A child's quest to learn new things is insatiable; and parents are forever searching for creative and engaging ways to encourage their kids' curiosity. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could toss the kids in the car or board a plane and take off to exotic locales to learn exciting new things? When travel isn't possible, thanks to technology, now you can take trips via amazing virtual educational opportunities right at your fingertips. These ten amazing virtual field trips for kids deserve a spot on your family's travel itinerary... and the best part is, you can visit these locales from the comfort of home.
Visit Outer Space
Outer space is a magical place that kids and adults alike find captivating. Trips to the planetarium are popular for kids who live in big cities or near universities, but not all children have the opportunity to participate in a day trip under the stars. A virtual trip to Chicago's Adler Planetarium is a perfect plan to help bring this educational opportunity to children who would otherwise miss out. This particular virtual field trip is not free, but if you have the ability to cover the cost, it will include full access to the virtual space, as well as the planetarium educator's undivided attention.
Explore Natural History
Your kids could spend an entire day at The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and still never see all that is offered. Kids can explore the Museum's many permanent, current, and past exhibits right from their personal devices. After some independent exploration, gather your gang back together and go on a narrated tour of Sant Ocean Hall or the Hall of Human Origins. Kids can even access specific research stations where current collections are being comprised in real-time.
Encourage Art Appreciation
For lovers of art, there might not be a more inclusive and applicable virtual field trip than the one offered by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The virtual experience includes 26 different galleries, so your kids can choose to spend a day or two there, or you can include a different gallery in your home-teaching each week. Regardless of how you choose to work this educational opportunity into your kids' learning, one thing is for sure: when it comes to art, this virtual field trip will prove invaluable.
Go Wild With Amazing Animals
Younger children get a thrill from being up close and personal with wild animals at the zoo. If your family can't make the trek to a major zoo this year, you can still give them an engaging experience with a virtual field trip. Lots of zoos now have live webcams at their major exhibits, so viewers can witness the animals and their behaviors in real-time. The San Diego Zoo, often noted for being one of the best zoos in the world, has webcams at the giraffe, elephant, tiger, hippo, and polar bear enclosures, to name just a few. Aside from watching the animals on live cams, viewing can be paired with a number of other resources the Zoo offers online, like behind the scenes videos, online games and activities, and printable worksheets.
Make a Splash With Sea Creatures
Children are forever fascinated by ocean life, and aquariums are excellent places for kids to become one with their favorite sea creatures. Those who can't visit an aquarium in person can still learn about these unique habitats via virtual field trips. The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, has virtual programs for varying age groups. Kids can talk to a real-life research vessel captain (how cool of a job is that?) and learn about everything there is to know regarding life under the sea.
Visit Ellis Island
For extensive education on immigration, the virtual field trip to Ellis Island is an absolute must. Brought to young minds thirsting for knowledge by Scholastic and the National Park Service, this virtual tour walks kids through the historic landmark's history. During the interactive tours, children can hear the first-hand accounts of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island, look at photographs and film, and discover interesting facts about the role in American history that the station played.
Take Flight With Butterflies
Little kids love taking a trip to the butterfly conservatory, and now they can do so without ever leaving home. The field trip includes a virtual hall tour and a student investigation activity, as well as plenty of extension activities to make this an all-encompassing experience.
Virtually Walk the Great Wall of China
Not many will ever have the chance to visit the wonders of the world, but with virtual learning, kids can walk the Great Wall of China. During this field trip, kids become part of a guided tour explaining and showcasing one of the most famous structures in the entire world.
Learn About Farm Life
A trip to the farm is a special experience for young children. Through FarmFood 360, kids can be front and center with horses, chickens, goats, and cows, as well as non-animal farms. With over a dozen live cams, each providing a view into a different type of farm, young minds can better understand how farming contributes to society.
Behold Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is truly an amazing wonder. If your family isn't in a position to head out and explore the wildlife, natural hot springs, and so many other incredible features, turn your computer on and experience Yellowstone from your living room. Via webcam, families can learn about the unique geysers, springs, volcanos, and other geographical anomalies located at this treasured national park.
Discover a World of Opportunity
Sure, experiencing the world up close and personal is likely your preferred mode of learning, but when travel isn't possible, virtual learning is a major bonus. Virtual field trips give children the chance to discover things they might not have otherwise ever known about, expanding their understanding of the world and fueling their quest for knowledge. Use virtual field trips to complement your kids' learning and help create an enriching, well-rounded education for those budding, brilliant minds.