If you’d like to go beyond your children’s remote learning and screen time, try these fun, educational activities for kids who may be bored at home due to pandemic restrictions. Many of the activities use items already in your pantry or around the house.
Educational Science Activities for Younger Kids
- Water Cycle Bag. Have your child draw a picture of the sun and a cloud or two on a Ziploc sandwich bag with a magic marker. Fill the bag with ¼ cup of water. Add a couple of drops of blue food coloring if you have it. Tape the bag in a sunny window. Over the next few days the water will evaporate. When the air inside is saturated with water, it will condense and fill the bottom of the bag again, and the cycle will repeat. This is exactly what happens every day on our planet.
- Crawling Colors. Line up as many small jars or glasses as you have colors of food coloring. Fill each jar with water. Mix a few drops of food coloring in each jar, so each jar is a different color. (Example: one jar of red water, one of blue, etc.) Line them up from lightest to darkest. Roll a piece of paper towel into a tube (like a snake) and put each end in jars one and two. Repeat for jars two and three, etc. Watch as the water “crawls” up the paper towels and mixes into new colors. Note: Food coloring can stain some surfaces, so put the jars on a tray or on a non-staining surface.
- Homemade Slime. Mix ¼ cup of white or clear PVA glue, such as Elmer’s, and 1/8 cup of liquid starch in a bowl. Knead the slime for a few minutes. If it’s too stock, knead in a tiny bit more starch. If it’s too stringy, knead in a little more glue. Add coloring if you like. Or make it magnetic by also adding some iron oxide (available in several colors from Amazon). A powerful magnet will attract the iron slime. If you have essential oils handy, a few drops will add a nice scent. Or add glitter for shiny slime.
- Building Projects. Gather whatever “building” materials you have, such as plastic straws, toothpicks, craft sticks, popsicle sticks or similar materials. Depending upon the material, also grab some glue, masking tape, washi tape (works great!), or some other adhesive. Challenge your child to build specific objects, or let their creative sides take over.
- Soda Geyser. This is an outdoor activity. Drop a tube of Mentos candy into a two-liter bottle of soda and stand back. Diet soda will be much less sticky than sugary soda. Make sure the soda is at room temperature and drop all of the candies (without the wrapper) into the soda at once.
- Egg Drop Challenge. Using household materials, such as toilet paper rolls, shoeboxes, rubber bands, paper, etc., challenge your child to build a container that will protect an egg from cracking when dropped from a height. Have them build a container that, say, protects an egg in a drop from one foot, another with more protection for a two-foot drop, and so on.
Research Activites for Older Kids
For children who are old enough, give them a sense of history by having them do online research. For example:
- What did children their age do for fun 100 years ago?
- Give them your shopping list and have them research what everything on the list will cost today, and what it would have cost when you were their age.
- Ask them to figure out how their grandparents would have gotten to work when they were young adults, how long it would have taken, and what it would have cost.
Use your imagination and give them interesting questions or situations to research and answer.
You can find hundreds, if not thousands, of other ideas online for fun and educational activities for children of all ages. These suggestions are only a start.