School holiday ideas from world-class museums

By April 15, 2020Museum

We’re all staying at home this school holidays, so it’s a perfect time to explore history, science and culture from all around the world.

Two girls participating in a previous school holiday activity at Orange Regional Museum.

While our normal school holiday programs in the Museum are on hold for now, there are inspiring activities to be found online.

We’re putting together some of our favourite digital and independent learning activities from museums across Australia and the world. Each week we’ll feature different museums and choose some highlights to share from their learning resources.

This week, we’re highlighting some of the fun activities created by some of the United Kingdom’s best museums. Take a look below to find links to games, hands-on activities and more about some of the most popular topics for kids—Ancient Egypt, dinosaurs, and space.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum have many captivating activities in their Try at Home pages, specially developed for younger audiences. From dinosaurs to volcanoes to tips for observing the natural world, these are great resources for young scientific minds.

Highlights for school holidays include:

  • What dinosaur are you?—Hands up if you know someone a little dino-obsessed? The NHM have got loads to keep them busy, including this online quiz to help you work out if you’re more T. rex or Brontosaurus.
  • How to draw a dinosaur—follow this tutorial to draw your own cartoon T. rex. There are other hands-on activities too, including making an origami T. rex or creating a hatching dinosaur egg.
  • How to make a nature journal—exploring the world around us is a great way to spend our time at home. Follow the NHM’s tips to create and use a nature journal to help inspire your outdoors-loving child.

Young Archaeologists Club

They might not be a museum, but the UK’s Young Archaeologists’ Club have more than 30 free activities on their webpage for history-loving juniors. These activities travel across time and space, from Ancient Egypt to honing skills for budding archaeologists.

Highlights for school holidays include:

  • Mummify an orange—learn more about how Ancient Egyptians prepared their dead for the afterlife, and create your own mummified orange.
  • Write with Roman ink—follow this tutorial to create your own black ink from soot from your fireplace, and write like a Roman from 2000 years ago.
  • Make your own canopic jars—in Ancient Egypt, the internal organs of the dead were preserved to make sure people could survive in the afterlife. This fun activity uses household items as stand-ins for your stomach, liver and intestines. Make your own canopic jars and learn more about unique Ancient Egyptian religion and beliefs.

Science Museum

London’s Science Museum features some pretty impressive games and activities on their Learning Resources page to encourage key scientific skills of curiosity, creativity and communication in kids. There are kid-friendly science videos, online games and experiments to do at home.

Highlights for school holidays include:

  • Total Darkness—the power has gone out across the whole town, and you have to venture out to explore and solve the mystery before your torch battery runs out. This is a free online game that develops scientific skills.
  • Rugged Rovers—a free downloadable game where you can design and test your own space rover. This game encourages children to use their curiosity and observation skills to solve problems.
  • Kitchen Science—download this free PDF featuring 11 different experiments that are fun and easy to do at home. Make cornflour slime, test out the magicians tablecloth trick or create a lava lamp.

If you’ve found some other favourites during your at-home learning adventures, please feel free to share them with us at museum@orange.nsw.gov.au and we’ll share them in a future post.

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