A first field trip can leave a positive, long-lasting impression on a child. From theatres to science museums, field trips are conceptual learning experiences that help children expand their way of thinking. These experiences also lay strong educational foundations for students that stay with them as they grow older.
However, with many venues still closed and the risk of COVID-19 still a real threat, field trips are not a viable option for the foreseeable future.
The entire world is re-imagining the way we operate, and there are some exciting virtual experiences available. You can explore the Monterey Bay Aquarium or visit the Taj Mahal for an enlightening and educational trip. Otherwise, take a time machine when you visit the interactive exhibits that span many centuries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Here are 10 virtual experiences that you can plan right now to feel like you’re taking a field trip without ever leaving your school or home.
Bill Nye, host of Bill Nye the Science Guy, is incredibly intelligent and funny. Nye has been creating witty content about science-related matters for decades. As part of a new series with Airbnb, Bill Nye will be hosting “Decoding the Science of 2020.” The hour-long section covers the currently relevant topics of global warming, transmission of the coronavirus, and the science behind skin color.
Museums and zoos around the world are pivoting to creating online content to help teachers. That means that your field trips don’t have to be limited to your local area. It may be hard to get younger children to pay attention in an art museum, but science museums are full of mesmerizing displays of wonder that people of any age can enjoy.
The website for the Museum of Science in Boston allows visitors to get a virtual look at the exhibits on display. There are also daily live streams with fun and inspiring programming.
An interactive farm visit is sure to be an exciting activity for young children. Thanks to Farm 360, you can immerse yourself in Canadian farm and food tours. A wide range of environments are on view, including sheep farms, dairy cow farms, and an apple orchard.
Take a visit underwater and explore ocean life with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This museum has live cams so that you can swim around the coral reef or get hypnotized by moon jellies. With 10 different cameras, including one focused on the Monterey Bay areas, there are many interesting creatures to discover.
Discover the colorful world of M&Ms on a field trip with your students. Get a first-hand look at how the candy is made, and marvel at the speed of the machines making the candy. The Food Network hosts a short field trip that you can then use as a way to dive deeper into either food production or different candies around the world.
A visit to discover the animal kingdom is possible via the website for the San Diego Zoo. This zoo is known for its innovative animal habitats, and they even have a panda cam, so kids will instantly be engaged. San Diego also offers supplemental materials, such as activities, games, and crafts, to add to the virtual experience.
From fun science videos to fast-paced virtual tours, The Children’s Museum of Indiana is a valuable online resource during this time. Founded in 1925, it’s the fourth oldest children’s museum in the world. The purpose of this museum is to help youth develop the foundations they need for personal and academic success. Take a field trip to this fun-filled virtual space that includes top-notch interactive activities.
Consistently ranked as one of the best museums in the world, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a section dedicated to fun and educational virtual content for kids. Metkids was designed “for, with, and by kids” and is an interactive exploration of the museum’s collection. Use the time machine feature to choose a time period and geographical location to discover.
The Met also has an art at home section of their website, where you can view and learn about pieces that are part of the main collection.
Encourage young imaginations to grow with a field trip to Walt Disney World. Visit Orlando has a virtual tour, which includes Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach Water Park, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and of course, Magic Kingdom. Easy-to-navigate tools and inspiring video content make for a great alternative when you can’t visit the parks with your students.
Google’s Arts & Culture Page offers interactive 3-D tours and visits to museums and natural wonders. Wander the gardens of the Taj Mahal in India or the pyramids in Egypt. The company also has an Experiments initiative, which includes virtual coloring pages inspired by some of the world’s most famous paintings.
While real-life experiences are important, technology allows us to connect and learn without ever leaving our homes. There are new virtual field trip concepts being announced every week, and you can even customize experiences to fit your required needs. It’s important always to keep exploring and uncovering the beautiful world around us, and with the right information, you can continue to do this despite the COVID-19 pandemic.