An assist for parents working at home

Many of our Iowa State staff and faculty working remotely this spring are keeping a lot of balls in the air. Do your job. Entertain your kids. Keep the house picked up and sanitized. Protect your health. Try to score some toilet paper.

School districts are offering supplemental learning materials to parents whose young children aren't at school or a child care center, and parents are swapping ideas for useful online activities for kids. Inside poked around campus and found some programs and offices that might be able to assist, too.

Exercise and fun

  • Fit Fam Friday, 10 a.m. weekly, exercise with Jody, Parker and Paige for 10 minutes on ISU Extension and Outreach's Spend Smart Eat Smart Facebook page.
  • Junior Cyclone Club activities page, photo quiz, crossword puzzle, design a jersey sheets, coloring sheets and more for little Cyclone fans, hosted by the athletics department.


  • STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) Academy, weekly activity, sponsored jointly by Iowa 4-H and the NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium (headquartered at ISU).
  • Stay-at-Home STEAM, new activity videos posted Monday, Wednesday and Friday guide school-age students through fun indoor activities and experiments with limited adult supervision, hosted by Team Neutrino, a FIRST Robotics team for Story County high schoolers sponsored by 4-H and Iowa State.
  • Iowa State Engineering Kids at-home activities, a daily theme offers hands-on things to do with items around the house, a deeper dive into the STEM concept, a program or movie to watch together and a short bedtime boredom buster.
  • Insect Zoo live shows, 10 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on the zoo's Facebook page and archived on its YouTube channel, hosted by the entomology department.
  • Water Rocks, features songs, videos and a game on the theme of water conservation, hosted by ISU Extension and Outreach (parents can sign up for the Monday Mix newsletter highlighting new activities for their K-8 kids).
  • Mosquitoes and Me, lesson plans for at-home activities for kids and parents (modified content from a summer camp curriculum that doesn't require special equipment or expertise), hosted by the Urban Ecosystem Project at ISU.


  • Stay InCYde, links to virtual tours and wildlife cams from historic or famous places around the world, curated by the ISU Alumni Association's travel staff.
  • Art-2-go kits ($10-$18), options include pottery figurines with paints or a wood tray with decoupage kit. Order online, with delivery in Ames or pick up outside the Memorial Union, offered by the MU Workspace.
  • #TourThursdays, tours of areas inside Stephens Auditorium not typically seen by the public, 3-minute features updated every Thursday (9 a.m.) on YouTube, hosted by Iowa State Center staff.
  • Caterpillar Club story time, children's books read by Reiman Gardens volunteers, archived on the gardens' YouTube channel several times each week.
  • Cooking with Stephens, a weekly video series starring the culinary staff at the Iowa State Center.


  • Stay Home with Cy, activity sheets you can print, links to project websites and activity ideas with a cardinal and gold twist, curated by ISU Alumni Association staff.
  • Weekly programming for kids on Iowa Public Radio's Talk of Iowa radio show (10-11 a.m.), Tuesdays: Iowa wildlife, Thursdays: Iowa history, listeners of all ages may phone in their questions.
  • Family resources for teaching children at home, includes articles for parents and links to free educational websites, curated by the human development and family studies department.
  • 4-H At-home Learning Resources, daily challenges organized around a weekly theme, includes a link to an online spreadsheet that filters activities by topic, grade, cost, etc., as well as links to at-home activities offered by nearby states' extension programs.