Running out of home schooling ideas? Take the kids on a virtual voyage with interactive learning tools, from safaris to space or make a bug hotel!
1. Travel the wonders of the world
There are some fabulous online tools such as Google’s Street View Treks and You Visit’s panoramas which offer a fascinating way to bring an atlas or globe to life for kids. From the sky, the vast Petra complex in Jordan blends seamlessly with the arid desert but dive down with Treks, and you’re soon “walking with the Nabataeans”
2. Let’s pretend
Children soak up information about the things they are interested in. Finding out what interests your child can be a fun and wonderful journey. From astronomy and wildlife to building marvellous lego creations and cooking up a feast -anything goes!
3. Blast off into space
The sky’s not the limit when it comes to virtual travels. In 2011, Curiosity Rover travelled for eight months and 352m miles to land on the surface of Mars. Via its Access Mars project, Google and Nasa have shared some of the data and images, collating them in a 3D replica of the Martian surface. Some may be disappointed to find no aliens, but the interactive webpage with facts straight from the scientists offers an engaging slice of space exploration. For the perfect ending to a space-themed day, beam up into the International Space Station for a series of stories read from space.
4. Build a bug house
Build your own bug mansion and attract a multitude of creepy crawlies to your garden. Who doesn’t love getting messy and bug hunting!
5.Buckle up for live-cam action
Mindful and addictive all at once, non-profit Explore.org’s catalogue of live cams invite visitors to go orca-spotting one minute and watch elephants, hippos and crocodiles take dip at the watering hole at Mpala Research Centre in the highlands of central Kenya. Cruising through the cams is fun, but for a more constructive experience head to its education centre. Here more than 300 videos, photos and lesson plans are organised by location or conservation-led topics. Younger kids may prefer to tune into live cams from aquariums such as Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium’s live octopus feeding, or the leopard shark-filled kelp forests of Monterey Bay Aquarium. Or, swot up on wildlife closer to home – barn owls and badgers – with the Wildlife Trust’s webcams.
6. Make a cake in a mug!
A quick and easy way to make a yummy chocolate cake that’s a little different to the norm…
- 4 tbsp self-raising flour
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp milk
- 2 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)
- 1 tsp berry compote (optional)
- Use a large mug to avoid making a mess or divide the mixture between a couple of mugs
- Add the flour, sugar and cocoa powder to the mug and mix
- Add the egg and mix
- Add all the other ingredients (apart from the chocolate chips if you are planning to use them) and mix until smooth
- Add any optional extras: chocolate chips/nuts/raisins/chopped banana/peanut butter and mix well
- Centre your mug in the middle of the microwave oven and cook on high for 3-4 mins (depending how powerful your microwave is) or until it has stopped rising and is firm to the touch
- Watch it rise and check it doesn’t overflow
- Allow to cool
- Decorate with your choice of topping
- Serve – you can eat it straight out of the mug or tip it onto a plate