In times of crisis, kids need honest conversations and perspective on the turmoil around them. Yet there are also moments when they (and all of us) need fun diversions. With no shortage of upheaval these days, we bring you help with both of those needs.

Explore wonders of diversity

Some families confront racial tensions and injustices daily, while others struggle with how to discuss and act on them. One way into this topic that has the potential to educate and captivate kids (and adults, too): Google Arts & Culture’s exploration of the history, arts and culture of Black people in the United States, found at bit.ly/black-history-culture. You can watch defining civil-rights moments, take guided tours of artworks, and explore a vast array of multimedia stories about people and places in all their awesome diversity. Don’t miss the We Love You Project at bit.ly/we-love-you-project, a photo series on Black males of all ages.

In addition, find a list of helpful books for kids and teens at st.news/books-on-race, and check out Scholastic’s curated lists of diverse books at bit.ly/scholastic-lists.

Celebrate the sun

The summer solstice isn’t far away (it’s June 20 this year). A short National Geographic video explains what this is and why it happens: bit.ly/solstice-summer. Celebrate by making a chalk sundial; ScienceFun.org has simple directions at sciencefun.org/kidszone/experiments/sun-dial. Older kids who want to be very precise about this can find more detailed directions from Solar Schoolhouse at bit.ly/sundial-longer.

Paint by Zoom with friends

Gather your paints and a sheet of thick paper (or a canvas, if you’d like to get fancy). Then find an image you all like, share your screen and chat as you paint. Two or more people painting the same image will end up with delightfully different results, a Tacoma troop of giggling Girl Scouts learned recently.

What do you give an elephant with a toothache?

A lot of room. But you could also mix up a batch of pretend elephant toothpaste with a surprisingly funny experiment from Pacific Science Center. Find it at bit.ly/elephant-teeth.

Build 3D art

Make a brightly colored geosphere or a lively whirligig. Those are among the 3D art creations you can put together with basic materials and video instructions from Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia: hocm.org/handson2uathome.