At-Home Activity Guide

Outside Still Open

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During these unprecedented times, one thing remains: nature. The outdoors are still open and continue to offer a space of much-needed respite and healing. Best of all, the outdoors can also offer plenty of opportunities for learning activities—both inside and out. Though you may not be able to explore our national parks this season, you can still bring the science and wonder of the natural world right into your home. Our insightful and knowledgable educators compiled their favorite lessons and modified them for home just for YOU! These hands-on, interactive lessons will ensure that kids can continue to do what they do best: remain curious and explore the natural world.

At NatureBridge, we use an effective model to teach environmental science education with decades of proven outcomes. Our multifaceted curriculum helps students understand how the environment works and how humans interact with nature. They are empowered to take action today for a better tomorrow. This unique approach is informed by current academic research and field-tested by our educators. Discovery isn’t about having the answers—it’s about modeling the wonder and awe of the natural world. 

Outside Still Open Activities:

Not a nature enthusiast yourself? Worried you don't have all the answers? That’s ok! Discovery isn’t about having the answers—it’s about modeling curiosity and the wonder and awe of the natural world. Be a co-explorer with your kids: Doing the activities together can make for new discoveries for you all.

We All Live Downstream: Using paper, markers and a spray bottle, create a mini-watershed model to learn more about how water flows.

iNaturalist: What Lives in Our Neighborhood?: Using your smart phone, get acquainted with the organisms in your neighborhood using this popular and easy-to-use nature app. Budding photographers welcome! 

Sensory Scavenger Hunt: Taking a walk at your local park? Make it a sensory experience with discovery prompts in this activity.

Tiny Homes + I notice, I wonder...: Go outside and build tiny "homes" with local materials while strengthening your observation and curiosity skills!

Shadow Mapping: Is your shadow always the same? What affects how long it is? Do this easy experiment using sidewalk chalk to inspire learnings about the sun and the shadows it makes!

Animal Adaptation Challenge: Pick a habitat and get creative! Invent a new creature using science and your imagination, and a little competition if you have a few family members around!

Observing Our World: This in-depth activity will guide observations of the natural world with an introductory game, drawings, and inquiry! Curiosity and paper required!

Natural Objects Memory Game: This short activity will promote exploration and test kids' skills of observation. Can be combined with Sound Mapping, too!

What is Phenology?: Phenology is the science of the seasons. This introduction can lead to daily observations and recordings about the world around you!

To Each It's Own (modified BEETLES)

Sound Mapping (modified BEETLES) 

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Additional Resources

Resources from friends and partners:

From our friends at Playworks

  • Play at Home Game Guide featuring some of Playworks' most popular games that also meet CDC recommendations, factoring in social distancing and limited play equipment. 
  • Play at Home videos for families.
  • Join Playworks for virtual recess on Facebook Live. Check out this example of what kids will experience. Please invite people to join Monday-Friday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. CST.

From our friends at National Geographic

  • Nat Geo at Home is a one-stop place for families and educators to access National Geographic resources. 
  • Explorer Classroom connects young people with scientists, researchers, storytellers and other real-world role models/problem-solvers as they go out in the field, and helps students develop an explorer’s mindset. 
  • The Real Time Curriculum ProjectA new and unique platform created by National Geographic Education Fellow Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, which consists of a series of “minute projects,” each focused on real-time, relevant current events. The first piece is focused on the coronavirus.
  • Resource Library contains thousands of items like photographs, lessons, units, videos, articles and much more that can be filtered by keyword, grade level, content type or subject. You can also create a free account so that you can save your searches.

COVID-19 Resources: Lessons for Kids

  • How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus from Harvard Health Blog
  • How Coronavirus Highjacks Your Cells: A short but fascinating and clear guide from the NY Times on what's happening at the molecular level with coronavirus. (You may need to clear cookies to access the article if you've used up your NYTimes articles for the month!)
  • Germs and Your Body is a BASIS lesson we bring to Kindergarten classes, but it can be used at any grade level. Follow the instructions on how to demonstrate how germs spread. 
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Thank you to our

NatureBridge Educators

Our Environmental Science Educators have a passion for engaging with youth and the natural word. And if though they can't bring the magic to life on the trail right now, they're using their insightful knowledge, educational backgrounds, extensive teaching experience and training on cultural responsiveness and inclusion to deliver at-home activities for you and your kids. Thank you, NatureBridge Educators!