Kids getting crafty

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May 4, 2020

Let Your Kids Get Crafty the San Francisco Way

 If you're a parent, the worst thing you can hear anyone in your house say during this coronavirus is, "I'm bored!". Thankfully, San Francisco's museums and attractions are providing some clever ways for kids to get creative during the quarantine. These "DIY" projects while you "SIP" are a perfect way to entertain the youngsters and give yourself a little quiet time. 

Educational Activities

You can have fun while you're learning—or is it better to say you can learn when you're having fun? Whichever way you phrase it to your little ones, these activities are sure to become new favorites.

The Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) offers “Bringing BADM to You”, a series of playful activities that focus on important areas of early childhood development. Activities include an at-home obstacle course, shadow puppets, and miniature raft design. 

Don't let the name fool you: the Exploratorium’s Science Snacks are teacher-tested activities, not culinary challenges. They're called "Snacks" because they're bite-sized bits of learning. There are Snacks for a variety of topics, including astronomy, biology, engineering, and more. Best of all, they only require materials you likely already have at home. 

Colorful Crafts

The Museum of Craft and Design has launched MCD@Home, featuring at-home projects based on the themes, concepts, and materials found within the museum. Kids can make flower crowns, a spirograph, and newspaper architecture.

Your budding animator can join a virtual class taught by a live instructor at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Students can interact directly with the teacher to ask questions and receive personalized guidance. Space is still available for the next series, beginning on May 16, 2020. If that sounds too advanced, try this at-home guide for making very own flipbook.

There's nothing wrong with a classic coloring book, and now your gang can doodle with some custom San Francisco artwork. Check out these options from the San Francisco Parks ConservancyGolden Gate Park, and local retailer Paxton Gate. They're all easily downloadable, and they're all free.

Bring the Outdoors Indoors

Having to limit outdoor activity can be especially hard on kids, but these activities might settle their craving for adventure. Among the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association’s colorful cargo of online activities are instructional videos on knot tying, a list of sailor vocabulary (not the salty kind), and other activities that can be completed at home. These include boat-building, drawing their own seascape, a nautical word search, and more. 

The Presidio Trust’sPresidio at Home for Families” offers a virtual scavenger hunt, bird watching, and crafts like making butterflies and coyotes from common household items.

The San Francisco Botanical Garden’s online family activities include “Build a Bug” and “Nature Story Time.”  Parents will also appreciate the serene Zoom backgrounds and yoga classes on the site.

Stories and Songs

Try “Take 10”, a series of interactive theater games for all ages that's part of the American Conservatory Theater's  “InterACT at Home". It only takes 10 minutes to let your imagination soar and laugh with friends and family. A new game is posted every week.

Golden Gate Park’s 150th-anniversary website has an entire section with activities for kids, including a sing-along version of the park’s catchy theme song. 

The Asian Art Museum offers 37 videos of exciting legends and tales involving samurai, tigers, and dragons, all told by expert storytellers. The education section of the museum’s website holds many more activities, including a “Make Your Own Mandala” tutorial.  

The San Francisco Public Library’s “Sweet Stories with SFPL,” a short virtual storytime for young children, is presented every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. (and in Spanish on Saturday at 10 a.m.) on the Library’s Instagram page (@sfpubliclibrary). Episodes are also available on the Library’s YouTube channel to replay at your convenience.  

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