Courtesy of Smithsonian

Looking for something to grab your children’s interest this summer?

One option could be Smithsonian Summer Virtual Adventures — a series of weeklong learning experiences introducing the world of the Smithsonian to children in kindergarten through 11th grade.

Over 50 live, interactive adventures will be held Monday, June 21 through Friday, Aug. 27. Youth can explore Smithsonian collections and themes during these specially designed sessions — live, facilitated activities with peers take place online along with additional challenges and projects to continue offline.

For the youngest adventurers (grades K—1), themes of the Smithsonian will be explored through stories, songs, movement, games, craft, object discovery and virtual museum visits. Focusing on a different theme each week, educators at the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center will lead interactive explorations of objects and artworks in the Smithsonian’s collections that spark art making and experimentation. Sessions include “Smithsonian ABCs,” “Budding Botanists,” “Fur, Fangs and Footprints,” “Secrets of the Sea,” “Dino Discovery,” “The Art of Recycling,” “Out of this World” and “Art in Motion.”

Students (grades 2-5) can take a deep dive into Smithsonian’s collections through weekly offerings that explore a variety of topics including natural sciences, history, art and more. Adventures include virtual visits to museums, hands-on projects, games, collaborative challenges and conversations with experts during two hours of live, online interaction with a team of experienced instructors. Sessions include “Make a Mini-Museum,” “Take to the Skies,” “Gadgets and Gizmos,” “Deep Blue Discovery,” “Digging for Dinos” and “Playing in the Past.”

Teens (grades 6-9) can sign up for Smithsonian Masterclasses — week-long studio courses that help them develop specialized skills, socialize and interact with other teens and learn from professional practitioners. With two hours of daily live online workshops on photography, drawing, robot design, stop-motion animation, comics and theater set and costume design, teens practice, experiment and collaborate in the development of personal projects inspired by Smithsonian collections.

History comes alive in one-week “Soldiers and Dioramas” sessions (grades 6—11) where students find a new dimension — a miniature one — to learning about some of the most important battles in history. Participants make their own terrain boards and leading troops of 1/72-scale soldiers in war games that offer them vivid insights into the military strategies and conflicts that have shaped the world. A diorama kit is included in the cost of the program and mailed to participants.

Fees apply and vary for non-members and Smithsonian Associates members. Online registration begins April 7 but members may be eligible for early registration on April 5 and 6.

For more information, go to

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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