Playtime: Engage your kids with these online art and science videos

Jennifer Marx

In the mid 2000s, I joined a message board for an online pregnancy magazine as recommended by my high school best friend who was a few months ahead of me, gestationally speaking. This was a chance to see what others were experiencing and to relate to those who also shared a need for stretchy pants and comfort from the ‘what-ifs’ and what’s-thats?!?’ of pregnancy. Eventually, as the magazine folded and private message boards became too much work, the group landed on Facebook. This group has had divorces, a marriage of two members after one of the divorces, meetups, more and more babies, and weathered the tragic passing of some of the members. In the group’s current iteration there are roughly 40 folks left from the original group, whose total number I just cannot remember.

Besides my appreciation for that experience and its continued benefit, I say all of that mostly to use my inspiration from one of those moms to share some online resources. Her use of the resources she finds online, or the reframing of the recent string of “Shark Tank” episodes her homeschool student watched into something educational, is inspirational and not because she “does it all,” though she kind of does, it’s how she centers what is truly important to them as a family. Now, is that what I am going to talk about? Nope, but I am going to use it as a jumping off point to share some of the online resources I have come across or had shared with me as I try to phone it in/take a break/not answer questions/not drop someone off.

Sidebar… Before we get to it, I got an email today from Edmonds School District welcoming us to the 2022-23 school year –  you can find the contents HERE. I don’t have a lot of juice for Back to School this week, but wanted to mention that the district says they will be sending an additional email on Aug. 19 explaining how parents can use ParentSquare to receive information from the district and schools. This additional email will have an invitation link where you can choose how to receive information and what language you receive it in. Be on the lookout for more information and you can also find more information about the service at

Andrea Nelson on Instagram

I have some links for online art instruction and entertaining and informational science videos, as well. I Googled some watercolor books, two of which I found at Sno-Isle Libraries, I seemingly started getting more art accounts on Instagram and found Andrea.Nelson.Art. Part of Nelson’s bio says, “It’s gonna be fine. I’m here to help” and that is one of my favorite things right now. She makes it easy for kids and adults alike to make things with paints of all kinds and my current favorite thing to keep my hands busy as a newbie, which is to paint different watercolors and then trace the shapes with ink once it dries. Seriously, she calls it a “brain relaxer,” and it truly relaxes my brain without the pressure of having it look like an object I’ve painted. You don’t seem to need fancy equipment as one of the most recent videos is her cheerily explaining how to paint over white crayon. I also noticed that everytime I see a new video that one of my adult friends has already liked it When I reached out to him he said while he doesn’t do the art, Nelson’s posts are “guaranteed 0% bad news” and I not only agree, but will add that when she happily explains that you can do it, it does feel like I could do it! You can find Nelson on Instagram, on a Crayola-sponsored basics video or on

My cousin’s 7-year-old does art online and her current videos of choice are from Art for Kids Hub on YouTube. I scanned through a couple of videos and saw that these folks do cute art tutorials and often involve their children who do their own age appropriate version. Their videos are things like “How to Draw a Koi Fish” where they draw and also include a letter K or “How to Draw a Minion.” For more information you can visit them at

Draw Together with Wendy Mac (New York Times bestseller and artist Wendy MacNaughton) is another online art option. Described as “The show that’s a class that’s a club for kids” you can find episodes on DrawTogether.Studio or on YouTube – after a quick glance it looks a little more contained on the website, but it still is a YouTube video. The focus of the show is “on imagination, community, and confidence-building through drawing” and also includes resources for parents and educators, and “the occasional silly dance.” Mac is in a whimsical set and the video that I scanned through was about inside weather and correlating wind, rain, etc. with feelings, which I of course loved. I have followed her on her personal account for awhile, but I can’t remember the genesis of it. The colors and fonts she chooses/creates, much like Nelson, are soothing. Mac also does a Draw Together Podcast which is described as “a bite-sized, no-experience-required interactive art adventure” where all you need is a piece of paper and a pen.

Hip Hop M.D.

If art isn’t a fit, there are science options for kids as well. You can find the Hip Hop Science Show on YouTube which I found on the recommendation of a mutual friend! Hosted by the Hip Hop M.D. and UW grad, Maynard Okereke, Hip Hop Science is “aimed at bridging the gap between music/entertainment and science by introducing scientific elements to everyday pop culture.” Okereke breaks down “music videos, epic fails, song lyrics, and takes you on exploratory journeys through new trends in all areas of science” while donning a lab coat and thick black glasses. One video from a month ago is titled “Geese are better than guard dogs” which is a short, informational, funny, and great music-laden clip that I’d hope my kids came across in their internet travels – it’s also true, geese are crazy scary. You can find more videos from the Hip Hop M.D. on and more information and contact information for school presentations at

My nephews enjoy Emily’s Wonderlab on Netflix, which only has one season, but has 10 episodes available on Netflix. Science.Mom offers videos and projects and boasts that if you watch the videos on her website that only her videos will be suggested — I didn’t think this was a big deal until it definitely was a big deal. I will say, though, if you click through to YouTube, it is other suggestions galore. Science Mom “has worked as a molecular biologist and a wildland firefighter, and at several jobs that land in between wearing a lab coat and wielding a chainsaw” and I am pretty sure that my friend from the mom message board is into her, which is right under the chainsaw bit for me. Her site offers over 100 free educational lessons, plus activities and experiments. She has even been known to take on her counterpart, Math Dad, in a series of Science Mom vs Math Dad videos. For more information and all of her content you can visit Science.Mom.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.

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