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Activities to Keep Your
Kids Busy

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JUNE 3, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Skills Builder
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Blast off with these Mars Mission digital games + fascinating space articles for kids. They’ll have fun...while getting excited about STEM!

PLAY: With these four Mars Mission game challenges, kids will collect fun achievement stamps and earn their passport to space.

READ: These fun one-page articles will introduce your kid to life in space. Some are available at easier or harder reading levels.

Plus, chat as a family about the space jobs you would enjoy.

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JUNE 3, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Creativity
+ Critical Thinking
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During this time of social distancing, help your child express their emotions—and stay connected to other kids—with a meaningful art project.

1. Help your child get creative and brainstorm about this challenging time with these reflection prompts (“share what makes you feel grateful, show how people are staying connected...“).

2. Then have your child develop artwork, writing, or any other creative project that reflects their experience of the pandemic.

You can share your artist’s work on social media or a school site with the hashtag #weareallconnected.

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JUNE 3, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Family Time
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Stream a free, uplifting HBO documentary about kids and the power of public speaking to change the world. Then your child can give it a try at home!

By watching the film, your kid just might discover a passion for public speaking and learn great life lessons about the effectiveness of practice and preparation.

Movie night–Questions to ask after you watch:

  • Which child’s speech was your favorite and why?
  • How can public speaking make the world better?
  • How did practice change the kids’ performances?
  • For example, compare the boy’s practice at 3:07–3:50 with his performance at 48:42–51:47.
  • What strategies did the students use to improve their speeches and get their audience’s attention?
  • For example, see 28:20–30:42.

Take the Stage!

1. Prepare: Help your child find an excerpt of a famous speech online (see ideas below), select a poem from a book, or write their own words.
Try looking for speeches by: Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, Malala Yousafzai.

2. Practice: Explain that they can recite a sentence or a paragraph at a time to memorize it (or alternate looking down at their text with looking up at their audience). They can also write on paper or index cards any hand motions they intend to use.

3. Perform: You can even get your whole family involved and have a Family Oratorical Fest. (A videochat- and phone-friendly activity!)

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MAY 15, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Skills Builder
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Help your kid find their creativity with videos of authors discussing how they get story ideas. Plus a brainstorming printable for your kid!

1. Show a short video of an author discussing how they get ideas for their stories:

  • Grades 1–4: video of author Peter H. Reynolds
  • Grades 4–5: video of author Sayantani DasGupta

2. Give your child the Find Your Story! activity sheet to help them brainstorm a few ideas for problems and solutions to write about in a story. (Tell them that they don’t have to write about anything that upsets them.)

3. Get writing! And illustrating, if they want.

Take it further: When they’re done, celebrate by reading the story aloud as a family. Choose who will read the narrator, and who will read each character. You can even broadcast your reading to a relative over videochat.

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May 15, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Creativity
+ Critical Thinking
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Do a fun “what would happen if…” experiment together using simple kitchen ingredients.

1. Have your child watch this video of kids preparing an experiment using basic ingredients like water, oil, and gummy bears.

2. Then, they’ll use the scientific method and this experiment printable to try it themselves and find out what happens! You may wish to do this experiment together so ingredients are measured with care. (Feel free to substitute ingredients, like swapping gummy bears for dried fruit bits.)

Vocabulary to go over with your child:

  • A hypothesis is an educated guess about what may happen in an experiment. It’s OK if a hypothesis is wrong—that’s the point of doing the experiment, to find out!
  • When they design an experiment, remind your child to change just one thing, or variable, at a time, so there will be a clear cause and effect.
  • It’s also helpful to have a control group (a version of whatever they’re experimenting with, where nothing has been done to it) for comparison.

Take it further: What other experiments can your kids come up with? For inspiration, direct them to browse kitchen ingredients, art supplies, plant cuttings from your block…

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May 15, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Family Time
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Enjoy quality time with a simple recipe that even your young child can help you with. Kick off the fun with a food safety board game and tips.

For younger kids: Skip the board game and focus on making sure your kiddos know:

  • Wash your hands before and after touching food (especially with foods that we can’t eat without cooking, like meat).
  • For foods that need to be stored in the fridge, it’s important to put them there right away.

For older kids: Discuss how your kids can help keep your home food-safe (help you quickly load groceries from the car to fridge; if perishable food has accidentally been left out for more than two hours, don’t eat it and tell an adult; and so on).

Spanish versions of the materials are also available.

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MAY 1, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Skills Builder
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Your kids can take a visual tour of different climate regions in the US. They’ll learn about the power of nature to make our lives better!

Take It Further:

1. Ask your child to share what they learned. Get the conversation started with questions like, what is one thing you learned about how grass helps people and the environment?

2. Chat about how you can introduce or boost the presence of plants in your own lives, whether you have a backyard or are looking to start a windowsill garden.

3. Challenge your child to draw/collage/paint your home or community with increased plants (and perhaps even label them with how they are helping).

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May 1, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Creativity
+ Critical Thinking
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Help your kids dream big! They’ll discover how to connect their interests and skills to possible careers with easy-to-follow activity sheets.

Grades 1–2: Help your child imagine what they want to be when they grow up with this step-by-step family activity. Kids will set a goal, share it, and learn about the power of education—an inspiring experience!

Grades 3–5: Use these charming career notebook printables to help students connect their interests and skills to possible jobs.

Here’s how:

1. Prompt your child to share their favorite interests.

  • Show how interests can connect to careers.
  • For example: If you love playing computer games, you might want to become an app creator who makes games.

2. Direct your child to think about strengths and skills they have (reading, writing, drawing, problem solving, sharing, etc.).

  • Chat about how professionals use those skills.
  • For example: A journalist uses writing and listening skills to help report the news.

3. Give your child the career notebook printables. (Younger children can just do the first page.)

  • Show how to cut the pages in half and staple them to create a booklet.
  • Point out that the pages will help your child collect the details they’ll need to choose and research a career.
  • For research, they can use the internet or any relevant books you have handy (tip: your local library may have ebooks available for borrowing).

Level Up: Role play a scene with your child acting as the future professional they want to be! You pretend to be a customer or a client and share a problem with your child. Let your mini-professional use their future career skills to solve it.

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May 1, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Family Time
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Help your kids burn off excess energy with fun movement challenges inspired by NASCAR drivers. (No racecar required!)

Start off with Mirror, Mirror on page 1—an easy, creative activity that uses symmetrical movements.

Take it further by encouraging your child to create a piece of artwork that shows symmetry—a great activity for winding down if your child makes it through all six movement activities! Fold a paper in half to begin.

Solo child, one room? The Yes, Crew Chief and Top Racer activities work well with limited space, with or without a partner.

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APRIL 17, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Skills Builder
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Get ready to master time and money with our educational games!

Grades 1–2: Outer space, the Wild West, and clocks?!? Try this popular online game and app to help your kiddos practice how to tell time.

Grades 3–5: Is your kid a spender or a saver? Play this family board game to help them practice saving, giving, and budgeting.

Level Up: Challenge your kid to make a daily schedule or build a budget!

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APRIL 17, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Creativity
+ Critical Thinking
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The Big Question: If you could have animal features (or even plant traits), which ones would you choose? Wings? Petals instead of hair, perhaps?

1. Research
Grades 1–2: Have a chat about animal features like beaks, wings, feathers, fur, tails, antennae, gills.
Grades 3–5: Ask your child to find three to five animal or plant features online, then draw, label, and describe them.
Inspiration: Animal Cards and Fantastic Beasts Fact Files

2. Reflect
Grades 1–2: Ask your child: What one or two animal features would you like to have? Why? How would you use it?
Grades 3–5: Have your child imagine they could have any plant or animal features. Then ask: What three features would you choose? Why? How would you use them?

3. Create (this could take several days!)
Grades 1–2: Have your child write a story or draw a comic (start with three blank squares) starring themselves with their new animal features.
Grades 3–5: Prompt your child to write a script or draw a storyboard for a scene that shows off those animal features in action.
Bonus: Act it out—with siblings if possible.

Level Up: Do a video chat with friends and family and have your kid showcase their work!

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APRIL 17, 2020 | GRADES 1–5
Family Time
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We’re all seeking a little calm, relaxation, and focus. Turn on these yoga videos of quick, easy poses to get the whole family moving together.

You might do the videos all at once on a weekly basis. Yoga Saturdays, anyone? You might also try building them into your family’s day for added structure.

  • Try the Boost Energy video right before it’s time to start learning.
  • Turn on the Improve Focus video as a break during the afternoon slump.
  • Tune in to the Calm Down video to transition from the end of the learning day to the evening.
  • Freestyle! Or do your own thing. After learning a few moves, try a different one each day.
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