Rainy day? Too hot to be outside? But just because you’re indoors doesn’t mean you can’t explore the world around us! Increasingly, institutions that used to be strictly in-person experiences – like zoos, museums, and gardens – are creating online resources for children and adults of all ages. If you’re looking for ways to expose your children to new experiences, if you’re homeschooling, or if you just want to make sure that your child’s screen time is educational and fun, the following types of institutions are great places to find activities that are both educational and entertaining.
- Tower Hill Botanic Garden – Massachusetts has some of the oldest gardens in the country, one of which is Tower Hill. The Tower Hill Botanic Garden has webinars for adults and downloadable indoor and outdoor activities for children. Their resource page also has parenting tips for everything from sourcing nature-based board games to safely hiking during COVID-19.
- The New England Aquarium – Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the New England Aquarium posts new videos on Instagram and Facebook featuring museum curators and scientists. If you’re not on social media, they also have a youtube channel. Additionally, the aquarium has curated lessons that combine downloadable worksheets with high quality videos and photos of marine life from the aquarium. The site is easy to navigate and has resources appropriate for preK-12.
- The Berkshire Museum – The Berkshire Museum has an impressive, frequently updated collection of hands-on activities that include printable worksheets, craft ideas, and science experiments. The site includes Daily Doodles, which are videos in which artists illustrate a word of the day, and which are easy for kids of all ages to follow along at home. A treasure trove of free resources.
- The Maria Mitchell Association Science Center in Nantucket – This science center has a page of free, downloadable resources appropriate for children in grades K-12. The page includes prompts for natural journaling, a workbook kids can use to make observations about the sky, and a series of at home science activities contributed by local organizations. The page also has a limited number of resources in Spanish.
- The Museum of Science – The MOS has child friendly daily livestreams hosted by museum staff. Programming is in Spanish and English, and covers topics ranging from space to dinosaurs to mammals. The livestreams are free, and if you are unable to attend the exact date and time, they are accessible on youtube and Facebook.