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, & 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.
- Write the World is a global online writing community for teens ages 13-18 to write, share, and publish their work.
- 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.
- Grub Street's Young Adult Writers Program has several free and fee-based virtual creative writing classes for students ages 13-18.
- Somerville High School students can log in and read books on the Sora app on their computer or phone.
Engineering, Science, & Exploration
- Explore the Museum of Science’s Science Behind Pixar exhibit virtually.
- Try fun, free coding games, Blockly Games, for students 6 and older.
- Ted Ed lets students search for subjects to explore more deeply. Try A Day as a Teenage Samurai and Why Cities Need Trees.
- Science Buddies has STEM activities that use materials found around the house.
- Science News for Students has articles for students in grades 9-12, such as how bats "see" and how solar panels work.
- Try a STEM activity, watch a daily live stream, or check out a virtual exhibit with Museum of Science at Home.
- The Harvard Museums of Science & Culture have story times, podcasts, and many free as well as fee-based virtual activities through HMSC Connects.
- Become a citizen scientist from home with one of 75 scientific research projects, 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.
Learn about Communities, People, History
- NEW 7/9. Explore Boston's Freedom Trail and its history at your own pace.
- Visit the Library of Congress exhibit “Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words” to learn more about her lifetime of activism.
- Visit the National Museum of African American Heritage’s exhibit, "Double Victory: The African American Military Experience."
- KidCitizen is a social studies tool for K-5 students to work with primary source photographs to explore Congress and civic engagement.
- Try an interactive history game for grades 6-8, "Mission US: City of Immigrants," or "For Crown or Colony?"
- 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.
- Play free geography games, in multiple languages.
The Natural World
- NEW 7/7. The Somerville Community Growing Center has a full calendar of family-friendly events and activities this summer, including live music performances and open play times.
- NEW 7/7. Make an outdoor summer walk fun with activity suggestions from Mass Audubon.
- Sign up for Earth School, a free website for students 5-18. A partnership between the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and TED-Ed, its videos, reading materials, and activities focus on science and the environment.
- Try out the "OLogy Page" from the American Museum of Natural History, where kids can explore topics like dinosaurs, archaeology, and climate change.
- The Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas has virtual tours, habitat information, and species information.
- Check out these live webcams from forests, jungles, zoos, and oceans around the world:
- Visit Stellwagen Bank for a New England Aquarium Whale Watch.
- What are the giant pandas doing with their baby cub at the Smithsonian National Zoo 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Get Moving! Get Mindful!
- Create an indoor obstacle course.
- BOKS Canada’s videos have active exercises to follow, like an Alphabet Relay.
- KIDDO at Home has videos to keep kids ages 3-8 active at home.
- Focused on workouts for tween and teen girls, try one of several FitSpirit videos.
- Active for Life offers fun tips and suggestions on how to keep active.
- Take a dance break with these KidzBop videos, including "Havana" and "Rain on Me."
- Use materials at home, such as canned food and pillowcases, to get moving with Mike Morris.
- 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 yoga, especially for teens.
- Five minute workout videos for kids that can be done at home.
- Yoga and mindfulness exercises with Cosmic Kids videos, for elementary school and PreKindergarten kids.
Music at Home
- Explore the Smithsonian’s Folkways online recordings of music from around the world.
- Listen to music from around the world on the Global Jukebox. Sign in required.
- 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.
Music & Dance Performances
- Stream a short performance from Lincoln Center’s #ConcertsforKids, such as The String Queens or La Mezcla.
- Explore live as well as thousands of recorded dance and musical performances from the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts.
- Listen to the talented students from Berklee College of Music’s #Berklee Anywhere concert series, like this cover of “Stuck with U.”
- Watch Alvin Ailey Dance Company’s performances.
- Watch and listen to the full concert, “The Music of Miles Davis---Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.”
Make Art! Learn about Art!
- Take a virtual tour of Frida Kahlo’s art studio and home, Casa Azul.
- Brookline Arts Center has step-by-step arts activities categorized by age.
- Try one of the Peabody Essex Museum’s virtual drop-in art activities and guided videos.
- Visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art virtually to see the studios of 21 children’s book illustrators.
- Learn how to draw Snoopy, Franklin, and Charlie Brown, or try these activities from the Charles M. Shultz Museum.
- Learn how to knit with these step-by-step videos from We are Knitters.
- 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 pre-recorded 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.
- Create your own abstract watercolor or bird's-eye view drawing, suggested by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
Family Games & Activities
- Try a family-friendly Exploratorium science "snack" like seeing inside a seed or making a straw oboe.
- Visit the Guggenheim Museum for art activities families can do together.
- The Whitney Museum of American Art has Kids Art Challenges for kids and grown-ups to do together.
- The MIT Museum has a list of STEAM activities that families can do together at home, like creating your own invention box.
- Pick a video or art activity to do together from the Museum of Modern Art.
- NASA at Home has experiments, videos, crafts, and games for kids and families to do together.
- The Mommy Poppins website has Boston-area destinations for families and fun home activities.
- The Mystic River Watershed Association has family-friendly activities to learn more about this local natural resource. Try to make your own river or search for our state bird.
- The Food Literacy Center offers hands-on, kid-friendly healthy cooking videos and recipes for families to try together.
- 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.
- 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 & Self-Care for Students
- Read "Four Things Teens Should Keep Doing Post-Pandemic" from the Center for Parent and Teen Communication.
- Free Calm.com Meditations have something for everyone to reduce stress. Also available in Spanish and Portuguese.
- Listen to or read “How to Help Your Kids Reframe Their Anxiety and Reclaim Their Superpowers.”
- Get some tips to help your whole family’s mental health during the pandemic in this UNICEF interview with adolescent psychology expert Dr. Lisa Lamour.
- Handhold is a mental health resource put out by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, with a special focus on families.
- Try a Mind Yeti mindfulness video for young children. The Mind Yeti series in Spanish is also available.
- The Center for Parent and Teen Communication has self-care resources such as a Guide for Teens to Take Instant Vacations or how to Build a Teen Stress Management Plan.
- Johns Hopkins Children’s Center has coping resources for parents, caregivers, and children in multiple languages.
- Use these tips on "Talking Through Feelings: Family Conversation Starters."
- 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.
- First Aid for Feelings: A Workbook to Help Kids Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Kindness & Self-Care for Parents & Guardians
- Try one of the quick tips in this PBS article: “Managing Emotions as Parents.”
- This bears repeating: "It’s OK to Be a Good Enough Parent Right Now."
- The Fred Rogers Center has put together a list of coping resources for parents and caregivers.
- McLean Hospital has *free* mental health and wellness webinars on stress reduction, sleep hygiene, and more. Access their library of topics or join one live.
- Read Mental Health America’s “Maintaining Hope in the Face of Uncertainty.”
- The Child Mind Institute has tips for "Self-Care in the Time of Coronavirus," also en Espanol at "El autocuidado en los tiempos del coronavirus."
- Read the Center for Parent and Teen Communication's "Why Parents Need Self-Compassion During the Coronavirus Pandemic."