Since opportunities for family adventures are limited these days, we thought we’d offer some ideas for exploring the world in virtual ways, through the web.
Artists and musicians have turned to the live events on the web to create interactive experiences for children. Common Sense Media is offering an updated list of these free online events and activities, such as sing-alongs with musician Laurie Berkner on the website Jam with Jamie. If the timing of these live events doesn’t fit your schedule, we have some tune-in-anytime favorites on this list. The San Diego Zoo has videos and photo storybooks of the keepers explaining how they take care of all the baby animals born at the zoo, like the Edward the rhino and Amahle the hippo. And the many live-cams at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, focused on the kelp forest habitat, jellyfish, sharks and playful sea otters, are restful and soothing.
Another excellent resource on the CSM list is Google Arts and Culture, with its collection of state-of-the-art video and virtual-reality tours that everyone in the family can enjoy. Each day, highlighted tours are presented on the homepage:
- To feel like a scientist, dive underwater and swim through a coral reef, study how unusual dinosaurs lived, or leaf through high-definition photographs of butterfly wings. Or settle into a video about how churros are made, which may remind you of the wonderful factory tours Fred Rogers conducted to show children how people make things.
- With “Art Camera,” you can zoom into the brushwork of famous artworks, including Monet’s Water Lily Pond and Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, and admire details you couldn’t get close to in real life. Onscreen labels help point out interesting elements like the tiny self-portrait, of just one eye, that Rembrandt slipped into his colossal painting The Night Watch.
- Video tours of national parks let you fly over the “hoodoo” formations in Bryce Canyon and watch the stars rise in the night sky, guided by a longtime park ranger. Or you can drop into an erupting volcano in Hawaii, the caverns of Carlsbad Canyon or the depths of Chauvet Cave to discover Paleolithic cave paintings.
In general, if you’re searching for engaging and age-appropriate apps, movies, TV shows and games for your child, the reviews on Common Sense Media are helpful; see our blog, A Trusted Guide to Children’s Media.
As a change from looking at a screen, we also recommend simply listening to stories.audible.com, which is offering hundreds of classic books, for free, read by professional voice actors, including classics like Stone Soup and Winnie-the-Pooh.
Please take good care of yourselves and your beautiful children. We miss seeing you on campus, but we’re grateful for the warm feeling of ongoing connection and mutual support within our community.
Here’s to finding and enjoying new virtual experiences,