While your kids may be stuck inside physically, online tours still give them some access to the rest of the outside world. The same way school has gone digital — with remote homeschooling, live-streamed extra-curricular classes, and learning-at-home portals wherever you look — class trips have moved online, too. These virtual field trips for kids will have them gazing at world-class art, learning about history, discovering science, and even checking out what it's like in outer space.
Of course, these are still screen experiences. If you want to make the most out of a virtual field trip, try to get your kids to continue to engage with the material even after they've turned off their devices. Depending on their age, they could either draw what they most remember or what their favorite part of the "trip" was, or write out a couple of facts that they've learned. If you plan on doing many of these, you can even create a binder to act as a log for your virtual explorer.
Tour collections and learn about the history of art and artifacts with these online museum experiences.
American Museum of Natural History: Brian Selznick, author of Wonderstruck, leads a virtual tour of the museum, meeting field experts along the way.
British Museum: This cool, interactive site lets kids browse the museum collection by time period, not by room, so kids can focus in on the era they're most interested in.
Historic Hudson Valley: This site offers many history-themed online experiences for kids, from "Traders and Raiders," which looks at the history of pirates in the greater New York Area, to "People Not Property," which teaches kids about slavery. There are also lots of ideas for at-home historical activities, like cooking with cornmeal or "tinsmithing" at home with aluminum foil.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: The #MetKids site is geared for little ones, and lets them explore a cute, illustrated map to find treasures in the museum's collection.
Musée du Louvre: The world-famous museum offers virtual tours by subject, from the body in art to Egyptian antiquities.
Museum of the American Revolution: Lauren Tarshis, author of the I Survived book series, hosts a tour of this history-themed museum and talks about the Revolutionary War.
Museum of Science: The #MOSatHome page offers virtual looks at the Boston museum's exhibits and hosts daily livestreams and webinars.
National Gallery of Art: The National Gallery has 50 video tours specifically geared towards kids, focusing on a work and the people, places, and scenes surrounding its creation.
SFMOMA: The #MuseumFromHome series takes visitors around the museum and beyond, offering looks at where artists make their works.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: You can bookmark this one to visit over and over, since it offers virtual version of every exhibition in the museum.
The Vatican Museum: You can get 360 looks at nine rooms in the Vatican — including the magnificent Sistine Chapel.
See how food grows, is harvested, and gets to your table with these farm tours.
American Egg Board: The Egg Board has virtual tours of different egg farms, and many of them let you choose different videos for elementary and middle school students.
Bright Farms: A farm grower in Irvington, NY shows kids how food goes from the field (in this case, an indoor grower) to the grocery store. There's even a quiz at the end!
Farm Food 360: Kids can see 11 different sorts of farm and food plants, including dairy cow farms, egg processing facilities, and an apple orchard.
You might not be able to go on your sightseeing vacation at the moment, but these virtual landmark tours are the next best thing.
Buckingham Palace: Go room-by-room and see all of the amazing historical objects in the palace.
Ellis Island: See the island the way the 12 million immigrants did between 1892 and 1954 through a virtual tour with lots of first-hand stories.
Mount Rushmore: The virtual tour of Mount Rushmore was created through 3D scans of the mountain.
Mount Vernon: Take a look inside George Washington's home the same way you would click through Street View on a Google Map.
Plimoth Plantation: Take a tour of the site of the first Thanksgiving, and learn the history behind the event.
The White House: President Obama narrates a tour of "The People's House," and you can scroll around and click on points of interest.
Zoos and Aquariums
These zoos and aquariums have live cams where kid can check in with the animals.
Even More Fun
From a candy factory to the surface of Mars, these tours take kids to places that aren't available to them even in normal times.
Discovery Education: The site hosts virtual field trips for kids, from engineering plants that make the cars of the future to a lab that researches nuclear energy.
M&Ms Factory Tour: The Food Network hosts a virtual tour of the M&Ms factory and shows how the delicious candy gets made.
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