Welcome to
Launchpad to Learning!

Online Activities to keep you and your kids entertained (and learning)

We also feature games, activities and documentary clips from some of our cool partner organizations, like NASA!  Check back daily to see what new and exciting online educational resources for kids and families we have added. You can also join the conversation on social media, which is linked at the bottom of the page.  Looking for some extra learning activities you can do at home? Check out our L2L activities today!

Restoring an FM-2 Wildcat - Part 3 image
Restoration

Restoring an FM-2 Wildcat - Part 3

06/09/2021

Air Zoo restoration volunteer, Phil, shows the processes and tools used in restoring an FM-2 Wildcat. After sitting at the bottom of Lake Michigan for 68 years, this FM-2 Wildcat is finally being restored to its former glory!

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Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat image
Artifacts

Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat

06/07/2021

Air Zoo Docent, John, provides an overview of the Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat. Commonly referred to as an "ace-maker," over 300 pilots became aces in a Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat. After WWII, the Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat was the first aircraft to be used by the Blue Angels, the Navy's flight demonstration team.

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Painting Parts for a Douglas Dauntless Dive-Bomber SBD-2 image
Restoration

Painting Parts for a Douglas Dauntless Dive-Bomber SBD-2

05/19/2021

Denny, Air Zoo restoration volunteer, shows the various parts that have been primed and are ready for paint. Once the entire plane is painted, these parts will go into the final Douglas Dauntless Dive-Bomber SBD-2P assembly.

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Restoring a Douglas Dauntless Dive-Bomber SBD-2P image
Restoration

Restoring a Douglas Dauntless Dive-Bomber SBD-2P

05/12/2021

Denny, describes the restoration process and provides an overview of this Douglas SBD-2P 2173. Recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan in 2009, this aircraft is deemed a national treasure and has plans to be returned to the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

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An Overview of the FM-2 Wildcat image
Artifacts

An Overview of the FM-2 Wildcat

05/11/2021

Air Zoo Docent, Jim, provides an overview of the FM-2 Wildcat. This rugged, carrier-based, fighter combated against the Japanese in WWII. While not as maneuverable, FM-2 Wildcat pilots learned how to effectively win engagements with the Japanese Zero.

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Continental Built Rolls Royce Merlin Engine image
Artifacts

Continental Built Rolls Royce Merlin Engine

05/06/2021

Kevin, an Air Zoo Docent, provides an overview and history of the Continental built, Rolls Royce Merlin engine. Continental was a manufacturer in Muskegon, MI and was contracted to produce additional Merlin engines. Peace was declared in Europe shortly after Continental's production began.

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An Overview of the USS Wolverine image
Artifacts

An Overview of the USS Wolverine

04/27/2021

John, an Air Zoo Docent, provides an overview of the USS Wolverine, a former Lake Michigan excursion boat. The USS Wolverine, along with the USS Sable, was purchased by the US Navy and revamped into aircraft carriers. These became the only paddle-based aircraft carriers in the US Navy.

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Spring Bird Songs image
STEAM Education

Spring Bird Songs

04/22/2021

Spring is springing! Air Zoo Science Educator, Karn, provides information to help identify commonly encountered birds during the spring and summer. Learn more about the featured birds at The Cornell Lab: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/

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Restoration of the SBD-2P image
Restoration

Restoration of the SBD-2P

04/16/2021

In 2016, the Air Zoo received the one-of-a-kind SBD-2P. This aircraft served in WWII at Pearl Harbor and fought in The Battle of the Coral Sea. Troy Thrash, Air Zoo's President & CEO gives an inside tour of the Air Zoo's new paint booth facility which opened in January 2020 and talks about this exclusive aircraft.

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Restoring an FM2 Wildcat - Oil Tank image
Restoration

Restoring an FM2 Wildcat - Oil Tank

04/15/2021

Air Zoo restoration volunteer, Dennis, describes the process of restoring an FM2 Wildcat oil tank. After sitting at the bottom of Lake Michigan for 68 years, the oil tank dented and collapsed. With a little patience and a lot of skill, Dennis restored the oil tank to its former glory.

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An Overview of the Sopwith Camel image
Artifacts

An Overview of the Sopwith Camel

04/09/2021

Air Zoo Docent, Kevin, provides an overview of the Sopwith Camel. Also known as the "King of Combat," the Sopwith Camel was a ray of hope for the Royal Flying Corps in World War I.

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Restoring an FM2 Wildcat - Part 1 image
Restoration

Restoring an FM2 Wildcat - Part 1

04/07/2021

Air Zoo restoration volunteer, Phil, explains some of the unique challenges faced restoring this FM2 Wildcat which sat at the bottom of Lake Michigan for 68 years!

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A piece of the Great Scott Lunar Sample image
Artifacts

A piece of the Great Scott Lunar Sample

03/31/2021

Take a look at a real moon rock! Air Zoo Docent, Kevin, explains this moon rock's retrieval from the 1971 Apollo 15 mission.

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Four Leaf Clover Origami Activity - St. Patrick's Day image
STEAM Education

Four Leaf Clover Origami Activity - St. Patrick's Day

03/17/2021

What do George Washington Carver, bacteria, and St. Patrick's Day have in common? Air Zoo science educator, Karn, is here to answer that question and show you how to make your own origami four leaf clover for St. Patrick's day!

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The P-40 Paint Scheme image
Artifacts

The P-40 Paint Scheme

10/18/2020

Learn about the paint scheme of Sue Parish's Pink P-40 Warhawk, hanging in the lobby of the Air Zoo.

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Baking Soda Bottle Rocket image
Science Experiment

Baking Soda Bottle Rocket

10/16/2020

Make rocket fuel at home with one of our out-of-this-world educators, Erin, as she teaches you how to build a reusable baking soda bottle rocket!

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Write Your Initials in DNA Code! image
STEAM Education

Write Your Initials in DNA Code!

07/29/2020

Biology, coding and origami has never been more fun! Learn about DNA coding with Air Zoo educator Karn, and even learn to write the initials of your name.

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The Ford Tri-Motor image
Artifacts

The Ford Tri-Motor

07/27/2020

Check out this innovative aircraft which made its debut in 1926 and changed the way US mail was delivered.

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The Sopwith Camel image
Artifacts

The Sopwith Camel

06/29/2020

Did you know the Air Zoo's Restoration Team restored this 100 year old biplane hybrid reproduction? Learn more about its history now!

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A True Boredom Fighter image
Artifacts

A True Boredom Fighter

06/18/2020

Some choose to fight boredom with puzzles, but others choose to build aircrafts. This aircraft kit resembles a WWI Fighter and kept its former owner, Don, busy during his retirement days.

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14 Fun Facts  image
Tours

14 Fun Facts

06/15/2020

Join Michael for a very quick virtual tour to learn some fun facts about a variety of artifacts inside the Air Zoo!

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El Kabong I image
Artifacts

El Kabong I

05/26/2020

This Gemini boilerplate aided Nasa scientist in their race to space during the 1950s. How did we get it?

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Walk Among Our Giants - Outside! image
Tours

Walk Among Our Giants - Outside!

05/22/2020

Did you know we have new airplanes to visit between our two centers? Stop by and say hello if you are out and about!

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Our Aircraft Welcome You image
Tours

Our Aircraft Welcome You

05/21/2020

Always wanted to know more about the aircraft that grace the front the Air Zoo? Then this 60 second, scenic, outdoor Air Zoo tour is for you!

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The Bread Rocket image
Artifacts

The Bread Rocket

05/19/2020

This 1954 futuristic rocket once traveled the country promoting the popular sci-fi tv show! Now it's at the Air Zoo.

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A Chemistry Clock image
STEAM Education

A Chemistry Clock

05/18/2020

Follow along with Air Zoo educator Karn, as she shows you some cool chemistry using everyday things like iodine and apple juice!

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SR-71 Blackbird Refueling image
Artifacts

SR-71 Blackbird Refueling

05/15/2020

Check out this in-air refueling of an SR-71 being flown by one of our friends, SR pilot, BC Thomas. Can you imagine refueling in the air?

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Behind the Scenes at Pearl Harbor image
Story Time

Behind the Scenes at Pearl Harbor

05/14/2020

Have you seen the 1970 film "Tora! Tora! Tora!"? One of our docents got to see it from a different point of view during his time in Pearl Harbor.

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Star Gaze from Anywhere! image
STEAM Education

Star Gaze from Anywhere!

05/13/2020

Explore space, all from your own backyard! Join Erin as she walks you through a free app that will let you explore the stars and beyond!

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Our Hiller Helicopter image
Artifacts

Our Hiller Helicopter

05/12/2020

This versatile and affordable helicopter design was sought after the U.S. Military during the late 40's and early 50s.

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If You Decide To Go To The Moon image
Story Time

If You Decide To Go To The Moon

05/11/2020

Feeling a bit stuck and wanting to plan your next adventure? Well if you decide to go to the moon we have you covered.

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DIY Kites image
STEAM Education

DIY Kites

05/08/2020

Let's join Natalie as she takes us step by step through making our own kites for high-flying fun this spring!

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The Tuskegee Airmen Painting at the Air Zoo image
Artifacts

The Tuskegee Airmen Painting at the Air Zoo

05/07/2020

Andrew Woodstock's watercolor and graphite artwork was inspired by the brave Tuskegee Airmen. Learn the story behind the art.

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The Science of Music image
STEAM Education

The Science of Music

05/06/2020

Do you know the science behind making music? Let's join Air Zoo educator Matt, and learn what makes music!

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The Biggest Hand-Painted Mural in the World! image
Tours

The Biggest Hand-Painted Mural in the World!

05/05/2020

More than 100 years of flight depicted in the world's largest indoor, hand-painted mural - at the Air Zoo!

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Color Your Community - Happy! image
STEAM Education

Color Your Community - Happy!

05/01/2020

Let's spread some love and beauty. Join us as we celebrate community, it is easy (and fun) to get involved! #AirZooArt

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Making Sundials image
STEAM Education

Making Sundials

04/30/2020

Explore solar/shadow science with us and learn how you can use the sun to tell time.

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A BT-13 Christmas Story image
Artifacts

A BT-13 Christmas Story

04/29/2020

One of 11,000 BT-13 Valiants produced in WWII made a very special journey for one of our Air Zoo Families for their 1951 Christmas. Let's hear Dolly's story now.

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Air Zoo's Spy-posium - Episode 061 image
Podcasts

Air Zoo's Spy-posium - Episode 061

04/28/2020

Our story starts with me [Brandon Gonzales] standing in a hangar. A really big hangar. Actually, it’s more like a movie set. A movie set, with rides, and an F-14 and an SR-71, but they’re not props though, they’re real…

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Shadow Science - Part 1 image
STEAM Education

Shadow Science - Part 1

04/27/2020

Ever wondered why your shadow is a shape shifter, or why it is night time here when it is daytime somewhere else? Karn has some shadow science basics for you.

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Dry Ice Cannons image
STEAM Education

Dry Ice Cannons

04/24/2020

Want to watch Erin do some fun tricks with dry ice? We thought so, enjoy!

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Fifi - the Flying Gremlin image
Artifacts

Fifi - the Flying Gremlin

04/23/2020

Learn about this high-flying Disney gremlin Fifinella and her ties to the Air Zoo's co-founder, Sue Parish!

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Trash and Recycling - Earth Day image
Story Time

Trash and Recycling - Earth Day

04/22/2020

Celebrate Earth Day this year with an informative story told by our very own Air Zoo Education Manager, Kathy! Let's work hard to care for our planet!

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A One-of-a-kind at the Air Zoo! image
Artifacts

A One-of-a-kind at the Air Zoo!

04/21/2020

Get the scoop on how the only remaining, and experimental, XP-55 Ascender "landed" at the Air Zoo.

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Be a Yo-Yo Master image
STEAM Education

Be a Yo-Yo Master

04/20/2020

Well, maybe not a master, but let Air Zoo Educator and yo-yo guru, Alex, show you the basics to work on at home.

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On the Moon image
Story Time

On the Moon

04/17/2020

5-4-3-2-1...Blast off! What is it like to be an astronaut going to the moon? Join Troy as he reads a story called, "On the Moon". It is an out-of-this-world adventure!

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Restoring the FM-2 Wildcat image
Restoration

Restoring the FM-2 Wildcat

04/16/2020

Join us to discover how the Air Zoo's talented restoration team tackles this complex restoration, it spent 68 years on the bottom of Lake Michigan, with their one-of-a-kind invention.

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Penny Chemistry image
STEAM Education

Penny Chemistry

04/15/2020

What do the Statue of Liberty, the planet Mars, and a penny have in common?

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On Exhibit - Clare Chandler image
Artifacts

On Exhibit - Clare Chandler

04/14/2020

Meet a local Allegan hero and Tuskegee Airmen. Objects, on loan from his granddaughter, help to tell his fascinating story.

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Can Cows Fly? image
Story Time

Can Cows Fly?

04/13/2020

Join Jada as she takes you on a journey. A cow's journey - of flight!?!

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Eggciting Activities for Easter! image
STEAM Education

Eggciting Activities for Easter!

04/10/2020

Fun Easter Activities and fun for families from our friends at Gift of Curiosity. Check them out and get ready for Sunday!

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DIY Mazes image
STEAM Education

DIY Mazes

04/09/2020

Natalie will help you build your own unique mazes with materials you have lying around! How creative can you get?

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Meet the Buchon image
Artifacts

Meet the Buchon

04/08/2020

Did you know this aircraft made its Hollywood debut in 1969?

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The Astronaut Handbook image
Story Time

The Astronaut Handbook

04/07/2020

Do you have what it takes to be an astronaut? Let's see as Troy takes us through the handbook in front of the Air Zoo's ISS training exhibit.

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V-1 Flying Bomb image
Artifacts

V-1 Flying Bomb

04/06/2020

Do you know the history behind the German Lutwaffe's V-1 Flying Bomb? And how did it navigate without a pilot?

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Bird Calls image
STEAM Education

Bird Calls

04/05/2020

Go outside and listen for native Michigan bird calls with Air Zoo science educator, Karn. These are some of the songs and calls in each bird’s musical vocabulary.

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Let's Make Rockets! image
STEAM Education

Let's Make Rockets!

04/04/2020

We have an out-of-this-world project for you today. Make your own rockets at home with Alex!

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Our Tomcat - in 60 Seconds! image
Artifacts

Our Tomcat - in 60 Seconds!

04/03/2020

Michael shares some cool facts and history about our F-14 Tomcat!

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International Children's Book Day image
Story Time

International Children's Book Day

04/02/2020

Join Katie and Emmett as they narrate one of their favorite books in celebration of International Children's Book Day!

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Chromatography Fun at Home! image
STEAM Education

Chromatography Fun at Home!

04/01/2020

Join Air Zoo educator, Natalie, as she shows you how to do coffee filter ink chromatography at home, using simple supplies!

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Violet the Pilot image
Story Time

Violet the Pilot

03/31/2020

Join Jada as she takes you on an exciting adventure. This novel written by Steve Breen is sure to fly right into your heart.

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Restoration at the Air Zoo image
Restoration

Restoration at the Air Zoo

03/30/2020

Learn how the Air Zoo gets aircraft to restore and what some of the process looks like!

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A Local Connection - Jack Sims image
Artifacts

A Local Connection - Jack Sims

03/29/2020

Have you heard of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo? Learn more about the raid, and local hero Jack Sims with Quinton.

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Make Lava Lamps @ Home! image
STEAM Education

Make Lava Lamps @ Home!

03/28/2020

Need something fun and educational to do today? Kathy will teach you how to make lava lamps with household ingredients!

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An Airplane Adventure - from the T-28 Cockpit! image
Story Time

An Airplane Adventure - from the T-28 Cockpit!

03/27/2020

Hey kiddos! Prepare for take off with Troy as he reads "Airplane Flight! A Lift-the-Flap-Adventure" from the cockpit of our T-28 Trojan.

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Meet the WACO CG-4A Glider! image
Artifacts

Meet the WACO CG-4A Glider!

03/26/2020

Did you know historic Kalamazoo icons like Gibson Guitar and Shakespeares played a role in building this glider in WWII? David will share the story with you and the role it played on D-Day.

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Defying the Laws of Nature @ Home! image
STEAM Education

Defying the Laws of Nature @ Home!

03/25/2020

Looking for something fun to do? Follow along with Erin, as she shows you a unique way to defy the laws of nature - at home!

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Ada Twist, Scientist image
Story Time

Ada Twist, Scientist

03/24/2020

We are excited to launch our first story-time video! You are sure to love this engaging story of Ada, a young budding scientist, narrated by the Air Zoo's President & CEO, Troy Thrash.

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Extracting Strawberry DNA! image
STEAM Education

Extracting Strawberry DNA!

03/23/2020

Ever wondered what DNA looks like, or what it actually does for a living thing? Join Karn and see it for yourself!

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Apollo Missions - Lunar Landings image
Artifacts

Apollo Missions - Lunar Landings

03/22/2020

Check out one of Troy's favorite artifacts as he and Christy reveal the significance of the Air Zoo's Moon map!

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Meet the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair image
Artifacts

Meet the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair

03/21/2020

Join Michael as he shares some interesting facts about our co-founder's aircraft!

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Fun with Dry Ice! image
STEAM Education

Fun with Dry Ice!

03/20/2020

Did you know that dry ice is a solid gas... and that it forms at −109.3 °F?!? Want to see some cool things you can do with it at home? Well, check this out!

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Welcome to Launchpad to Learning image
Tours

Welcome to Launchpad to Learning

03/19/2020

What exactly is Launchpad to Learning? Well let our innovative leader, Troy Thrash, tell you all about it. We look forward to seeing you (digitally speaking) each day as we post new educational activities and videos for you to enjoy during your time at home!

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More online activities for kids and families!

 

Partner Links

HowToSmile.org
A database of at-home learning activities for kids uploaded by hundreds of museums and science centers around the world.

Eduporium.com
Online STEAM activities students can do at home.

sciencefun.org/kidszone/experiments
Fun and easy at-home science experiment videos and instructions.

West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA)
Brings you digital jigsaw puzzles to keep you busy, with images from our West Michigan attractions, including the Air Zoo!

Grand Rapids Kids (GRKids.com)
Check out their Michigan Family Travel Guide - Armchair Edition, for fun online activities for families to keep your minds wandering while your bodies can't.

EXPLORLABS 
UL Xplorlabs is a free STEM based educational platform designed to encourage students to “solve through science.” It is especially focused on engaging middle-school students during a time in their educational lives when interest in science is shown to decrease dramatically, through interactive videos, instructional experiences, hands-on classroom activities and creative classroom challenges.

Special thanks to our Launchpad to Learning Sponsor!