What to do with kids while quarantined? Those words might strike fear into parents hearts, but its a reality the world faces in the spring of 2020.
After being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, COVID-19 (a.k.a. the ‘coronavirus’) is leading to schools around the world closing for a quarantine period of 2, 3 or 6 weeks. If you’re a parent at home with your kid(s), you’re probably trying to find something to keep them busy, engaged and happy. If you’re a parent who has to work from home, you need to find a way to survive being home with your kids and keep them entertained so you can be productive.
Just as kids should spend a portion of every day being physically active to relieve stress and promote a positive attitude; they also need to keep their mind active. This is where many parents struggle to find ways to engage their children and provide learning ideas that will interest them. And let’s be honest, if they are busy learning, there’s less chance they are getting in trouble.
What is more interesting than exploring the world, history, art and fashion? Take the time you will be spending at home with your kid(s) as an opportunity to ignite a desire to learn about other cultures, travel and adventure. You can get your travel fix from the comfort of your couch!
Visit a Museum
With homeschooling on the rise for the past few years, many famous museums around the world offer virtual tours of their exhibits, collections and buildings. Think your kids are too young to appreciate the culture of museums? Think again. Start them exploring the world early with PBS Wild Kratts World Adventure. Their website has interactive games, videos and episodes more suited for little kids. You can also download their free app to take them everywhere.
You’ll also want to check out New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Their MetKids site is set up in a Where’s Waldo style website that appeals to kids of all ages, especially elementary and middle school. The cool interactive ‘Time Machine’ tool allows children to explore collections spanning from 8,000 – 2,000 B.C. to present time with fun facts and videos.
Here are a few museum virtual tours that will appeal to all ages.
This is a museum I have visited, my daughter’s favourite artist, and an artist most children learn about in school. The Van Gogh virtual tour allows you to visit the museum to see his artwork, including the collections over 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 750 personal letters. If that wasn’t enough you could also view two online exhibits of Which Books did Vincent can Gogh Read and Vincent van Gogh’s love life.
This virtual tour allows you to take a Google tour of their six floors of Contemporary art from Korea and around the world. This initiative goes a long way to fulfilling the museum’s primary objective to collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and educate. It’s also lovely to see such a wide-reaching collection of world art.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, at the Getty Center, features works of art from the eighth through to the twenty-first century. They have a vast collection of painting, drawings, sculptures, and photographs. Although the subjects of their virtual tours may be darker and better suited for older kids, it has an excellent user-friendly click-through format. It’s also great that they give a lot of background information on what is being exhibited.
Americas ‘national museum’ strives to preserve, collect, exhibit, and foster an understanding of works of art. They offer almost 50,000 artworks on virtual display, but you won’t want to miss their two online exhibits. The first ‘Fashioning a Nation’ showcases American fashion from 1740 to 1895. The second showcases works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.
One of my favourite museums in London, the British Museum, offers a virtual tour of history through time. You can access hundreds of museum artifacts from an African chopping tool from 2,000,000 B.C. to snow goggles made of antlers from the 1800s. If you want to make it more interesting for kids, ask them to pick the most bizarre item they can find from a specific continent or time.
Visit a Country
Had to cancel a trip to Mexico recently? You can get a sense of the culture and sights you may be missing in a virtual tour of Mexico City and the National Museum of Anthropology.
Even if your latest trip may be cancelled, you can still see the experiences of countries online. ‘Uncovering Israel’ has compiled videos highlighting gorgeous places in Israel for you to check out and plan your next trip.
If some of your older kids are getting a bit stir crazy find some educational videos like ‘What is Every Country in the World Best At?’
Use Google Maps to explore the streets of a city you want to explore. It is not the real thing, but Street View outside Rome’s Colleseum or Athen’s Parthenon is a stunning way to dream.