User Tips


Bat "Boo-ology"

Go batty for Halloween

Explore the "boo-ology" of bats for Halloween, or any time of year. Kids and adults are fascinated by and often afraid of bats, but may not know the real facts about them. Demystify these misunderstood mammals with activities, and help learners discover how important bats are to pollination and pest control in their ecosystems.


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Share activities

Want to share a great activity, like LEGO Chemical Reactions? This activity has been liked on Facebook more than 3,000 times and pinned on Pinterest nearly 4,000 times! From any activity page, you can now tweet an activity, like it on Facebook, +1 it on Google, share it on Linkedin, pin it on Pinterest, and email it to colleagues, family and friends. You can also add the activity to your own lists, post your own video demonstrating the activity, rate the activity, and add a comment for any visitor to read. welcomes your input—and thanks for sharing!


Pizza Math and Science

Edible "Pie Charts"

From trendy pizza trucks to gluten free crust, not to mention that alltime favorite—plain cheese—pizza is a must-have meal for millions. Turn any pizza party (real or pretend) into tasty math and science with activities from In Pizza Party, practice simple fractions to make sure everyone gets an equal piece of the pie. 


Golden Gate Bridge turns 75

Engineering model bridges

Golden Gate Bridge2They said it couldn’t be built. Seventy-five years later, the Golden Gate Bridge has carried more than a billion cars across the San Francisco Bay. Among the 75 ideas for celebrating the GGB birthday (May 27) are “Inspire the next generation of ‘chief engineers’ by taking kids to a science museum” and “Help your kids build balsa wood bridges and hold a contest to see which bears the most weight.” 


Read Across America with STEM connects STEM and kids' books

Bartholomew OobleckGet your hands-on science, and your hands on a book, for Read Across America this year. Friday, March 2 celebrates the birthday of Dr. Seuss with reading events across the country. celebrates Dr. Seuss with activities featuring "oobleck" (also known as goop, gluep, flubber or slime). The name "oobleck" is borrowed from the Dr. Seuss Caldecott Honor book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. 

Oobleck is an inexpensive, easy-to-make, non-Newtonian substance that behaves like a solid and a liquid. In the Planet Oobleck activity, learners not only make and test oobleck with different tools, they also design a spacecraft that could land on an oobleck-covered planet, take a planetary sample, and return to Earth. Learners can compare their designs with others online, and engineer a model spacecraft to test on their oobleck concoction.


Summer Survival Guide

SMILE Featured in New Summer Survival Guide

Summer Survival GuideThinking about summer already? Bay Area Parent's Summer Survival Guide features activities that are inexpensive, challenging and fun—plus summer reading connections! With 90,000 print copies being distributed around the San Francisco Bay area, and an online version (see pp. 58-62), the free Bay Area Parent guide highlights SMILE activities that can be done outdoors or indoors and include arts and crafts, stories, a field trip, and both offline and online components. 


Learning from Lincoln

Presidents and Wind Power

Wind TurbinesLincoln's Gettysburg Address ("Four score and seven years ago...") is famous from his time as President of the United States. In a less well-known campaign speech, Lincoln talked about the power of scientific discoveries and inventions, including the challenge of harnessing forces of nature, like the wind.

"As yet, the wind is an untamed, and unharnessed force; and quite possibly one of the greatest discoveries hereafter to be made, will be the taming, and harnessing of it," Lincoln predicted. 


SMILE a "great, go-to website" says NAEYC

Teaching Young Children magazine gives SMILE a thumbs-up is a "great, go-to website" for teachers of all subjects and levels, says the National Association for the Education of Young Children. NAEYC recommends under "Tools for Teachers" in the February/March issue of Teaching Young Children, NAEYC's magazine for preschool professionals. The review particularly notes the SMILE collection's high-quality activities, and the fact that "teachers can search for experiments and activities by age, keywords, materials needed, and content subject."

The youngest learners can discover the science and mathematics of the world around them in hundreds of SMILE's hands-on activities for ages 4-8. Many activities involve role play, music, movement, art, games, sensory explorations, literature connections, and field trips. 

Thinking ahead to spring-themed activities? (For learners in many locations, spring is already here!) Try SMILE activities about the life cycle of animals and plants, like Chickens and EggsLife Cycle of a Grasshopper, Lupine and ButterfliesWhat is a Seed or Growing Plants: Track Their Growth.


Holiday Science of the Senses

Holiday Science

PerfumeHolidays are a sensory experience full of special smells, tastes, sights and sounds. Why not start a new holiday tradition exploring the science of the senses! has hundreds of activities about the senses. Many can be done with foods and simple materials already on hand, for free or very low cost, and with mixed age groups, from family holiday gatherings to multi-grade winter camps.

Smell is one of our strongest senses, and affects how holiday and all foods taste to us. In The Nose Knows, a blindfold test lets learners experience the difference between how something tastes when they can smell it, and when they can’t. Not only foods add to the aromas of the season, when scented candles, potpourri and perfumes fill the air. Let learners get creative in Make Your Own Perfume to discover how scents combine, by using spices, flavorings, flowers and more to concoct their own signature scent.


Greeting Card Boxes

Turn holiday cards into 3-D science fun!

With greeting cards in plentiful supply this month, learners of all ages can craft great mini-boxes for gifts, decorations, or just fun with a little math thrown in! In the Greeting Card Boxes activity, learners gain hands-on understanding of area and volume while creating their own paper works of art.

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