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 images.google 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.
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. artsandculture.google.com offers virtual museum tours (one led by a penguin!) and also has some creative activities involving works of arts and cell phones.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cooperative Games are games in which the players are not pitted against each other. Instead they work together to compete against an element of the game. It could be a time limit or a goal, or there could be chance elements that have the potential to defeat the players. For example, in Snow Storm, players turn up cards as they try to complete errands and get home during a winter storm. Sometimes they draw a helpful card, such as a snow plow, but other times they turn up ice. Cooperative board games are available for all ages, including adults.
Why Cooperative Games? The article we have linked discusses commonly cited reasons for adding cooperative games to your shelf. In addition, cooperative games make playing more accessible and fair. We used cooperative games in our inclusive after school program. The games created a more supportive playing environment for children with differing abilities and reduced the stress level for children with anxiety.
Creating new games and adapting old ones. If you’re stuck at home during the pandemic, you may not have access to cooperative games, but once you have the basic idea, you should be able to adapt some of your own games or create new ones. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Group Goals. Cooperative Scrabble. Cooperative Monopoly. Set a goal to reach collectively. For example, when playing Scrabble, set a goal of reaching a combined score of 500. Raise the goal every time the team wins. If you hit 515 points this time, can you hit 550 the next time you play? Similarly, set a group goal for cash earned in Monopoly. According to some sources, the original version of Monopoly, The Landlords Game, had cooperative options.
Beat the Clock. Cooperative Dragon Strike Game. Set a timer, and try to help all players reach a destination or accomplish a task before it goes off. For example, in Dragon Strike Game instead of trying to collect the treasure for yourself, change the game so that players must get all the treasures out before the timer goes off. This may require passing a treasure to another player if you are in trouble, which can actually be a more interesting way to play .
Adverse Cards or Dice Rolls. Cooperative Candy Land. Many cooperative games depend on all players competing with the game to complete a goal before something bad happens. What if the goal was to get everyone to the Candy Land house before mice ate it? Mark some of the playing cards with a small drawing of a mouse. Every time you turn up a mouse card, cover 1/10 of the house with a slip of paper. (You can adjust the amount of it takes to cover the house to increase or decrease the challenge.) All players simultaneously draw one card per round, and may strategically exchange cards to help one another advance. These more complex, strategic goals may make the game more fun for older children.
Commercial cooperative board games are readily available, and you will be able to find several curated lists by googling “cooperative board game.” Games are available at all levels, from preschool through adult. Parental discretion and a trigger warning: some have violent and/or macabre themes, and the most popular game, Pandemic, just might not seem like the best idea to some families! Here is one list of family-friendly games.
Printable cooperative games. Parental Discretion. This list, like many lists we found, is leveled for all ages and does include some games that may not be appropriate for all players!
Picture Tutorial. Ever see those colorful magazine baskets and wish you knew how to make them? This series of photographs takes you through the process step-by-step.
Video Tutorial. If you need a more detailed explanation, watch this video. The video calls for decoupage glue, which most people don’t have on hand. Try making this substitute.
Science and Math
Turned used paper into seed paper. Gather up used paper from around your house and turn it into handmade recycled paper with embedded seeds. The whole page can be planted. These make fantastic greeting cards.
The Poetry of Trash
Cast Away Young People’s Poet Laureate, Naomi Shibad, finds treasure in trash, writing poems about objects she encounters in on her walks. Download this book, and play it while you take a walk in your neighborhood. Why do YOU notice while you’re out walking?
Okay, enough with the eggs already. Easter was three days ago. What to do with all those eggs? Well, you can put them in bottles. Or transform them into beautiful vases. Or just make them disappear.
Art and Literature
Egg Vases. Use your empty eggshells to create a lovely vase. This one uses a white egg, but shells from dyed Easter Eggs would be beautiful. Consider decorating your eggshells with bows or glitter.
Science and Math
Who knew eggs could be this fascinating?
Egg in a bottle. Make a hard boiled egg drop down into a bottle without even touching it. Don’t be a spoiler! This experiment is especially fun if you don’t tell the kids what’s going to happen to the egg. The activity is extremely popular with kids. It does require close adult supervision, because it involves burning a slip of paper.
Disappearing egg. This activity was posted earlier this week on the Virginia Discovery Museum website. They are posting activities daily, with a material list for the week also provided, so visit VDM@Home for more ideas.