The Bayou City may have started opening back up after almost two months of shutdown, but Texas schools are done with in-person classes for the year. Learning has continued online, though, and thanks to the infinite awesomeness that is the internet, there’s a whole world of things you can find to broaden your academic horizons. If you’re still a bit nervous about heading back into the outside world, don’t worry we’ve got you covered.
Here’re five ways to keep you learning at home, whether you’re 6 or 66.
Explore Our Earth
While you can’t check out all 16 collections, you can still learn more about the world around us with the Museum of Natural Science’s at-home programming. Scroll through an online catalogue of the museum’s insect zoo that includes all kinds of creepy crawlies, watch kid-friendly demonstrations, and make ice cream in your own kitchen with the help of the museum’s science experts As an added bonus, you can even examine artifacts from the indigenous peoples of the Americas and come face to face with the museum’s giant T-Rex skeleton with Google’s 360-degree street cam feature—an experience made possible through a partnership between Google Arts & Culture and more than 2,000 museums from around the world.
Hit the Books
If you're missing the magic that can only be found in a great book, drop by one of several virtual story times being offered at various dates and times by organizations including the Children’s Museum of Houston, Brazos Bookstore, and the Texas Asia Society. There’s also the seriously adorable Houston Texans Story Time—featuring readings by players, cheerleaders, and ambassadors—and Stars of Texas Storytime, which is live-streamed through Gov. Greg Abbott’s Facebook page. If you’ve ever wanted George Strait to read to you about taking dinosaurs to dinner, now’s your chance. For something a little less kid-centric, check out these readings of Shakespearean sonnets and Henry V from the Alley Theatre.
Get Your Craft On
You might not know it, but the arts make you smarter. So, pull out those markers, colored paper, and glue sticks. Download some free Houston-centric coloring pages, learn to make 3D paper fish, washcloth bears, and faux-stained glass with the Houston Public Library; weave your own bookmark and roll your own playdough with the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft; and get slimy with a little help from Discovery Green.
Head to Outer Space
Looking for an experience that’s out of this world? Download Space Center Houston’s mobile app (unmistakably named "Space Center Houston"), and take virtual tour of the museum and its artifacts. You can also read about daily life on the International Space Station and NASA’s upcoming mission to Mars—click “collection” on the home screen, then select “programs." If you’d rather use your computer, you can go behind the scenes of the Apollo 13 mission, which just commemorated its 50th anniversary, with a new virtual exhibit and learn about the challenges of building a spaceship through Space Center Houston’s Thought Leader Series.
Embrace Your Wild Side
The Houston Zoo has been letting us in on life behind the scenes with its Facebook Live videos every weekday at 11 a.m. (you can also watch them here). Meet the Ankole cattle, which are often mistaken with the Texas longhorn, slither with snakes, snack with giraffes, and find out why lions are nature’s best social distancers. Yesterday was elephant bath time with Thailand, the zoo’s oldest male elephant. It was adorable.