Just For Fun
Welcome to our #JustForFun page. We found a number of fun third-party sites with engaging activities that students and families can enjoy together at home. Please note that it’s important to look at sites as a family or supervise your child’s use of the internet.
Books, Stories, and Libraries
- Students who do not yet have a Minuteman Library Network card can get an ecard using this link. Once registered, they can immediately access digital materials such as audiobooks, movies, and ebooks for FREE. Hoopla, Libby, and Kanopy offer tremendous selections. Learn more at the Somerville Public Library's digital resource page.
- The Art Institute of Chicago has free creative writing prompts to help jump start a story by budding authors ages 7 and up.
- Listen to staff at the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture read stories and share museum objects related to the books.
- Read a graphic novel online for free through the Virtual Library Comic Convention. Search by subject or reader age on their curated list.
- Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, uses his video series Grab the Mic: Tell Your Story to inspire kids and teens to write their own stories.
- Folger Shakespeare Library has a kids’ page with fun scripts and history, and compliments as well as insults from the Bard.
- Read, draw, watch, and do other activities with Dav Pilkey, author of the famous Dog Man and Captain Underpants series.
- GrubStreet's Young Artist Writing Program has several free virtual creative writing classes for high school students on Saturdays this summer.
- Visit the TumbleMath site to read math picture books, complete with animation and narration (User Name somerville / Password reads).
- Choose from 1000s of Audible's audio books in several languages.
- Somerville High School students can log in and read books on the Sora app on their computer or phone.
- Watch Cozy Arts Production's Cozy Corner puppet videos.
Engineering, Science, and Exploration
- Build a cardboard box arcade like Caine’s Arcade.
- The Harvard Museums of Science & Culture have launched new at-home resources, such as a deep dive into Extraordinary Things in their collections. There are also story times, podcasts, and many free as well as fee-based activities throughout the summer at HMSC Connects.
- Become a citizen scientist with one of these 75 scientific research projects you can do from home, such as categorizing wild beluga whales or tracking giraffes in Kenya.
- From the National Academy of Engineering, EngineerGirl has engineering design challenges to try at home.
- Try Bedtime Math for fun games, videos, and activities for kids preK-grade 5.
- Make some gooey slime or try one of these other home science experiments.
- Watch a video from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum about the invention of the airplane, or tour their “Women in Aviation History” exhibit.
- Crack secret codes and do a scavenger hunt with National Geographic Kids.
- Take an 8 day trip in under an hour for a virtual visit the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions: Part I, Part II.
- Try out some open coursework, like building your own app at MIT Full STEAM Ahead.
- Learn about space, the universe, and the technology needed to explore it with NASA at Home.
- Dream up and design your own theme park through a free online program created in partnership with the Khan Academy and Pixar.
Learn about communities, people, history
- Check out this short video from Smithsonian Magazine on how soap box racing became a national craze in America in the 1930s.
- Learn about the U.S. government and how it works, with Ben Franklin as the guide. Includes games such as “Place the States,” and learning adventures. For ages 4-18.
- Learn about farming and meet Canadian farming families.
- Learn about one of the more than one thousand UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Brazil’s Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves or the Maya Site of Copan in Honduras.
- Learn about Canada's Indigenous Culture from these free documentary films.
- Watch from home these 13 Virtual Train Rides From Around the World.
- Visit the Library of Congress’s exhibit “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote” to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, where women obtained the right to vote in the United States.
- Play free geography games, in multiple languages.
- Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture and its exhibit The Wiz: The Supersoul Musical ‘Wizard of Oz’, or check out their exhibit on writer James Baldwin.
- Listen to music from around the world on the Global Jukebox.
- Try a Duck Boat-themed crossword puzzle and maze, or match an invention to its Massachusetts inventor.
The Natural World
- NEW 7/6. Try out the "OLogy Page" from the American Museum of Natural History, where kids can explore topics like dinosaurs, archaeology, and climate change.
- Learn about local nature experiences you can have right here in Somerville with Mass Audubon.
- Learn the science of how fireflies light up, and watch them flicker in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- Scuba dive in the Sea of Cortez.
- The Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas has virtual tours, habitat information, and species information.
- Visit the polar bear capital of the world, Churchill, Manitoba.
- Count Herring for the Mystic River Watershed Association during their annual Herring Migration Volunteer Counting. It started in mid-April and is appropriate for middle schoolers and older. Requires a sign in.
- Check out these fun forest, jungle, and ocean webcams from around the world:
- What are the Giant Pandas doing at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute today? Take a peek with the Giant Panda Live Webcams.
- Watch wildlife in nature around the world.
- Watch chimps, giraffes, gorillas, and more on the Houston Zoo Live Webcams.
- Visit the Vancouver Aquarium's Live Webcams, including sea otters and jellyfish.
- Watch Webcams at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or try their suggested activities, and don't miss the Live Sea Otter Webcam.
- See the National Aquarium in Baltimore's Live Cams.
- Visit museums, zoos, gardens, and parks virtually:
- Explore the Kids’ Corner of the Franklin Park and Stone Zoos. Learn about honey bees, giant anteaters, watch daily videos, and more.
- The New England Aquarium in Boston has virtual activities and behind-the-scenes videos on caring for their animals.
- Learn about coral reefs and pandas through The Nature Conservancy.
- Learn about all types of animals from the San Diego Zoo.
- Visit The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History exhibit halls.
- Tour Yellowstone National Park.
Get Moving! Get Mindful!
- NEW 7/6. Active for Life offers fun tips and suggestions on how to keep active during the summer.
- The YMCA has free, online kid-specific videos of activities like yoga, dance, and cardio to get kids moving.
- Take a dance break with these KidzBop videos.
- Use materials at home, such as canned food and pillowcases, to get moving with Mike Morris.
- Mindfulness and movement activities and videos from GoNoodle.
- Follow a workout with the NBA’s Langston Galloway as your guide.
- Try some of these movement and mindfulness video-led activities for young children from Moovlee (with a cartoon monkey as the guide).
- Try a free West African, salsa, or hip hop dance class with New York’s Ailey Extension School.
- Join a member of the Big Apple Circus and his dog and learn to juggle using household items, like plastic shopping bags.
- Try super hero yoga with an animated monkey, for kids.
- Try yoga, especially for teens.
- Five minute workout videos for kids that can be done at home.
- Yoga and mindfulness exercises for elementary school and PreKindergarten kids.
Music at Home with Somerville Public School Educators
- Sing and dance along with the SPS Music and Theatre Arts Department. It's "Sir Duke," written by Stevie Wonder, produced by SHS Band Director Jess Destramp. It is dedicated to all of our students who are using Music and the Arts to help lift spirits and provide comfort and solidarity during this time.
- Sing along with Mr. McLean.
- Sing along with Mr. Darrell.
- Sing along with Ms. Ward.
Music at Home
- Explore the Smithsonian’s Folkways online recordings of music from around the world.
- Sing along with Sesame Street.
- Play a virtual piano.
- Write songs and share them with a friend.
- Take music theory lessons with Teoria or Music Theory.
- Online lessons for more advanced students.
- Learn the history of several classical composers, with information about their composing styles.
Music and Dance Performances
- Watch the amazing Alvin Ailey Dance Company’s full length performances, dance clips, or follow a dance workshop online led by Ailey instructors.
- Watch and listen to the full concert, “The Music of Miles Davis---Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.”
- Listen to the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Concert for Our City. Or take a virtual lesson with and watch performances of BSO musicians from their homes.
- Get an insider's look at the London Symphony Orchestra and its performances.
- Watch free performance streams from The Metropolitan Opera.
Make Art! Learn about Art!
- NEW 7/6. The National Museum of Women in the Arts’s NMWA@Home has virtual scavenger hunts, a coloring book, and more.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s #metkids has a “time machine” for kids to explore art from different time periods and around the world.
- Creativebug offers over 100 prerecorded arts and crafts classes specifically for kids. There is a 30-day free trial and it is fee-based afterward. Or access Creativebug for FREE with your Somerville Public Library card.
- Visit of one of Boston’s newest museums, the MassArt Art Museum (MAAM), and take one of their virtual drawing classes.
- Get inspired to create your own masterpiece as illustrator Mo Willems and cellist Yo-Yo Ma work together in The Yo-Yo Mo Show: An Evening of Musical Doodling.
- Try one of these art projects from An Illustrated Guide: 5 Art Projects To Try During Social Distancing by Sarah Urist Green of PBS’s “The Art Assignment.”
- Learn about illustrating and producing comic books with author Nathan Hale.
- Visit London’s Tate Gallery and create some virtual street art, make some Pop Art, and take a quiz to redesign your bedroom.
- Learn about modern art, take free courses, and watch videos about modern artists from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
- Visit Tokyo’s MORI Building Digital Art Museum and watch immersive videos that take you inside the museum’s exhibits.
- Create your own abstract watercolor or bird's-eye view drawing, suggested by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
- Visit the Guggenheim Museum in New York, take a kid's illustration class, and more.
- Get inspiration from Somerville's own Beautiful Stuff Project's activity videos to create toy binoculars or make a treasure box.
- Draw along with children’s book author and illustrator Rob Biddulph. Try drawing a unicorn or a Gregosaurus.
- Take free online college-level classes for interested high school students.
Family Games and Activities
- The National Park Foundation has many activities families can do together from home. Or watch their Irresistibly Cute Baby Animals in National Parks video.
- Try an outdoor family scavenger hunt.
- New England's own Green City Growers has home gardening activities for the entire family, using everyday materials.
- Try cooking together as a family with these kid-friendly recipes from Chop Chop Family.
- Games you can plan with just paper and pencil.
- Kid-friendly card games.
- Somerville’s own Candlewick Press has several activities and games centered around the Where’s Waldo? book series.
- The National Wildlife Federation has crafts, recipes, and outdoor activity suggestions on its Ranger Rick page.
- Learn how to create your own board game from PBS Kids.
Kindness and Self-Care
- Try these 8 tips for helping children with anxiety about Covid-19.
- Check out Sesame Street’s Caring for Each Other resources such as videos, games, and art projects. For example, learn how to Belly Breathe with Rosita or learn how to Self Hug with Abby Cadabby.
- Watch Kindness 101 videos from Steve Hartman (and his kids!); he’s a veteran reporter with CBS News.
- First Aid for Feelings: A Workbook to Help Kids Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic