Virtual learning: How to keep your kids engaged while they’re off from school

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has caused restaurants, bars, museums, schools, and more to close down to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. Many kids are home from school these next few weeks, but that doesn’t mean they have to pause educational and interactive learning. There are plenty of sites and apps offering virtual field trips, interactive tools, and even remote trips to space.  

Here are some virtual ways you can keep your kids learning despite the closing of schools. 

The rapid spread of the coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, caused school districts, colleges, and universities to shut down and move all classes online with very little notice. Millions of students and parents suddenly have to deal with the new reality of remote learning.
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Go to the zoo

The Cincinnati Zoo, home of Fiona the hippopotamus, is posting a “Home Safari Facebook Live” every weekday at 3 p.m. ET (noon PST) starting this week. The virtual event will highlight one of the zoo’s animals each day and will even include an activity for kids to do at home. 

The San Diego zoo also has live cams of various animal exhibits, including penguins, pandas, koala bears, giraffes, tigers, and more. 

Visit a museum 

Museums are getting in on the virtual reality action too. Renowned museums around the world are offering virtual tours for those stuck at home. 

The  Louvre museum in Paris offers virtual tours for some of its exhibits, including remains of the Louvre’s Moat and the Galerie d’Apollon. 

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History also offers a wide array of virtual tours of its current exhibits, with glimpses into its Butterfly Pavilion, the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils, and the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals. 

Google Arts & Culture has also teamed up with more than 500 museums from around the world to bring their exhibits online. Collections from museums such as the British Museum in London, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam are available to view for free. 

Learn at home

Scholastic has launched a free “Learn at Home” program for students out of school during the coronavirus outbreak. The program has daily courses for pre-K and kindergarten, as well as students in grades one through six. 

Some of the things kids can expect to learn in the program include physical science, social studies, and even how emojis are engineered. There will also be virtual field trips.

Explore outer space 

For aspiring astronauts, NASA is offering virtual tours of its Glenn Research Center facilities, including the Glenn Hanger and the Hubble Telescope Control Center. 

NASA TV also offers regular programming such as live interviews with astronauts on board the International Space Station, spacewalks, rocket launches, and more. There’s a schedule of all upcoming live events on NASA TV. 

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