Answers for “Mom, I’m bored!”

Penn State Behrend’s Youth Education Outreach offers ideas to educate and entertain kids over winter

By Heather Cass, publications manager, Penn State Behrend

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In a normal year, most of us would have a December calendar bulging with holiday events, activities, and to-dos. But, this year, of course, the majority of community events have been canceled, big holiday parties prohibited, and travel anywhere discouraged.

Add to this the fact that most schools are extending holiday break or going remote to control the spread of COVID and parents are working from home or working reduced hours.

All of this means that many of us will have a lot of family time on our hands in the next several weeks. As any parent will tell you, that is both wonderful and terrifying.

But Penn State Behrend’s Youth Education Outreach (YEO) program, the folks who work to engage thousands of kids on campus for weeks every summer in College for Kids, aren’t scared. They know a thing or two about educating young people with activities that are so much fun they don’t even realize they are learning important concepts in STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.

We asked the members of the YEO team to put together a little holiday/winter toolkit for parents, and they came through with lots of websites where you can find activities to while away many a winter day.

Sites to explore

We have provided a link to a specific activity or list of ideas, but each of these sites offers a wide variety of experiments, crafts, and fun. Just click around.

Build some (hot cocoa) bombs

Baking is food science. Learn how to whip up the hottest new holiday treats – hot chocolate bombs – here.  Not into hot cocoa? Here are more ways to teach science through baking.

Crafting with STEAM concepts

Go on a wild GooseChase

Join Behrend’s Winter Wonderland GooseChase game, which runs through March. GooseChase is a free application for your smartphone. Create an account, join the game (code is JW1DB1), and start checking off the “missions” posted. Tasks include building a Nittany Lion snowman, er…snowlion;  constructing a LEGO winter scene; making an ice lantern, and much more. As your family completes the missions, post a photo or video and then check that mission off as completed. More missions will be added throughout the duration of the game. You can find step-by-step instruction for joining and playing GooseChase here.

 

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