Last updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Find fun things to do to keep kids busy, educated, and informed at home during the days of social distancing in Houston.
These are uncharted waters we are swimming in these days. Parents are feeling pressure to keep their children from overdosing on screen time, as well as how to keep them learning while schools are closed.
As parents are looking to do this while working from home, take the time of social distancing as a chance to come together as a family and make the most of your extra time together.
We’re compiling a list of some of the best ways to keep kids entertained, educated and having fun while at home in the coming weeks and months. Be sure to check back as we regularly update this resource.
- Huddle at Home with The Texans – The Houston Texans and their partners have compiled FREE digital education resources for parents, kids and teachers to help kids Huddle at Home to stay active and keep their skills sharp. Some activities include contests, math drills, activities and a character playbook. These resources are designed to bring some football fun to homes across Houston and beyond.
- HISD @ H.O.M.E – Houston Independent School District has opened an online portal to provide online learning applications, as well as advice on creating an in-home school schedule and support for accessing digital tools. Beginning Tuesday, March 31, they will also provide more detailed curriculum and activities.
- PBS At-home Learning – Beginning Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27 (and potentially more long-term), Houston Public Media TV 8 PBS will be airing curriculum-related programming throughout the day, covering Pre-K through 12 and multiple subjects like Science, Social Studies, Math, ELA and more. Click here for a schedule of programming throughout the week.
- Houston Museum of Natural Science Family Guide – HMNS offers an activity sheet with word games, puzzles, and a Where’s Waldo-esque search game. They also have a series of videos and social media challenges to help fill the time during the day. Visit here to check out their various social media portals.
- Doodles with Mo Willems – Spend lunch time at noon with children’s author Mo Willems as he guides them through a drawing lesson. Learners worldwide can draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually, once a day, for the next few weeks. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together. The episode will be uploaded at noon.
- UpBrainery Technologies – UpBrainery Technologies, in collaboration with Whataburger, is providing Distance Learning. These classes are free to parents with the exception of additional hands-on kits that will provide more learning experience for students. Students will join a live class with a specialized instructor and be guided through a series of one-hour lessons. Classes hold a capacity of 25 students. Ages kindergarten to 12th grade.
- Live Virtual Storytime with Pete the Cat creator James Dean – Head over to Pete the Cat creator James Dean’s Instagram page for virtual storytime with the coolest cat there is. If you can’t join them live, click the icon in the upper left hand corner to catch up. 11am.
- Scholastic “Learn from Home” – Keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Let the kids do it by themselves, with you, or maybe even an awesome teacher.
- Switcheroo Zoo – Watch, listen, and play games to learn all about incredible animals. Listen to music performed by animals, watch a dog’s dream, build a biome and an online habitat, play other learning games, read animal facts, and so much more.
- Virtual Field Trips – Tour over 30 of the most popular destinations, even Mars, then take a lesson about what you just saw.
- Codeverse – The coding instructors of Codeverse are offering full lessons online for ages 6 to 13 with personalized, guided 1-on-1 online coding sessions (as well as at-home coding kits delivered to your home free). Sign up now and receive a free 50 minute 1-on-1 online coding session.
- Storyline Online – Hear some of your favorite stories read aloud to you by celebrities.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) at Home
- Force and Motion Kids STEAM Lab – Learn the basics of force and motion with an interactive activity with colorful results.
- Easy Anemometer – Measure the way the wind blows with basic items you have in your home.
- Rubber Band Car DIY – Design and build your own working car with some help of rubber bands.
- Make a Box Lid Maze – This box lid maze is a creative design project that incorporates art, engineering and critical thinking. The aim of the game is to get the ball from a starting position to a finish while avoiding obstacles and dead ends.
- Frog Life Cycle Pom Pom Craft – Spring is the perfect time to introduce your kids to the frog life cycle. Start wit a tadpole and watch how the frog grows over time.
- LEGO Movie Superhero Math – Use their fave mini-fig and building blocks to learn the basics of math.
- Solar System Slime Project – Slime makes everything more fun, including learning about the Solar System.
- Walking Rainbow Science Experiment – Watch the water walk creating color after a color by starting with just 3 colors with this bright and fun experiment.
Other Family Fun Ideas
- Ninfa’s with your Niños – Chef Alex Padilla of The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation has recently released a cooking series featuring recipes you can make at home with kids. Short and sweet, these videos make for a great guide to delicious treats.
- Family Game Night – Added bonus if the kids create their own game.
- Indoor Scavenger Hunt – There are endless resources online, or you can make up your own.
- Watch a Movie in a Fort – Spice up your fort building skills and get comfy enough to watch a movie inside.
- Take a Lesson in Disney – Disney+ or your old VHS collection from childhood will make it easier than ever to complete these worksheets based on some Disney favorites that all ages love.
- Dance Party – Let the kids be the DJs.
- Give Mom a makeover – Now is the time to let the kids do your makeup—no one will see you anyways.
- Travel “Abroad” – Choose a country, learn about it, make one of their foods, listen to their music, learn one of their words.
- Teach Practical Life Skills – Get back to the old school by teaching skills like setting the table, washing windows, using a funnel, practice using a knife, and more.
- Glow Stick Hide and Seek – Crack the glow sticks and find a spot to hide in the house or in the backyard.
- Chalk somewhere new – Using chalk on the driveway is old news, take it to the fence or a tree. For more fun, use painters tape and make geometrical designs.
- Draw Spring Flowers – Sit outside and draw the brightest flower you can find.
- Family Book Club – Read a book together, or separate, and have a discussion about it before picking your next book.
- Go on a Photo Shoot – Pick a theme and take pictures of everything you find from bugs to trees to flowers.