A Travel-Inspired Day Full of Things to Do With Kids at Home

a herd of cattle grazing on a lush green field

With billions of people grounded because of the coronavirus pandemic, armchair travel has never been more important, especially for parents hoping to capture their kids’ attention and imagination. Here’s a full day of things to do with kids at home, sure to get them excited about seeing the world even while they’re stuck indoors.

9 a.m.: Break out the sunglasses

We’re headed to the beach. The beach finder from Visit Florida will help you choose images with just the right vibe, from laid-back to action-packed, to cast on the flat-screen. You can also gaze at videos of the Gulf Coast on Visit South Walton’s Facebook page, or take an aerial tour of the dramatic beaches of Tenerife, in Spain’s Canary Islands.

a large building: The Palace of Versailles would never be this empty in person.

10 a.m.: Put on your crown

You’re queen (or king) for the day. You’ll have Edinburgh Castle, one of the most famous castles in the world, all to yourself on Google Arts and Culture—see the magnificent Great Hall and visit St. Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh’s oldest building. Then take a private tour of the Palace of Versailles, where you can roam around gilded bedchambers and see the Hall of Mirrors without the crowds.

11 a.m.: Get that camera ready

It’s animal time. Thanks to a variety of live streams, you can watch giraffes at the Saint Louis Zoo, ogle the tiger cubs at the San Diego Zoo, meet sloths at Nebraska’s Lincoln Children’s Zoo, and get up-close with gorillas at the Philadelphia Zoo. Hang with Fiona the hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo. or peer in on the otters at the CROW Wildlife Clinic, a rehabilitative center in Sanibel, Florida. Finally: pandas at the Edinburgh Zoo and puffins in the Shetland Islands.

a canyon with Machu Picchu in the background: Hiking up to Machu Picchu can take days—but visiting virtually takes no time at all.

12 p.m.: Lace up those boots

Soaring over these natural wonders is one of our favorite things to do with kids at home. First up, Machu Picchu and the Costa Rican rainforest with Austin Adventures, which is hosting weekly virtual adventures for kids. Then it’s off to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia; explore the UNESCO World Heritage site and its namesake sandstone rock via Story Spheres. Cap the adventure off with one of Lindblad Expeditions’ Virtual Expeditions, which explore old-growth forests of Iyoukeen Cove in Alaska, the grottos of Makatea in French Polynesia, and other marvels.

1 p.m.: Set the table

We’ve got lunch reservations halfway around the world. Whip up caprese skewers, chicken tinga tacos, and other internationally influenced kids’ recipes from America’s Test Kitchen. Facebook tutorials from Visit Costa Rica turn dishes like gallo pinto and picadillo de papa into family projects. And Indagare’s Global Classroom offers cooking workshops that encourage tots to expand their palates, including a ceviche class led by the Colombian chef Alejandro Ramirez.

a group of people standing in front of a screen: Jellyfish habitats at the world's aquariums are on display online.

2 p.m.: Tighten your snorkel

We’re going swimming with the fishes. Explore otter, shark, and other creatures’ habitats at the Monterey Bay Aquarium; check in on jellyfish in Baltimore; learn about sharks at the Aquarium of the Pacific; and wave hello to Coconut, the baby sloth at the St. Louis Aquarium, which has an ongoing Daily Quaranstream.

3 p.m.: Strap on that backpack

It’s time to go off to the National Parks. Take a 360-degree romp through the Redwoods, listen to the sounds of a waterfall in Yosemite National Park, and hike the Barker Dam Trail in Joshua Tree National Park. Then catch other National Parks around the country on the new #RoamFromHome Instagram and Facebook series from Xanterra Travel Collection, which operates in Yellowstone, Zion, and several other major parks.

a herd of zebra standing on top of a grass covered field: Join wildlife expert and safari guides on their morning drives.

4 p.m.: Grab those binoculars

We’re heading on safari. Every day in April, andBeyond Ngala Private Game Reserve and Djuma Private Game Reserve, both in South Africa, will broadcast live game drives on Facebook and YouTube. Hosted by expert field guides, the twice-daily safaris will also give kids the chance to ask questions in real time by commenting on YouTube or by using the Twitter hashtag #wildearth.

5 p.m.: Sharpen those scissors

It’s an arts and crafts happy hour. Make your own piñatas with help from an online tutorial from Chileno Bay, an Auberge resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, or create a miniature version of Dromoland Castle, a 16th-century Irish castle, by tagging along on Facebook. The downloadable, print-at-home Color the Amazon book from Delfin Amazon Cruises depicts morpho butterflies and red-backed poison frogs. End the afternoon with some DIY spa action: the Kids Chocolate Facial from Esperanza, an Auberge resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, turns coconut oil and dark cocoa powder into kid-safe (albeit a little messy) rest and relaxation.

WATCH: 50 people from 50 states tell us how to fit in with the locals

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