The Bedtime Math app helps kids keep their math skills sharp...

The Bedtime Math app helps kids keep their math skills sharp during this time away from school. Credit: Newsday/Bedtime Math Foundation

Working from home can mean a big adjustment, especially if there are big distractions from small children. These apps can keep the kids occupied, entertained and educated as you try to get some work done.

Bedtime Math

(iOS, Android; free)

Many parents with young children are adjusting their work-from-home schedules to do some job-related tasks after the kids are put to bed. This app serves several purposes: It’s a way of spending quality time with kids before bedtime, it helps keep their math skills sharp and, perhaps best of all, it can take kids’ minds off the pandemic and let them get some sound sleep. And, of course, it might help you be more productive.

Marvel Unlimited

(iOS, Android; subscription/free)

More than ever, the world needs superheroes, and Marvel is making them available for free. This app, a portal to the vast collection of Marvel Comics, is usually subscription only. But in response to the coronavirus pandemic, you can download a selection of comics at no charge until May 4. The freebies include a sampling of the Marvel Universe with comics featuring Spider-Man, Captain America, Black Widow, The Avengers and many others.   


(iOS, Android; subscription/free)

If you haven’t checked out this popular learning app for kids ages 2-8, now’s a good time. ABCmouse covers reading, math, social studies and other subjects by providing more than 10,000 fun activities. It’s set up as a game, so it should keep kids busy for hours. ABCmouse is a subscription service ($10 a month), but the first month is free.


(iOS, Android; free)

GoNoodle offers hundreds of videos for kids ages 4-10 in various genres, including educational, exercise and just plain fun. There are no ads, so you don’t have to worry about your kids seeing or clicking on inappropriate content. Because new videos are added each week, GoNoodle always remains fresh and fun. The paid GoNoodle Plus ($10 a month) offers even more content.

Online shippers unprepared for demand

How much food, beverages and cleaning products did consumers buy as coronavirus spread? Nielsen says for the two weeks ended March 21, sales of consumer packaged goods from brick-and-mortar stores rose $8.5 billion compared with the previous two weeks — 15 times the typical two-week change. But online sales fell as items consumers wanted were out of stock. Nielsen says online shippers were “unprepared for the massive surge in demand.”


Email do’s (and don’t’s!)

If you’re working from home, you’re probably using email to replace face-to-face office communications. But are you up to date on email etiquette? A survey by business services consultant Perkbox found beginning a work email with “Hi” or “Good morning / afternoon” and ending it with “Kind regards” or “Thanks” is best. Avoid CC’ing unnecessary people and keep exclamation points to a minimum, especially the hated three exclamation points sentence-ender.


Zoom addressing security shortfalls

As Americans shift personal interactions to video calls in an age of social distancing, many are using video-conferencing app Zoom. But security researchers found that Zoom’s software leaves people’s computers exposed, allowing strangers to steal login information, access messages and gain control of users’ cameras and microphones. Zoom said the booming popularity presented it “with challenges we did not anticipate” and it is addressing the security shortfalls.


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