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Cool River Program - Distance Learning Resources

Activities for the Classroom or Home     

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our educators are heartbroken not to be working with your students in the field... and we know you are similarly facing challenges related to distance learning and lack of access to the outdoors!


We're here to help!  We are preparing an ongoing collection of tools, ideas and fun things to do with your young scientists at home and near home.


Check back often, we will be adding new content every week!

Looking for more virtual activities, including for adults?  Check out our Virtual River page.  



Please click here for worsksheets available in Arabic



 Haga clic aquí para encontrar Hojas de Trabajo en Español



Creative Writing/Drawing Activities and Worksheets:


Indoor Nature Activities: ideal for kids with an adult to get them started
  • Caddisfly Creations: Download Worksheet and then show  Video*
  • A Day in the Life... of Wildlife!:  Download Worksheet
  • Talking Trees:  Interview with a Tree:  Download Worksheet  
  • If (Dragonfly) Lips Could Kill:  Download Worksheet and then show Video*   
  • Flatworm Phenomena:  Download Worksheet and then show Video*  
  • Design Your Dream Park!  Watch this Video, and then Download Worksheet
  • Bat Drawing Lessons: follow along with our educatos to learn about the Townsend's big-eared bat, a special species found along the San Diego River at our preserves!  Part 1 - Draw a Bat, and Part 2 - Draw a Bat Face.
  • Habitat Invaders:  Download Worksheet 
  • Outdoor Activities: ideal for kids with an adult buddy
  • Neighborhood Birds Scavenger Hunt: use this Bird ID card

    A Day in the Life of Wildlife
    Nearby Nature Scavenger Hunt
    Actividades en Español
  • Carta de identification de aves que encuentras en tu barrio: clic aquí
  • Un Dia en la Vida de la Vida Silvestre: clic aquí
  • Patrulla de Contamanación: clic aquí

    *Thanks to Curiosity Stream for the cool invertebrate videos! 


    Video Lessons (available on our YouTube Channel): 


    Indoor Nature Activities: ideal for kids with an adult to get them started
  • Be a Habitat Hero!  Invasive Plant Lesson and worksheet:  Video on our YouTube Channel, and click to download the worksheet!
  • Leaf Pack Bioassessment: Part 1 - Making a Leaf Pack: Video on our YouTube Channel.
  • Leaf Pack Bioassessment:  Part 2 - Unpacking and Sorting: Video on our YouTube Channel.
  • Boulder Creek Bioassessment:  Part 3 - Comparison with a Cold Water Creek:  Video on our YouTube Channel.      
  • After you watch these bioassessment lessons, learn some new River Bug names with this Invertebrate Word Find.
    • Engelmann Oaks: San Diego's Oak Tree:  Video on our YouTube Channel, and download our Engelmann Oak coloring page.
    • Following Forester Creek:   follow a tributary of the San Diego River through El Cajon, learning about watersheds and pollution along the way with this video
    • Bats Are Cool #1: This short video will draw you into the wild world of bats, tell you a little about these furry friends, and introduce you to our local Townsend's big-eared bat!

    Outdoor Activities: ideal for kids with an adult buddy
  • Nearby Nature Scavenger Hunt Challenge: Watch the video on our YouTube Channel, then download the worksheet, Seek by iNaturalist tutorial, and Seek app
  • iNaturalist video tutorial also available on our YouTube Channel.   
  • Pollution Patrol - Neighborhood Activity:  Video on our YouTube Channel, and download worksheet.


    River Storytime:


    Nature themed stories read aloud: suitable for younger kids, no adult support needed
  • Over There by Steve Pilcher
  • Brave Little Deer, by Julian Harker and illustrated by Caroline Pedler
  • Cornelius, by Leo Lionni
  • Rayos de Sol y Copos de Nieve, escrito por Margaret Wise Brown, ilustrado por Charlotte Cooke (lectura en español)
  • Secrets of the Apple Tree, by Carron Brown
  • Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?, by Dr. Seuss
  • Barbara's Favorite Children's Stories:  Etwas von den Wurzelkindern (The Root Children), read in German and described in English, and A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long.
  • A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long 
    Environmental Education Content from Partners:

    National Environmental Education Foundation has lots of activities, worksheets and lessons for kids in grades K-12 in their Environmental Education From Home website. There are also some links to great "virtual" field trips to National Parks, museums and more!


    The North American Association for Environmental Education has some more great distance learning content available for free on their COVID-19:  Resources, Tips and Support page.


    We also suggest checking out the County of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department website: they have assembled some fun indoor and outdoor activities, virtual hikes, video interviews with park rangers, and more.  Click here!


    Our partners at Metropolitan Water District have some great educational resources related to water, includinactivities by grade, virtual field trips (and virtual reality!), and a way to order materials to your home at no cost.  Click here!     


    Our thanks for assistance with translation of materials, provided by:
    and community volunteers


    Questions? We'd love to hear from you! Please contact our Education Team by email.




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