Educational Activities You Can Do at Home
The Smithsonian's National Zoo is committed to supporting teachers, students and families around the globe as they face unprecedented new learning challenges. We are actively developing new materials to help learners of all ages respond to this challenging period, so check back frequently.
Below, you will find resources to engage learners in grades pre-K to 12 with science, the natural world, wildlife and conservation.
All About Amphibians Tour
Celebrate Amphibian Week with an interactive online tour from the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. What is an amphibian? Why are they important? Explore these questions and more as you learn about the three groups of amphibians and what you can do to help conserve them.
Target age: Elementary school, but enjoyable by all.
World Migratory Bird Day Tour
Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day with an interactive online tour from the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. What is a migratory bird? Why do they migrate? How far do migratory birds travel? Explore these questions and more as you learn about five migratory bird species and how you can make your home more bird-friendly for all migratory birds.
Target age: Elementary and middle school, but enjoyable by all.
Online Zoo Highlights Tour
We look forward to welcoming you back to the Zoo in person soon, but until then, take a virtual visit to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo with our online tour that offers interactive features to help you learn more about the incredible animals in our care.
Target age: All grades. Available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese.
Earth Optimism: Conservation Success Stories Tour
Celebrate some of the incredible conservation success stories at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. The interactive features of this online tour introduce six amazing species and their stories of hope that will make you an Earth Optimist!
Target age: Middle and high school, but enjoyable by all.
Animal Webcam Activities
The Zoo's live animal webcams make it easy to check in with African lions, Asian elephants, giant pandas and naked mole-rats, even when the Zoo is closed. Download the Webcam Activities packet to engage your child or classroom in looking closely and thinking deeply about animal behavior and habitats. This packet has games, worksheets and activities tied to key Next Generation Science Standards for grades K-5.
Target age: Activities meet Next Generation Science Standards for grades K-5, but are enjoyable by all.
"Explore Beyond Your Door" Video Series
The Zoo may be closed, but the wonder of nature and wildlife is still all around. In the video series, "Explore Beyond Your Door," Friends of the National Zoo education specialist, Kaden, is your guide to the outside as they look for wildlife and show you how to do the same. Download your own FONZ nature journal, and start to explore beyond your door. Observe high and low, big and small, use your senses and find wonder in nature. Episodes are approximately five minutes long.
Target age: Grades K-5 but open to nature explorers of all ages.
Follow That Bird
A middle school science and technology curriculum unit that teaches core science concepts through student exploration of bird tracking tools, the data Smithsonian scientists collect with these tools, and how this information is used to support wildlife conservation.
Target age: Lessons meet Next Generation Science Standards for middle school.
Animal Clinic Investigation
Calling all vets-in-training: Dr. Fonz needs your critical thinking skills to treat an animal at the Zoo! In this lesson plan, designed for delivery via online platforms, students will analyze evidence and put together clues to make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment for a mystery animal at the Zoo.
Target age: Lesson meets Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards for grades K-5
You might not be able to visit the Zoo's Amazonia exhibit right now, but you can still discover the wonders of rainforests. Move your body like a rainforest animal, create your own rainforest or take a sensory walk with these activities inspired by the classic children's book "The Great Kapok Tree" by Lynn Cherry.
Target age: Pre-K to grade 2
Bridging the Americas
This cross-cultural environmental education program connects elementary students from North America and Latin America through the shared observation and enjoyment of local birds. To access online teacher resources, use password bta4teachers.
Target age: Open to grade 2, 3 and 4 classrooms in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.
Wildlife Career Videos
“Other Duties As Assigned: the Secret World of Zoo Jobs” is a series of four playful videos that takes you behind the scenes to learn about the variety of careers for students who want to work at a Zoo. Download the Video Content Guide to access questions and project-based learning activities for elementary, middle and high school students unique to each video. The Video Content Guide is linked to Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.
Target age: Video Content Guide activities meet Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards for grades K-12.
ZooCrew Family Guide
This educational activity booklet will engage children and adults together in learning about the different animals at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo with games, activities, animal facts and stories about Zoo scientists at work!
Target age: Pre-K to grade 6. Also available in Spanish.
Lesson plans for middle school and high school educators and games and activities for animal lovers of all ages, using camera trap images of wildlife across the globe!
Target age: Middle and high school; some games and activities appropriate for younger grades.
Bird Migration Game
Help Wanda the Wood Thrush travel from her winter home in Costa Rica to her summer home in Maryland.
Target age: Grades K-5
Bird Nest Identification
Can you name the nester? Use the research hints to analyze nest photos and discover which bird built the pictured nest.
Target age: Middle and high school
Make something; make a difference! Take a brain break with these quick, easy and fun conservation craft activities for kids of all ages! Reimagine recycling with plantable paper, a T-shirt shopping bag and more. Each activity includes wildlife connections, so you can learn how your project supports the conservation work that the Smithsonian's National Zoo is doing to save animals around the world.