Being stuck at home can be frustrating, but it is even more so if you have young children running around looking for something to do. Fortunately, in the digital age, many museums have put their collections online or created virtual tours that can help alleviate this boredom. Google Arts and Culture (which also has an app) has digitized the collections of many major museums, from the Van Gogh Museum to New York’s MOMA. Not all of them will be totally appealing to children, but some museums offer online entertainment for all ages. Whether you need a trip to the aquarium or want to see mummies, here are some virtual museum tours your kids will enjoy. (Plus, all of those visits can lead to a deeper reading or Google search, which means even less hassle.)
Best for: Children obsessed with ancient Egypt or medieval architecture
The Louvre may be closed, but you can still access its many treasures online. The virtual tour of the French museum takes you through some of its galleries, including the basement ruins of the building’s original moat, which date back to 1190. Don’t miss Egyptian antiquities, where you can learn more about the pharaonic period. While the entire museum is not available as a tour, much of the collection is available as pictures on their website, so you and the kids can search for the most memorable works, including the Mona Lisa.
Best for: Children are ready to explore a more interactive experience
Always wanted to see the Rosetta Stone or a real mummy? Look no further than the British Museum, which you will usually need to look for on a London vacation. The tour is interactive, with artifacts searchable by era, region, or type, and you can discover all kinds of interesting artifacts, including a Barclays bank check and an ancient Egyptian papyrus poem.
Best for: Future time travelers
The Met Museum in New York has an entire section of its website dedicated to young people called MetKids. The online-only experience includes a time machine, where you can search by time period, idea or location to discover artifacts and works of art in the museum’s rooms. The ‘Big Ideas’ search tool allows kids to examine topics such as inventions, fashion, and battles, and see all the relevant artifacts, an engaging way to learn without feeling like you’re learning. . There are also videos, as well as an interactive map of the museum that allows you to discover various exhibitions around the building.
Anyone who has been to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam knows how amazing it is to see all of the artist’s works in one place. Since you can’t fly to Amsterdam, take your kids on a virtual journey through the collection via Google Arts & Culture. Do not miss Almond blossom, one of Van Gogh’s most delightful oil paintings, calm and transporting. It is also a good way to discuss the history and culture of other countries, as Van Gogh painted in Japan and has some relevant pieces in the collection.
Best for: Imitate the real thing
A children’s museum would be the best place to take the kids when they leave school, but a virtual experience should be enough for now. The Boston Children’s Museum welcomes online visitors to its exhibits (no queues!) And you can complement the images with your own activities and games at home.
Best for: A comprehensive educational experience
Take a tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, whether through the temporary exhibits or the permanent collection. Along the way, see dinosaur skeletons, animals from around the world, and even past exhibits that are no longer on display in reality. It’s a great way to introduce your kids to the world around them even when they can’t be at school, and there is plenty of follow-up or reading activity you can do after the visit. . While you’re there, stop at the Smithsonian Castle and the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, both of which have adjacent virtual tours.
Best for: Enjoy exhibitions online only
Another Smithsonian museum, the National Gallery of Art, has thousands of objects and paintings online through Google. You can discover the current exhibition Shaping a nation to discover American fashion from 1740 to 1895, or browse the different periods, from baroque to modern art. The National Gallery is home to some very important works, so look for works by Vermeer Woman holding a balance, Cassatt Little girl in a blue armchair and that of Gauguin Devil’s words. It will make you want to visit the real thing, so consider a trip to Washington when this is all over.
Best for: Children or adolescents studying European history
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence can be explored on Google Arts & Culture, and there is a lot of art to see. Most of the works are Renaissance (be prepared to explain all nude women) and the focus is on paintings by Italian artists. It’s not just about paintings: the collection tells you a lot about Italian history and the country’s former rulers, which can be very useful if you have a teenager studying European history this year.
Best for: Take in some fresh air
Step out to Easter Island, where Google has created a virtual tour of the island’s famous statues. There is also a short video of the island and its huge ancient creations, which could be a good opportunity to discuss world geography with your kids.
Best for: Aquatic exploration with a meditation side
Who doesn’t want to watch peaceful underwater life videos when they need to break away from reality? Monterey Bay Aquarium’s live webcams will delight you and your little ones, especially the adorable penguin camera. To find something soothing, watch the mesmerizing Moon Jelly Camera or the Kelp Forest Camera, which features leopard sharks moving among the kelp. When the live cameras aren’t working (they work at specific times), there are pre-recorded videos to fill out.
Best for: Children who devoured James and the giant peach
Start your day with a virtual tour of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Center, located outside London, before a marathon day of reading The witches or The BFG to your children. You can browse the exhibits and even learn about the picturesque countryside outside the museum in Buckinghamshire. While it can be easy to feel like you’re missing out on just seeing something online, this museum is a great opportunity to dive into the fantasy world of an author who can really help escape at the moment.
Best for: Future space cadets
Take a virtual tour of NASA’s Glenn Research Center or the Space Telescope Operations Control Center, home to the Hubble Telescope. At NASA Glenn, dive into the Ballistic Impact Lab or Supersonic Wind Tunnel, which could, of course, lead to a discussion of physics you might not be equipped for. Do not worry, Nasa has lots of stuff online, making it a great resource during this time at home.