At-home resources for kids and parents during Covid-19

To our KiwiCo community:

As parents, we share the same concerns about the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus, and the impact it will have on our families. Here at KiwiCo, we asked our team to work from home. Many of us have children who will be home with us for the foreseeable future due to school closures.

We know a lot of you are also trying to find a new normal, including keeping your kids busy at home. So today, we’re launching a resource hub for parents to help support learning at home, with loads of stay-at-home educational activities for every age, tips from teachers on effective remote learning, and kid-friendly content that connects science with their daily lives. To start with, we’re bringing you an explanation of the science of handwashing, to help kids understand why it’s so important. We’re going to be adding new content and resources to the hub regularly. We’ll also be switching up our newsletter to bring you helpful resources more frequently, and you can follow us on Instagram for daily updates.

Please take care of yourself, and reach out if we can help. We’re here to support you and your family during this time. We’re in this together.

Founder & Mom of 3


30 Screen-Free STEAM DIYs for Kids

In today’s day and age, it can be tough to tear our little humans away from the screens and devices we’ve all become so attached to. But there’s nothing quite as enriching and satisfying for kids as getting their hands dirty and making something themselves. And of course, it never hurts if they learn something new along the way! Keep those tiny hands and brains busy year round with this list of screen-free DIYs for kids of all ages.

Ages 3-4

Milk Swirl Experiment

This experiment is easy and safe enough for kids of all ages, and uses only ingredients you probably already have in the kitchen. The end result is an explosion of colors, and it almost looks like magic!

Learn more: Milk Swirl Experiment

Salt Dough Dinosaur Fossils

Fossils need perfect conditions to form and they take a looong time to make. But what if you could make your own fossils in under two hours? Try out this project to find out how!

Learn more: Salt Dough Dinosaur Fossils

Giant Bubble Wand

All you need are simple household items to make this giant bubble wand and a bubble solution for giant bubbles. Once they’ve got the hang of it, challenge your kids to take turns trying to see who could make the biggest bubbles! 

Learn more: Giant Bubble Wand

Celery Experiment

Has your child ever wondered how plants get water from their roots all the way to their leaves? This simple celery experiment shows how colored water travels up a celery stalk!

Learn more: Celery Experiment

Fizzy Colors

Turn your kitchen into a chemistry lab with this simple science experiment! You only need three ingredients: baking soda, food coloring, and vinegar.

Learn more: Fizzy Colors

Capillary Action Rainbow

Capillary action is a way of describing how water moves when it gets into tiny tubes or spaces, like in between hairs on your head or fibers in a piece of paper. Check out capillary action at work in this wild, water-wicking experiment!

Learn more: Capillary Action Rainbow

Ages 5-8

Erupting Apples

Why not get a little messy and do some kitchen science? When your kids inevitably try and find the remains of their apple in the mound of foam, be sure to ask them what it feels like.

Learn more: Erupting Apples

Make Your Own Garden

This easy CD garden gives your kids a front row seat to the magic of sprouting seeds. Wheatgrass seeds grow super fast, so make sure they check in on their growing garden every day!

Learn more: Make Your Own Garden

DIY Lava Lamp

We love watching the bubbles in a lava lamp dance. Make your own colorful, bubbling lamp with this fun science experiment about mixing up unmixable liquids! 

Learn more: DIY Lava Lamp

Fluffy Slime

Is your slime feeling mucky and dense? Could your slime use a little pep in its step? Try mixing together this special concoction and make fluffy slime!

Learn more: Fluffy Slime

Unpoppable Bubbles

This simple trick will make your soap bubbles stronger, leading to hours of play time and discovery! Make sure to check out the “What’s Going On?” section at the bottom of the instructions to learn the wild chemistry behind these nearly-unpoppable bubbles.

Learn more: Unpoppable Bubbles

Electric Jellyfish

Learn about creating static electricity with this simple project. Explore more by using this technique to create a living birthday cake with candles, campfire, or wetland scene!

Learn more: Electric Jellyfish

Conveyor Belt Cinema

With the help of a cardboard box and some wooden skewers, you can craft a small-scale conveyor belt and create a cinematic experience. Try it out with the provided printables, and then try making your own scene!

Learn more: Conveyor Belt Cinema

Underwater Fireworks

With your kitchen as your lab and baking supplies as your ingredients, create your own underwater firework spectacular!

Learn more: Underwater Fireworks

Egg in Vinegar Experiment

Want to see a chemical reaction in action? With this egg in vinegar experiment, watch a regular egg transform into a bouncy egg. 

Learn more: Egg in Vinegar Experiment

Ages 9-12

Desk Catapult 

This DIY catapult doubles as a desk toy! It’s easy to build from common office supplies and leads to hours of play time. Make it a game by adding some cups to toss your projectiles into!

Learn more: Desk Catapult 

Baking Soda-Powered Boat

Fizz, fizz, zoom! This baking soda experiment boat is easy to build and fun to race. If you’ve ever dropped a fizzy tablet into a cup of water or made a baking soda volcano, you’ve made the same chemical reaction used here. But this time, we’re using that reaction to power a soda bottle boat, for a short distance at least.

Learn more: Baking Soda-Powered Boat

Iridescent Paper 

Did you know that you can create a rainbow with clear nail polish? Try this quick experiment using clear nail polish and black paper to make a swirling mix of colors.

Learn more: Iridescent Paper 

DIY Parachute 

In this experiment, we create a parachute toy using a sandwich bag to learn about air resistance and see it in action.

Learn more: DIY Parachute 

Balloon Hovercraft

You don’t need high-tech gadgets to make your own hovercraft! This balloon-powered toy is easy to make with household materials and is a ton of fun to send zooming around! 

Learn more: Balloon Hovercraft

Marbled Paperweight

With just some nail polish and water, you can transform an ordinary rock into your own marbled paperweight.

Learn more: Marbled Paperweight

Bottle Cap Bot 

Here’s a fun project that recycles bottle caps into little robots that dance and scoot in all kinds of surprising ways!

Learn more: Bottle Cap Bot 

Wave Machine

We’re surrounded by waves! Sound and light travel as waves to our ears and eyes. Ocean waves crash onto the beach. Radio waves broadcast music to our cars. We even use waves to cook our food – in microwaves! Try making this wave machine to see how all different kinds of waves move!

Learn more: Wave Machine

Ages 12+

Pressure Bottle Rocket 

In this DIY project, we’ll learn how to use the exact sample principles found in water squirters to launch a water rocket sky-high! Follow along with these simple steps and you’ll be blasting off in no time.

Learn more: Pressure Bottle Rocket 

Melted Crayon Art 

Melting. It’s a natural process that we can see everyday: the ice in a glass of water, the butter on bread right after it’s toasted, the candles on a birthday cake. Let’s try to melt crayons into a work of art!

Learn more: Melted Crayon Art

Muscle Machine

In this muscle machine, you’ll be mimicking the action of a muscle by pulling a string. This is actually pretty similar to how your muscles work!

Learn more: Muscle Machine

Graphite Circuit

Can you complete an LED circuit using a graphite pencil? Learn about the conductive properties of graphite and draw your own design to see it light up! This is a super quick and easy science experiment that is entertaining for both kids and adults alike.

Learn more: Graphite Circuit

Rubber Band Helicopter

Learn about helicopters by making a rubber band powered flying toy!

Learn more: Rubber Band Helicopter

Lung Model 

Curious about how the innermost organs of your body work? Observe your lungs at work with this easy-to-make model!

Learn more: Lung Model 

Paper Airplane Launcher

Take your paper airplanes to new heights by making a motorized launcher for them.

Learn more: Paper Airplane Launcher

How to Make Math Fun for Kids

We chatted with a father-daughter duo who found a fun way to turn an intimidating subject into a creative adventure.

At KiwiCo, we love pie—sweet pie, savory pie, and especially the number pi. But we met a middle schooler whose dedication to pie is inspirationally infinite.

“There was this pie place that said that anyone that could recite a hundred digits got a free pie, but only on Pi Day, March 14th,” 12-year-old Sadie tells us.

So what did Sadie do? She started dishing out digits, of course. 

“I decided to write down the digits in permanent marker on my hand, and I did 20 at a time. And every time I looked at my hand, they’d be there,” she says. “So I just remembered them.”

After a few weeks of memorizing, Sadie earned herself a free pie. Sadie’s story shows that, when combined with tasty treats, math becomes a lot more approachable for kids—and grownups (let’s be honest). And that’s part of the reason we love celebrating Pi Day. The quirky holiday presents the opportunity to introduce an intimidating subject in a sweet and surprising way. We chatted with Sadie and her dad—who happens to be a physics professor at Harvard University—to learn some tips and tricks for making math more fun for everyone!

Sadie and her dad, Harvard Professor Dr. Jacob Barandes.


“Mathematics is fundamentally about exploration,” says Dr. Jacob Barandes. “This is an opportunity to go on an adventure with your kids.”

Pick Out Patterns

Sadie’s dad, Dr. Jacob Barandes, says looking for patterns can help with more than the memorization of hundreds of digits. To Dr. Barandes, it’s also key to developing a greater affinity for math overall.

“Mathematics is fundamentally about looking for patterns in the world around us,” he says. “It could be a game that you come up with and then you notice this thing seems to keep happening every time. I wonder if there’s a reason for that.”

Here are a few activities that put this thinking into practice: 

Pendulum Wave Project

As these pendulums move back and forth, they make amazing patterns. Challenge your kid to think mathematically by asking them why! 

Learn more: Pendulum Wave Project

Bell Curve Peg Board

By building a peg board and randomly dropping some beads, you can demonstrate one of the most important principles in statistics: the bell curve!

Learn more: Bell Curve Peg Board

Swinging Salt Pendulum

Make a swinging pendulum and trace its path with lines of colored salt! What patterns emerge?

Learn more:Swinging Salt Pendulum

Play with Pascal Triangles

Dr. Barandes tipped us off to another great tool for playing with mathematical patterns (and practicing addition while you’re at it): the Pascal Triangle. 

“You only have to know how to add simple numbers together to build one of these Pascal triangles,” he says. “But this is a wonderful example of where you find enormous numbers of patterns in structure.” 

So, grab your kids, a pencil, and some paper, and follow these simple steps to build your own Pascal Triangle at home. Watch the math-y magic unfold!

Step 1:  On your paper, make two sides of a triangle out of 1s like this: 

Step 2: Fill in your triangle by adding two numbers horizontally next to each other and placing their sum directly below them. For example, in row two, 1 + 1 =2. So, row 3 becomes 1-2-1.

Step 3: Keep going!

Step 4: Highlight or circle all the odd numbers in your triangle. What patterns do you notice?

Step 5: Keep expanding your triangle and highlighting odds for some neat pattern discoveries!

Meet Kid Engineers Building a Better Tomorrow

Here at KiwiCo, we believe in the power of small. And that’s because kids have a tendency to dream bigger and see possibilities through an unfiltered lens. It’s a core KiwiCo belief: That by learning the skills to problem-solve, innovate and create, kids can truly change the world tomorrow. And a lot of kids are already making their mark (after they finish their homework, of course). From detecting water contamination to creating human connections, we got to know four young engineers who are thinking big and building a better future. 

Mark Leschinsky, 14
Mark invented a self-disinfecting hazmat suit after seeing a newscast about the Ebola epidemic in 2014. He received a U.S. patent for the design in 2016.
STEAM snack: Chocolate to help short-term cognitive strength
STEAM superhero: Thomas Edison

What inspired you to be an inventor?

Mark: Whenever I create or design something, my end goal is always to be able to make an impact on society. It’s very rewarding for me to see that I can improve the life of someone else.

What advice would you give to other kids who want to start inventing and making?

Mark: I want to emphasize that you don’t need any sophisticated equipment or a lot of experience to make a positive difference in your community. The most important thing is to have passion, dedication, and a desire to achieve something positive. Never take “no” for an answer. Keep going until you have reached the stars. Believe it or not, children truly are the BEST inventors because we children are dreamers! Everything is possible for us!

What is one thing you want to change about the world?

Mark: One thing I want to change in the world is to combat the misconception that kids can’t create something meaningful in our society. Kids are the BEST inventors, creators, and tinkerers because our imagination is limitless! I want the world to recognize that we children are capable of creating the next groundbreaking technologies and innovations in our community, and that the best way to facilitate that is to encourage us to dream big and to invent!

Jordan Reeves, 15
Jordan is an activist, designer, and inventor who has been engineering innovative prosthetics for kids with limb differences since she was in elementary school.
STEAM snack: Gushers
STEAM superhero: Members of the STEAM Squad

What inspires you to invent new things?

Jordan: I like to look at things based on my personal experience and think of new ways to do it. I’m working on a whole new way to play the guitar because it’s hard for me to do since I was born with one full arm and the other stops before the elbow.

What advice would you give to other kids who want to be engineers?

Jordan: If you have an idea, try it out. It might not work at first. If you get upset and annoyed, walk away for a bit but come back to it. If you keep trying, you might come up with a whole new idea that no one has worked on before.

What change do you want to see in the world?

Jordan: I want to make sure people who are different are included in developing products and ideas from the beginning. I hope kids will think about making sure they include other kids they may not know in their work. Kids who may not be from their own neighborhood or have different life experiences. Ask a lot of questions and make sure you learn about perspectives you don’t have before you settle in on launching a big idea or event.

Laalitya Acharya, 17
Laalitya has been engineering solutions to problems since she was four. She’s currently working on Nereid, a method to detect bacteria contamination in water using AI analysis.
STEAM snack:
Carrots & hummus
STEAM superhero:
Dr. Jennifer Doudna who helped to develop the world-changing CRISPR technology

How long have you been interested in science?

Laalitya: I have always been curious about the world around me and always wanted to understand the “why”. One of the first experiences that I remember with science was when I decided to decipher the recipe of Coca-Cola! As I grew older, I saw the issues in our world and wanted to find solutions to these problems.

What got you interested in the issue of water contamination?

Laalitya: My inspiration came from a family trip to India when I saw the glaring water gap – there was a lack of access to clean water and many people, including myself, fell ill from drinking this contaminated water. There were no affordable and effective methods to detect this contamination, so I decided to create one!

What advice would you give to other kids who want to be engineers?

Laalitya: I would tell them to not be afraid of failure, and I know that this is easier said than done – but science is full of mistakes. You will fail and it’s important to pick yourself up after these instances and keep on working towards your goal.

Emma Yang, 17 
Emma invented a mobile app that helps Alzheimer’s patients stay engaged and connected to loved ones. She began work on the app at age 12, and has since founded a start-up and raised $120K to pursue the technology.
STEAM snack: Lychee candy
STEAM superhero: Megan Smith, former Chief Technology Officer of the United States

What inspires you to invent new things?

Emma: I’m fascinated by how technology can empower anyone to solve the problems they see in their family and in their community. What inspired me to innovate was seeing how, even though we see technology as being so ubiquitous and able to solve every problem, there are still many populations (like the elderly and Alzheimer’s patients) who aren’t being reached by the potential of computing. What grew out of the personal challenge of helping my grandmother cope with Alzheimer’s led to an innovation that I hope can contribute to changing the landscape of technology to include these underserved populations.

What advice would you give to other kids who want to be engineers?

Emma: Never let people tell you what is and isn’t possible. You have the potential to make a difference, no matter who you are.

What change do you want to see in the world?

Emma: You might have heard of the phrase, “There’s an app for that.” For most of the population, technology encompasses almost every part of our daily lives. However, there are still significant populations that remain underserved by technology. This is an issue that I want to change about the world. As young people, I believe we have a unique perspective on the issues around us. We can help to address the challenges faced by these underserved populations by raising awareness and, regardless of age or experience, being proactive in using STEM to create solutions for these populations.

10 Children’s Books that Celebrate Black Scientists, Artists, & Innovators

February marks Black History Month—a time to celebrate the experiences and accomplishments of Black Americans. And while this should be a focus of education year round, learning resources highlighting Black history are often missing from schools. In fact, that’s a big part of why Black History Month came to fruition in the first place. In the 1920s, Carter G. Woodson—the second Black American to receive a Ph.D. in history from Harvard—created “Negro History Week” as a way to provide schools with resources that would teach children about Black history. Over the past century, the week-long movement evolved into a month-long celebration of Black experiences and accomplishments.

At KiwiCo, we’re on a mission to inspire kids to become the next generation of STEAM leaders and innovators. So during Black History Month, and throughout the year, we look to the trailblazers who laid a path for kids to follow. With help from our friends at The Conscious Kid, we collected a list of some of our favorite books about Black scientists, artists, and innovators who changed the world for the better.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison 

Featuring forty trailblazing Black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations.

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed

A beautiful picture book for sharing and marking special occasions such as graduation, inspired by the life of the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s, but before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.

Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks

The life story of Vivien Thomas, an African American surgical technician who developed the first procedure used to perform open-heart surgery on children.

The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just by Melina Mangal

Ernest was not like other scientists. He saw the whole, where others saw only parts. And he noticed details others failed to see. Through stunning illustrations and lyrical prose, this picture book presents the life and accomplishments of Ernest Everett Just, an African American biologist who made important discoveries about the cell in the 1930s.

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award-nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrator Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four Black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers!

Young, Gifted, and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present by Jamia Wilson

This book is a journey across borders, through time and even through space to meet 52 icons of color from the past and present in a celebration of achievement.

Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon by Kelly Starling Lyons

Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon celebrates a contemporary black STEAM role model, a man whose quiet work enabled the creation of an iconic building reflecting America’s past and future. With a stirring text by Kelly Starling Lyons, vibrant pictures by Laura Freeman, and an afterword from Philip Freelon himself, it is sure to inspire the next generation of dreamers and builders.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba’s Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone’s crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind.

Buzzing With Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington

Can spiders learn? How do ants find their way home? Can bugs see color? All of these questions buzzed endlessly in Charles Henry Turner’s mind. As the first Black entomologist, he was fascinated by plants and animals and bugs. And even when he faced racial prejudice, Turner did not stop wondering. He constantly read, researched, and experimented. Author Janice Harrington and artist Theodore Taylor III capture the life of this scientist and educator in this nonfiction picture book, highlighting Turner’s unstoppable curiosity and his passion for science.

Want more books like these? Check out this list: 30 Children’s Books That Inspire Creativity, Inclusion & Resilience

These 10 Space Activities for Kids Are Out of This World

From distant stars, to black holes, to the search for life on other planets, outer space has so much to explore. Inspire your child to think out of the box (and out of this world!) with our favorite space-themed science projects.

Straw Rockets (Ages 3-16)

How fast do you think a rocket needs to go in order to launch into orbit? A shuttle needs to go from zero to 18,000 miles per hour (29,000 kilometers per hour) to get to space! (This is nine times faster than the speed of a rifle bullet!) While these paper straw rockets don’t fly nearly as fast, we had a bunch of fun watching them zoom off. Give it a try and see how well your rockets fly!

Learn more: Straw Rockets

Galactic Art (Ages 4-9)

A toothbrush (yes, a toothbrush!) is the secret to these imaginary galaxies. Add your own black holes, planets, rockets, or alien spaceships!

Learn more: Galactic Art

Glowing Planets (Ages 4-10)

With this stellar DIY you can create your own light up planets using simple, household materials. Take it one step further and craft a whole solar system to light up your child’s room at night! 

Learn more: Glowing Planets

Solar System (Ages 5+)

This outer space project kit includes watercolors to create beautiful paper planets. Use your planets to create your own solar system mobile, complete with a light-up sun in the center. Play a game and create a meteor launcher to test your skill shooting for the moon!

Learn more: Solar System

Astronaut Starter Kit (Ages 5+)

Blast off into STEM learning with this astronaut starter kit! Build and launch a pair of model orbiter spaceships using the power of pumps. Paint a set of model planets, then construct a miniature solar system that really spins.

Learn more: Astronaut Starter Kit

Moon Crater Experiment (Ages 5-8)

Have you ever wondered how the moon’s craters are formed? If the answer is yes, then this experiment is just right for you. Make your own moon surface with flour and oil and then drop meteorites (small rocks and pebbles) from varying heights to create your own craters!

Learn more: Moon Crater Experiment

Planet Bath Bombs (Ages 5+)

Dive into kid-friendly chemistry with a set of planet-themed bath bombs you crafted yourself! Mix together citric acid, baking soda, cornstarch, and food coloring to make a variety of colorful bath bomb powders. Use a set of molds to shape the powders into multi-layered bath bombs inspired by the layers of the Earth.

Learn more: Planet Bath Bombs

Exploring Stars (Ages 5+)

Learn about the constellations in the night sky and then imagine and design your own! Play with gears and use them to engineer a model system of the Sun, Earth, and Moon.

Learn more: Exploring Stars

Spinning Space Orrery  (Ages 9-16)

An orrery is a mechanical model of the motion of the planets in our solar system. Try making your own orrery with this printable DIY! 

Learn more: Spinning Space Orrery

Pressure Bottle Rocket (Ages 9-16)

In this DIY project, we’ll learn how to use the exact sample principles found in water squirters to launch a water rocket sky-high! Follow along with these simple steps and you’ll be blasting off in no time.

Learn more: Pressure Bottle Rocket

Stellar Activities to Teach Kids About NASA’s Newest Mars Rover

Credit: NASA

NASA’s newest Mars rover, Perseverance, is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet on February 18th, 2021. NASA is inviting everyone to be a part of history by holding live streams leading up to the landing and on the big day (see the live stream schedule here). This huge step for human space exploration is a great opportunity to inspire your kids to learn more about space! We collected some of out-of-this-world activities to help you transport your kids to the cosmos!

The Science of Mars Exploration 

Have you ever wanted to visit other planets? Well, many scientists think we could someday – and the first place they plan to go is Mars! Mars is one of the eight planets in the Solar System. It’s the fourth one from the Sun, right next door to Earth! 

To study Mars up close, scientists have to send robots called rovers. How do they get them there, you ask? Rockets, of course! Check out the projects below to learn more about the physics of rockets.

Straw Rockets (Ages 3-8)

How fast do you think a rocket needs to go in order to launch into orbit? A shuttle needs to go from zero to 18,000 miles per hour (29,000 kilometers per hour) to get to space! (This is nine times faster than the speed of a rifle bullet!) While these paper straw rockets don’t fly nearly as fast, we had a bunch of fun watching them zoom off. Give it a try and see how well your rockets fly!

Pressure Bottle Rocket (Ages 9-16)

In this DIY project, we’ll learn how to use the exact sample principles found in water squirters to launch a water rocket sky-high! Follow along with these simple steps and you’ll be blasting off in no time.

Meet the Mars Rovers

The robots that scientists send to explore the surface of Mars are called rovers. Only a few special rovers have been made, and each one was designed with specific features to help it investigate the Red Planet. The previous four rovers (Curiosity, Spirit, Opportunity, and Sojourner) studied the formation and geology of Mars. Back in 2012, the Curiosity rover found evidence that there were once lakes and rivers of flowing water there!  

Now, scientists have sent Perseverance, the newest rover, which is designed to search for signs of ancient life. It has more science instruments than any other rover, with a whopping 23 cameras and two microphones that it will use to look for signs of ancient bacteria and single-celled organisms on the Red Planet.

Make a Cardboard Rover

Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

As you and your child learn more about the rovers, challenge them to make a cardboard rover courtesy of NASA!

Mars Helicopter

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Along with a brand new rover, the Red Planet will also be receiving its very first helicopter on the 18th! The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is uniquely designed to fly in the Martian atmosphere, and it will mark humanity’s first attempt to fly on another planet. 

Build your very own Mars Helicopter at home with one of these DIY projects!

Paper Spinning Helicopters

If you’ve ever been near a maple tree in the late summer or early fall, you’ve probably watched their seeds twirl down from high branches and fall near the base of the tree. These seeds are a natural example of how helicopters work by creating lift!

Rubber Band Helicopter

Learn about helicopters by making a rubber band powered flying toy! Ask your child to imagine how their helicopter would fly on Mars. What design changes would they make?

How to Land on Mars

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Landing on Mars is seriously hard.  So hard, that less than half of the missions humans have sent there have landed successfully. Share these fun facts about landing on Mars with your child, then try the activity below!

7 Minutes of Terror | It will take about 7 minutes for Perseverance to travel from the top of Mars’s atmosphere to its surface. Scientists call this part of a mission the “Seven Minutes of Terror.”

Autonomous Landing | Perseverance is designed to land on Mars all by itself, meaning no humans will be controlling it during the landing sequence! 

Supersonic Parachute | To help it land safely, engineers have equipped Perseverance’s spacecraft with a supersonic parachute. The parachute is over 70 feet (21 meters) in diameter, about the size of a tennis court!

DIY Parachute

Follow this activity to stage a Mars landing at home with your very own parachute! What would you land on Mars?

Watch the Perseverance landing LIVE!

The NASA TV broadcast from Mission Control starts at 11:15 a.m. PST/2:15 p.m. EST on February 18th. Watch it here.

Creative Ways for Kids to Learn the Science of Shadows

Every Groundhog Day, a furry rodent pops out of its burrow and predicts the start depending on whether or not it sees its shadow. The holiday always reminds us of the wonder of shadows, so we wanted to know if this century-old superstition was inspired by any actual science. 

Way before weathermen and women graced our television screens and weather satellites circled in space, people turned to animals for signs of what was to come. Groundhogs go into hibernation in the late fall and emerge in early spring, so their departure and arrival signaled the start of a new season. Male groundhogs tend to pop out in February for a brief above-ground greeting and then burrow back down for another month or so. And that habit is likely why Groundhog Day falls in February. So, there is a tiny dose of science behind the tradition but it has nothing to do with seeing shadows.

Nevertheless, this quirky holiday is a great excuse to teach kids about the science of shadows! Here are five shadow-filled projects to keep your kids learning as we patiently (or impatiently) await the arrival of spring.

Groundhog Sundial

Who says groundhogs are the only ones who can read shadows? Use this printable DIY to teach your child to read measure time with the sun.

Learn more: Groundhog Sundial

Shadow Art

Sometimes shadows are more complex than you might think. Trace the pattern of the shadow made from a mason jar for a beautiful abstract piece of artwork!

Learn more: Shadow Art

Shadow Chalk Experiment

Ever wonder what happens to your shadow during the day? This video will walk you through an activity to determine just that. Trace your shadow in chalk and watch it change position over time!

Learn more: Shadow Chalk Experiment

Shadow Puppet Theater

In this project, you’ll put different shapes in a clear sandwich bag and shine a flashlight to stage a shadow puppet scene. How do the shadows change when you add or remove shapes? Find out in this science and storytelling project!

Learn more: Shadow Puppet Theater

Hand-Crank Flashlight

You can’t make shadows without light! Use this crate to assemble your own hand-crank flashlight, great for outdoor adventures, emergencies, or just battery-free fun. 

Learn more: Hand-Crank Flashlight

10 Sweet & Sciencey Valentine’s Day Projects

Valentine’s Day is known for sharing chocolates and declarations of love, but there’s no reason we can’t add a little science into the mix! Check out this list of festive, Cupid-approved science projects to keep your kids engaged and inspired this Valentine’s Day.

Ages 3-4

Homemade Valentine’s Day Playdough

Have fun this Valentine’s day creating playdough hearts with this colorful DIY playdough. Snap some photos of your child’s creations to share as virtual valentines.

Learn more: Homemade Valentine’s Day Playdough

Skittles Heart Experiment

If you have more candy than you know what to do with, try this experiment with your little ones. Shape your skittles into a heart for a special Valentine’s Day twist. Sometimes playing with food is inevitable, but with sweet science comes knowledge!

Learn more: Skittles Heart Experiment

Magnetic Hearts

This is a fun project to explore with preschoolers, just be extremely careful with the magnets! Kids will love to explore and experiment how the different heart pieces snap together or push each other apart.

Learn more: Magnetic Hearts

Ages 5-8

Invisible Ink

Help your child write secret love notes to friends and family and then show them how decode it with any source of heat – like a candle or an incandescent light bulb!

Learn more: Invisible Ink

Heart Pump

Get a little messy and explore the science behind what Valentine’s Day is really about – the heart!  Of course, the action of a real heart is much more complicated than this simple model, but your heart really is a pump!

Learn more: Heart Pump

Magic Chocolate Bar

Is it possible to eat a piece of chocolate from a chocolate bar and still have the same amount you did before you ate the piece? Download this sweet printable to find out and mix a little math into your V-Day celebrations.

Learn more: Magic Chocolate Bar

DIY Bow and Arrow

This is a great project for outdoor play and experimentation. It’s amazing how a few household craft items can be transformed into a bow and arrow. Once you’ve built your bow, tape a few paper hearts to a tree or wall for some festive target practice!

Learn more: DIY Bow and Arrow 

Ages 9+

Light-Up Valentine

This card is sure to be the highLIGHT of your Valentine’s day! Conductive paint makes this an easy, but impressive, circuitry project.

Learn more: Light-Up Valentine

Confetti Launcher

Explore the physics of projectiles, but make it festive! Try swapping out your traditional confetti mix for some pink, red, and heart-shaped flakes for a sure-fire way to put some love in the air.

Learn more: Confetti Launcher

Light-Up Flower Pen

Challenge your child to combine art and engineering to make a light-up flower pencil! This homemade creation is a perfect gift for the writer in your child’s life.

Learn more: Light-Up Heart Flower

10 Cute Ways Kids Can Share Love This Valentine’s Day

The world needs a little more love right now. Whether your kids are learning from home or back in school, they can show friends and family their affection with handmade gifts and cards. We collected a few of our favorite KiwiCo crates and DIYs to inspire your little ones to get creative and show their gratitude for the people in their lives.

Homemade Gifts

Crystal Ombre Soap Making

Make a splash — with soapy science! Craft and customize two kinds of colorful, crystal-inspired soaps. Then take a deep dive into hands-on learning, and explore mineral science, colorful ombre geodes, and the squeaky-clean chemical reactions between soap, grime, and water. 

Learn more: Crystal Ombre Soap Making

Animal Bath Bombs

Dip your toes into bubbly bathtime chemistry with animal-shaped bath bombs! Learn about acid-base reactions and the science of molecules while mixing up a colorful chemical concoction, then press the mixture into bath-bomb shape. Drop your finished bath bombs into water to see fizzy chemical reactions — in action! One project can make 3-6 unique bath bombs.

Learn more: Animal Bath Bombs

Tissue Paper Luminary

Create this simple Valentine’s Day tissue paper luminary and display on your mantle. The kids will enjoy cutting squares and hearts and spreading on the glue. When they are finished, they will get a kick out of seeing their luminary glow in the dark!

Learn more: Tissue Paper Luminary

Geometric Candles

Create a trio of geometric candles to decorate the house! With this candle making kit, learn how to fold a geometric mold, dye some wax, and transform the wax into a candle.

Learn more: Geometric Candles

Light-up Heart Flower

Challenge your child to combine art and engineering to make a light-up flower pencil! This homemade creation is a perfect gift for the writer in their child’s life.

Learn more: Light-up Heart Flower

Sweet Snail Mail

Valentine’s Day Card Kit

With this pop-up card-making kit, your child’s Valentine’s Day cards will really pop! They can add an adorable pop-up shape to an existing card template, then decorate it with marker art, stick-on jewels, and even wiggle eyes. Sure to please all the valentines on their list.

Learn more: Valentine’s Day Cards

Fingerprint Stencil Heart

This classic project is great for younger kids. You can cut out a bunch of different sweet stencil shapes so they can customize each of their cards!

Learn more: Fingerprint Stencil Heart

Friendship Heart Necklace

This nostalgic DIY has been a friendship tradition for decades. Use this project to help your child create connections with their bffs near and far.

Learn more: Friendship Heart Necklace

Pulled String Paintings

Challenge your child to create an abstract work of art for a friend or family member using a few simple materials. 

Learn more: Pulled String Paintings 

Embroidered Heart Valentine

Teach your child this simple cross-stitching technique to make string art valentines. The homemade look and feel of the finished cards make a perfect last-minute note for a loved one.

Learn more: Embroidered Heart Valentine

30 Children’s Books That Inspire Creativity, Inclusion & Resilience

With all that’s going on in the world, it isn’t an easy time to be a parent — wondering how exactly we explain it all and lead by example. Books are windows into different perspectives and experiences. They can help kids (and adults) develop curiosity, empathy, and courage. We collected a list of books that exemplify KiwiCo’s mission to inspire kids to channel creativity, celebrate inclusion, and embody resilience so that they can build a better tomorrow. 

We’ve linked all the books to Amazon, but we encourage shopping local if you are able to!

Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison | Ages 0-3

Among these women, you’ll find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things — bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come.

Baby Loves the Five Senses: Sight! (Baby Loves Science) by Ruth Spiro | Ages 0-3

Accurate enough for experts, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book explores the science of vision, light, and color. Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two as well.

Hey, Baby!: A Baby’s Day in Doodle by Andrea Pippins | Ages 0-3

Follow a baby throughout the day, from napping to snacking to playing — and everything in between! High contrast, lively illustrations combine with gorgeous, colorful photographs to showcase the warmth and tenderness between a mommy and her baby. This affectionate look at babyhood is sure to appeal to new parents and grandparents, who will recognize their own little one in the pages.

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss | Ages 0-4

This classic story about a little boy who plants a carrot seed isn’t just a simple tale about how to care for plants, it also provides a valuable lesson on patience and persistence. Even when the little boy’s mother, father, and older brother show doubt that his carrot seed will grow, the little boy just knows that one day — after all the watering, weed pulling, and waiting — a carrot will pop up!

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers | Ages 2-3

Every day, everywhere, babies are born. They’re kissed and dressed and rocked and fed — and completely adored by the families who love them. With an irresistible rhyming text and delightfully endearing illustrations, here is an exuberant celebration of playing, sleeping, crawling, and of course, very noisy babies doing all the wonderful things babies do best.

M Is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black Child by Tiffany Rose | Ages 3-6

This empowering alphabet book that teaches kids their ABCs. Each letter of the alphabet contains affirming, Black-positive messages, from A is for Afro, to F is for Fresh, to W is for Worthy. This book teaches children their ABCs while encouraging them to love the skin that they’re in.

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed | Ages 3-8

A beautiful picture book for sharing and marking special occasions such as graduation, inspired by the life of the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison.

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle, Rafael López | Ages 4-7

Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.

One Family by George Shannon | Ages 4-8

This deceptively simple concept book celebrates family and community, while also offering young readers a chance to practice counting. Each spread features an increasing number of people who form a family. From babies in buggies to white-haired elders holding hands, families stretch across generations and races.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires | Ages 4-8

For the early grades’ exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. The girl’s frustration and anger are vividly depicted in the detailed art, and the story offers good options for dealing honestly with these feelings, while at the same time reassuring children that it’s okay to make mistakes.

King for a Day by Rukhsana Khan | Ages 4-8

This lively, contemporary story introduces readers to a centuries-old festival and the traditional sport of kite fighting, and to a spirited, determined young boy who masters the sport while finding his own way to face and overcome life’s challenges.

Drawn Together by Minh Lê | Ages 4-8

When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens — with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea by Meena Harris | Ages 4-8

This is the uplifting tale of how the author’s aunt and mother first learned to persevere in the face of disappointment and turned a dream into reality. This is a story of children’s ability to make a difference and of a community coming together to transform their neighborhood.

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom | Ages 4-8

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption.

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Thom | Ages 4-8

A children’s picture book that incorporates lush visual storytelling with poetic language to tell the tale of a magical gender variant child who brings transformation and change to the world around them with the help of their mother’s love. This unique children’s book honors timeless fairy-tale themes while challenging gender, racial, and body stereotypes.

One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi | Ages 4-9

A reward of one grain of rice doubles day by day into millions of grains of rice when a selfish raja is outwitted by a clever village girl.

I Am Martin Luther King, (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer | Ages 5-8

Even as a child, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shocked by the terrible and unfair way African-American people were treated. When he grew up, he decided to do something about it — peacefully, with powerful words. This lively, New York Times bestselling biography series inspires kids to dream big, one great role model at a time. You’ll want to collect each book.

This is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World by Matt Lamothe | Ages 5-8

In Japan, Kei plays Freeze Tag, while in Uganda, Daphine likes to jump rope. While the way they play may differ, the shared rhythm of their days — and this one world we all share — unites them. This genuine exchange provides a window into traditions that may be different from our own as well as mirrors reflecting our common experiences.

Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch | Ages 6-9

Mexican American Mario Molina is a modern-day hero who helped solve the ozone crisis of the 1980s. Growing up in Mexico City, Mario was a curious boy who studied hidden worlds through a microscope. As a young man in California, he discovered that CFCs, used in millions of refrigerators and spray cans, were tearing a hole in the earth’s protective ozone layer. Mario knew the world had to be warned — and quickly. Today Mario is a Nobel Laureate and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His inspiring story gives hope in the fight against global warming.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba | Ages 6-8

When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba’s Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone’s crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind.

Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability by Shane Burcaw | Ages 6-9

Shane Burcaw was born with a rare disease called spinal muscular atrophy, which hinders his muscles’ growth. As a result, his body hasn’t grown bigger and stronger as he’s gotten older ― it’s gotten smaller and weaker instead. This hasn’t stopped him from doing the things he enjoys (like eating pizza and playing sports and video games) with the people he loves, but it does mean that he routinely relies on his friends and family for help with everything from brushing his teeth to rolling over in bed.

The Magnificent Makers #1: How to Test a Friendship by Theanne Griffith | Ages 7-10

Violet and Pablo are best friends who love science! So when they discover a riddle that opens a magic portal in the Science Space at school, they can’t wait to check it out! Along with their new classmate, Deepak, the friends discover a magical makerspace called the Maker Maze. Doors line the walls of the makerspace, with a new science adventure waiting behind each one. This book includes two science activities kids can do at home!

You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything by Matthew Syed | Ages 7-10

Practical, insightful and positive, this is the book to help children build resilience, embrace their mistakes and grow into successful, happy adults.

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford | Ages 8-12

Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro-Puerto Rican man named Arturo Schomburg. His life’s passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora in order to bring to light the achievements of people of African descent. When his collection became so large that it threatened to overflow his house, he turned to the New York Public Library.

El Deafo by Cece Bell | Ages 8-12

This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up, and all the super and super embarrassing moments along the way.

What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raymond Obstfeld | Ages 8-12

Did you know that James West invented the microphone in your cell phone? That Fred Jones invented the refrigerated truck that makes supermarkets possible? Or that Dr. Percy Julian synthesized cortisone from soy, easing untold people’s pain? These are just some of the black inventors and innovators scoring big points in this dynamic look at several unsung heroes who shared a desire to improve people’s lives.

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers by Celia C. Pérez | Ages 9-12

When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up.

Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko | Ages 9-12

San Francisco, 1900. The Gilded Age. A fantastic time to be alive for lots of people… but not thirteen-year-old Lizzie Kennedy, stuck at Miss Barstow’s snobby school for girls. Lizzie’s secret passion is science, an unsuitable subject for finishing-school girls. Lizzie lives to go on house calls with her physician father. On those visits to his patients, she discovers a hidden dark side of the city — a side that’s full of secrets, rats, and rumors of the plague.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore | Ages 10+

It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with LEGOs. Lolly’s always loved LEGOs, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper | Ages 10+

Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom — the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it — somehow.


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