Fun Hands-on Learning To Do At Home

Welcome to a Hands-On Learning Adventure!

In Wisconsin 4-H, we believe in educational opportunities that involve youth in their own learning. We encourage critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making. We want youth to DO a hands-on activity, REFLECT on their experience, and APPLY what they learned in the current activity and beyond.

We also know that world events could prevent some of those things from happening. Let’s not let them!

We chose the resources on this page with busy parents, caregivers, and families in mind. We know there’s a lot coming at you all at once, so we took some time to go through a lot of possible activities, resources, and information. We only listed the ones we think are the best, in the current situation.

A team of Wisconsin 4-H educators from around the state created the following list of easy-to-access activities and curriculum. To save you time, energy, and unnecessary worry, we:

  • Filtered out many activities with hard-to-find supplies and those that needed a lot of adult supervision to be safe.
  • Included activities that encouraged some kind of safe social connection and/or involved getting out of the chair and moving.
  • Included high quality, inclusive, and accessible resources for all ages, including parents and caregivers.

Note: If you don’t have exactly the right materials at home, think about what you do have. Don’t have foam pipe insulation? Try a pool noodle. Don’t have colored construction paper? Use printer paper and encourage youth to color a design on it. Don’t have…? Well, you get the idea. 

We welcome your feedback! Which activities or resources did you love? Which did not work well for you? Why or why not? Complete the feedback form.

Icon Code for Resources Listed Below
SP = also translated into Spanish
SO = also translated into Somali
AR = also translated into Arabic
🍏 = does not meet all criteria, but is the best resource we can find on the subject right now

Resources for Grades K-2

4-H & Extension Resources

4-H Polymers—Youth will explore recycling and recycled materials with six hands-on activities. This curriculum is free for download (name and email required).

Cloverbud Activity Plans and Family Letters—SP (family letters)—Fun, hands-on, learning activities for youth in grades K-2 are available free from Wisconsin 4-H. Many of the activities use supplies that you might have lying around the house; some don’t need any supplies at all. Click Unlock Activities to get access to the whole curriculum and resources for you.

McKinley County 4-H STEAM Activities—4-H teens in Alabama use video to teach youth in grades 1-8 (plus links for high school youth) a wide range of science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities. A Facebook account is not required to access.

A Palette of Fun with Arts & Crafts—You and your children will have many artistic experiences with A Palette of Fun. All the activities focus on teaching the elements and principles of design and encourage developing skills for a lifetime. Enhance each art experience using the suggestion on the Palette at the beginning of each unit and sharing the “Art-i-facts”.

Heads In, Hearts In—The Heads In, Hearts In family enrichment program encourages families to use their minds as a tool to expand their knowledge around a variety of topic areas. By creating a shared educational experience, youth and their families will work, grow and learn together, putting their “hearts in” to the process. Find four packets on this page that include nearly 80 activities for youth and families.

Activities
Curriculum and Activity Series


STEM

Robot, Make Me a Sandwich—AR—Youth must create detailed instructions (they can say them out loud) for their robot to follow in order to make a sandwich. Because the robot follows the instructions exactly and literally, what do you think will happen? (Translation=Arabic)

NASA @ Home—Enjoy downloads and digital resources from NASA designed to help youth explore space from the safety of home.

 

MysteryScience Activities—SP—Youth ask questions. MysteryScience helps answer them. These video-based activities are organized by grade level and are offered in 15 minute or 45 minute segments.

 

Scratch Jr.—ScratchJr is an introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5-7) to create their own interactive stories and games. Youth snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing. Youth can modify characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, even insert photos of themselves— then use the programming blocks to make their characters come to life.


SP = also translated into Spanish
SO = also translated into Somali
AR = also translated into Arabic
🍏 = does not meet all criteria, but is the best resource we can find on the subject right now

Resources for Grades 3-5

4-H & Extension Resources

4-H Cloth Face Coverings Activity Plan—SP, SO—During times of disease outbreak, preventing the accidental spread of a virus protects everyone. Youth can help to prevent the spread by sewing cloth face coverings. Using this service learning activity plan, youth can get involved in this important project. Educators and families can support them in doing so safely. Wisconsin 4-H developed the Cloth Face Coverings Activity Plan as part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension.

  • For youth who want to learn how to sew in order to participate in this activity, the free Discover 4-H Sewing 🍏 curriculum from Utah Extension is a helpful place to start. Name and email required for download.

What’s So Special about Water? Activities—Youth will explore water in four different hands-on, fun activities using simple materials. Water in its many forms and with its many properties will delight and amaze with games, activities, and experiments.

STEM Grab-n-Go Activities: 4-H Grows Scientists—These quick activities were designed to take 15 minutes or less to complete using simple materials. Youth become scientists as they explore bee buzzers, homemade hand warmers, color-changing milk, and more.

4-H Knitting Handbook—🍏—Helping youth learn a skill such as knitting can be a real challenge as well as a gratifying experience. Some youth will master the skill easily, while others will struggle. Youth who are taught to knit learn so much more than just “stitches.” They learn problem solving and math skills. Their reading, motor skills and eye-hand coordination are enhanced. It is an opportunity to develop decision making abilities and learn skills that can give pleasure throughout a lifetime. They find an outlet for their creativity which builds self-confidence and self-esteem.

STEM Guides—Utah 4-H developed a wide range of camp guides that provide days of fun in each free download (name, email, phone, and state required). While many more guides can be found on this page, most, but not all, activities in the following guides use common household supplies.

  • Slimy, Gooey, Gross—Youth will enjoy fun, hands-on activities that teach basic science principles. They’ll explore slimy, gooey, gross science while they conduct all kinds of icky, sticky experiments! Get ready to be playing in some slimy, yucky science fun.
  • Island Adventures—Youth will travel to a remote, secret island and explore ocean and coastal life, including otters, manatees, polar bears, and whales. They will use maps to study the island and learn about island survival by building shelters and finding fresh water! They also get to be Pirates for a day!
  • Forces of Nature—Earthquakes, floods, fire, and extreme weather are all part of an exciting week exploring the earth! In this five day camp, campers will also build and test bridges, weather instruments, and other hands-on activities through exploration and experimentation. The Forces of Nature Camp is a camp designed for grades 3-5, but could be adapted to fit many age ranges.
  • Planet Energy—Youth will learn about the powers of light, motion, and heat energy. We’ll be launching a solar balloon, working with magnetism, experiencing solar energy, learning more about nature, and conducting energizing hands-on experiments!
  • An Unfortunate Camp—Youth will explore the science behind inventions, study reptiles, and get creative with new projects. Youth will learn through exploration and experimentation. This guide is based on the first three books from the book series A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Living Room Learning—Tune in every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at 2:00 PM CT/1:00 PM MT for Nebraska 4-H’s Living Room Learning! Each day, youth will participate in a hands-on virtually guided activity where they will learn about healthy living, science, technology, and more! Each session will focus on a new activity that can be done with materials found at home. Each session will be recorded and made available for on-demand viewing. Youth do not need to be 4-H members to participate.

Activities
Curriculum and Activity Series


Livestock Lessons 2020 is a new animal science experience for Wisconsin youth.  Giving a Livestock Lesson is an opportunity for you to share your learning with others and to teach others about animal sciences.

STEM

Robot, Make Me a Sandwich—AR—Youth must create detailed instructions for their robot to follow in order to make a sandwich. Because the robot follows the instructions exactly and literally, what do you think will happen? (Translation=Arabic)

 

Make a Marble Roller Coaster—Youth use foam pipe insulation (or a pool noodle) to create a roller coaster for a marble. It’s a fun way to learn about energy, gravity, and physics.

 

Build a Paper Airplane Launcher—This activity brings paper airplanes to a whole new level. Youth learn about energy, engineering, physics, and more.

 

Flying Stick Chain Reaction—Youth will want to set up and watch this chain reaction again and again. It’s an exciting way to learn about physics and energy.

 

Build a Wind-Powered Car—Youth engineer their own small car powered by the wind as they learn about physics and forces.

 

Make a Colorful DNA Double-Helix—Youth become biologists studying and creating a double-helix of DNA to learn about our bodies’ building blocks.

 

Ready… Aim… Energize! Cotton Ball Launcher—Using simple materials, youth create a launcher… of cotton balls. How far can they make cotton balls fly?

 

Make Your Drawings Float—AR—Where art meets science… youth can draw pictures with dry erase markers that float on water.

 

Make a Toy Sailboat —AR—It’s time to set sail! Even if youth don’t live near a lake or ocean, they will get to do some sailing in this science activity as they build their own toy sailboat. Don’t let it capsize!

NASA @ Home—Grades K-4—Enjoy downloads and digital resources from NASA designed to help youth explore space from the safety of home.

 

NASA @ Home—Grades 5-8—Enjoy downloads and digital resources from NASA designed to help youth explore space from the safety of home.

 

MysteryScience Activities—Youth ask questions. MysteryScience helps answer them. These video-based activities are organized by grade level and are offered in 15 minute or 45 minute segments.

 

Hour of Code—The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Check out the tutorials and activities. This grassroots campaign is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide.


SP = also translated into Spanish
SO = also translated into Somali
AR = also translated into Arabic
🍏 = does not meet all criteria, but is the best resource we can find on the subject right now

Resources for Grades 6-8

4-H & Extension Resources

4-H Cloth Face Coverings Activity Plan—SP, SO—During times of disease outbreak, preventing the accidental spread of a virus protects everyone. Youth can help to prevent the spread by sewing cloth face coverings. Using this service learning activity plan, youth can get involved in this important project. Educators and families can support them in doing so safely. Wisconsin 4-H developed the Cloth Face Coverings Activity Plan as part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension.

  • For youth who want to learn how to sew in order to participate in this activity, the free Discover 4-H Sewing 🍏 curriculum from Utah Extension is a helpful place to start. Name and email required for download.

Boredom Buster Challenge—Tune in every Monday and Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 PM CT/1:00 PM MT for Nebraska 4-H’s Boredom Buster Challenge! Each week, youth will be given a problem to solve using materials found in their home. On Monday, we will introduce the challenge, and on Wednesday, we will introduce exciting twists and turns! Through these hands-on virtually guided challenges youth will learn about entrepreneurship, healthy living, science, technology, and more! Each session will be recorded and made available for on-demand viewing. Youth do not need to be 4-H members to participate.

4-H Knitting Handbook—🍏—Helping youth learn a skill such as knitting can be a real challenge as well as a gratifying experience. Some youth will master the skill easily, while others will struggle. Youth who are taught to knit learn so much more than just “stitches.” They learn problem solving and math skills. Their reading, motor skills and eye-hand coordination are enhanced. It is an opportunity to develop decision making abilities and learn skills that can give pleasure throughout a lifetime. They find an outlet for their creativity which builds self-confidence and self-esteem.

Activities
Curriculum and Activity Series


Livestock Lessons 2020 is a new animal science experience for Wisconsin youth.  Giving a Livestock Lesson is an opportunity for you to share your learning with others and to teach others about animal sciences.

 

Make a Marble Roller Coaster—Youth use foam pipe insulation (or a pool noodle) to create a roller coaster for a marble. It’s a fun way to learn about energy, gravity, and physics.

 

Build a Paper Airplane Launcher—This activity brings paper airplanes to a whole new level. Youth learn about energy, engineering, physics, and more.

 

Shaky Science: Build a Seismograph—AR—Scientists study earthquakes so we can understand and predict them better. Youth will learn about one of the tools scientists use to measure the strength of an earthquake—and build a machine using simple materials.

 

Lift Water Uphill—AR—Can you think of a way to make water run uphill—without using electricity? In this activity youth will build your own hand-powered Archimedes screw from simple materials.

 

Surviving the Stormy Seas—AR—It’s one thing to build a boat that can stay afloat in calm water—but what about one that can survive large waves in a storm? Youth will build aluminum foil boats to carry pennies as cargo and test them in waves!

 

Atom Touch – Atom Touch is a simulation for fifth grade through early high school, players can add and subtract atoms from molecules and explore different types of atomic bonds and states of matter. The online game, which is free to access, is aligned to academic standards, and comes with lessons for the student, was designed by UW-Madison materials science and engineering professor, Dane Morgan.

 

Crystal Cave – Crystal Cave features a cast of kid characters who hang out in a junkyard and use games to understand concepts (informed by the work of UW–Madison scientists) including the water cycle, earthquakes, antibiotic resistance and other topics. The online game is free to access, is aligned to academic standards, and comes with lessons for the student.

 

Lost at the Forever Mine – Lost at the Forever Mine puts players in the shoes of intergalactic materials scientists who crash land on an abandoned mining planet. Their goal is to mine and process enough fuel to stay alive and eventually repair the ship. Over the course of the adventure game, students must create mathematical models in order to allocate their time and resources. Along the way, there are cute robots that drop by. The online game is free to access, is aligned to academic standards, and comes with lessons for the student.

 

Lakeland – In Lakeland, aimed at high school students, players start from the beginning, attempting to grow a town near a lake without degrading the water quality. That means managing a complex system, correctly placing houses, farms and dairies in places that won’t affect the lake while also judiciously using fertilizer to produce enough corn and milk to export and feed the local population.The online game is free to access, is aligned to academic standards, and comes with lessons for the student.

Ogichidaa Storytellers Education Materials—The purpose of these materials is to support the use of the Ogichidaa Storytellers Videos in grades 6–12 classrooms. Included are enduring understandings and essential questions to frame learning, extension activities to connect the past to the present and the future, a glossary of key vocabulary words, and lesson ideas for the six Ogichidaa Storytellers Videos. Watch the videos and download the guide below to learn more.

 

Science with a Smartphone—AR—Youth can use a smartphone to create each of the following scientific experiments:

NASA @ Home—Grades 5-8—Enjoy downloads and digital resources from NASA designed to help youth explore space from the safety of home.

 

Hour of Code—The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Check out the tutorials and activities. This grassroots campaign is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide.


SP = also translated into Spanish
SO = also translated into Somali
AR = also translated into Arabic
🍏 = does not meet all criteria, but is the best resource we can find on the subject right now

Resources for Grades 9+

4-H & Extension Resources

4-H Cloth Face Coverings Activity Plan—SP, SO—During times of disease outbreak, preventing the accidental spread of a virus protects everyone. Youth can help to prevent the spread by sewing cloth face coverings. Using this service learning activity plan, youth can get involved in this important project. Educators and families can support them in doing so safely. Wisconsin 4-H developed the Cloth Face Coverings Activity Plan as part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension.

  • For youth who want to learn how to sew in order to participate in this activity, the free Discover 4-H Sewing 🍏 curriculum from Utah Extension is a helpful place to start. Name and email required for download.

Service LearningUtah 4-H developed a resource to guide youth through a service learning process. It’s designed as a club, but while physical distancing, youth could work individually alone or meet online to design a service project. They may need to be creative in planning a distance service project or planning ahead for a time when physical distancing is no longer required. In this resource, youth will learn valuable skills while doing service for others. In the first section, youth will learn what service learning is and will choose the community that they want to serve. Download by clicking the image at the bottom of the page.

4-H Knitting Handbook—🍏—Helping youth learn a skill such as knitting can be a real challenge as well as a gratifying experience. Some youth will master the skill easily, while others will struggle. Youth who are taught to knit learn so much more than just “stitches.” They learn problem solving and math skills. Their reading, motor skills and eye-hand coordination are enhanced. It is an opportunity to develop decision making abilities and learn skills that can give pleasure throughout a lifetime. They find an outlet for their creativity which builds self-confidence and self-esteem.

Activities
Curriculum and Activity Series


Art Lab Extended – An opportunity for high-school aged youth across Wisconsin to lean about and share their art through monthly video conferences.

 

Livestock Lessons 2020 is a new animal science experience for Wisconsin youth.  Giving a Livestock Lesson is an opportunity for you to share your learning with others and to teach others about animal sciences.

 

Lost at the Forever Mine – Lost at the Forever Mine puts players in the shoes of intergalactic materials scientists who crash land on an abandoned mining planet. Their goal is to mine and process enough fuel to stay alive and eventually repair the ship. Over the course of the adventure game, students must create mathematical models in order to allocate their time and resources. Along the way, there are cute robots that drop by. The online game is free to access, is aligned to academic standards, and comes with lessons for the student.

 

Lakeland – In Lakeland, aimed at high school students, players start from the beginning, attempting to grow a town near a lake without degrading the water quality. That means managing a complex system, correctly placing houses, farms and dairies in places that won’t affect the lake while also judiciously using fertilizer to produce enough corn and milk to export and feed the local population.The online game is free to access, is aligned to academic standards, and comes with lessons for the student.

NASA @ Home—Grades 9-12—Enjoy downloads and digital resources from NASA designed to help youth explore space from the safety of home.

 

Khan Academy—Get started with an introduction to programming. From there, the sky’s the limit. Explore tons of computing opportunities on Khan Academy’s website.


SP = also translated into Spanish
SO = also translated into Somali
AR = also translated into Arabic
🍏 = does not meet all criteria, but is the best resource we can find on the subject right now

Resources for All Ages

4-H & Extension Resources

Earth Stories Exchange – The Earth Stories Exchange is simple. Write a story about something you did outside, share it with us, and we’ll send you a story back, like pen pals! Examples of earth stories are provided. It’s simple to do; just click the link and follow the steps. This activity is from our friends at Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center.

Recommended 4-H Livestock Activities and Resources—Youth involved in the 4-H Livestock projects in Wisconsin can find high-quality resources and current information here. Most resources are designed for youth in grades 3 and older, though activities for youth in grades K-2 are being added.

4-H at Home Activities – 4-H at Home provides critical learning resources for kids and teens while they’re home from school during COVID-19. Explore this page to receive hands-on, educational activities, including our latest 4-H at Home Activity Guide and Shop 4-H curriculum to help inspire young people to do, learn, and grow.

4-H Healthy Living Activity Guide—Explore and try 30 healthy living activities using this easy-to-use guide. Perfect for family time, these activities focus on resilience, physical activity, healthy eating, and more. Click the link, fill in the short form, and download free.

4-H Inspire Kids to Do Activity Guide—4-H empowers kids to grow into True Leaders through inspirational, hands-on learning experiences. Explore this page to receive hands-on, educational activity ideas for kids and teens, including our latest 4-H activity guides to help inspire even more young people to do, learn, and grow.

4-H STEM Lab—More than STEM activities (despite the name), youth from grades 3-12 will find activities for them. In addition to STEM, there are financial and digital literacy activities too.

Discover 4-H Curriculum—Utah 4-H developed a wide range of camp guides that provide days of fun in each free download (name, email, phone, and state required). While many more guides can be found on this page, most, but not all, activities in the following guides use common household supplies.

  • Forces of Nature—Youth will explore earthquakes, water, ice, flooding, volcanoes, and weather-related disasters.
  • Paper Crafts—Youth learn to create through scrapbooking, card and journal making, origami, recycled paper, and paper mache.
  • Fitness—Youth will learn about different kinds of fitness, including aerobic activity, strength building, flexibility and balance, and activities they use to practice and enjoy fitness in their lives.
  • Kitchen Science—Youth will get to try 11 fun and hands-on kitchen science experiments.
  • Environmental Science and Citizenship—Youth will learn about nature where they live, wetlands, watersheds, ecosystems and more.

84 easy science lessons you can do at home—Are you a teacher or parent trying to find some lessons that could be done at home? Try one of these 84 science activities from MSU Extension using supplies you probably already have around the house.

PBS Learning Media—🍏—PBS and your local station have curated FREE, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans, and more. Many are designed for teachers to use with students, but they are easy enough for youth to navigate on their own. Sign-in may be needed to access some lesson and activities.

Activities
Curriculum and Activity Series


 
Wonderopolis—Welcome to Wonderopolis®, a place where natural curiosity and imagination lead to exploration and discovery in learners of all ages. Each day, we pose an intriguing question—the Wonder of the Day®—and explore it in a variety of ways.

 

Bird Academy Learning Games—Youth (age 6 or older) will find interactive learning games, quiz games, virtual experiences, and interactive tutorials to bring out the bird lover in each of them.


SP = also translated into Spanish
SO = also translated into Somali
AR = also translated into Arabic
🍏 = does not meet all criteria, but is the best resource we can find on the subject right now

Resources for Parents/Caregivers and Families

4-H & Extension Resources

Extension Responds to COVID-19—Extension has pulled resources together in one place. These resources fall under a number of different topics you can use during the pandemic. Here are a few of the resource categories:

  • For Families—Learn more about how to talk with your children about COVID-19, staying connected, keeping it fun at home together, and more.
  • Health and Wellness—This page includes nutrition, physical activity, sanitizing your home and more.
  • Personal FinancesSP—The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is impacting households, communities, and businesses. One in three households in the US have already had their income cut or stopped altogether, as reported by a national Pew Research Center survey from March 24. The frequently asked questions on this page highlight some common financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Well-Being Toolkit and Resources—The UW-Madison Center for Healthy Minds has put together a just-in-time kit of resources, practices, and information for parents, caregivers, and the whole family. Check out events, resources, apps, videos, and much more.

Parents/Caregivers as Teachers

Teaching STEM—These interactive online learning modules provide the basics to volunteers and staff to increase their knowledge and skills to target learning outcomes, provide reflection on that learning and integrate the application of it into all activities.

Essential Elements Online Course—Click the link to register for the course. The course takes approximately 1 hour to complete. Participants will learn about the four Essential Elements of positive youth development—Belonging, Independence, Mastery, and Generosity—as well as how to support each of those elements in working with young people. You will receive confirmation of registration and access to the course within 1-2 business days.

SP = also translated into Spanish
SO = also translated into Somali
AR = also translated into Arabic
🍏 = does not meet all criteria, but is the best resource we can find on the subject right now

 

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