Today’s Geeky Parent Guide is aimed at helping parents find entertaining activities to get them through the rest of the school year. Whether you’re homeschooling or trying to find extracurriculars when you’re all home together, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and artistic endeavors are a great way to learn something fun to do.
Now, as any parent knows, having a plan does not always go to plan. As we start a new year, I wanted to complete several experiments to give our kids some hands-on fun. Alas, 2022 has started off with a curve ball, and a family emergency limited my ability to dive into new experiments with the kids. But, what do parents do best? We adjust, and we watch as our kids adjust, because kids are great at adapting to problems that come their way.
Although I have not gone through the following science experiments with my kids yet, I have included an artistic activity that my kids have gone back to time and time again, and it’s guaranteed to be a hit in your household. I think all of these activities will be worth exploring with your own kids, so explore with me today and then see what they might like to try as they approach the remainder of their school year.
Emily’s Wonder Lab and Oobleck
Enthusiasm is a great way to gain a kid’s attention and my kids recently discovered Emily’s Wonder Lab on Netflix. Host Emily Calandrelli is full of knowledge and positive energy that my kids have taken hold of. We watched many episodes over winter break, and both Marshall and Adelaide wanted to do many of the activities they saw.
Oobleck is a gooey concoction made from combining one-part water and two-parts corn starch together; example: ½ cup water, 1 cup corn starch. Plus, what kid doesn’t love adding food coloring to whatever they’re doing. Emily’s Wonder Lab is full of fun moments where kids participate on the show, so young viewers can see how their peers respond to some pretty cool experiments.
If you don’t have access to Netflix, you can watch this Netflix Jr. video and get all of the instructions necessary to have loads of oobleck-building fun. Additionally, Emily Calandrelli’s YouTube channel, “The Space Gal,” helps to explain how oobleck and “The Science of Non-Newtonian Fluids” works. If your kids enjoy watching hands-on science experiments, then I recommend exploring any of Emily’s Wonder Lab or The Space Gal channel.
SciShow Kids and Candy
What’s something that a lot of kids love to eat? Candy. What’s something they (and a lot of adults) don’t like doing? Waiting! Well, making rock candy is the perfect opportunity for kids to make something they enjoy, while having patience to see the process run entirely through.
SciShow Kids has been one of our go-to learning resources over the past couple of years. In one particular episode, host Jessi (and Squeaks) show candy enthusiasts how to “Make Your Own Rock Candy!” Not only will this be a sugary treat to make together, it will be another great way to engage your kids in science. They will learn how sugar breaks down in water and the overall process of making a yummy treat.
Important note: This activity takes “a week or two” to complete, but this will allow your kids to watch the progress as it moves along. Your kids will get to see as the sugar begins to crystallize and form what will eventually be their afternoon snack. I highly recommend SciShow Kids; this program highlights learning in such a fun and positive way. From animals, weather, experiments, and so much more, your kids will learn a great deal and have a blast doing it.
The Dad Lab and Building Your Own Marble Run
Have you seen those epic marble run videos before? Have you or your kids ever watched, completely entranced by a ball continuing to run along this winding connected path? Well, you and your kids can put together your very own course.
The Dad Lab has a variety of science experiment videos that you and your family can enjoy, and one of those videos includes a quick tutorial for a “DIY Marble Run on the Wall.” Once you watch it, you’ll realize (just like I did) how easy it will be to make your very own marble run. All you need are a few items and you’ll be ready to go today!
Grab yourself an empty paper towel or wrapping paper roll, scissors, tape, and a marble (or a small bouncy ball), and you’re on your way to creating an exciting marble run course! The neat thing about this activity is the fact that you can recreate it in a variety of different ways – or see how much of the house you can take over. I think the longer you make the course, the more excited your kids will be.
Art for Kids Hub
If your kids are looking for an artistic option when it comes to new year activities, look no further than the Art for Kids Hub. My kids have already thoroughly enjoyed several of these art tutorials. These are the definition of fun art lessons – and even parents will want to join along!
As with many drawing activities, you’ll need paper, crayons or colored pencils, and then pick one of the many videos available on this YouTube channel. Ranging from a variety of animals, food items, and entertaining characters, your family will love the magic of creating each and every one of them. Art for Kids Hub provides very easy step-by-step instructions in each lesson, ensuring your kids will be happy with their drawing by the end.
Each video includes host Rob, along with one of his kids, as they draw different characters or objects. My kids most recent drawing included “How to Draw an Iguana,” but they’ve also drawn puppies, ice cream cones, and more. It’s definitely an enjoyable way to get your kids into becoming drawing superstars.
Tip for each video: Depending on your kids age, it might benefit them to pause the video after each step. My kids are ages 7 and 9, so they sometimes need a few more seconds to follow along.
What activities are you and your kids going to tackle to get through the remainder of the school year? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and don’t forget to like and share this article with all of your geeky friends on Facebook and Twitter.
Whatever your plans, don’t forget to take deep breaths and prepare for any last-minute changes that come your way. We’ll be here to support you and offer suggestions whenever you’re looking for new ways to get creative at home.
Until next time, friends, happy parenting and happy geeking.