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Entertaining and Engaging STEM Experiments For Kids To Do At Home!

Being home from school doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! Samy Bindra from Mad Science of Denver has some guilt-free tips on how you can keep kids entertained at home all while learning science.

Here are some hands-on DIY experiments that are perfect for exploring science that you and the kids will love doing together with supplies you can find lying around your house.

1.) Ghost Bubbles | Try this at Home!

Supplies:

  • Corn syrup
  • Dish soap
  • Jar
  • Marker
  • Chenille stem (pipe cleaner)
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Water
  • Measuring Cup
  • Safety Note: Do not drink the mixture.

What you do:

Step 1: Pour 240mL (1 cup) of dishwashing soap, 120mL (½ cup) of corn syrup, and 60mL (¼ cup) of water into the jar.

Step 2: Slowly mix the three liquids together with the spoon. Do not mix quickly, otherwise bubbles will form.

Step 3: Wrap a chenille stem end around a marker to make a bubble wand. Slide the chenille stem off the marker, and twist the stem on itself.

Step 4: Dip the wand loop into the solution. Wait for five seconds the first time you do this to let the bristles soak up the solution.

Step 5: Remove the wand from the solution and blow through the loop. What do you see? What happens when the bubbles pop?

What’s going on?

Water molecules are attracted to each other. They pull on each other. When water meets air, the water molecules stick together in a layer at the surface. This is because they are more attracted to each other than to the air molecules. We call this surface tension. Normal water has too much surface tension to make good bubbles. Adding a detergent like dish soap weakens the surface tension so bubbles can form. When the water in a bubble dries up, or evaporates, the bubble bursts. Corn syrup slows down this process, so the bubbles are stronger and last longer. When the water finally does dry up, the bubble pops, leaving a ghostly film of corn syrup and soap. 

 Now try this:

Try making bubble solutions with different ratios of corn syrup, dishwashing soap, and water. Do the bubbles last longer? Are the bubbles as strong? Does the bubble solution become stronger or weaker over time?

2.) Copycat Solution | Try this at Home!

 Supplies:

  • Vanilla extract
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Small cup
  • Tablespoon
  • Paintbrush
  • 2 sheets of white paper
  • Black ballpoint pen

What you do:

Step 1: Use the pen to draw a picture on a sheet of paper. Make the lines of the drawing as thick as possible.

Step 2: In the cup, mix one tablespoon of vanilla extract with one tablespoon of liquid dish detergent. 

Step 3: Use the paintbrush to paint a thin layer of the vanilla extract and detergent mixture over your drawing.

Step 4: Cover your drawing with the second sheet of white paper.

Step 5: Use the back of the spoon to press down on the top sheet. Gently rub your drawing by moving the spoon in small circles.

Step 6: When you can see your drawing through the paper, peel off the top sheet. What do you see?

What’s going on?

You copied your drawing! The detergent in your mixture binds to the ink in your picture. The ink mixture transfers to the second page when you press the sheets together. If you draw thick lines and use lots of ink, you can make more than one copy. 

Now try this:

Try this experiment with different kinds of inks. Try drawing with different kinds of markers or different colored pens. Does the copycat solution work for these inks?

3.) Bubble Catching | Try this at Home!

Supplies:

  • Stretchy cotton gloves
  • A bottle of bubble solution with bubble wand
  • A parent or sibling

What you do:

Step 1. Put on the stretchy gloves.

Step 2. Ask your parent or sibling to blow some bubbles.

Step 3. Place your hand so that a bubble lands on it. Can you catch it without bursting it?

What’s going on:

Bubbles are made from a thin film of soapy water that is filled with air. The water drops form little bridges that link them together. The soap coats the water bridges to keep them linked up. These bridges create surface tension – they keep the bubble from bursting. You can touch a bubble if you don’t break the surface tension. You can do this if you wear a clean, dry cloth object like the stretchy gloves. Adding dirt or oil can break the surface tension. That is why the bubble bursts if you touch it with your oily fingers!

Now try this:

Take off the gloves and coat your hand with the bubble solution. Try to catch a bubble with your soapy hand. Which way works better for catching bubbles?

4.) Musical Straw | Try this at Home!

Supplies:

  • 3 Straws                           
  • Scissors

 What you do:

Step 1: Flatten one end of a straw by biting down on the straw and pulling it out of your mouth while keeping your mouth closed. This is your mouthpiece.

Step 2: Diagonally cut out the corners of the flattened mouthpiece. This makes a V shape at the end of the straw.

Step 3: Place your lips slightly beyond the slit portions of the V and blow. What happens? Step 4: Repeat steps 1-2 with two more straws.

Step 5: Cut the ends of the two straws so they are different lengths from your first straw. Blow through the mouthpiece of each straw. What happens to the sound?

What’s going on?

Sound travels in waves of vibrating atoms. The time it takes for a sound wave to travel to the end of the straw and back to the mouthpiece is its frequency. We call the sound of a frequency its pitch. Longer frequencies have a lower pitch, like a dog’s growl. Shorter frequencies have higher pitches, like a bird song. Changing the lengths of the straws changes the pitch of the instrument. The longer the straw, the lower the pitch will be. The shorter the straw, the higher the pitch will be. This gives you different pitched instruments to make a band with!

5.) Balloon Bond | Try this at Home!

Supplies:

  • 2 Small flexible plastic cups
  • Balloon

What you do:

Step 1: Hold the neck of the balloon to your mouth with one hand. Place the round end of the balloon into a small plastic cup.

Step 2: Inflate the balloon while gently applying pressure by squeezing the sides of the cup. Pinch the neck closed when you are done.

Step 3: Attempt to separate the cup and the balloon. What happens?

Step 4: Deflate the balloon. Now hold the neck of the deflated balloon in your mouth, pick up a cup with each hand and press the opening of each one against the balloon. Try inflating the balloon between the two cups while gently squeezing their sides. Pinch the neck closed when you are done.

Step 5: Try to pull the two cups off the balloon. What happens?

What’s going on?

There is air all around us. It is the Earth’s atmosphere. This air pushes on us, and we call this push “air pressure”. When your balloon is small, it traps a pocket of air inside the cup. As your balloon gets bigger, the air pocket inside the cup gets bigger too, but no more air molecules can get in. This means that the air pressure inside the cup becomes lower than the air pressure outside the cup. Air always flows from an area of higher pressure to an area of lower pressure. We think of this as “suction”, but really, it is the air pressure pushing the cup against the balloon. That is why it is hard to pull them apart. No air molecules can get in as long as there is a seal between the balloon and cup. If you twist the balloon, you can break this seal, and then you can easily pull them apart!

Now try this:

Try adding more cups as you inflate the balloon! You can do this by gently squeezing the sides of the cups, pressing the cup openings onto the balloon, and then slowly releasing the sides. See how many cups you can attach to the balloon!

Mad Science will also be updating this page every few days with new and exciting experiments for parents who are likely racking their brains trying to come up with fun and educational STEM activities.

With more than 150 locations all around the globe and 35 years of experience, Mad Science is the world’s leading science enrichment provider for children ages 3-12. Mad Science delivers unique, hands-on science experiences through after-school programs, birthday parties, workshops, special events, and summer camps. With over 200 hours of science programs developed by their R&D team, they teach kids about a wide range of STEM topics like biology,physics, chemistry, and engineering. Every year, Mad Science introduces millions of children to a world of discovery while sparking their imagination and curiosity.

 

Amazon supports free computer science for Colorado students during COVID-19

We know that right now schools in Colorado are experiencing disruption during this pandemic and we want to help. Year-round, Amazon is committed to ensuring more students and teachers get access to a computer science education through its Amazon Future Engineer program, and now that mission is more important than ever.

Right now, Amazon Future Engineer is providing free access to sponsored computer science courses in the US, which is for independent learners grades 6-12, and teachers who are remotely teaching this age group. Parents can also access this curriculum.

And, as of today, Amazon Future Engineer is offering a virtual robotics program through partners CoderZ. The fully sequenced course accommodates age levels from second grade with block-based coding to high school with text-based coding.

Amazon Future Engineer also is providing access to EarSketch, a free program that helps students learn to code through music. Grammy-award winning artists Ciara and Common have both provided studio-quality music STEMs that students can remix from home using code.

Students, teachers, and parents can access a variety of free, online opportunities.

All grades
Our partners at BootUp PD offer free access to lesson plans and coding resources in the Scratch and ScratchJr applications for students to develop creative coding projects from home.

Additionally, our partner Code.org is hosting new “Code Break” episodes with special celebrity guests every Wednesday to teach students about computer science.

Second grade through high school
Amazon Future Engineer is offering a free online coding course designed to teach students about the fundamentals of coding through coding a virtual robot. The fully sequenced course focuses on block-based coding for younger students and text-based coding for more advanced students. (Available in English and Spanish.)

Middle school and high school
Amazon Future Engineer is providing free access to our sponsored computer science courses, including Introductory and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Through this offering, teachers can also access online professional development.

Amazon Future Engineer is also providing access to EarSketch, a free program that helps students learn to code through music. Grammy-award winning artists Ciara and Common have both provided songs that students can remix from home using code. Students can also enter their remixes into weekly challenges managed by our partners at Georgia Tech.

Now and always, our Amazon Future Engineer program is focused on increasing access to computer science education for hundreds of thousands of students and teachers.

Visit the Amazon Future Engineer website, to get free course materials.

About Amazon Future Engineer

Amazon is committed to bringing more resources to children and young adults to help them build their best future. Amazon has invested more than $50 million to increase access to computer science/STEM education and has donated more than $20 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country. Amazon’s primary computer science access program, Amazon Future Engineer, is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to try computer science. 

20 April Fool’s Day Pranks You Can Do at Home!

April Fool’s Day is right around the corner! Every year, I start out with good intentions but then I get busy and don’t have time to concoct some elaborate plan of trickery. So, here are some quick, easy and most importantly, kid-friendly ideas for celebrating April Fool’s Day at your house during self-isolation.

Want to make it educational? National Geographic shares the origin of April Fool’s Day.

20 April Fool’s Day Pranks, Recipes and Ideas!

1. My kids have never forgiven me for the year when I bought some succulent strawberries and dipped them in sugar…only to find out it was salt.

2. Speaking of salt, sprinkle a bit of it on your child’s toothbrushes the night before.

3. Put a couple of very small drops of food coloring on your child’s toothpaste. They won’t notice until they start brushing and their mouth turns a different color.

sleepy4. If your kiddos are deep sleepers, carefully put them in a different bed when they are asleep. There’s nothing like waking up in a different place.

5. Lunch surprise. Open a small bag of Cheetos from the bottom and replace them with carrots before carefully taping it back up.

6. Open up the lid of your child’s shampoo and put a piece of Saran Wrap underneath. Nothing will come out when they go to wash their hair.

7. Grüß dich. For older kids, go in and change the language on their smartphone. Just make sure you know how to switch it back!

 8. Stuff some toilet paper into the toes of their shoes so they’ll think they grew overnight. PSA: Only if you have valuable TP to spare!

7. Takedown some wall hangings and replace them with your child’s shoes. Or put them in funny places.

8. Swap the cereal in the boxes so they need to track down their breakfast in the correct box.

9. The night before, pour their cereal and milk into a bowl and freeze. The next morning, they’ll have a frozen surprise when you call them down for breakfast.

10. Turn their room upside down while they’re asleep. Everything from furniture to toys to pictures to books.

11. While they’re sleeping, adjust their alarm clock a half-hour early. This one will go over splendidly well. 🙂

12. Tell your kids to clean their room. When they do it, have a co-conspirator go in and mess it up a bit again. When you go to check their work, laugh at their reaction.

13. Take a rubber band and wind it tightly around the sink’s spray nozzle and leave it aimed at the person’s face. When the water is turned out, they’ll get drenched. Note: be sure to do this one before they get dressed.
 
14. This one is for the husbands. Block the remote signal with a piece of opaque tape.
 
meatloaf cupcakes

meatloaf cupcakes

15. For a fun April Fool’s Day dinner, make meatloaf and put them in cupcake tins and wrappers and top them with colored mashed potatoes that look like frosting. 

16. Do your kids love chocolate chip cookies? Whip up a batch of mashed potatoes (emit spices and pepper) and mix in some black beans. Bake them as you would cookies and serve. Oh, the anti-climax!
 
17. Do you have someone who checks their email first thing in the morning? Put part of a post-it note over the tracking ball on a computer mouse — it won’t work!  Or, turn up the volume as high as it can go on someone’s computer or radio before they turn it on.
 
18. Hide all the utensils in the house and make the rule everyone has to eat with their hands. Kids will love the break!
 
19. Do your kids love Oreos? Scrape the filling out and carefully replace a few of them with toothpaste.
 
20. Take all their underwear and hang it in embarrassing places around their room. What a memorable way to wake up!

This Drive-in, Social-distancing Cinema is Coming to Denver!

Taking the little ones into town, or for some food at a pub or restaurant, is now completely out of the equation with all of the country’s bars, pubs, cafes and other venues closing their doors for the foreseeable future. 

While it’s still okay to nip to the park and practice good social distancing for some well needed fresh air, that can get pretty boring, but a new series of events may offer you some deserved relief.

Put together by our friends at Hot Tub Cinema a string of family-friendly, Coronavirus-safe drive-in cinema shows are being brought to Denver – and they will play host to some of your kids’ favorite films.

Drive-In Cinema Club runs from July 21st – 26th, 2020, where you’ll be able to enjoy a complete cinema experience from the safety of your own vehicle.

“In light of arts spaces and cinemas across the country closing to aid with social distancing, We bring screen entertainment to families, delivering a fun time for all in a safe environment.”

We hope it triggers more events companies to put on more and more events that the family can enjoy in a capacity safe from the spread of Coronavirus.

Tickets will be $25 per car for early bird tickets and $30 per car of up to 5 people thereafter. 

Sign up here for limited tickets:

https://zip-tickets.com/event/show/drive-in-movie-club-denver-1546978

 

Denver Zoo Launches Virtual Zoo with Daily Videos and Family Activities

Zoo to You: Virtual Safari Keeps the Community Connected to Denver Zoo and Its 3,000 Animals

 Denver Zoo may not be open to guests, but its animal care team is still busy at work caring for its nearly 3,000 animals. And now the Zoo is reaching out to the community with a new resource to help families stay connected to its animals and stave off cabin fever during this difficult time. Zoo to You: Virtual Safari will be updated daily with new animal videos, wildlife-themed activities and other ideas that families can do at home. Highlights include:

  • Live Streams and DZTV Videos: The Zoo will feature a new animal and area of the Zoo every day at 1 p.m. MST on Facebook Live, which will give viewers a chance to interact directly with animal care staff. There will also be new animal videos posted across the Zoo’s social channels—FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube—and Zoo to You: Virtual Safari throughout the week.

  • Daily Family Activity Ideas: The Zoo’s Learning Experiences team will share daily nature play and wildlife-themed activities to help parents keep their kids busy, entertained and engaged during school closures, from Giraffe Yoga to 25 Nature Play Ideas.

  • Conservation from Home: Families can become citizen scientists from the comfort of their homes by taking part in the Zoo’s Colorado Corridors Project and play a meaningful role in helping save wildlife. Users can identify local wildlife in photos captured by remote cameras along I-70 then visit Zooniverse to participate in other conservation projects around the world.

Visitors to Zoo to You: Virtual Safari are also encouraged to make a donation to the Zoo’s Emergency Support Fund during its closure to help cover the costs of caring for its nearly 3,000 animals. For more information visit DenverZoo.org/ZootoYou.

From the Front Lines of Empathy

Two weeks ago, I laid on my couch at 2 a.m., and tears ran down my cheeks. Insomnia had me up, and it was the book that had me crying. Earlier that day, I had a wonderful evening with a mentor of mine who was visiting Seattle, Dr. Bill Feoge. He is an incredible human who is credited as one of the main people responsible for eliminating smallpox. After our visit, I laid down to reread his book House on Fire about the elimination of smallpox, which I highly recommend. As I read the descriptions of the children inflicted with the smallpox virus and the pain they endured, tears welled in my eyes.  

That same week, I  knew things were bad in China, and I felt deeply for the people in that country. I had the chance to live there for two months in 2008, and images of their quarantined world and all those worried and sick made me so sad.

I also knew that things were heading our way.  I had just seen a young man in my medical clinic who had recently visited China and needed a note to return to work.  He told the nurse on the phone that he had no symptoms, but when he checked in, we found that his temperature was 100.2, and his heart rate was 107. 

A few days later I  spoke with a reporter at The New York Times about my concerns and here is an excerpt from the article written by Sheri Fink, 

“Dr. Delaney Ruston, a primary care physician in Seattle, said she had seen a patient last week with a low-grade fever who had been in China about three weeks earlier. She said public health officials told her the patient did not meet criteria for testing because the patient had been away from China for more than two weeks. Even so, Dr. Ruston wondered whether the patient, who wore a mask in the clinic to protect others and had no cough, could have had a mild case of the illness. ‘All of us are in dire need for a point-of-care test,’ she said, meaning a test that can be performed quickly on site, like those now in use for seasonal influenza.”

Then Tessa’s school shut down for six weeks (or longer), and now my son’s college is off — probably for the rest of the year.  Chase will have classes online, but Tessa has no assigned school work because of equity issues. This is what The Seattle Times reported on the matter: “Because the district will not be able to ensure all students have access to computers outside of school, there will be no online learning.” 

Meanwhile, I hear daily from parents, whose kids and teens are now off from school,  that they are more stressed than ever about screen time. One person wrote to me: “I returned home at 7:30 a.m. from biking to school with Z to find the Xbox action in full swing already, and I could feel my blood pressure spiking. All these teens at home from school = screentime management mania!” 

I find myself at the frontlines of both the medical pandemic and the challenges of parenting.

My husband, Peter Small, is a global health infectious disease doctor, and his life’s work has been about looking for solutions for these kinds of diseases and the issues around prevention and containment.  

Peter says: 

“Make no mistake about it… the situation is bad, but we know what each of us can do: social distancing! I also firmly believe that it will pass and that the challenges provide opportunities to be better. For example, our government will strengthen the social safety net, insurers will pay for telemedicine, employees will be more effective at working from home, and public health will be modernized to use digital technology for protecting all of our health.”

I will be working hard to connect with all of you and to help all of you connect as we move forward about COVID-19, loss of school and screen time issues. We asked on Screenager’s Facebook page on Sunday morning, what are your schools doing regarding remote learning? And already 128 people have made comments and shared ideas. 

Let me leave with the two messages that I think are key right now:

1.  Social distancing is indeed the right thing to do. Yet there still are many ways we can show our empathy towards others — helping to get food for elderly neighbors, having our kids send art cards to relatives, and so much much more. 

2. Screen time issues are going to be challenging right now, BUT there are a lot of things we still can do. I have written for over four years weekly on all sorts of topics that can help now, such as things to do for creative time online and offlineways to set up rules, ways to have calm conversations, and more. 

The whole Screenagers team and I are gearing up to provide lots of support. And we will be creating lots of ways of connecting with ideas and support through TTTs, Facebook, and more. 

Do not be hard on yourself if there is more screen time than you would like.

In summary, I just want to say that what is in my heart today is all about empathy for the pain and losses — but at the same time, I am hopeful. Bill Feoge and all the other people who helped to eradicate smallpox give me incredible hope. There are hundreds of studies happening right now trying to uncover answers to help end the COVID-19 outbreak and prevent its recurrence. Several of our infectious disease scientist friends have all switched their work over to COVID-19. We will get through this. 

-Delaney Ruston

What CAN I do during a time of social distancing?

What CAN I do during a time of social distancing?

During this period of social distancing there are still many things you can do. 

• Relax. Think of this as a time to slow down and do the things you’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t found the time. Remember, mental health is important to overall health and keeps your immune system stronger.

• Enjoy the great outdoors while remembering to practice social distancing from other recreators.

• Watch videos to learn and practice new skills such art, crafting, electronics, musical instruments, home projects, cooking, etc.

• Get creative with the food that sits in your cabinets and never gets eaten.

• Learn a new musical instrument, or practice the one you’ve already picked up.

• Read a book: The libraries may be closing, but with your library card you can still check out books online through the Libby by OneDrive app.
       o Find your library and enter your library card and pin. The pin is typically the first four digits of your birthdate.
       o Visit https://utahsonlinelibrary.overdrive.com/utahsonlinelibrary-summit/content for more information

• Learn and/or practice meditation.

• Work on spring cleaning. This can include sorting and purging your drawers, cabinets, closets, rooms, or garage. Work outside to get your lawn or garden ready for spring; harden your home against wildfire dangers – clean up dead leaves, grass and other overgrowth.

• Help your children with schoolwork or play games as a family.

• Use social media to communicate with friends and loved ones.

• Play video, board, or card games.

Don’t miss: 

125 ideas for online learning for kids of all ages

Parent’s Guide to Colorado’s Coronavirus Outbreak: Keeping kids busy, school closures and more

50 fun things to do with your kids at home

 

125+ ideas for online learning and fun for kids of all ages

From a friend :

Help has arrived….

Ok, so LOTS of parents are suddenly home with their kiddos…

We have always homeschooled after I was a classroom teacher for more than a decade, so I say WELCOME and let me help you. A few things to remember, this is a PERFECT time to make memories with your children and learn things beyond “normal” math and reading.

This is a great time to really help your child dig in and spend hours doing or learning something that they love or are passionate about.

Don’t forget that there are TONS of documentaries on the streaming services that they might enjoy and learn a lot from.

Here are links that I have gathered to TONS of free fun learning options for all ages from toddlers to AP students to adults.  Some are always free and some are only free during this current situation.

I am making this post public, so feel free to share it far and wide.  If you know of a resource for FREE education (either permanent or only during this time) please share it in the comments.

Also, don’t miss our guide to 50 fun things to do with your kids at home.

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✅The San Diego Zoo has a website just for kids with amazing videos, activities, and games. Enjoy the tour! https://kids.sandiegozoo.org/

✅Tour Yellowstone National Park!
https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm

✅Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover.
https://accessmars.withgoogle.com/

✅This Canadian site FarmFood 360 offers 11 Virtual Tours of farms from minks, pigs, and cows, to apples and eggs.  https://www.farmfood360.ca/

✅Indoor Activities for busy toddlers
https://busytoddler.com/2020/03/indoor-activities/?fbclid=IwAR3tYXAqw7tJRAzLExpPcJo4rApLsKtgL0AwghzxgnhwOajc4auX6o12_xw

✅Play games and learn all about animals
https://switchzoo.com/

✅Play with fave show characters and learn too https://pbskids.org/

✅Travel to Paris, France to see amazing works of art at The Louvre with this virtual field trip. 
https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne

✅This Virtual Tour of the Great Wall of China is beautiful and makes history come to life.
https://www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china

✅Math and Reading games  https://www.funbrain.com/

✅Phonics skills https://www.starfall.com/h/

✅This iconic museum located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.  https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/

✅ Read, play games, and hang out with Dr. Seuss https://www.seussville.com/

✅300,000+ FREE printable worksheets from toddlers to teens https://www.123homeschool4me.com/home-school-free-printables/

✅Geography and animals
https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

✅Math practice from counting to algebra and geometry http://www.mathscore.com/

✅Fave kids books read by famous people https://www.storylineonline.net/

✅Crafts, activities, mazes, dot to dot, etc, https://www.allkidsnetwork.com/

✅High school chemistry topics https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/resources/highschool/chemmatters/articles-by-topic.html

✅Math and reading games https://www.abcya.com/

✅Math and language games https://www.arcademics.com/

✅Hands-on Elem science videos https://www.backpacksciences.com/science-simplified

✅Voice-based learning… learn through Alexa https://bamboolearning.com/resources

✅Fun games, recipes, crafts, activities  https://www.highlightskids.com/

✅ClickSchooling brings you daily recommendations by email for entertaining websites that help your kids learn. https://clickschooling.com/

✅Math as a fun part of your daily family routine http://bedtimemath.org/

✅Games to get “into the book” https://reading.ecb.org/

✅Online history classes for all ages preteen through adults  https://school.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive

✅Biology  https://www.biologysimulations.com/

✅ Elem Math through 6th grade  https://boddlelearning.com/

✅Educational games K-12  https://www.breakoutedu.com/funathome

✅Digital archive of history  https://www.bunkhistory.org/

✅Test Prep for SAT, ACT, etc.  https://www.bwseducationconsulting.com/handouts.php

✅Geometry https://www.canfigureit.com/

✅Resources for Spanish practice https://www.difusion.com/campus/

✅Chinese learning activities  https://chalkacademy.com/

✅Music is for everyone https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/Experiments

✅Science, Math, Social Studies https://www.ck12.org/student/

✅Grammar practice for middle grades  https://www.classroomcereal.com/

✅Daily free science or cooking experiment to do at home.http://www.clubscikidzmd.com/blog/

✅Chemistry  https://www.playmadagames.com/

✅Reading passages for grades 3-12, with reading comprehension and discussion questions. https://www.commonlit.org/

✅Vocabulary, grammar, listening activities and games in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Korean, and Latin.   https://conjuguemos.com/

✅35,000 pages of online content on the cultures and countries of the world. https://www.countryreports.org/

✅K-5th Science lessons  https://mysteryscience.com/

✅Tons of free classes from leading universities and companies  https://www.coursera.org/

✅Free printable K-8 Reading and Math activity packs (available in English and Spanish) https://www.curriculumassociates.com/supporting-students-away-from-school

✅Digital learning content for preschool through high school https://www.curriki.org/

✅A wide range of math content from middle school through AP Calculus.  https://deltamath.com/overview

✅Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing.  https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

✅3 Free Weeks of Maker Stations to keep your children creating at home! Each challenge includes simple instructions using materials around the house, QR code video resources, and a student recording sheet. bit.ly/freemakerstations

✅Classes for older teens or adults https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/lp/t1/freemo?source_id=FREEMO&utm_source=Social_Media&utm_medium=Facebook&utm_campaign=1000614&fbclid=IwAR1vaJx-3_aCdyE75S0fTJg4JZ_jI6KJvsJb4CnXY03tnfTm3FdgflaNpYs

✅Online homeschool platform & curriculum for Pre-K to 12th grade.  All main subjects are covered, plus extra curriculum courses.  http://discoveryk12.com/dk12/

✅Printable board games, activities and more for phonics and reading all using evidence-based methods. Can be customized to any student’s needs including creating flashcards for other subjects. https://dogonalogbooks.com/printables/

✅K-8 online math program that looks at how a student is solving problems to adjust accordingly and build a unique learning path for them. https://www.dreambox.com/at-home

✅Engaging reading game for grades 2-8 that combines strategy, engagement, and imaginative reading passages to create a fun, curriculum-aligned literacy game. https://www.squigglepark.com/dreamscape/

✅Higher-level math series… online video series with detailed solutions to more than a thousand publicly-released College Board SAT Math, Subject Test Math Level 1, and Subject Test Math Level 2 problems.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbQoCpvYRYRkRRvsObOPHaA?reload=9

✅Foreign languages  https://www.duolingo.com/

✅Interactive video earth science-based curriculum supplement. https://www.everyday-earth.com/

✅A safe research site for elementary-level readers. They are offering — free 24/7 access
USERNAME: read (case sensitive)
PASSWORD: read (case sensitive)
https://www.facts4me.com/

✅Resources for AP students including live reviews, live trivia, and study guides! https://app.fiveable.me/

✅Educational brain breaks to help students review essential literacy and math skills, while getting in some exercise. Find over 900 videos to help your child keep learning at home and burn off some extra energy. Our site is best used for ages 4-8. https://fluencyandfitness.com/register/school-closures/

✅Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts.  https://www.gonoodle.com/

✅7,000 free videos in 13 subject areas  https://hippocampus.org/

✅Carmen Sandiego videos, stories, and lessons for all subject areas  https://www.carmensandiego.com/resources/

✅Math Videos with lessons, real-life uses of math, famous actors https://www.hmhco.com/math-at-work

✅Entertaining & educational videos for all levels and subjects
 https://www.izzit.org/index.php

✅Online education program for toddler through high school…  https://www.khanacademy.org/

✅Free Printables for PreK-2nd Grade https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Literacy-With-The-Littles/Price-Range/Free

✅Free printables library with activities for children 0-6  https://www.littlesparkcompany.com/printables-library

✅Free at-home kids yoga lesson plans   https://littletwistersyoga.com/online-store/

✅Magic Spell is a carefully crafted spelling adventure.  https://brainbox.games/

✅Resources for AP students https://marcolearning.com/

✅Enter your math problem or search term, press the button, and they show you the step-by-step work and answer instantly.  2nd grade through college.  https://www.mathcelebrity.com/online-math-tutor.php

✅Elem Math games, logic puzzles and educational resources https://www.mathplayground.com/

✅Poetry and music  https://www.thewell.world/mindful-music/mindful-poetry-moments

✅3D printing projects and Coding projects, involving math and other K-12 subjects  https://www.instructables.com/member/EdgertonCenter/instructables/

✅Introductory and intermediate music theory lessons, exercises, ear trainers, and calculators.  https://www.musictheory.net/

✅Scads of free resources, games, learning resources, and lesson plans for teaching personal finance  https://www.ngpf.org/

✅Improve your typing skills while competing in fast-paced races with up to 5 typers from around the world. https://www.nitrotype.com/

✅Illustrated recipes designed to help kids age 2-12 cook with their grown-ups. Recipes encourage culinary skills, literacy, math, and science.  https://www.nomsterchef.com/nomster-recipe-library

✅Online curriculum that builds better writers.  https://www.noredink.com/

✅80+ do at-home science activities https://elementalscience.com/blogs/news/80-free-science-activities

✅Daily lessons and educational activities that kids can do on their own  https://www.superchargedschool.com/

✅Adaptive curriculum in Math and ELA for Grades K-8
https://www.scootpad.com/

✅Novel Effect makes storytime a little more fun for kids (and grown-ups too!) As you read out loud from print books (or ebooks!) music, sound effects, and character voices play at just the right moment, adjusting and responding to your voice.  https://noveleffect.com/

✅Quick & easy at home projects curated for kids 2 and up
https://www.kiwico.com/kids-at-home

✅Teaches students how to write a paragraph through interactive online tutorial  http://www.paragraphpunch.com/

✅PreK-12 digital media service with more than 30,000 learning materials https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/

✅Curricular content hub specifically designed for K-3 students.
https://pebblego.com/free-pebblego-capstone-interactive-access-school-closures?fbclid=IwAR0ldr6TT3grhEDzJ_fEpYvNGG13kqYo5ogwEqYneW7QBkX8L4u7cEIS0nE

✅Science and math labs and simulations  https://phet.colorado.edu/

✅An online physics problem and video bank designed for conceptual, standard, honors or AP1 physics.  https://www.positivephysics.org/home

✅Prodigies is a colorful music curriculum for kids 1-12 that will teach your kids how to play their first instrument, how to sing in tune & how to understand the language of music! 21 for free  https://prodigiesmusic.com/

✅Free videos from around the world from grade 3-12
https://www.projectexplorer.org/

✅QuaverMusic is offering free access to general music activities to all impacted schools, including free student access at-home https://www.quavermusic.com/info/at-home-resources/

✅For students to practice and master whatever they are learning. https://quizlet.com/

✅ReadWorks is an online resource of reading passages and lesson plans for students of all levels K-12.   https://www.readworks.org/

✅Critical Thinking resources for K-6 students https://marketplace.mythinkscape.com/store/redtkids

✅Music Based Spanish Learning  https://rockalingua.com/

✅Science simulations, scientist profiles, and other digital resources for middle school science and high school biology
https://sepuplhs.org/

✅The Shurley English program for grades K-8 provides a clear, logical, and concrete approach to language arts.  https://www.shurley.com/

✅Sight reading and sight singing practice exercises. https://www.sightreadingfactory.com/

✅Music practice transformed  https://www.smartmusic.com/

✅Spellingcity is free right now with code VSCFree90
https://www.spellingcity.com/

✅Kid-friendly workouts — choose from Strength for Kids, Agility for Kids, Flexibility and Balance for Kids, Warm-Up for Kids, Cooldown for Kids, Stand Up and Move for Kids, OR create your own custom kid workout.  https://app.sworkit.com/collections/kids-workouts

✅A collection of hundreds of free K-12 STEM resources, from standalone models and simulations to short activities and week-long sequences of curriculum materials.  https://learn.concord.org/

✅Course sets (Levels 1–5) that combine and thoroughly cover phonics, reading, writing, spelling, literature, grammar, punctuation, art, and geography—all in one easy-to-use, beautiful course.  https://www.goodandbeautiful.com/

✅At home OT, PT, and ST resources designed to build skills in children through movement and play. https://www.theottoolbox.com/

✅Science projects that can be completed with or without Internet access  https://sciencespot.net/Pages/classhome.html

✅Keyboarding practice    https://www.typingclub.com/   or https://www.typing.com/

✅Next Generation Science video game focused on middle school where students directly engage in science phenomena as they solve problems.  https://www.tytoonline.com/

✅Short videos and readings that answer various burning questions for students. There are vocabulary challenges and comprehension questions. http://wonderopolis.org/

✅Math practice  https://xtramath.org/#/home/index

✅K-5 curriculum that builds deep understanding and a love of learning math for all students  https://www.zearn.org/

✅A quick-start resource to help families pull together a plan for surviving the next 1-2 months at home with their kids, but it can also be a time of slowing down and enjoying kids as they learn.
Preschool through 8th grade   https://abetterwaytohomeschool.com/learning-at-home-everything-you-need-in-one-place.html?fbclid=IwAR0Lo2FZ5cWLMt-6nto19auqTtI5kztqLqwi3japOPl1rcR_rLaNuCUcaYw

✅450 Ivy League courses that you can take https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/ivy-league-free-online-courses-a0d7ae675869/?fbclid=IwAR0tbYeSJTzmrzgs1z1Brpoh-Lg8zoqnThQAUTFqR-bBX9O6AEh2_lnLhTs

✅Spelling 1-4 grade
https://www.spellingtraining.com/

✅2,500+ online courses from top institutions  https://www.edx.org/

✅22 languages to learn  https://www.memrise.com/

✅Learn to code https://www.codecademy.com/

✅Miscellaneous games for all subjects k-8  https://www.funbrain.com/

✅Phonics and learning to read https://readingeggs.com/

✅PreK – 5 games for all subjects  https://www.turtlediary.com/

✅Online digital coloring pages  https://www.thecolor.com/

✅Every course you could possibly want to homeschool preschool – 8   https://allinonehomeschool.com/

✅Every course you could possibly want to homeschool for high school https://allinonehighschool.com/

✅Phonics worksheets for kids  https://www.funfonix.com/

✅Free stories online ages 3-12  https://www.freechildrenstories.com/

✅National Geographic Young Explorers is a magazine designed specifically for kindergarten and first-grade students.  Children can listen to the magazine being read to them as they follow along with the highlighted text.   https://ngexplorer.cengage.com/ngyoungexplorer/index.html

✅Learn all about earthquakes https://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/kids/

✅Learn all about the periodic table  https://www.chemicool.com/

✅Farmer’s almanac for kids…  Date, weather, moon phase, etc.  https://www.almanac.com/kids

✅Guide to gardening for kids  https://web.extension.illinois.edu/firstgarden/

✅Website allows students to play basic games to reinforce math skills and compete against the computer or others  https://www.mangahigh.com/en-us/

✅Space science for kiddos  https://www.nasa.gov/kidsclub/index.html

✅Math Games, Logic Puzzles and Brain Builders https://www.mathplayground.com/

✅Games, quizzes and fact sheets take kids on a journey through time.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/forkids/

✅NGAkids interactives offer an entertaining and informative introduction to art and art history. https://www.nga.gov/education/kids.html

✅News and more for kids  https://www.youngzine.org/

✅Randomly generates 356,300,262,144 story starters
https://thestorystarter.com/

✅Immerse yourself in cryptography  https://www.cryptoclub.org/

✅Math games galore  https://gridclub.com/

✅Tons of science experiments that you can do at home
https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/

✅An interactive way to learn history 
https://www.mission-us.org/

✅Just explore, have fun, and learn some science along the way.  https://thehappyscientist.com/

✅Interactive games based on the book series
https://www.magictreehouse.com/

✅Work on the 8 parts of speech  https://www.grammaropolis.com/

✅Learn all about cells  https://www.cellsalive.com/

✅All sorts of learning here if you dig in https://www.google.com/earth/

✅Scratch draws students of all types into coding and lays a foundation for future learning.  https://scratch.mit.edu/

✅A wonderful, endlessly detailed way to get kids engaged in the world of art.  https://www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features/metkids/

✅Tests kids’ geography skills. Using images from Google’s Street View, it plops players down in the middle of the street and asks them to figure out where they are.  https://www.geoguessr.com/

✅Allows students to type in any city, state, or country to view an archive of historical photographs and other documents. It’s a unique way to help them learn about history. 
http://www.whatwasthere.com//

✅Short videos about numbers that help kids explore complex math topics and make math more fun.  https://www.numberphile.com/

✅A human visualization platform that allows students to explore the human body in really cool ways. https://human.biodigital.com/login?returnUrl=/dashboard

✅Helps kids learn to appreciate the arts by providing them with the opportunity to play games, conduct investigations, and explore different forms of art.  https://artsology.com/

✅Lets kids play instruments online. Instruments include the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, and bongos. https://www.virtualmusicalinstruments.com/

✅Crafts, activities, bulletin board designs, and fingerplays for early education teachers and parents to use with kids.
http://www.preschoolexpress.com/

✅A large selection of fun songs to help teach preschool and kindergarten students https://www.songsforteaching.com/preschoolkindergarten.htm

✅The resource section includes free flashcards, coloring pages, worksheets, and other resources for children, teachers, and parents.  https://supersimple.com/

✅Life skills curriculum for students in grades K-12. Their resources include strategies for teaching social and emotional skills.  https://www.overcomingobstacles.org/

✅Coding for ages 4-10  https://www.kodable.com/

✅No need to travel to one of the Smithsonian’s zoos or museums — this website brings your child everything from live video of the National Zoo to the Smithsonian Learning Lab right to their screen https://www.si.edu/kids

✅Cool Kid Facts gives your child access to educational videos, pictures, quizzes, downloadable worksheets, and infographics. They can use these to learn about geography, history, science, animals, and even the human body. 
https://www.coolkidfacts.com/

✅This interactive website, hosted by the U.S. Government Publishing Office, allows your child to see the ins and outs of the U.S. government by taking a series of learning adventures with none other than Benjamin Franklin. https://bensguide.gpo.gov/

✅This NASA initiative covers a wide range of topics including weather, climate, atmosphere, water, energy, plants, and animals.  https://climatekids.nasa.gov/

✅Ask Dr. Universe is a science-education project from Washington State University. Kids can send Dr. Universe any question they may have about history, geography, plants, animals, technology, engineering, math, culture, and more.
https://askdruniverse.wsu.edu/

✅Your child can play games, learn fun facts, and find out how to turn coin collecting into a hobby.  https://www.usmint.gov/learn/kids

✅From rainbows to tornadoes and winter storms to tsunamis, meteorologist Crystal Wicker breaks down the fascinating world of weather.  http://www.weatherwizkids.com/

✅Kids Think Design explores careers in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, book design, product design, film and theatre, architecture, animation, and environmental design. http://www.kidsthinkdesign.org/

✅This educational website hosted by the Smithsonian Museum takes a deep dive into ocean life. https://ocean.si.edu/

✅Brainscape offers over a million flashcard decks for every subject, entrance exam, and certification imaginable.  https://www.brainscape.com/

✅The Theta Music Trainer offers a series of online courses and games for ear training and music theory.
https://trainer.thetamusic.com/en

✅Banzai exposes students to real-world financial dilemmas to teach them the importance of smart money management. https://www.teachbanzai.com/

✅Innerbody explores the 11 bodily systems in depth. With interactive models and detailed explanations, this website will help them learn more about the internal mechanics of the amazing human body.https://www.innerbody.com/htm/body.html

✅Alcumus is specifically designed to provide high-performing students with a challenging curriculum appropriate to their abilities   https://artofproblemsolving.com/alcumus

✅Find and fix learning gaps  https://www.mobymax.com/

✅Algebra games for kids  https://www.dragonboxapp.com/

✅Fractions practice http://www.mathchimp.com/freddysfractions.php

✅Education for kids all topics https://www.ducksters.com

✅Math and logic problems for ages 5 and up to adult
https://www.aplusclick.org/

✅Science podcasts to listen to with your kids https://medium.com/kidslisten/19-great-science-podcasts-you-can-listen-to-with-kids-6fe46ac506b8#.rb23iuaw6

✅Alaskan Wildlife cams http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=viewing.webcams

✅Coding with Star Wars  https://code.org/starwars

✅Tons and tons and tons of games some learning some just fun     https://www.crazygames.com/

✅Crafts, projects, science, recipes for young children https://www.funology.com/

 ✅Amphibian unit studies  https://premeditatedleftovers.com/naturally-frugal-mom/amphibians-unit-study-resources/

✅Engineering challenges with things you have at home
https://thehomeschoolscientist.com/paper-structures-engineering-challenge/

✅Online photograph jigsaw puzzles  You can set the pieces from 6-1000+  https://www.jigsawexplorer.com/

✅Toddler and preschool age ideas  https://preschoolinspirations.com/

✅100 free online educational program ideas
https://savingdollarsandsense.com/free-educational-resources-for-kids/?fbclid=IwAR2UGmsPc7PImViwJ9mID1u7NKS9Vccq_CO1NAR0VqesLkj4Vog7HJbhZJ8

✅Bible story resources early childhood – 6th grade
https://www.life.church/kids/media/

Coronavirus: 50 fun things to do with your kids at home

Kids are home from school and you’re trying to adjust to the new normal in the Coronavirus age (don’t miss our handy-dandy guide about how to keep kids busy and yourself safe and sane). We have revised our ever-so-popular list of Top 50 things to do for a snow day and adapted it to being home all day with your cherubs. Be sure to share your favorites as well!

Be sure to also check-out 125+ ideas for online learning and fun for kids of all ages.

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These 12 famous museums–from London to Seoul–offer virtual tours you can take on your couch. 

If kids are missing their school friends or other family, try video chats to stay in touch.

Practice multiplication and script with your kids. That’ll put them in a REALLY good mood. For older kids, break out the practice tests.

Build a fort with blankets or cardboard boxes.

Delete all of the expletive-laden “music” from your teenager’s Spotify playlist on the family computer, while she’s not looking.

Make time for active play. Bring out the blocks, balls, jump ropes and buckets and let the creativity go.

Wash the floors by hand. Or use a toothbrush.

Do that mending and ironing you’ve been putting off since 2004.

Calm yourselves with mindfulness meditation. Check-out the Moodparth app to track moods, Headspace and Calm for meditation. 

Groom the dog. Then suck all the fur off your couch.

Make freeze-ahead dinners. The ones you wish you had right now.

Get kids the Lil’ Capt. Robert Scott Antarctic Expedition playset.

Make mazes or puzzles for each other to solve.

Shred your pile of old documents. Better yet, multitask. Use them to light up the fireplace.

Change the batteries in the smoke detectors, since you forgot during Fall Back.

Find all the lids to the Tupperware.

Make homemade mini pizzas.

Download an app and learn how to edit videos.

Call your elderly neighbors and see what you can do to help. Make happy notes and leave them on their door.

Play Monopoly with the rules that make the game go slower.

Go through your junk drawer. Do not be afraid.

Create a treasure hunt for them (leaving clues around the house or yard).

Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking; consider keeping a journal where you write down things you are grateful for or that are going well.

Clean your silverware and jewelry. Alternatively, pine for silverware and jewelry worth cleaning.

Sort mementos into keep and toss piles. Spend time poring over the keepers—after all, that’s why you’re keeping them.

Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Make a master calendar for gift-giving dates. Shop ahead online. Or for yourself. Pretend there are sales.

Make a list of all the things you love about your significant other for a card or scrapbook. Make stuff up if you have to.

Put on your fanciest dress-up clothes, evening dress and jewelry and pretend you’re in an old movie. 

Scan old photos and make a photo book. Then force the kids to look at pictures of their parents when they were little.

Do your taxes! April 15 only feels far off.

Do a science experiment.

Order seeds and plants for your spring garden. Yes, spring will come eventually.

Update your resume. Hey, it’s better than doing it at work and leaving it in the copying machine.

Go through clothes (for you and your children) in drawers and closet. Try on and toss.

Upload your CDs, finally. Now, this may be difficult: Toss the CDs and the CD player.

Pitch a tent inside and have a family campout.

Take out all the beach chairs, umbrellas and boogie boards and make a beach day in your living room.

Google yourself.

Create a schedule for your day – but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to stick to it.

Make fun decorations for Easter and decorate the house with them.

Collect all the pennies from the corners of the house, coat pockets, sofa cushions, jeans in the laundry. Maybe you’ll have enough for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Then again, maybe not.

Write a letter. You know the kind, with pen and paper.

Make snowflakes out of paper. Tape them to your windows to block out the white piles outside.

Teach haiku—five, seven, five—and make a book of illustrated snow haiku.

Create airfare alerts for deals to your dream destinations.

Play this fun game with your kids: Let’s Clean the Bathroom!

Do shadow puppets in the dark.

Play family-friendly spin the bottle with your chore list. Hope it doesn’t point to you when it’s time to clean toilets.

Mani-pedi, scrub or mask, deep condition. You choose the body parts.

Learn to juggle.

Bubble bath. Turn down the lights, light a candle and pretend you’re in a spa. Doesn’t do it for you? It’s not completely impossible that a real one is open.

Experiment all day on devising the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. Tasting mandatory.

Begin your memoirs.

Make a comic book.

Take pictures of all your belongings to inventory for insurance. Now do a written inventory.

Sleep. Glorious sleep.

Have a reading or movie marathon.

Take turns saying tongue twisters.

Send messages to your friends and relatives with your favorite memories with them. 

Build paper airplanes and have a flying contest.

-Adapted from Leann Italie’s original article

Get a Grip: Bridgestone Winter Driving School is the most fun you’ll have on ice

“Respond, don’t react,” our instructor coaxed as we looped the icy track in our 2020 Toyota Highlander. I channeled my inner Mario, eased off the brake and trusted my instincts as I raced around the icy track.

My husband Jamie and had been invited by Toyota to attend the Bridgestone Winter Driving School (BWDS) in Steamboat Springs on my birthday weekend. I have long been curious about the DWDS and I was ecstatic at the opportunity!  Established in 1983, it is one of the oldest continually operating driving schools in the United States, the signature ice and snow-covered tracks perfectly designed to teach all levels of drivers car safety controls in the most perilous of conditions. 

Top O’ The Morning to Ya

We met our group at BWDS’ Steamboat Grand office for Second Gear, their most popular all-day intensive course. Our day started with a video demonstration and chalk talk about tire grip, acceleration, weight control and how to embrace the skid, during which time I became increasingly nervous. Embrace the skid?  As a Canadian native, I have driven on snow my entire adult life and I have done everything I could to avoid the skid.

The track’s location is on a stunning 70-acre conservation easement overlooking the iconic peak, Sleeping Giant. As we rode the shuttle, the bustle of Steamboat Springs melted into an expanse of emptiness with pristine white snowfields and frozen bulbs clinging to branches like wasps’ nests. The temperature was a barely-comprehensible -15 degrees Fahrenheit as the Park Range ensconced us in an icy embrace.

Jamie and I jumped into a Toyota 4Runner to warm up. Our instructor patched in over the radio and gave us our first set of instructions. “Make sure your hands are at the 9 and 3 o’clock position on the steering wheel.” Did anyone else learn 10 and 2? My learning curve would be steep.

But fortunately, we had a full day to do it.  The campus has three specially-designed, purpose-built ice and snow-covered tracks. Following our orientations of the 4Runner and Camry, we slowly lapped the track, becoming familiar with the elevation changes, banked and off-camber turns and numerous traction changes. 

We started with skid control exercises on the Skid Circle. As I accelerated down the icy hill, I mused  “I can’t believe I’m purposefully skidding.” But with each loop, my competence grew as I trained my reflexes on how to respond. I then had an epiphany: It is only in the skid that you truly learn how to control your vehicle and its capabilities. Isn’t that life?

We switched to a Toyota Carmy for our emergency braking exercise where we performed drills with our ABS (anti-lock brakes) turned off and on. I realize the importance of good winter tires as our Bridgestone Blizzak tires’ impressive grip performed seamlessly on the ice. Note to self: Stop being cheap when buying tires; a quality tire could save your life.

We convened in a cozy yurt for lunch and a brief classroom discussion, followed by a tour of the 2020 Toyota Highlander. If you’re a third-row seating family, you will appreciate the additional 2.36 inches in overall length which translates into more room inside and slightly easier access to the third row.  I, personally, was sold on the Driver Easy Speak, the built-in microphone that lets you talk (not yell) to your misbehaving cherubs through the rear speakers.

Slip Slidin’ Away

The sun was drifting across the sky in a shallow arc as the temperatures thawed and the track became slicker with each lap. Following lunch, we delved into their most popular session: Accident Avoidance Exercises where we barrelled down a slick hill and trained ourselves to look where we needed to go and how to navigate our vehicles. Thankfully, the only carnage for our initial lapses in judgment was a wall of pylons. 

With all these techniques under our belt, our course participants were set loose for a final session as we lapped the course like circus horses dancing in a circle. Jamie marveled at our progress as we sped along the icy loop. “When you think about it, Bridgestone Driving School forces you to face your worst fear …on purpose. And in that simulated and controlled environment, you can finally learn how to drive.” Translation: This school teaches you to save your life and those around you.

Our day ended with applied adrenaline a.k.a. Hot Laps when our BWDS instructors got behind the wheel. They hail from a range of experience–Performance Rally, Autocross, Touring Car, Pro Solo, Formula Ford Championship Series, and Formula 2000–and it was the ride of a lifetime as they skidded, did 360s and showed us how it’s really done.

Exhausted and empowered, we shuttled back to the offices for a brief graduation ceremony. 

High On A Mountaintop

In a final, sweeping grand gesture, our group boarded Steamboat Ski Resort’s new gondola where a luxurious snowcat met us at the top and whisked us higher up the snow-mantled mountain. A 4-course dinner awaited us at Four Points Lodge  (not included in BWDS). The fireplace roared, white lights sparkled and our group bonded over our day. We had looked our anxieties in the eye and conquered them as we cheered for one another’s successes while also relating to our failures. 

I may be another year older but participating in the Bridgestone Winter Driving School sure made me another year wiser. 

Bridgestone Winter Driving School offers several different half-and full-day courses for the teen, casual driver and all the way up to the pros. Custom, group classes and private lessons are also available. Some insurance companies offer discounts to students who have successfully completed one or more of their driving school classes. For additional information, be sure to go to https://winterdrive.com

Steamboat Springs Insider Tips

Ski. My husband and I knew a trip to Steamboat Springs isn’t complete without visiting Steamboat Ski Resort. Known for its famous Champagne Powder snow, legendary trees, top family programs, Olympic heritage and friendly western roots, this is a prime vacation destination for generations of winter enthusiasts. Some of our favorite finds: Steamboat replaced their Gondola after 33 years and access to the mountain is now quicker than ever. A fun find on the mountain is their new Taco Beast, an on-mountain food truck snowcat that roams the mountain. The locations changes daily! 

Stay. I was repeatedly grateful for our stay at the Steamboat Grand during our visit.  With 328 beautifully appointed guestrooms (that include hotel rooms and condos), a gorgeous 85,000-gallon heated pool and two large hot tubs, spa and restaurants, this full-service hotel was at the perfect location at the base of the ski resort. Bridgestone Winter Driving School was located on the premises, a free shuttle took us to town and our absolute was the ski valet. Upon check-in, our skis were taken to the Grand Hotel’s secure ski storage in Gondola Square at the base of the mountain…and then brought back to the hotel when we were ready to check-out. Families who are used to hauling all their kids’ ski gear will particularly appreciate this amenity!

Eat. For the ultimate experiential experience, the Four Points Snowcat Dinner stop Storm Peak is an unforgettable night out.  If you want to stay closer to town, we inadvertently stumbled upon one of our favorite dining experiences, ever. When my husband and I were skiing Steamboat, we asked a local where we should eat that night and he recommended Besame Steamboat, THE cool spot on Lincoln Avenue for elevated Latin-fusion eats featuring the tastes of Cuba, Argentina, Portugal and Spain. I’m still dreaming about their Soup Dumplings with Thai coconut soup, pork sausage and nahm jim. Trust me, they’ll change your life.

Play. Why should kids have all the fun!? The Howelsen Ice Complex in Steamboat Springs recently introduced bumper cars on ice, the first (and only) of its kind in Colorado.

With or without kids, this new activity will have you giggling the whole drive home.

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In partnership with Mile High Mamas; all opinions are our own and we think every Colorado driver should take this winter drive course.