operated pump is as comfortable as it is easy to use. Complete with Dr. Brown's® Options+™ Anti-Colic Wide-Neck Bottle, a storage travel cap and cleaning brush, consider this the breastfeeding essential for any mama who has places to go.


Options+™ Anti-Colic Baby Bottle

With the soft silicone nipple and natural flow design of these bottles, your baby can easily switch between breast and bottle. Clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to the vent, your baby can enjoy a happy tummy after feeding sessions—without as much spit-up, burping or gas! By mimicking the flow and feel of the breast, these bottles help support your breastfeeding experience.


This post is sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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7 hacks for simplifying after-school snacks

Prepping delicious and nutritious foods shouldn't take all day.

When you're in the middle of the school year and managing a family, each minute of time becomes very precious. Sometimes that means healthy food choices in the household can take a backseat. But don't stress it, mama. Prepping delicious and nutritious choices for the kids to munch on doesn't need to take all day.

Remember to keep it fun, simple and interactive! Here are tips for simplifying after-school snacks once and for all:

1. Prep snacks on Sunday

This simple trick can make the rest of the week a breeze. Tupperware is your friend here, you can even write different days of the week on each container to give the kids a little surprise every day. I really like storage with compartments for snack prep. Personally, I slice apples, carrots or cucumbers to pair with almond butter and hummus—all great to grab and go for when you're out all day and need some fresh variety.

2. When in doubt, go for fruit

Fruit is always a quick and easy option. I suggest blueberries, clementine oranges, apples, frozen grapes or even unsweetened apple sauce and dried fruit, like mixed fruit. It's fun to put together a fruit salad, too. Simply cut up all the fruit options and let the kids decide how they'd like to compile. Prepped fruit is also great to have on hand for smoothies, especially when it's been sitting in the fridge for a few days—throw it in the blender with some nut milk and voila.

3. Pair snacks with a dip

Hummus is a great dip to keep on hand with lots of versatility or you can grab a yogurt-based dip. Easy and healthy dippers include pre-sliced veggies, baby carrots and multigrain tortilla chips. Plain hummus is a great way to introduce seasonings and spices too—shake a little turmeric, add fresh basil and you'd be surprised what your kids will take to.

4. Have high-protein options readily available

Snacks with high protein, like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs and jerky will fuel kids for hours. One of my favorites is a turkey stick, which is a fun addition to the hummus platter. Just slice into bite-sized pieces. I love cottage cheese because it can go savory or sweet, use as a dip with your prepped veggies, or drizzle pure maple syrup and sprinkle with berries.

5. Always keep the pantry stocked

Monthly deliveries keeps the pantry updated without a trip to grocery store. Many kids are big fans of popcorn, granola and pretzels. We like to DIY our own snack packs with a little popcorn, pretzels, nuts and whatever else is in the pantry so there's always something different!

6. Make cracker tartines

I love the idea of replicating popular restaurant dishes for kids. Here are some of my favorite snack-sized tartines using any crisp bread, or favorite flat cracker of your choice as the base. There are no rules and kids love adding toppings and finding new combinations they love.

  • Avocado crackers: Use a cracker and then layer with thinly sliced avocado, a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese topped with roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
  • Tacos: The base for this is a black bean spread—just drain a can of black beans, rinse and place into a wide bowl. With a fork or potato masher, lightly smush the beans until chunky. Spread onto your cracker and top with tomato, cheddar cheese and black olives. Try out a dollop of super mild salsa or some lime zest to introduce some new flavor profiles.
  • A play on PB&J: Smear peanut butter, almond or a favorite sun butter on the cracker. I like to get a mix it up a bit and put fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries and tiny diced apples) and a little bit of dried fruit sprinkled on top.

7. Pre-make smoothie pops

The easy part about meal prep is the prep itself, but knowing exactly how much to make ahead is tricky. Freeze a smoothie in popsicle molds to have a healthy treat ready-to-go snack. They're super simple to make: Add any fruit (I like apples, berries, pineapples and mangoes) and veggies (carrots, steamed beet and wilted kale) to a blender with your favorite nut milk until you have consistency just a bit thinner than a smoothie. Pour into your trusty reusable popsicle molds and then into the freezer to make an ice pop so good they could eat them for breakfast.

Family Foodies

15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Stomp Racers

As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.


Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)


Secret Agent play set


This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Stepping Stones


Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.


Sand play set

B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.


Sensory play set


Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Foam pogo stick


Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.




Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.


Hopper ball

Hopper ball

Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.


Pull-along ducks


There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Rocking chair seesaw


This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


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Even 5 hours of screen time per day is OK for school-aged kids, says new study

Researchers found screen time contributes to stronger peer relationships and had no effect on depression and anxiety. So maybe it isn't as bad as we thought?

MoMo Productions/Getty Images

If you've internalized some parental guilt about your own child's screen time usage, you're not alone. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to significant amounts of screen time in children leads to an increased risk of depression and behavioral issues, poor sleep and obesity, among other outcomes. Knowing all this can mean you're swallowing a big gulp of guilt every time you unlock the iPad or turn on the TV for your kiddo.

But is screen time really that bad? New research says maybe not. A study published in September 2021 of 12,000 9- and 10-year-olds found that even when school-aged kids spend up to 5 hours per day on screens (watching TV, texting or playing video games), it doesn't appear to be that harmful to their mental health.

Researchers found no association between screen usage and depression or anxiety in children at this age.

In fact, kids who had more access to screen time tended to have more friends and stronger peer relationships, most likely thanks to the social nature of video gaming, social media and texting.

The correlations between screen time and children's health

But those big social benefits come with a caveat. The researchers also noted that kids who used screens more frequently were in fact more likely to have attention problems, impacted sleep, poorer academic performance and were more likely to show aggressive behavior.

Without a randomized controlled trial, it's hard to nail down these effects as being caused directly by screens. The study's authors analyzed data from a nationwide study known as the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study), the largest long-term study of brain development and children's health in the country. They relied on self-reported levels of screen time from both children and adults (it's funny to note that those reported numbers differed slightly depending on who was asked… ).

It's important to remember that these outcomes are just correlations—not causations. "We can't say screen time causes the symptoms; instead, maybe more aggressive children are given screen devices as an attempt to distract them and calm their behavior," says Katie Paulich, lead author of the study and a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Also worth noting is that a child's socioeconomic status has a 2.5-times-bigger impact on behavior than screens.

Weighing the benefits with the risks will be up to you as the parent, who knows your child best. And because we live in a digital world, screens are here to stay, meaning parents often have little choice in the matter. It's impossible to say whether recreational screen time is fully "good" or "bad" for kids. It's maybe both.

"When looking at the strength of the correlations, we see only very modest associations," says Paulich. "That is, any association between screen time and the various outcomes, whether good or bad, is so small it's unlikely to be important at a clinical level." It's all just part of the overall picture.

A novel look at screen time in adolescents

The researchers cite a lack of studies examining the relationship between screen time and health outcomes in this specific early-adolescence age group, which is one of the reasons why this study is so groundbreaking. The findings don't apply to younger children—or older adolescents, who may be starting to go through puberty.

Screen time guidelines do exist for toddlers up to older kids, but up to 1.5 hours per day seems unattainable for many young adolescents, who often have their own smartphones and laptops, or at least regular access to one.

Of course, more research is needed, but that's where this study can be helpful. The ABCD study will follow the 12,000 participants for another 10 years, following up with annual check-ins. It'll be interesting to see how the findings change over time: Will depression and anxiety as a result of screen time be more prevalent as kids age? We'll have to wait and see.

The bottom line? Parents should still be the gatekeepers of their child's screen time in terms of access and age-appropriateness, but, "our early research suggests lengthy time on screen is not likely to yield dire consequences," says Paulich.

Children's health

Mom and gorilla bond over their babies at the zoo: ‘It was so beautiful’

The new mothers shared a special moment at a Boston zoo.

Franklin Park Zoo/YouTube

Motherhood knows no bounds.

When Kiki the gorilla spotted a new mom and baby visiting her habitat at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, she immediately took a liking to the pair. Emmelina Austin held her five-week-old son Canyon to the glass so Kiki could get a better look.

The gorilla spent nearly five minutes happily pointing and staring at baby Canyon.

Emmelina's husband captured the sweet moment on his phone, in a video that's now gone viral.

Mother shares unique maternal bond with gorilla (FULL VIDEO)

Why was Kiki so interested in her tiny visitor? Possibly because Kiki's a new mom herself. Her fifth baby, Pablo, was born in October.

Near the end of the video, Kiki scooped up Pablo and held him close. The new moms held their baby boys to the glass and shared a special moment together: just a couple of mothers, showing off their little ones.

"When I walked into the zoo that day, I never could've imagined that we would have had that experience," Austin told ABC News. "It was so beautiful, and we walked out just over the moon."

We can't get enough of the sweet exchange. There's something special about sharing your little one with the world. Mothers of all ages, races–and it turns out, species–understand.

Our favorite viral mama + kid videos