As I write this, we are under “stay at home” orders due to the coronavirus debacle. I have realized that while many brick and mortar school families are turning to temporary homeschooling, I’ve completely lost my groove. Our homeschool is heavily reliant on field trips! And we aren’t able to go almost anywhere now. Our state parks are closed, national parks and monuments are closed, many businesses are not able to open due to government restrictions based on if they are “essential” or not (they’re pretty essential for the employees and owners, but that’s a tangent for another time).
Needless to say, our homeschool is very much suffering at this point in time.
But alas, I’ve been slowly trying to get my head screwed back on and it occurred to me that many places actually offer virtual field trips. Since I know many homeschoolers and temporary homeschoolers are feeling the same despair, I wanted to compile a big list of “field trips” that can be done online or through a streaming service.
“Community Helper” Virtual Field Trips
I came across this a few months ago when I was looking for activities for our homeschool co-op (unfortunately, most post offices do not offer tours). This is a PBS site (which, full disclosure, supports Common Core) and they have lesson plans and whatnot that you can download, too (again, those will be CC aligned). Also on the website are field trips to a sheriff’s office, library, fire station, children’s hospital, dentist, flag company, hair salon, school bus depot, airport, and tons more.
Explore the White House and Washington, D.C. with a phone app! This is one I’ll be checking out more.
Colonial Williamsburg, a dream on my field trip bucket list, has webcams of several of its living history areas. They also feature an Explore From Home section, which will come in handy during these current times.
Take a virtual trip to Ford’s Theatre, the site of President Lincoln’s assassination.
Google Arts and Culture has curated a variety of exhibits, art pieces, museums, landmarks, and more to show using its “street view” technology.
The British Museum has an interesting set up (best viewed on a computer) that takes you through history by continent.
Wildlife and Natural Areas
The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma has an interactive set of scenes you can view of its varying landscapes. This would be a great way to study habitats and biomes.
The Nature Conservancy also has over 70 virtual field trips of natural places all over the US.
Great Lakes Now has videos exploring three freshwater habitats plus resources to support your teaching on this topic.
Yellowstone has a livestreaming camera that you can watch, and they have several learning guides, such as hydrothermal science, on their site while you’re there. Likewise, you can check out Mount Rainier with one of their numerous cameras and then click Learn About the Park on the top menu (of any NPS page) to learn about the area.
PIN IT FOR LATER! Continued below…
Take a virtual dive through the National Marine Sanctuaries website. There are several locations to choose from.
National Geographic has a really neat interactive walkthrough of the largest cave in the world, located in Vietnam.
Zoos and Aquariums
I found this one on Amazon Prime recently – it’s called Science Works!. The host takes takes us to various places to talk to professionals working in STEM careers. There are six episodes available for free with Prime.
Explore a fracking operation and learn about oil and gas extraction.
How about a virtual planetarium? View the night sky in your area using Star Atlas.
NASA has a variety of virtual tours (click Explore the Map at the bottom to see more).
The American Egg Board has tours and talks with farmers, plus some educational resources to go along with your learning.
Farm Food 360 is a Canadian initiative to keep consumers connected with farmers. You can find anything from dairy and animal farming to grain milling and the fur trade. You can use a VR viewer for these, too.
Discovery Education has a “Navigating Nuclear” virtual field trip that looks neat. There are several others of varying topics to view also.
Traveling the US and the World
Not exactly a field trip, but we really enjoy the Travel Thru History series on Amazon Prime. Some of the places featured for each city are places we would definitely love to visit on a field trip! For example, the St. Augustine one includes a few places we have been and a few places that are now on our bucket list.
Two more travel-related series on Prime are Legendary Cities and Beyond Your Backyard. They look interesting and feature international places also, but be aware that I have not personally vetted these.
If you like webcams, you can use the map on Earthcam to find one here or overseas.
Tour Vatican City online – including a beautiful view of the Sistine Chapel. Sound on!
Take a tour and learn about the Great Wall of China.
Pan around Red Square in Moscow and tons of other vistas, both foreign and domestic, via 360 Cities.
USA Today explores the US/Mexico border and considers the logistics and practicality of a wall. There are some neat videos here, no matter your politics.
If you have any cool sites to add, please share in the comments! Happy quarantine-schooling…chin up!