With covid-19 stay-at-home orders in place around the U.S. and around the world, many parents are now home with kids 24/7, and it can be challenging just to manage that, and then feeling like we’re supposed to be educating them too is a little overwhelming! And teachers are also overwhelmed, as they try to figure out how to continue to provide resources for their students via online learning.
I’m here to help you with the science side of that! This website has a HUGE collection of ideas for you to try with your kids at home. These have all been thoroughly play-tested by about 150 kids age 3 – 9. (3 year olds will need support from parents on many projects, 9 year olds could do most independently.) Almost all of the activities can be done with everyday materials you have at home. And you don’t have to be a science expert yourself to teach your kids!! (My degrees are in sociology and social work.)
I have over 40 themed units (click on “home” to see them all). Activities include art projects, crafts, recommended songs, games, books, science experiments, sensory play, building projects, snacks, free printable worksheets and more.
Here are a few themes to start with. Since these blog posts have been written in the past few weeks, I know all the activities work in our current home-quarantine circumstances:
- The Science of Sound – lots of great ideas! (But don’t do this one if you’re already overwhelmed by noisy kids!)
- Building Towers – Engineering for Kids – Kids of all ages can do a lot of these activities independently, and stay entertained for a long time, building, knocking down, and re-building
- Connecting to the Outdoors During Coronavirus – ideas for connecting to nature just by looking out the window, or by bringing nature inside, or going into your own backyard or on a walk around the neighborhood.
- Weather Science for Stay at Home – Noticing the weather outside is a way to mark the passing of time. Make a weather chart, a cloud identification tool, or DIY Weather Tools.
- Chemistry for Stay-at-Home Days – easy hands-on ideas using small amounts of household ingredients. Includes Crystallization Experiments with salt and sugar.
- Habitats – Staying at Home – Featured challenges were Habitat Dioramas and Making Critters from Found Materials.
- Animal Adaptations – Make Animal Costumes from cardboard, paper, and household stuff, or challenge yourself to a Bird Beak Challenge at your next meal.
- Eggs – Learn about all the different creatures that hatch from eggs, make cute crafts, and try the Egg Drop Challenge.
- Bugs – Learn about the anatomy of insects, arachnids, and more, and make bugs at the Bug Factory.
- Sink or Float – A great play-based learning experiment for kids. Once they’ve learned some of the principles of what floats and what sinks, challenge them to build a boat that floats.
Note for teachers: I’ve been offering weekly online science classes on the Zoom teleconferencing app. For my 5 – 9 year olds, it’s a 45 – 60 minute long call. For my 3 – 6 year olds, it’s a 30-45 minute call. The way we structure those is start with a check-in circle where we have the kids share what they’ve done in the past week related to the previous theme, then we sing a song, read a book (I have kindle books that I read in the browser and “share screen” so the kids can see it), then demo some ideas for hands-on activities they can do at home. (See sample demos at youtube.com/user/janellevideo)