Keri Wilcox, KSL

Stir-crazy kids at home? Take some virtual field trips

By Curt Gresseth, KSL NewsRadio | Posted - Mar. 22, 2020 at 6:19 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — The coronavirus pandemic has closed school for millions of kids across the nation. Even after-school sports have been cancelled. Parents are going to need some help because kids need structure.

Dave Noriega said with school out, it’s not all fun and games at the Noriega home.

“It’s not the Wild, Wild West. They still have bedtimes,” he said.

“Basically until 3 p.m., our kids have jobs and projects and schoolwork to do,” said Dave. “What do I do once three o’clock rolls around?”

Debbie Dujanovic asked Dave how the loss of after-school sport activity is affecting his three kids.

“It’s been really devastating. My son is a pretty good track star and this was his senior year. This was his chance to take state. My daughter is playing softball. My other son had his wrestling tournament cancelled.

“So all these things that took up so much time and effort and money just disappeared almost overnight. So it has been very, very hard on the kids,” Dave said.

Travel the world from home

Utah author (and Debbie’s good friend) Stephanie Ashcraft, who has three young ones at home, joined the show with some ideas.

Ashcraft recommends virtual field trips for your at-home kids. Such as:

  • Panda Cam at Zoo Atlanta. (That takes care of the cute-fix for the day.)
  • At the San Diego Zoo, kids can find behind-the-scenes videos and stories, as well as a variety of printable activities and online games.
  • Or check out the life aquatic at Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager webcam (wait for the whale shark!)
  • Gaze into the heavens at Star Atlas, where kids can explore more than 60,000 stars, locate planets, and watch sunrises and even solar eclipses (you can’t see all that in one day at school).
  • Too far to travel all the way to Boston? No need. Tour all three floors of the Boston Children’s Museum on this virtual tour.

Virtual field trips to the rescue

No school day is complete without learning about arts and culture. From your couch you can check out Van Gogh’s artwork in Amsterdam or take in the treasures at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris by strolling through 12 famous museums you visit virtually.

After all that cyber-adventuring, it’s time to hit the books.

Parents, educational company Scholastic has got your back with its “Learn at Home” website that has daily courses for students from pre-kindergarten to grades six and higher.

Other options

After all that learning, it’s time to get outdoors (all while maintaining the proper distance of six feet from others.)

Ashcraft recommends everybody pile in the car and go for a scenic drive or go for a hike if the weather is good. Find out what wonders you can explore at alltrails.com.

Weather no good for a hike? Stay inside and have fun, too.

Ashcraft says don’t forget the board games and card games, and dust off those arts and crafts.

She said it’s also important that kids keep up with their friends. Not by hanging out at the park or mall but in the virtual world, by staying in touch on Google Hangouts, Skype, Facetime or WhatsApp.

Curt Gresseth

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