Parents across the globe are fighting a difficult battle at home. How to keep their bored little ones entertained or occupied without being able to leave the house?
Gather around the screens, everyone, here are some great ways to leave home and see new things without actually breaking that shelter-in-place order.
When kids are bored out of their wits, filled with pent-up energy, they’re bound to get creative in how they exert it, and for parents that can be a bad thing.
Don’t be surprised to see kids draw doodles on the wall with the leftover spaghetti sauce, put sticky Lego blocks inside the fridge, and pack potatoes inside your shoes. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.
So before they run out of Netflix episodes to binge watch and start thinking of ways to entertain themselves, here are some virtual places your little ones can visit while stuck at home.
Since you can’t visit them right now, Canada’s Wonderland is bringing their amusements to the small screen. Parents and their children can ride on 16 coasters, 11 thrill rides, and seven family rides using first-person point-of-view videos.
The Yukon Striker is Canada’s fastest and longest dive coaster.
This is a fun boredom-busting idea all members of the family can enjoy. Yes, including little ones who may be too small to ride the real thing, and grown-ups who chickened out the last at the last in person visit.
Set-up chairs in front of the TV or laundry baskets for little kids, go to Canada’s Wonderland Channel and then choose any of the rides.
While the aquarium is closed right now, kids can still visit many of their creatures through live cams set-up all over the aquarium. There are a lot of cameras to chose from so your kids won’t get bored if they don’t see animals in one camera. They can just switch from one camera to the other and check back on the rest after a few minutes.
The beluga whale cam is the most popular, although these whales don’t show up on cam all the time and since the camera is set-up in one area only you’ll have to wait for them to come out. There’s a camera inside the aquarium housing whales and other fish, another one inside the penguin shelter, and a sea otter webcam among many others.
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
Here’s a fun way to keep kids learning even while they’re not in school. While we still don’t know when they’ll be back in the classrooms, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History offers a virtual tour will keep them learning and engaged.
It’s a fun 360 tour of the museum that lets kids look around and roam all over without the long ticket lines, or leaving the house. They can see dinosaur bones, fossils, ancient relics and other artifacts housed inside the different floors of the museum. There are a number of areas your kids can explore virtually so you’ll have enough for them to explore for a few days.
Two zoos in Australia are bringing their animals to kids who are stuck at home worldwide. Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo set up live cameras so kids can enjoy seeing their animals from anywhere.
These are live cameras which means the animals won’t be in front of the camera the whole day, and they're not putting a show for viewers, but if you can talk your kids into guarding the cameras and waiting for the animals to come out this will buy you minutes, and fingers crossed, perhaps even hours of quiet time. They can switch cameras while waiting to see which animals they can glimpse on one of the many cams.
Ripley’s Aquarium offers two options for kids stuck at home since they’ve set-up two live cameras in separate locations. Kids can watch penguins in the Penguin Cam inside Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies or watch sharks and other sea animals in Ripley’s of Canada’s Shark Cam.
The Shark Cam is inside the giant walk-through aquarium so you won’t just see sharks. There are rays and turtles, and schools of fish. The camera doesn’t move and just covers one area, it can get a little slow too at times but it’s a good chance to teach your kids about patience.
After Disney closed all their parks, many previous park-goers, most of them parents too, took it upon themselves to post first-person POV videos of Disney’s different rides. Some were posted years ago and are now getting so much traffic considering all canceled trips and broken Disney dreams because of coronavirus.
While these aren’t official virtual rides offered by Disney they’re still fun to try and are close to the real thing. Like this virtual ride on Splash Mountain complete with all the squeals, screams, and splashing sounds of water. There are tons of these online and you won’t run out of rides to try at least virtually.
There’s still nothing like the real thing, but while we are all stuck indoors with no clear end in sight, not knowing exactly when we can venture out and fill these theme parks, aquariums, zoos, and museums again, visiting them virtually is our best option right now. Unless of course, you don’t mind having sticky potatoes inside your shoes and doodles all over your walls.