Monthly Archives: April 2020

Quarantine Activities: National Poetry Month

April 30- May 1

The end of National Poetry Month is not an end at all. It’s the beginning of a new year of exploring the many gifts reading and writing poetry can bring into our lives. So we end April and move into May with a few ideas to keep you reading and writing throughout the year.

Blackout Poetry is a type of “found poetry” that involves darkening sections of previously published writing in order to create a poem. While this type of poetry often involves the use of black markers, it can be particularly creative and exciting to use colored media to create a visual artwork that interacts with the written words. We’ve linked a Scholastic article that takes this process step-by-step to lead you into creating beautiful works of written and visual art. The artwork feature today is all offered with permission from Stacy Antoville, the art teacher cited in this article. For more exquisite student art, follow her class on Instagram @art_o_ville.

We want you to get up and moving every day during quarantine, so here’s an activity to incorporate with a daily walk. Grab a pen or pencil and notepad, or if you prefer use a notepad app. Take a walk, preferably a good long one. Write down at least 5 things you see, 3 things you do, and 1 thing you overhear. Draw a quick sketch of one thing you see. You may or may not actually decide to use this in a poem later. The point is to notice details. (Adapted from an activity offered by Erika Meitner, VQR Writers’ Conference, 2019).

There are numerous audio and downloadable poetry books at the Jefferson Madison Regional Library. Temporary library cards are available online during quarantine.

Our director, Mary Anna Dunn, will be offering an online poetry class through Charlottesville Parks and Recreation’s Adaptive Recreation Program later this summer. Details TBA.

Enrichment During Home Quarantine

April 28-29 Big Just Got Bigger

Grow Gummy Giants. Well, this certainly changes the meaning of “growing your own food.” All you need are your favorite gummies, glasses of clear water, and a spoon. For a similar experiment and other activities to try at home find a copy of The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments ( Rachel Miller, Holly Homer, and Jamie Harrington.  Page Street Publishers, 2016).

A Growing Girl. Speaking of growing out of control, that certainly was a problem for Alice. When she wasn’t growing smaller and smaller that is. You may have seen a movie or cartoon version, but have you ever sat down and read or listened to the book itself? As the saying goes, the book was better than the movie so chose your favorite device and enjoy:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, audible. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, eBook.

Now Streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch. You may not get as tall as Alice, but still it’s a great idea to stretch those muscles, especially if you’ve been schooling online all day! Try these Simple Stretches or Wheelchair Yoga.

Enrichment Activities for Home Quarantine

April 25-27 Theme and Adventure Parks

Like Adventure Parks? This very cool activity from the Adventure Park at Virginia Beach will show you how to design your own adventure park.

How about a theme park? You can get some great ideas to get you started on creating your own theme park from Pinterest . Use what you have in your house and your own imagination to build a magnificent park.

Of course, every theme park has to have lots of roller coasters.

Home Quarantine Activities: Game Night

April 24

Sometimes all you need is a deck of playing cards, and you’re good to go for hours.

Just on this one site you can find 15 different card games. There are a variety of types of card games here, as well as games suited for different ages and for different numbers of players.

Not everyone can hold cards in their hands, so we’re providing a link to products that hold cards for players.

When you’ve run through all the card games you know, and you still are looking for something to do, it’s time to build a card house.

Here is a video that does the best job ever of explaining how, but we’d suggest leaving out the cinder block!

Now that you have the basics, you can do some utterly amazing things. Type card houses into or YouTube to see some architectural wonders. You’re sure to be inspired, and when you are remember to take pictures of your creations and tag enrichmentalliance on Instagram.

Field Trips During Social Distancing

April 23

Local Trails

We’ve suggested numerous virtual field trips, and we we’ll be adding more below. But the outdoors is still, well out there. Some local trails are open, but if you visit them it is absolutely critical that you maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance. Outside provides some very sound suggestions for minimizing spread of this extremely contagious and dangerous disease. Please read their article before considering a visit to any of the trails below.

Wildrock. The Barn and Nature Playscape are closed but trails are open by appointment.

Ivy Creek Natural Area. Their barn is also closed, but their trails are open. Please follow the safe guidelines in the Outside article. Pay special attention to trail heads and other close areas.

Darden Towe Park, again, playgrounds and educational facilities are closed, but trails are open and include wheelchair accessible trails. Please follow the guidelines for safe outdoors activities.

Virtual Field Trips

Explore Maryland Science Center Activities in your own home. Just as if you were in a physical science center, you can move through a selection of activities, but using materials you are likely to be able to find at home.

You can go on Cultural Field Trips, too. offers virtual museum tours (one led by a penguin!) and also has some creative activities involving works of arts and cell phones.

Earth Day in Quarantine

April 22

During quarantine, we’ve all been focused on how to live safely, comfortably, and happily in our homes. Sometimes that is hard to do. We run out of the things we need. We find out the supplies we thought could be replenished may not be in the stores anymore. We realize that we have to make sure our resources will last, because they may not be renewable after all. If you think about it, we are all permanently quarantined on the planet Earth. Even astronauts can only leave for a short while and must survive on what the Earth has provided for them. So, it is essential to make sure we can live safely, comfortably, and happily in our home. That’s why we set aside one day a year to focus on and renew our commitment to living sustainably in our home for life. This year is particularly significant, because it is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. We’re sharing a few ideas for celebrating within social distancing.

Fill all our windows and sidewalks with Earth Day Celebrations. Today an Agnor Hurt student is challenging children in our community to celebrate Earth Day with chalk drawings or posters. Read more.

National Geographic Kids has numerous links to games, slide shows, and articles to celebrate Earth Day remotely. Primary Games has also posted Earth Day Activities.


But there is so much more to Earth Day, because in the end, it’s about action. So today we are going to share some information about invasive species and what you can do about them. Invasive species are plants and animals that have natural predators or other environmental challenges in their native environments that keep them from getting out of control. When they are deliberately or accidentally transferred to a new climate, that environment has not adapted to the species. The natural predators have not evolved. With no limits, they begin spread and crowd out native plants. Here is some information about invasive species in Virginia.

There’s one invasive species that is very threatening to native plants, but is easy to recognize and pull up. Watch this video on how to recognize and remove garlic mustard. And maybe apply some of you creative talents to making posters and spread the word about this and other INVASIONS!

Enrichment Online. The Night Sky.

April 21.

Tonight should be a very good night for star gazing. The moon is waning and will be at 3%. The next two nights will be even darker, but the skies should be overcast, so get out tonight and do some stargazing. First, figure out where your home is relative to the four cardinal directions. If you have a cellphone, use the compass on your GPS.

Star Chart. This star chart is from the Davis Planetarium at the Maryland Science Center. You may find some of the constellations a little hard to identify in the actual night sky, but watching this video first should help. Now head out and see if you can identify some of the constellations on the chart. Hang onto that chart because you might want it for the next activity.

Starring You. Try doing some constellation yoga. Look at your star chart. Does it suggest any other poses? Lie down on the floor and try posing as a constellation, like Orion or Ursa Major. Have someone take your picture. Send your star chart and the picture to a friend and see if they can guess which constellation you are. Print your picture and draw or paste stars where they would appear on that constellation in a star chart.

Wondering what the stories are behind the constellations? Here’s a video that shares a few stores about the stars grouped around the arrangement we often call the big dipper. And if you that leaves you wanting to know more stories about the starts, download The Legends of the Stars.

Quarantine Enrichment:Birds and Bird Nests.

April 19


Go on a nest walk. Walk around your community, carefully looking for nests. The link to the left will give you some hints for looking. Follow the guidelines on the Cornell Nest Code of Conduct so you don’t disturb the nests, eggs, or fledglings. Take a camera if you have one. You can zoom in more, plus you may want some pictures for the final activity.


You’re almost ready for the next activity, but you’re going to need a bird. We’re providing two sets of instructions for origami birds.

Origami Flying Bird. Recycle some gift wrap to make a bird with flapping wings. The instructions for this activity are presented in diagrams, with accompanying instructions detailed in words. There are fewer folds than the more common origami crane, so if you have found that one frustrating, you might like this one better.

Origami Flapping Bird. People who benefit from a “step-by-step side-by-side” style of instruction might really appreciate this wikiHow, which offers both written instructions and short videos.


Make like a bird and build a nest. Now you are finally ready to make your own nest. The instructions say to make it big enough for at least one “egg” but let’s try making one big enough for your origami bird to warm that egg.

Take some pictures and take enrichmentalliance.

Inclusive Enrichment Activities During Quarantine: Movies Based On Children’s Lit

April 19. Movie Night

We’re pairing three movies with the books they were based on. All of these are available as audio downloads at Jefferson Madison Regional Library and during COVID-19 you can get a library card online. If you don’t live in Central Virginia, try your local library or Audible Stories. You may not realize how many of your favorite movies were based on books. If you want to find more, try these lists: 25 Kids Books Made into Movies. 50 Great Movies Based on Children’s Books.

The Bridge to Terabithia. Since we mentioned the book in our recent set of bridge activities, it seemed like a good one to start with.

The Bride to Terabithia. The movie takes the imaginary world created by these two young people and brings it to life for the viewer. What if someone built movie scenes around your imagination? What kind of movie would it be?

The Invention of Hugo Cabret tells the story of a orphaned clock keeper living a secret life in a train station while pursuing a mystery. It is the basis for the magically dreamlike movie:

Hugo. If you like robots, mysteries, and suspense, you will love this movie.

A Wrinkle in Time. A classic children’s sci-fi story of three children wandering the universe in search of the missing father of two of the children.

A Wrinkle in Time 2018. Who, or what are those mysterious beings who have sent the children on this quest?

Inclusive Enrichment During Quarantine: Backyard Naturalists.

All of today’s fantastic activities come from 10 Backyard Nature Activities on the Appalachian Mountain Be Outdoors Mountain Club website. This website is full of terrific ideas, including a page for COVID-19 activities.


Place a white cloth under a tree, shake the tree and see what drops on the cloth. Follow the link to 10 Backyard Nature Activities and scroll down to Activity 3 for information on on this activity.


Create a gnome house with the materials you collected.


Walking Bingo. We suggest you take the instructions for Activity 9 and follow their suggestion to create a bingo game. You can use bingo creator or bingo creator nature cards to create cards. Walk around your neighborhood or get out in the country to play this game.