Category Archives: Science Activities

Three Readers Offer Great Ideas from The San Diego Zoo

It was so gratifying to receive this email from a parent whose children have been enjoying our blog over the past several months:

I just wanted to take a sec to let you know how helpful the Enrichment Alliance after-school online web page  has been for my family and me… My mother moved in with us before the COVID outbreak, and then with twin girls we’ve definitely had our hands full… But, I was able to find some excellent online resources to use with them (their school district is going back to remote learning after winter break) Marie and Justine especially enjoy the zoo websites and live cams… they love animals and nature. Its been wonderful grandma/granddaughter bonding time! – Parent

But even more delightful was learning that the girls and their grandmother wanted to share the joy by offering their own recommendation. They suggested a webpage on HIGHRISES that offers a narrative description of the San Diego Zoo and its history along with several external links. The HIGHRISES links were not researched or selected by the Enrichment Alliance, and their inclusion is not an endorsement, but I have included the link for those who want to view all of their listings. I’ve picked a few of their links that seem of particular interest and added them below. Thank you so much Justine, Marie, and GG. Our readers are going to love exploring the San Diego Zoo with you.

About Science: Games, activities, information, and quizzes for our future zoologists.

All About Bats I’ve linked this to the activities page, because they offer some really cool hands-on activities, but explore the videos as well. This is an older website, and there are no new videos up, but the information and activities are worthwhile.

Frog Watch USA: There’s no better time to become a volunteer frog monitor, since their activities begin in February.

The Mighty, Mighty Bison: Offers a video and information on bison, and links to information on other species.

Nasa Climate Kids. After learning about lemurs and the problems they face, you’ll want to scroll down the page and enjoy an array of activities and videos. This is an archived link, but explore newer pages while you visit this site.

Nature Conservancy of Australia: You’ll love the pictures of Kookaburras on the main page, but I’ve chosen to link you to their “get involved” page so you can adapt their wildlife garden ideas to support the amazing birds live in your part of the world.

National Geographic: Could anything be as AWWWWWWW inspiring as these koala videos?

Polar Bears International: Offers information on what YOU can do to protect polar bears.

Zoohackathon: Learn about how coding skills can help end wildlife trafficking.

This is NOT the San Diego Zoo, but when I read this morning that Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, mother and cub pandas, had made their webcam debut, I couldn’t resist adding The Washington Zoo panda cam.

Share your own ideas for out-of-school time enrichment and we’ll be thrilled to consider incorporating them into our blog. We will not endorse products or websites; we simply share information that appears appropriate, affordable, and inclusive.

Social Distancing Butterflies

May 18-19

Use materials from around the house to make a butterfly feeder. It might attract hummingbirds as well, although for hummingbirds you may need to position it differently. Craft foam is listed in the materials for the project, but we made ours without any. Use what you have on hand. That makes it YOUR project.

You’ll want to know who’s visiting your feeder, so try some of these identification activities, including the butterfly scavenger hunt.

All the butterflies you’ve been observing could serve as inspiration for some gorgeous art work. This Pinterest board is filled with butterfly themed arts and crafts activities suited to all ages.

Field Trips in Quarantine

May 4-5 Aquaria

(That’s the plural of aquarium not an astrological sign, in case you weren’t sure.)

As you may have heard by now, the penguins are taking field trips in aquaria (that’s the plural of aquarium. I just said that, right?) Join them on their tour of The Florida Aquarium.

Staff at The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores are working incredibly hard to keep young people engaged in learning about marine life during the pandemic with activities and an animal of the day. They even have a virtual bookshelf.

Now you know enough to make your own aquarium, and you don’t even need live animals to do it. Check out this Pinterest Board to get some ideas for making an aquarium diorama. Maybe you’ll want to make two aquariums. No wait, that’s aquaria.

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.