Family Activity Guides

The Bay Area Discovery Museum encourages you to ignite creative thinking at home with our Family Activity Guides. With simple materials and open-ended questions, these multi-disciplinary guides will encourage creativity for children of all ages.

Indoor Science Activities

Engaging science activities introduce your children to sensory experiences and close investigation with Ice Exploration and Leaf Examinations, which help develop confidence, problem solving and observation skills. Download PDF.

Outdoor Science Activities

Fun outdoor activities encourage your child to hone their listening and observation skills with a Soundscape game and Nature Bracelet activity. Download PDF.

Inventing Time

Julius Jr. and the Museum's Center for Childhood Creativity are working together to create Inventing Time activities to help you support kids’ natural creativity.

Learn more about Julius Jr. at 

Backwards and Upside Down

Turn things around and explore with your kids! Download PDF.

Exploring the ideas of backwards and upside down encourages an understanding of perspective. While looking at things and ideas from different angles, children will practice approaching challenges from a new viewpoint. Your learnings will stretch their imaginations and start building the capacity for empathy.


Build a bridge to creativity. Download PDF.

Experimenting with bridge building will encourage your children's willingness to make mistakes in a risk-friendly environment. As they adjust and rebuild, they gain skills and confidence with problem solving that they may apply in other settings. Children will strengthen early geometry and physics skills ask they experience first-hand the shapes and structures that provide support for a bridge.

Bounce, Roll, Slide

Roll your way into bouncy experiments with your kids! Download PDF.

Experimenting with bounce and roll gives learners wonderful permission to drop things. They are learning how their body moves through space, and they are exploring how things react to gravity. 


Stay up late for stargazing! Download PDF.

Creating stories supports your children’s developing communication skills. As they practice using words to describe an idea, they are building an understanding of story. Over time, they will gain the skills to create a beginning, middle, and end for their stories. By asking your children to create a story, you support their imagination and show respect for their ideas. Exploring the magic of the stars might even inspire an interest in astronomy or space travel! 

Imaginary Suitcase

Pack an imaginary suitcase and travel into imaginary worlds! Download PDF.

Imaginary play is a way for children to explore new ideas, information, and emotional experiences. Without risking their actual safety or the embarrassment of getting something “wrong”, your children can explore in countless directions and dimensions. By joining them in their journeys, and by encouraging them to make things during this kind of play to remember these experiences, you communicate to your children the importance of their ideas. 


Create costumes and characters with your kids! Download PDF.

Children will launch into imaginary play from small prompts, such as costumes and props. Imaginary play allows children to explore the variety of behaviors, people, and experiences that they observe in the world. By transforming themselves into other beings - like fairies, emperors, princesses and superheroes - children experience a strong sense of empowerment. 

Shadow Play

Help your kids explore shapes and stories with shadow puppets! Download PDF.

Your child will be delighted to play in the dark, and this will have a significant impact on stimulating his or her visual senses and promoting visual spatial learning. By continually introducing new ways to filter the light, your child will be forming and testing hypotheses, which is an important skill for science, critical thinking, and the creative process.


Help your kids find their own superpowers and invent new superheroes! Download PDF.

Imagination and fantasy play are the work of children. Superhero play in a safe and emotionally secure environment allows children the opportunity to create their own stories as a way of understanding the world around them. This process supports the development of emotional control and critical social skills.

Make Some Music

Help your kids "Make Some Music" by giving them the ingredients to build their own simple musical instruments. Download PDF.

Your child will be learning by asking questions, generating ideas and trying them out -- first by creating the instruments, and then by changing the sounds they make with different everyday objects! Playing their new instruments creates a connection between rhythm, sound and motion. Through rhythm and pattern recognition, music nurtures early math skills.

Cook Up Some Creativity

Invent your own personal pasta creation! Download PDF.

Your children will be immersed in exploring the pasta creation with all five senses. Enjoy the rich conversation that emerges as you try to express your experiences. Describing tastes and smells helps build vocabulary. Watch carefully, and you will notice your children engaging in critical early science behaviors (measuring, observing, cause and effect, making predictions, testing a hypothesis) as they create a simple dressing and eat their creation. 

Build a Robot

Start your kids off as inventors with their own robot creations. Download PDF.

Each time you let your children offer an idea and support their process, you are sending strong messages that you value their thoughts and creativity and that testing ideas is important. This will build your children’s confidence to try new things and experiment. Acknowledge and praise your children’s effort, persistence, and/or willingness to try alternatives rather than focusing on the end product of their work. 

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