Rather than count the weeks before the kids climb on the school bus again — because that math exercise is certainly no fun these days — take your kids on a virtual trip to Mars or enjoy these other diversions.
Hop aboard a spaceship
You can navigate around the surface of Mars, recorded by NASA’s Curiosity rover, thanks to accessmars.withgoogle.com. Watch the Curiosity blast off, then jump out on Mars, turn yourself and take a walk by clicking on the Google map. More cool Martian stuff:
- Are you a good driver? Find out by steering the Curiosity across Mars at eyes.nasa.gov/curiosity.
- The Curiosity has found some pretty amazing things on Mars, including an ancient oasis. You can see images on NASA’s mission page (head to nasa.gov/missions and find “Curiosity”).
- Play with a 3D model of Curiosity on your screen at mars.nasa.gov/msl/spacecraft.
- Your age and weight would be different on Mars. Find out what they would be, and why, at exploratorium.edu/mars (click on “Activities”).
Make eggshell geodes
With Easter in the rearview, let’s talk about those leftover eggs — and how you can turn them into geodes by making crystals grow inside. You probably have everything you need already, but it’s going to get hot and messy, so pull a grown-up into the fun. Find directions at sciencebob.com/eggshell-geode-crystals.
Get creative with ‘Dog Man’ creator
Dav Pilkey is stuck at home. So the author and illustrator of the “Captain Underpants” and “Dog Man” books is sharing some drawing lessons for the rest of us. To listen to him read from his books and learn to draw his characters, head to the Library of Congress at loc.gov and search for “Pilkey.”
Be a mover and a shaker
Scientists use a seismograph to measure how much the ground moves in an earthquake. Scientific American has directions on building a simple one at scientificamerican.com/article/shaky-science-build-a-seismograph. While we’re talking about quakes, it’s a great time to make sure your family is prepared.
Howl with the wolves
Set off to the International Wolf Center in Minnesota to meet the pack. You can decide on your favorite wolf, spy on the animals through a live webcam and learn what the pack has been doing lately at wolf.org. This reminds us of Helen Thayer’s unique book “Three Among the Wolves,” about a woman, man and dog who lived with the wolves in Canada for a year. You can read parts of their journal at adventureclassroom.org.