We love falling down rabbit holes around here, diving deep into topics and interests inspired by either current events or specific hobbies. Differently-wired kiddos thrive when they’re given the freedom and opportunity to engross themselves in what excites them, in ways that are outside the box and intended to instruct through multiple senses and avenues.
What better time than now, in the midst of a global pandemic, to jump into an immunology study? The opportunity to capitalize on current news, educate during times of misunderstanding and fear, and to even offer a sense of control and understanding to anxious kiddos who may be struggling in the midst of so much unknown – it’s a perfect fit! Studying immunology doesn’t have to be boring or limited to reading fine printed textbooks with overwhelmingly technical and medical language, so I’m sharing resources, games, even toys to help your kiddos get a grasp on their immune system and have a blast doing it!
These great books are fun, engaging, and packed full of information. Ranging from how the immune system works in books like The Fantastic Body: What Makes You Tick and How You Get Sick or Immune System: The Little Soldiers in the Body to a historical overview like Plague! Epidemics and Scourges Through the Ages, there are tons of fun books that make learning icky things enjoyable. Learn what the body is fighting in The Bacteria Book and Battle With the Bugs, and what the differences are between bacteria and viruses in Virus vs. Bacteria. There’s plenty to choose from to make tough subjects easy to digest and keep kiddos engaged.
Being sick is no fun, but playing these virus-themed games sure is! Card games like Virulence or Virus! are a hit with the whole family, and Dr. Microbe is perfect for younger kiddos. Strategy games like Pandemic and Plague Inc. are fantastic ways to illustrate how pandemics spread and to use logic skills to determine the best ways to curb the spread. Studying immunology can easily fall into a rut of memorization and categorization, so try taking breaks with a few of these games to test your kiddos’ understanding and reasoning skills and let them view pandemics through the lens of cause and effect, not just biological makeup. Viral is a fantastically fun way to understand how a virus travels through the body, with hilarious surprises and plenty of laughs included!
While no one necessarily wants hands-on experience with COVID, there are still plenty of ways to include hands-on learning – and a little bit of whimsy – into your immunology studies. This white blood cell model is a way to appreciate and study the work and wonder of what defends our bodies, while these coronavirus stress balls are perfect for fidgeting, learning, and taking out your frustrations. A microscope is a wonderful homeschool investment regardless, but pairing one with this bacteria science kit is sure to make for some awe-inspiring moments and lasting memories. For germs without the close-ups, there’s a fantastic Magic School Bus kit exploring the world of germs, with plenty of equipment included for hours of fun. And what differently-wired kiddo wouldn’t want to complete an immunology study without some of these hilarious and cuddly sick day plushes?!
It can be easy to get grossed out when learning about plagues, diseases, and bacteria. The human body is capable of amazing things, but also some pretty gross things. Take advantage of this time of uncertainty to help your kiddos gain a new understanding and appreciation of viruses, bacteria, and the roles they play in our immune system, and have fun doing it. If nothing else, your pneumonia plush is sure to be a conversation starter!