WASHINGTON, DC — A number of educational and historical institutions in the nation's capital exist to educate visitors about topics all around the world: botany, history, science, American history and beyond.
And while most of them are temporarily closed because of the new coronavirus, a litany of them still have online educational tools that can be accessed at any time by anyone with an internet connection.
If your kids are getting antsy, and you're looking to help them keep learning while they're stuck at home, these tools just might do the trick.
- Smithsonian has an entire website dedicated to educational tools and games for children with offerings like games that challenge STEM skills, instructions for students to build their own robots and photo libraries that teach kids about the world's animals.
- Smithsonian's Game Center offers up even more STEM games and simulations for online play or download. According to the website, "Our games are designed with clear learning objectives, vetted by our team of curriculum experts, and are used by students around the world!"
- The National Museum of American History has its own online learning portal, much like the Smithsonian. Its offerings are sorted by student age and include things like a study guide for the civics portion of the U.S. Naturalization Test, a whodunnit-type mystery game set in the Civil War and other guides, games and activities.
- The zoo, like other DC institutions is closed today. But that doesn't mean kids can't get up close and personal with the animals there.
- The Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute offers live camera feeds that let viewers look right inside the enclosures for naked mole-rats, lions, giant pandas and elephants.
- More than 40 million people visit the US Capitol each year. And now, with a livestream from EarthTV, students across the country can too. Live cameras in DC offer real-time views of the White House, the Capitol Building, the south entrance of Washington's Union Station and Columbus Circle and Columbus Plaza.
- The National Arboretum has an entire website dedicated to keeping up with the nation's national bird, the bald eagle. Two live video feeds let viewers tap into the lives of a pair of eagles named Mr. President and The First Lady. Currently, the arboretum is waiting for The First Lady to lay her eggs, a once-annual occurrence. Updates about the lives of Mr. President and The First Lady are posted regularly on Washington DC Eagle Cam's Facebook page.
- The National Arboretum provides knowledgeable moderators who guide discussion and answer questions about the eagles in a moderated chat on the cam page. Teachers can also schedule educational chats for their classes by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The National Museum of the American Indian offers educational videos on its YouTube Channel and a variety of live educational webcasts on its website. Its offerings include topical discussions, performances of cultural and historical dance, music and more.
Do you know of other educational tools kids should be accessing during social distancing measures? Let us know in the comments.