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The kids are about to be home (again). Here’s how to fill the time

Maddyn Wise from Needham searched for clown fish at one of the New England Aquarium's exhibits.
Maddyn Wise from Needham searched for clown fish at one of the New England Aquarium's exhibits.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

April school vacation is about to hit. That means children will once again add a dose of joy and chaos to homes around Massachusetts. And parents will (again!) be tasked with entertaining families through a pandemic-era break.

How are you going to survive yet another turn as cruise director to bored kids while staying COVID safe? We have you covered.

Opt for family-oriented activities

Dozens of spots have set up programs to accommodate families with empty to-do lists. There’s the Arctic Adventure challenge at the Museum of Science, live kids’ music performances at Weir River Farm, and PG movie screenings at the Mendon Drive-In. If you still feel uncomfortable leaving home, try out virtual circus classes from the Wheelock Family Theatre or remote animal encounters at the New England Aquarium. Explore the full list of 15 outdoor, educational, and arts activities from the Boston Globe Magazine here.

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Not enough? The Globe Arts team compiled 10 additional to-dos. Those include a virtual, month-long Patriots Day celebration at the Lexington Historical Society or a dinosaur adventure at the Stone Zoo’s T-Rex installation.

Several museums, like the Eric Carle Museum or the Discovery Museum, have also reopened with limited capacity. The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is up and running, as is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and its annual hanging nasturtium exhibit. One of the only institutions you’ll have to skip is the Boston Children’s Museum, which is closed to guests for now.

The outdoor patio for Mr. Roni Cups, a takeout stand inside the restaurant Bianca on The Street in Chestnut Hill.
The outdoor patio for Mr. Roni Cups, a takeout stand inside the restaurant Bianca on The Street in Chestnut Hill. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Eat al-fresco

When there’s nothing else to do, eat! At least 10 Boston-area restaurants serve up kid-friendly entrees on outdoor patios and the weather is now (mostly) nice enough to enjoy them. Maybe your family is feeling homemade mac-and-cheese and brownies at Alcove? Poutine and pizza at Bow Market? Or hot dogs and quesadillas at Joe’s?

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Plop yourselves in front of the TV

Popcorn, anyone? Nothing is easier than reclining on the couch — remote in one hand, snacks in the other.

The Globe’s TV critic put together a list of shows families can bond over. That covers everything from a documentary about “Sesame Street,” and a Netflix show on animal influencers, to an eight-part adaptation of a comic about “a Superman of sorts.” If movies are more your style, check of the Globe staff’s favorite kid’s flicks. Think “Adventures in Babysitting,” “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” and “Escape to Witch Mountain.”

Brandy in "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella"
Brandy in "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella"Randee St. Nicholas/Disney

Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_.