How was this past week of home schooling for many of you? We’re betting you could use a few ideas to work your kids’ brains and buy time to get your own work done. In that spirit, we’re introducing The Weekly Wonder.
First, the inspiration: Head over to YouTube and search for “chain reactions.” You’ll get some mind-boggling videos, including one that features 250,000 dominoes and a board-game theme. Then see how elaborate your kids can get as they build their own chain reaction with dominoes, marbles, toy cars and whatever else they can scrounge up.
Maybe your child has never successfully folded a paper plane and needs help. Maybe you have an expert who’s ready to get all fancy with it. You can Google “paper planes” and find plenty of websites that supply patterns, video tutorials and printable instructions (foldnfly.com is particularly user friendly).
Go to the zoo
OK, you can’t really go, because the big zoos in the Puget Sound area are closed. But the next-best thing is spying on the animals with zoo webcams, and we’ve found some of the best ones. The Aquarium of the Pacific in California (aquariumofthepacific.org) is particularly impressive with its live views of Magellanic penguins, sharks, jellyfish and more. And everyone loves giant pandas like the ones at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. (nationalzoo.si.edu). If your wildlife-watcher becomes transfixed by a particular animal, he or she can head to kids.nationalgeographic.com, search for that animal and fall deep into an educational rabbit hole.
Zoom into space
If you became an astronaut, would you shrink or get taller? Astronauts floating around the International Space Station explain that, deliver more science lessons and read books at storytimefromspace.com. The lesson on how space affects the human body includes an experiment kids can do at home. Hungry for more out-of-this-world thrills? The space station has its own webcam at nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/iss_ustream.html.
Life at home can feel awfully subdued. Shake it up with videos filmed on some of the world’s most thrilling roller coasters — including one on which your seat does its own independent backflips. Find the videos at frommers.com/slideshows/848179-the-world-s-most-thrilling-roller-coasters. Then hit Google for ideas on building your own coaster with straws, pipe, marbles, pingpong balls … we trust your kid will have more ideas.