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50 Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained at Home

Since we're all spending more time at home than usual, I thought I would share some of my favorite simple activities for keeping the kids busy when they start complaining that they're bored. I tried to mostly pick activities that require minimal materials and the materials they do require are things that most people are likely to have around the house.




STEM Activities 

-Make a Marble Maze: Grab some plastic straws, some cardboard, glue, and a marble and challenge your kids to design and make their own marble maze. 

-Make and Test Aluminum Foil Boats :
Challenge your kids to make boats out of aluminum foil. Then test how much weight they can hold by filling them with pennies in the bathtub or a kiddie pool.

Make a Marshmallow CatapultChallenge your kids to design a catapult for throwing marshmallows. 

-The Paper Chain Challenge : Challenge your kids to make the longest paper chain they can with a single piece of paper.

-Lego Tower Challenge: Challenge your kids to build the talles…
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Learning About Birds

My 4th grader asked to learn about birds this year, so I started searching around for a good curriculum kit. I didn't find anything that looked like it would work for us, so I set out to put together my own bird study. I wrote a series of blog posts sharing about what we covered and the activities and resources we ended up using for each sub topic, in case anyone else is ever looking for a simple to put together bird study. I wanted a place where all the links were easily accessible, so here they are:



What Makes a Bird a Bird?
Birds are a fascinating group of animals that have adapted to live in a wide variety of habitats. They can be found on every continent on Earth, from the hot dry savannas of Africa to the frozen tundra of Antarctica. They are a highly varied group, but there are several characteristics that all birds share, regardless of habitat or diet:

-All birds are vertabrates, which means they have a backbone. Birds also have a lightweight but strong bone structure, which …

Make Your Apartment Balcony an Enjoyable Outdoor Space For Your Family

Science says spending time outdoors is beneficial for our health in so many ways, but when you live in an apartment without a yard, getting your family enough outdoor time can be tricky. While it may be a small space, apartment balconies can be set up to be amazing little outdoor areas for your family to enjoy. Here are a few ideas for making your apartment balcony an enjoyable space for your family:


Container Gardening
Who says you need a yard to have a garden? Use your outdoor space to grow an herb garden, or flowers, or even container friendly veggies.



Some plants that do well in containers are:
Herbs- basil, oregano, mint (any variety), rosemary, lemon balm, thyme, and parsley.
Flowers- begonias, marigolds, zinnia, and petunias
Fruits and Veggies- strawberries, tomatoes, peas, beans, potatoes, lettuce, bell peppers, radishes, garlic, and cucumbers.
Succulents like aloe vera and jade plant also do well in pots, just bring them indoors for the winter.

You can maximize space by using hanging…

The Ultimate List of YouTube Learning Channels for Kids

As a homeschooling mom whose family lives on a fairly tight budget, I am always looking for more free or low cost educational resources. YouTube is one of my favorites. There are videos on just about every topic under the sun, and there are tons of educational channels specifically made for kids. Here are all the educational channels I could find, organized by subject. And please let me know if I'm missing any great channels, I would love to keep adding to this list!



General Education
-Free School
-Homeschool Pop
-Kahn Academy
-Smithsonian
-The Brain Scoop
-It's Okay To Be Smart
-NPR's Skunk Bear
-Varitasium

Science 
-SciShow
-SciShow Kids
-Nat Geo WILD
-National Geographic Kids
-National Geographic
-The Dr. Binocs Show from Peekaboo Kidz
-Animal Atlas
-Houston Zoo
-Silly Science with Simon
-Minute Earth
-Minute Physics
-Wild Kratts
-The Science Channel
-All Things Animal 
-New Scientist
-Tyler DeWitt - This is a good one for high school chemistry students!
-Brave Wilderness- Brave wild…

Learning About Birds: Ducks and Other Waterfowl

Ducks are a favorite in our household. My kids love visiting the ducks at the pond near our house, and our old neighbors had pet ducks that my kids adored, so naturally we had to include them in our bird study.

Information About Waterfowl: Waterfowl include ducks, geese, and swans. They require an aquatic habitat like wetlands, lakes, rivers, or coastlines to survive. They have webbed feet for swimming and flat beaks for filtering food from water. Some waterfowl, like geese, are primarily herbivores, feeding mainly on aquatic vegetation. Other waterfowl, like ducks, are omnivores, and eat a combination of vegetation, fish, and insects.
Many waterfowl are migratory. They breed and spend their summers up north in places like Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, and then migrate south to warmer climates for the winter. My family is lucky to live near some of the wetlands that are the winter home to many waterfowl including snow geese and tundra swans. We love watching them arriving by the thousands…

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5 Creative Ways to Track the Weather with Your Students

We originally started tracking the weather just as a hands on way to help my oldest daughter become familiar with calendars when she was little, but it ended up morphing into much more than that. Over the years we've used our weather data for many different science and math activities. We've counted and tallied weather types, measured and recorded temperatures, made bar graphs, compared how the weather changes from month to month, used our data for simple math calculations, learned about the seasons, made our data into art, and lots more. 

One of my favorite things about tracking the weather, is that it encourages us to slow down and be observant for a few moments every day. This is why I especially love weather tracking methods that include some sort of artistic or creative element. Here are a few of the methods we've used over the years:



Weather Calendar
When my oldest daughter was kindergarten aged we used a calendar to record the weather. I just printed 12 blank calendars…