This week, we offer handy strategies to meet two challenges of summer 2020: keeping kids busy (and learning), and keeping grown-ups composed.
They're designed to make sure you continue to enjoy what you've come to value from Smithsonian Associates: programs and experiences that are entertaining, informative, eclectic, and insightful.
Hit the Road to Fun
Summer Road Trip: A Smithsonian at-home activity guide maps out ideal ways for students from kindergarten through 8th grade to combine learning with fun. Created in collaboration with USA Today, the 40-page guide uses iconic Smithsonian collections and the theme of a vacation journey to connect an array of hands-on activities, puzzles, and games. The itinerary includes opportunities to visit an artist's gallery, explore local cuisine, learn about regional wildlife, and much more. Our favorite stop? A festival where road trippers can make a Japanese taiko drum inspired by musician Mark Rooney, a frequent performer at Smithsonian Associates' Discovery Theater.
View the Guide
In need of a mini-escape? Join Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of The Joy of Forest Bathing and Resilience: Connecting with Nature in a Time of Crisis, for an intimate virtual forest-bathing walk. Grab your headphones or earbuds and your smartphone, get comfortable in your backyard or a favorite natural area, and immerse yourself in nature through a rejuvenating morning program. In this interactive audio experience from Smithsonian Associates Streaming, Choukas-Bradley guides you in exploring your surroundings through all your senses. In a recent NPR interview, she discussed why finding a "wild place" that connects us with nature takes on new importance during a time of quarantine. Listen to it here, and then get ready to experience forest bathing in a unique way.
Register for the Program
The Art of Calmness
Explore art as a doorway to meditation in the Phillips Collection's free 30-minute sessions led by local yoga teacher Aparna Sadananda on Zoom each Wednesday. Inspired by a calming artwork from the permanent collection, she leads participants in techniques for mindful looking and thinking that can be carried throughout your day.
Playing it Smart
Museums around the world are looking to their collections and educational programs to create parenting resources for cooped-up kids. The Children's Museum of Chicago offers two great online guides: Their Parenting Playbook is filled with suggestions for activities, learning resources, advice from experts, and even a weekly "timeout" just for parents. And by following Recipes for Play at Home, you can turn a corner of your living room, kitchen, or backyard into the setting for a mini museum experience for children, from the very youngest to ages 4 and up. The National Archeological Museum of Naples has produced an artfully designed game called Father and Son that offers an era-jumping adventure through the city's history. As a family saga unfolds, players step into everyday life in contemporary and Renaissance-era Naples, Pompeii in 79 A.D., and ancient Egypt. The game can also serve as a language lesson: It's available in 10 versions.
Browse the Parenting Playbook
Play the Father and Son Game