If keeping up with your kid’s questions gives your parent brain a workout, we feel you. Keep their curiosity thriving and healthy with kits, classes and guides that were made to exercise grey matter. From ordering a KidsQuest Remote Learning Kit to signing up for a new ZooQuarium program, these engaging activities will keep kids happy and healthy, and maybe even give you a break, too.

photo: courtesy KidsQuest Children's Museum

KidsQuest Children’s Museum

Leave it to KidsQuest to come up with so many ways to engage kids’ brains. With the start of the school, they’ve rolled out Remote Learning Kits for kids ages four and up that bring art, science, music and more into your home. They include grey matter building materials plus 10-14 curriculum cards. You pick the topic and age range, and whether you want to pick it up or have it shipped.

For younger kiddos (ages three and up) the museum now offers a monthly subscription box that’s all about sensory play. It includes three containers of KidsQuest play dough and other fixings that preschoolers will totally love. Choose to receive it for one, three, six, nine or 12 months. Pair that with their Toy Library Subscription (yep, you rent their toys) and you’ve got all kinds of new and engaging ways to keep your kiddos occupied when the rain sets in.

photo: courtesy Burke Museum

Burke Museum

If your little learner digs dinos, then he or she will love the kits, curriculum packets and virtual field trips the museum offers. If you haven’t picked up your Fossil Finder Box yet, there’s still time (the program ends on Sept. 20). It’s where kids get everything they need to uncover fossils, create a dino diorama, even make a claw or dino tooth. When you pair it with downloadable curriculum packets that cover cool-to-kids topics like Mesozoic Monsters and Dino Environments you’ve got engaging activities for every day of the week.

Starting this fall, families can also check out a Burke Box, full of museum-quality objects and artifacts, that cover topics like Rocks & Minerals, Mammals, even the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Boxes are just $50 per week and financial assistance is available. Also in autumn, the Burke is introducing a new Virtual Field Trip program. These interactive, self-paced "trips" give kids the chance to visit a Burke exhibit and even go behind the scenes, all from the comfort of your couch. This activity is recommended for kids ages seven and up. To stay in the loop about these both of these soon-to-open fall activities, sign up online.

photo: Katie Cotterill

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium just launched their ZooQuarium Online Learning program yesterday. Whether your kids love animals, science or both these real-time discussions and activities led by Zoo Educators will not only teach kids something new, but they’ll have tons of fun while they're at it too. Each class is just $10 for one kid or $75 for a group, and little learners ages six and up can choose to from four wildly educational classes—Wild Cats!, Sea Otters, Red Fox Journey and Fin Facts. Then expand their brainy activities with Northwest Trek’s Online Wildlife Academy offerings, where brainiacs of all ages can peek in the pond, wonder about wolverines and become bear aware. It's everything budding zoologists need.

STEAMboat Studios

Whether your budding scientist wants to make slime, learn to code or play with LED circuits, Steamboat Studios has a class for that. Their fall offerings include four- and six-week courses that kids can take virtually or in-person at their Maple Valley studio (psst…some are even outside at Lake Wilderness Park). And if your little learner just needs a pick-me-up? Well then he or she can drop-in on the Saturday STEAM Outside workshop or register for a one-day Slime Time! event. Brain building activities with flexibility? Sign us up!

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

If you've got a kid who wants to put their brain to work creating change, it's time to take a trip to the Gates Foundation Discovery Center at Home and do just that. They’ve got inspiring ideas and resources that encourage kids to use their voices, show kindness and volunteer for things that are important to them. These Action Cards are a great place for big kids to start that journey. Young changemakers can also think about creating a Brave Space as they explore what it takes to build a better world. It’s a twist on learning your kiddos won’t expect.

photo: courtesy Pacific Science Center

Pacific Science Center

If your kids are missing school field trips, they can take one with friends or a learning pod through PacSci. Live from the Curiosity Studio, PacSci instructors stream their best workshops, demonstrations and STEAM activities straight to your group. The 40-minute sessions are designed for kids in Kindergarten through sixth grade, and families can choose from one of six science-y topics, like Piece of Mind and Radical Reactions. It’s the best way to field trip when you can’t. So grab a group and get learning!

photo: courtesy Seward Park Audubon Center

Seward Park Audubon Center

If your kiddo is curious about the natural world, pick up a Naturalist Kit and accompanying Discovery Packet from the Seward Park Audubon Center shop. These kits include a week’s worth of activities that not only get kids outside, but also get them thinking about birds and plants that are native to our region. We love that these kits come with everything you need to get down to building that grey matter straight out of the box. The main kit is packed with everything from colored pencils and a journal, to tweezers and a carrying case, where the supplemental packets include stuff like birdseed and owl pellets. Parents can pick up these brain boosters at the Seward Park shop or ship them right to your door.

Play-Well TEKnologies

For kids who know LEGOs are life, Play-Well TEKnologies is offering virtual classes this fall. These weekly classes come in one of two “flavors,” but both explore engineering principles using everybody’s favorite stackable toy. The At Home classes work kids through the basics using bricks from their own collection, while the Online with LEGO Materials classes use specific LEGOs that are shipped directly to your door. Class choices range from STEM FUNdamentals to Jedi and Minecraft Adventures, and kids as young as four can sign up. Let's get building!

Kruckeberg Garden

You don’t have to head to Krukeburg Garden in Shoreline to take advantage of their learning opportunities, but you can. The garden is open to visitors Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through October. Be sure to download the self-guided walking tour and bird watching checklist to keep up with your curious cuties, who will of course want to know what everything is. But if you want stick close to home, you can also find their tot garden programs online. Each one includes games and activities, arts and crafts, videos and more that teach kids about things like Tree-mendous Trees, the Dirt on Dirt and Rainy Day Play (totally bookmarking) no matter what garden or park they’re playing in.

Seattle Public Library

Library lovers of all ages know librarians love boosting brainpower. That’s why the folks at the Seattle Public Library have been working hard curating Exploration Guides, for kids ages seven and up, to help them learn about…well, whatever they want. Does your little foodie want to be the next big kid chef? Try these Baking and Cake Decorating resources. Curious about Kraken (and who isn't)? Kiddos can find out tons about this mythical beast through SPL. Each category has videos, articles, books and more to keep kids diving deeper into knowledge.

—Allison Sutcliffe

feature photo: Dominika Roseclay via pexels

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