5 virtual excursions for the school holidays

Published on Wednesday, 07 October 2020
Last updated on Wednesday, 21 October 2020

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If you’ve enrolled your child in an OSCAR school holiday programme, teed up other kinds of child care, tried to take a little time off work, and are still wondering how to fill in the days before school goes back, then consider the virtual excursion!

With a rise in work-from-home arrangements, it might just be possible for your child to visit a variety of interesting places while you’re getting some work done.

Here are 5 virtual excursions that require a little supervision, a solid internet connection and a child with an enquiring mind!

     1. An art gallery tour

Art is an inspiring way to start the day and, in this modern age, your child can view some of the great works without leaving home.

Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum exhibits many of the artist’s famous paintings and drawings online (along with some kids’ activities) and The Louvre in Paris offers a free virtual reality app, so your child can get up close to The Mona Lisa.

It’s also possible to cruise around The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and if your child wants to create their own masterpiece, then Art for Kids Hub has loads of YouTube art classes (and over three million subscribers).

  1. A morning at the museum

The British Museum houses the largest collection of artefacts in the world, and its interactive timeline, The Museum of the World allows your child to scroll back thousands of years, jump between countries and investigate some incredible objects. Once they find a piece of interest (e.g. a gorgon’s head bowl from Ancient Greece), they just click on it to learn more.  

And if they’re curious about where modern Greece and Egypt are, as well as landmarks like the Great Wall of China or the Taj Mahal, then Google Earth is a fun way to put a name to a place. Your virtual explorer can even look inside the International Space Station by searching for that.

  1. A gym session

If it’s time for your child to stretch their legs, then GoNoodle will get them going! The site’s movement and mindfulness videos were created by child development experts, and GoNoodle is a free way to pump up the colour, fun and energy these holidays.

  1. A library visit

The worldwide web is stacked with audio books, so if your child is ready to hear Stephen Fry read Harry Potter or David Walliams describe The Word’s Worst Teachers, then head to Audible and sign up for a free 30-day trial. 

Your child can also borrow e-books from your local library, whether you’re in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington or elsewhere in NZ.

  1. A trip to the zoo

One Night in the Zoo is Judith Kerr’s classic picture book, and if your child wants to visit a real zoo after dark, then San Diego Zoo is the place to be. This American zoo has live cameras on lots of animals, plus activities, games and stories for daytime entertainment.

The Smithsonian National Zoo is another famous American zoo with live cams, and Taronga TV brings Australia’s famous Taronga Zoo to your neck of the woods, as well. 

In the wild, Penguin TV is a cute way to see hundreds of Little Penguins waddling onto Phillip Island each evening in Australia, and Nat Geo Kids features lots of awesome animals, too. And last, but not least, the main National Geographic YouTube channel goes where many fear to tread, with awe-inspiring videos about goblin sharks, mummified crocodiles and expeditions to Everest.

All in all, the home computer is your child’s ticket to go on some cool excursions these holidays, and although hours and hours of screen time isn’t recommended, a bit of quality content is a good way to fire up their curiosity and free you up to get some work done. 

What non-virtual excursions are on offer these school holidays?

If you’ve got a day off work or have a child carer lined up, then there are fun school holiday activities happening around the country (COVID-permitting).

Your local District Council web page is a good place to find any events, and we hope your family finds the right balance between work, fun, screen and sunshine this week.


Growing Up in New Zealand

Teach Starter

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