Discovery at Home

Last Update: March 31, 2020. Please note that this page will continue to be updated--check back for new resources! New items will always be added to the end of each section.


Family Play and Learning at Home

Families are spending a lot of time at home together as our community works to slow the spread of COVID-19. Since we can’t play together at the Museum, we want to share with you some of our favorite at-home fun-and-learning activities from our staff, and also share some of the terrific interactive opportunities offered by museums, individuals, organizations, and other creators around the world.

Children learn through play, and these resources are intended as guidelines and inspirational starting points that can be adapted to your situation and your child. Expanding on your child’s curiosity is always the primary goal, even if that looks different than what the activity instructions suggest. We hope the links below inspire fun and interactive ways to play, learn, and explore with your children.

And, at the same time…

We want to be sure to mention that it can be really good for your kids to be bored, too!

Check out this article, The Importance of Letting Your Kids Be Bored from Fatherly.

And, Boredom May Actually Be Good for You, by Tony Rao and Paul Napper.

At-home activities from Discovery Museum staff

Before you jump in, check out this new blog post focused on family learning at home by Alli Leake, our Director of Early Childhood Education and Accessibility Lead. 

Backyard and Beyond

Journey Sticks
Making Music in Nature
Patterns in Nature
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Tracing Shadows

Everyday Engineering

Tinfoil Ferries
Sail Mobiles
Cup Towers
Light Maze
Strike a Balance
Taking Flight: Hoop Gliders and Flutter Fish

Make a Mess

Kitchen Chemistry: Mix It Up
Kitchen Chemistry: Oobleck
Giant Bubbles
Water Drop Races
Resist Painting
Salad Spinner Art

Especially for Littles

Messy-Sensory Guide
Creative Caps
Flashlight Play

Great resources we are seeing from others

Things To Do Outside

10 Nature Activities To Get Your Family Through the Pandemic from Richard Louv at the Children & Nature Network.

10 Garden Based Activities to Calm Your Family from Mommy Nearest.

Everyday Nature: Simple Activities for All Ages and Seasons, from Take A Child Outside.

At-Home Learning Activities

Learn how to make paper beads, weave, quill, and more in Museum At Home from our friends at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum.

At-home activity guide for little ones, from Zero To Three.

Taste Buds Kitchen is offering a free at-home cooking club, with a new recipe video posted every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.

100 Ways To Play, from our friends at Boston Children's Museum.

10 Prop Box Ideas: Mini Learning Centers at Home from NAYEC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Former Discovery Museum Artist-in-Residence Kim Bernard is offering daily 15-minute art prompts on her Facebook page and via email. They are fun and wonderful!

Exploratorium Science Snacks are tabletop exhibits or explorations of natural phenomena that can be made using common, inexpensive, readily available materials.

Online Story Times, Podcasts, and Audiobooks

Are there any Olaf fans in your house? Olaf actor Josh Gad is reading books to kids each night on Twitter. He started with Olivia Goes to Venice.

Circle Round from WBUR offers podcasts of carefully curated folktales from around the world for kids ages 4 to 10. Each episode ends with an activity that inspires a deeper conversation between children and grown-ups.

Remember Highlights Magazine? Highlights Hangout is a monthly podcast that brings the classic magazine to life in a whole new way. Includes “Hidden Pictures”—with sounds! 

The fabulous Peter H. Reynolds, friend of the Museum and author of The Dot, is reading one of his many books each day at noon EST on his Facebook page, and will be adding YouTube soon.

Celebrated actors are reading children’s books on Storyline Online.

The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read Alouds & Activities (yes, it includes Oprah!).

Audible is now offering free audiobooks for kids, for as long as schools are closed. 

Virtual Tours and Interactives

New England Aquarium offers virtual visits through its First Friday Facebook Live recordings.

Check out these Virtual Tours of 12 Famous Museums from Travel + Leisure.

Home Safari with the Cincinnati Zoo! Each day at 3pm EST the zoo staff goes live on their Facebook page, showcasing a different animal that calls the zoo home.

Now is your chance to dance with Debbie Allen – live on Instagram!

Tour Old Ironsides virtually, with the USS Constitution’s daily Facebook Live at every day at 1pm EST.

For our Especially For Me families

Basic CDC information about COVID-19 in American Sign Language.

Coronavirus: An ASL Social Story from Marie Philip School

National Homework Hotline for Blind/Visually Impaired Students for help navigating remote schoolwork.

Activities and Lessons from Perkins School for the Blind.

School Closure Autism Toolkit from Easter Seals.

Talking to Kids about Coronavirus: ASL & English Resources from the American Society for Deaf Children.

Coronavirus & COVID-19 Specific Resources

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers: Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) and Children, from the CDC.

Cover Your Cough and Sneeze! How to Teach Kids to Cough/Sneeze into Their Sleeves, from Boston Children’s Museum.

Small people can have big feelings when they hear about scary information on the news. Here is a great article from Huffington Post on how to talk to them about coronavirus from experts.

Talking To Kids About the Coronavirus, from the Child Mind Institute

Just for Kids, a comic exploring the new Coronavirus, from NPR 

A video to teach your children how hand washing helps prevents the spread of Coronavirus from Nanogirl. 

With the shortage of hand sanitizer, now is a great time to do a little science at home. Here is a recipe from Popular Science for making homemade hand sanitizer, an activity you can do with your child.

And for older kids, Transmissions: Gone Viral, by the New York Hall of Science, an interactive comic book on the topic of viruses the scientific process–how to collect evidence and draw conclusions.

Brains On: Understanding Coronavirus and How Germs Spread, a podcast from Minnesota Public Radio.

Tips for Families Coronavirus from Zero To Three

Just for Fun!

The World’s Largest Pool of Jell-O!

There are some incredible videos in How Things Are Made. Don't miss Pasta with Red Sauce by Andrea Love.

The World’s Largest Elephant Toothpaste Experiment by Mark Rober

Love Note from the Goats from Sunflower Farm Creamery

The Cake Server, Joseph's Machines' most complicated Rube Goldberg machine ever. Seriously, this is incredible. 

Discovery Museum is committed to being here for our community after the pandemic just as it was before, and we are working to manage the serious financial implications of our closure. If you can, please consider making a donation.

Ideas? Questions? Comments? At-home inspirations? We miss you and would love to hear from you!

Also, check out our regular Facebook At-Home Photo Challenge series to show us what you're up to. You'll have a chance to win 2 free admission passes to the Museum! When we re-open, 2 passes will be given away to the randomly-drawn winner of each Challenge, and all of the Challenges will be open until the Museum re-opens--you can enter any of them at any time.