The Smithsonian Learning Lab Is Offering Free K-12 Activities and Games

While the physical buildings of the Smithsonian Learning Lab may be closed, they’ve made more than four million artworks, books, objects, specimens, and archival materials available to the public through their website. Even better: their Learning Lab has organized these materials into pre-packaged collections sorted by grade level as well as subjects. All of these amazing materials are free.

Students can learn about everything from engineering (and how to build a tower through a fun interactive game) to shapes and colors with a Joan Miro inspired art activity. And that’s just the beginning!

The Smithsonian learning lab with the elephant
The Smithsonian Learning Lab is beautiful!

The Smithsonian Learning Lab

The lesson plans for students from Pre-K through 12th grade were developed in partnership with DC Public Schools and tied to national learning standards.

They have a list of resources for teachers, as well as ones for caregivers. The amount of activities and games (yes, games!) the Smithsonian is offering? It’s pretty amazing.

Video: What Is The Smithsonian Learning Lab?

Where to start with the Free Smithsonian Resources

Since there are so many activities to choose from, you might be wondering where you should start.

The Smithsonian recommends beginning with their Learning Activities Choice Board.

Learning Activities Choice Board

This board changes weekly and features activities in four categories: science, social studies, culture, and arts. For example, this week kids can learn about which household liquid will shine pennies, which puts those life skills to the test as well.

Smithsonian Learning Lab
Screenshot: Smithsonian Learning Lab

Pick Activities from the Smithsonian Education Guide

The Learning Lab sorted all their resources in a variety of ways. If you’ve got younger kiddos you’re looking to entertain and educate, use the Caregiver resource guide, which has collections curated based on reading, art, culture, science, and more.

Caregiver Resource Guide

From here, you and your kiddos can choose what to learn about, like Guatemalan weaving, animal tracks, light and shadow, what cultural symbols mean, 3D puzzles, and oh so much more. Want to see the animals at the Smithsonian zoo? You can do that too through their webcams.

Source:Smithsonian Facebook

Questions? Ask a Smithsonian Educator

Have a question about one of the collections, or need help finding something? Smithsonian educators are also offering Office Hours and Live Q&As on a weekly basis. They also have Distance Learning Events. Access everything here.

The Smithsonian museum may be closed, but their resources are most definitely not. Even while stuck at home, you can travel the world and learn just about anything you want through their vast collections. The only question is: what will you learn first?

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