Still Homeschooling? Try these 15 Kid-friendly Virtual Tours
May 12, 2020 May 12, 2020
Let’s admit it, the coronavirus outbreak has given everyone the gift of “generous time” to spend with the kids. Between google searches for “how to homeschool?” and “easy recipes” and working from home, you might be on the verge of going lockdown loco. So we’ve put together a list of the best virtual tours for kids that are educational too, so you can “how to homeschool” like a pro (professor that is). It is for times like these when you need to make sure your little ones get to do something productive. Something that combines fun with learning!
Thankfully, these fun virtual tours promise to keep your children productively engaged for hours together. If you’re missing out on kid-friendly activities nearby, in Miami, you have options such as this interactive VR tour of The Bass Art Museum, a virtual field trip to the Deering Estate, virtual exhibitions from the Frost Art Museum, online homeschooling experiences from Jungle Island, educational fun from the Fairchild Tropical Garden, and discoveries to be made at the Miami Seaquarium @ Home or Zoo Miami.
Thinking globally, you can also take those mini-mes on tours beyond their home ground. This is why we’ve handpicked a list of 15 top kid-friendly virtual tours - in the categories of Museums, Zoos/Aquariums, and National Parks – that open up your little one’s horizons by taking them beyond the city’s borders.
Talk about top museums and the Smithsonian definitely gets a mention. After all, it is one of the most visited museums in the world. With its entire grounds available for online touring, a room-by-room walk-through will keep the kids busy for hours, and provide a great lesson for homeschooling history class.
The Smithsonian’s self-guided VR tours are great for teenagers as well as the younger lot. Have fun exploring Bone Hall, checking out African Voices, fluttering through the Butterfly Pavilion or Objects of Wonder, journey through the Hall of Fossils or Hall of Human Origins, experience Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt, ogling at the Hope Diamond and other Gems and Minerals, swim through the Sant Ocean Hall, discover the Birds of D.C., and even learn about Epidemics in a Connected World. Additionally, there are a ton of permanent, past, and other exhibit tours to take on.
Pro Tip: Navigate between rooms by clicking on the blue arrow links on the floor or use the floor map in the upper right corner of the screen. For close-ups, look for the camera icon or simply zoom in.
Little aviators will find inspiration as their dreams take flight touring the World’s Largest Military Aviation Museum. The 360-degree self-guided tour takes little explorers around the museum grounds, letting them walk through the galleries of the Early Years, Memorial Park grounds, and the Air Park. Inside the museum, you get to tour decommissioned weapons and aircraft from the Faces of the Holocaust, World War II, Korean War, SouthEast Asia War, Cold War, Presidential, Space, and R&D galleries.
The website also has an educational Kids & Parents page where you can find a wide variety of fun things to do together like coloring pages, word searches, lesson plans, and learning resources. Their Cockpit 360 experience is worth a try as well and can be downloaded via the app store, making for a great science lesson!
Much to everyone’s delight, this one might take your kids days to explore for more science lesson plans and online activities. There are three virtual tours to navigate – the Langley Research Center in Virginia, Glenn Research Center in Ohio, and an app to pilot your own augmented reality tour of Space Center Houston. Although all three tours are equally engaging, the app-based mobile tour of Space Center Houston offers an immersive experience that blurs the line between reality and VR with its audio and video stories about space exploration. Definitely a handy virtual tour.
Nurture that little athlete’s dreams with a tour around The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. The museum is not just about sports, but the idea behind the Olympics and a treasure trove of the Olympic Movement. Take a VR field trip to explore the Olympia Room, the Auditorium, as well as the upper floors with their inspiring finds.
Mommy may or may not be successful in the latest online #bakechallenge, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t Wonder Woman! So, check out the contributions made by millions of women over the decades to every facet of society as you navigate these online exhibits. From women in the Olympics to NASA, WWII air force pilots, inventors, and outdoor adventurers, discover how the most notable women in history made headway. The museum also has an NWHM@Home virtual program with weekly themes designed to help your curious ones with learning and educating from home, the perfect answer to how-to-homeschool anxiety!
Zoos and Aquariums
With some of the most extensive live cam and video options, the kids will get to follow a whole range of mammal and bird residents of the San Diego Zoo. From koala bears to baby elephants, giraffes to polar bears, burrowing owls to condors, they will be spoilt for choice as to who to follow for the day.
For all the Kung Fu Panda fans out there, this one’s a must-see. The Georgia zoo runs a live stream of its PandaCam, which keeps track of how this adorable inhabitant spends its days. Also, find plenty of fun Keeper Stories and At Home Learning activities that include crafts, lessons, and events to keep your little ones tuned into the natural world.
Another zoo with plenty of live cams, the kids will have fun watching the playful elephants, busy leafcutter ants, flamboyant flamingos, and dominating rhinos going about their day.
Pull out the snorkeling masks and flippers to help them turn into ocean voyagers from the comfort of the couch. From jellyfish to beluga whales, Californian sea lions to African penguins, and piranhas to underwater puffins, your kids will thank you for all the fun they have without having to dip their toes in (or maybe they do in the bathtub).
Discover the difference between underwater life from the tundra to the amazon with this virtual tour around the National Aquarium. Follow the map for a floor-by-floor excursion through this Baltimore-based aquarium.
Start with an online tour around Florida’s very own national park located 70 miles west of Key West. This park is over 99% water and is home to the third-largest coral reef in the world. The tour lets you journey through the Civil War-era Fort Jefferson, swim through the reef, and dive into a 100-plus-year-old shipwreck from the 1900s. Pay attention, however, as some say that if you listen closely, you can even hear the coral and the fish talk.
Buckle the little ones up as they take a nighttime tour (or any time of day) through Utah’s hidden canyon. With a journey centered around Sunset Point, this virtual tour takes you horseback riding through one of the darkest places in North America. Get a good look at the red and orange canyon walls, discover how hoodoos change over time, gaze at a gorgeous starry night sky, and try to listen to the sounds of the Bryce.
Give the kids a real glimpse of the ice age as this virtual tour takes you through the glaciers of Alaska. Listen to the rumble of icebergs, watch glaciers dive into the water, and discover what a whale breach looks like. Rappelling 30 feet down into a glacial crevasse and then kayaking through an icy lagoon is a journey worth experiencing.
Get some thunder and wonder back into your kids’ life with this tour around the world’s most active volcano. Located in Hawaii, this is one of the most popular national parks in the country. The virtual tour lets you listen to the roar of the volcano, takes you flying over in a helicopter, lets you look out over volcanic cliffs, and through the Nahuku lava tube (caves formed by draining flowing lava) into the lava fields to see the effects of a 1950s eruption.
Fly with the bats as the kids journey through one of over 100 caves in this popular New Mexico national park. With secret rooms formed one drop at a time over millions of years ago, get a feel of the good-as-real textures of the cave before descending into the lower caves with just a headlamp for light. It doesn’t get any closer than this to the life of the Brazilian free-tailed bats.
Best part, all five national park tours come with an audio guide to keep everyone glued to their seats.