Dinosaur Shadow Puppets and 4 More Activities to Keep Kids Engaged While at Home

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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

For some parents, home education may have begun as a novel and fun experience. But coming up with new, kid-friendly activities can start to become a draining chore pretty fast. If you’re looking for fresh ideas, here’s a list of a few fun activities for kids of varying age groups.

For younger kids, making dinosaur shadow puppets can be a great way to learn a little bit about the earth’s history while still having fun. For this activity, which was developed by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, all you need is some everyday household items such as cardboard, paper, wooden sticks, scissors, and tape. An excellent way to get more educational value from this activity is to spend some time learning about how and where dinosaurs lived while you make them.

Laurie Berkner’s singing stories for children are another great way to keep young kids happy while you get a few moments of peace. Her “Berkner Break” video series, which she posts on Facebook daily, features short educational songs and clips that will keep kids happy (and hopefully quiet) while they learn something new.  

For educating grade school-age children, the scholastic Learn at Home series is an excellent resource. The website is full of innovative daily projects that tie in with different curriculum strands up to grade 9. It also has some great virtual field trips to places such as the Museum of the American Revolution that you can “visit” with your kids and discuss afterward.

When it comes to older kids and teenagers, one way to keep them motivated is to get them doing something educational that also contributes to a cause. To do that, you can point them in the direction of some of the citizen science projects that are looking for contributors right now. 

The United States Geological Survey is looking for volunteers to join their virtual mapping corps. Those that volunteer for this initiative will use their internet browsers to help the USGS update topographic map data sets by identifying structures such as schools, public buildings, and hospitals on their maps. This is a unique way to learn about data, geography, and mapping while also making future maps more accurate. Contributors can even earn badges and ranks based on how many data points they submit. 

Another great project to check out is Globe at Night, a project that aims to monitor light pollution by getting participants to download an app and report on the brightness of their local night skies. By taking brightness readings with their phones, your kids can learn about the problem of light pollution while also helping to solve it.