4 Magical Virtual Experiences for Kids
In time's like these it's essential to surround our kids with love and a bit of pixie dust. Here are 4 magical virtual experiences that can help kids have some truly incredible and entertaining education experiences at home. In addition to being a travel agent and small business owner, I also have a background in education and previously worked as a Zoo Education Supervisor, Museum Educator, and Elementary/Early Childhood Teacher (Pre-K-1st grade). I hope these resources provide a little bit of joy as you navigate the upcoming days and weeks at home.
1. Virtual Zoo Visits
The Cincinnati Zoo is providing a daily live stream called Home Safari Facebook live series everyday at 3 p.m. EDT while the kids are out of school. We joined in yesterday and loved the opportunity to see animals up-close. The keepers took the time to take questions live from kids during the series too. We miss our regular zoo trips already and even though my daughter is only one (and we typically don’t do screen time) I was so grateful for the opportunity for her to have a change of pace and see the hippos up close. Each Facebook Live will feature a different animal every day along with an activity for kids to do at home. Check your local Zoo’s facebook pages too as many are doing some awesome chats and virtual learning experiences with keepers - we're enjoying these videos from our local zoos Dallas Zoo and the Fort Worth Zoo too.
Zoo Live Cams:
Animal observation activity ideas:
- Draw an animal in its habitat
Have kids create observations on the animals - this could be something as simple as a drawing of what the animals are up to (perfect for younger kiddos or artists alike). Discuss what they notice about animal behaviors (eating, playing, sleeping, movement, etc.)
- Build an animal habitat
Using whatever materials you have (blocks, legos, Tupperware, toilet paper rolls, etc) and toy animals have kids create animal habitats for animals you’ve seen on virtual learning on web cams. Let their creativity run wild as kids imagine ways to care for the animals in these habitats (food, water, etc.)
- Animal ethogram
Check out this ethogram activity from Woodland Park Zoo for grades 6-12th. Students can record behaviors while observing animals.
2. Museum Virtual Tours
Some Museums have virtual tour options too. This is a great time explore Museums that you can’t normally or easily get to. Here are some great options to choose from.
Museum activity Ideas:
- Create your own artwork inspired by a famous painting (perfect for all ages)
use different mediums like clay/play dough, paint, crayons, oil pastels, etc.
- Research an Artist or piece of history and write about it
- Create a short story based on a piece of history or artwork
3. Movement Activities
All kids need a bit of a break, emotionally and physically. It’s great to schedule in a walk around the neighborhood, playtime in the backyard, or something calming like yoga to help children reset and refocus before diving into assigned work. When teaching I stumbled across a series called Cosmic Kids Yoga. This yoga series takes both fictional tales and some popular characters/story lines to create a relatable series of movements. My students loved these, especially the Frozen and Star Wars yoga.
High Energy movement:
Have a high energy child that needs to burn off some steam? Check out these awesome resources for movement related activities that’ll keep your kids engaged and wanting to do them again and again.
Go Noodle is a teacher favorite for a quick brain break. With catchy songs, dances, chants, and Mindfulness activities, Go Noodle has a ton of quick movement videos to choose from. You can also check out the Go Noodle on Youtube.
Are your kids Disney Lovers? Then you’ll want to check out Get Moving with Disney Family on Youtube. These movement videos are great for the whole family and involve your favorite Disney characters and storylines.
Additional movement activity ideas:
- Create your own movement video
Have the kids create their own yoga routine, dance, etc. for their siblings, friends, or to just add into the mix over the upcoming days.
4. Online Story Time
There are so many great resources out there for kids to hear story's read aloud online, but I've listed two of my favorites down below. I highly encourage you to take any extra time to read books to your kids daily during this time. You can also view stories that you may not already have at home online too. What a great resource when you're stuck inside the house.
Story time activity ideas:
- Draw or write about their favorite part of the story
- Compare characters or two stories in a Venn diagram
- Create their own short story to read to the family
- Retell the story to the family or a friend over a video chat
Just remember - this is a huge learning curve for all, but we're all in this together and we will figure it out. Better days are ahead.