It’s been almost a month since many of us began to shelter in place and odds are your “To-Do” list is running a little low. You’ve already binge-watched everything in your Netflix queue, eaten all your quarantine snacks, and you just can’t bring yourself to play another game of solitaire. Things are likely even harder for your children. Kids tend to get restless when cooped up all day, and many of them are probably missing the curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking they got to experience while at school.
In fact, many parents have found themselves overwhelmed by the new reality of homeschooling their children during a pandemic. If you happen to be one such parent, know that the Van Andel Institute for Education is here to help. Our educators have compiled a list of exciting experiments, activities, and resources you can use to Keep Curiosity Alive! Not only will these lessons reignite your kids love of learning, they can even help you find a new rhythm in these difficult times. Here are 5 Home Activities for Remote Learning!
Microwave Lightning (K-12)
Nothing quite gets students excited like watching things explode or change form. So why not teach them how to make lightning with a grape? In this lesson, you’ll use a few household items to microwave a grape and show off an amazing scientific reaction. When you microwave a grape, some of the juices evaporate to create plasma in the air. The plasma is ignited, and creates a flame, similar to a bolt of lightning! Don’t forget to follow up the experiment with a few discussion questions.
Prevent the Spread (3-8)
Do your kids want to make a difference while under quarantine? Consider downloading this free virtual lesson and put their creativity to good use. Prevent the Spread is a Blue Apple project which teaches children about germs and how they are spread. Once they’re through exploring helpful tips like proper hand-washing techniques and effective sanitizers, watch them create personalized PSAs to help protect their communities from viruses like COVID-19!
5 Books for Young Readers (K-12)
It never hurts to take a break from the screen and have kids crack open a good book! Take a journey through Middle Earth with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit or step out onto the surface of Mars with Andy Weir’s The Martian. This list of books spans multiple grade levels and each one has something exciting to offer. Like other projects, this one also comes with a set of discussion questions to help readers navigate their thoughts and emotions. So, if your kids’ brains are starting to feel a little frazzled, set things right with a relaxing hour of reading!
Elephant Toothpaste (K-12)
This chemical reaction always manages to get students thinking. Elephant Toothpaste is a popular experiment involving things often found around the house. When combined in the right order, they create a large, foaming reaction that looks like toothpaste being squeezed out of a bottle! This “toothpaste” might be just the right size for elephants, but what else will your kids notice about the solution?
Educational Shows (K-12)
When all else fails, there’s always television. Most streaming services have a bounty of educational content you can use to get your kids thinking while also ensuring they’re entertained. Check out The Magic School Bus or Carmen Sandiego on Netflix. If you’re more of a Disney+ viewer, why not explore one of their many nature documentaries such as Wings of Life? Use these shows to give yourself some breathing room, then ask your kids about something new they learned while watching these programs.