Hi! You found our list of fun virtual field trip ideas.
Virtual field trips are educational expeditions that take place entirely online. Though some online field trips consist of pre-recorded tours and videos, the most captivating virtual field trip ideas tend to involve live video feed and student/guide interaction.
If you need ways to hold your students’ attention in a virtual classroom, then you may find additional inspiration from virtual employee engagement activities.
This articles includes:
- Virtual field trips for kids
- Virtual field trips for middle schoolers
- Virtual field trips for high school students
- Virtual field trips for adults
Here is the list!
List of virtual field trip ideas
From computerized cockpit tours to online historical sites to do-it-yourself digital field trips, here is a list of ideas for virtual field trips to captivate and educate students of any age.
1. Online zoo behind the scenes visit
The zoo is one of the most common field trip destinations for good reason. Kids love animals and learn a lot from knowledgeable zookeepers. Zoos are one of the best virtual field trips for kids. While virtual trips may not let students see otters float, elephants play, and lions strut up close, a digital tour allows for more intimate behind-the-scenes access. Your class can get in the pen with the animals and walk paths that only zookeepers normally tread. While you may not be able to fit 30 squirming first graders into a baby animal nursery or an operating room, the guide can easily broadcast from these venues. Best of all, since the visit takes place entirely online, you can visit a zoo in any city you want.
Here is a list of a few zoos that offer virtual tours:
- The Maryland Zoo
- San Antonio Zoo
- San Diego Zoo
- Cincinnati Zoo (self-guided tours, livestream safari and feeding times)
Many other zoos stream live animal webcams that you and your class can watch. You can also contact your local zoo directly to inquire about the possibility of virtual tours and school group discounts.
Throughout the online visit, your students can ask questions using the hand raising or chat features in the video conferencing platform. Once your tour concludes, your students can enjoy thematic snacks such as zebra cakes, goldfish, and of course, animal crackers.
2. Computerized cockpit tours
Cramming 30-plus students into the cockpit of a plane is no easy task and that is just one of the reasons why the airfield is rarely the site of a school field trip. Yet virtual field trips can allow students rare experiences like the opportunity to pilot a plane.
Livestream cockpit tours make thrilling virtual field trips for high school students. While airline regulations call for restricted cockpit access, you may be able to find a private pilot willing to give your students a Skype tour of the craft. The pilot might even broadcast a quick flight.
If you cannot find a live guide, then the following organizations provide self-guided virtual tours with pilot-perspective views of various aircraft:
- The Naval Aviation Museum
- Experimental Aircraft Association
- National Museum of the USAF
- Museum of Flight
Or, you could download and run a flight simulator that gives students the chance to navigate and land a virtual plane.
3. Living rooms around the world
A living room might seem like an odd choice for a field trip, but a living room located across the globe is as fascinating as any other destination. You can plan a tour of foreign homes so that your students can learn how everyday life differs across the world.
If you or your colleagues know individuals in other countries willing to Zoom with your students, then you can reach out to these acquaintances and coordinate your virtual tour directly. If not, then you can contact a foreign exchange program or local university for help contacting nationals to serve as afternoon host families. When all else fails, you can watch the Life Where I’m From channel on YouTube, though live tours with question and answer sessions are more personal and immersive.
Digitally touring foreign homes is an activity that works for multiple age groups. Kindergarteners to adults can enjoy and learn from the experience.
You and your students can also check out Dollar Street for a strong visual map of how people live around the world.
4. Virtual museum tour
Museums are one of the most common field trip destinations, making online museum tours one of the most natural virtual field trip ideas. The world wide web allows your group to visit museums around the world.
Here are a few that offer virtual tours:
- Van Gogh Museum
- British Museum
- Guggenheim Museum
- Musee d’Orsay
- Vatican Museums
- National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Many other museums offer online tour components, most through the Google Arts and Culture program. If your town or city hosts a small but interesting museum, then the staff may agree to take your group on a personalized livestream tour, especially if your school already has a relationship with the museum.
Whichever museum you choose to digitally visit, you can liven up the experience by creating a virtual scavenger hunt for students to solve during the tour. Giving students an active task will better hold attention and assure your participants get the most out of the experience.
5. Computerized career days
Career day is a staple of the school experience. Typically, parents and community professionals visit classrooms to talk to students about various jobs. Through virtual field trips, these professionals can actually take students along on the job. Through this activity, students can go to work with firefighters, underwater welders, cake decorators, farmers, or any other interesting vocations that do not mind taking the kids on a virtual ridealong.
Career days can be an ongoing series, with a five to 15-minute tour of a different workplace every session. This approach spreads the fun across a larger span of time by hosting a mini field trip every day, instead of condensing all the excitement into a single afternoon.
6. Remote city tours
From the comfort of the classroom, your class can explore significant spots across the country or the globe. Tour guides in many cities offer virtual tours that present a verbal history and visual slideshow via video meeting software like Zoom. Remote city tours are one of the easiest-to-execute virtual field trip ideas. The guides already mapped the path and prepared the presentation; you will only have to book the tour and show up with your class.
The tour guides entertain audiences with a friendly manner, interactive activities such as chat box quizzes, and an impressive amount of knowledge. Interesting subjects and personable guides keep the tours lively. The crew here at TeamBuilding recently embarked on a virtual tour of Black Broadway in Washington DC and an online Harry Potter tour of Edinburgh, Scotland. Our gang thoroughly enjoyed both and learned a lot, from the rich history of Black business in DC to which of our colleagues are still waiting for Hogwarts owls. You can book these two specific tours through AirBnB’s online experiences, but sites such as Viator and FreeTour also offer interesting online experiences.
7. Online historical sites
Many field trips focus on learning about history. The past gets a futuristic update through online historical tours. You and your class can visit significant sites all around the world and learn how these locations shaped modern history.
Here is a short list of historical sites with online experiences:
- The Sistine Chapel
- The Taj Mahal
- The Great Wall of China
- Ellis Island
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Gettysburg Battlefield
There are many other historically significant locations you can visit through the world wide web.
These online experiences provide your students with culture, history, and travel in one afternoon, all without leaving the classroom. You can pair the activity with a research assignment so that your students form thoughtful questions to ask the guide throughout the tour. If your class embarks on a self-guided tour, then you can always schedule a follow-up interview with an expert so students still get an interactive online encounter.
8. Virtual adult beverage tour
Sometimes adults need field trips, too. Stepping out of the office, home, or just out of the ordinary can shake up routines and recharge creativity. One of the best virtual field trips for adults is an online winery, brewery, or distillery tour.
Here is a list of a few facilities that offer virtual tours:
You could also reach out to local venues to inquire about group tours. These businesses tend to be active and reachable on social media, and when all else fails, you can always call the business directly and ask to speak to the owner or event coordinator about the possibility of an online tour.
Hands-on experience makes for the best field trips, so you can cap your tour off with a remote tasting. Before the day of the event, you can purchase and disperse kits to your team. Many facilities already offer tasting kits, or you can buy a few bottles and make your own. Certain states have strict rules about shipping alcohol, but if you are unable to mail the beverages you can adapt the tasting into a food pairing by mailing snacks and asking team members to provide the alcohol.
When the tour finishes, you can opt for extra team bonding by pivoting into a virtual happy hour.
9. Do-It-Yourself digital field trips
Some schools give students the option to vote on the yearly field trip, letting the majority decide the destination. The fact that online field trips use minimal time and resources means that every student can design a dream trip. Instead of organizing a virtual trip for your students, you can assign the planning to your students. Every classmate can design a short online field trip by using Google Tour Creator. Students may choose to explore areas such as Jack the Ripper’s stomping grounds, the tombs of pharaohs, or the birth cities of American jazz. Your students will become the tour guides and teach peers about the chosen topic. DIY online tours are great virtual field trips for middle schoolers because the project allows students to express individuality and passion while developing solid research skills.
Though you and your crew cannot leave the classroom, you can still embark on an awesome virtual field trip that sparks the students’ imaginations and expands their view of the world. Technology allows your classroom to travel to remote parts of the Earth without ever leaving the school. Most of these tours are available to anyone, meaning your students can visit or revisit the sites anytime. To make your online field trip day extra special, you could seek out guide-led, live, interactive experiences so that your students can hold conversations with an expert. You can also supplement the trip with assignments and fun activities.
Next, check out our list of Zoom team building ideas.
FAQ: Virtual field trip ideas
Here are some of the most common questions and answers about virtual field trips.
What are virtual field trips?
Virtual field trips are learning excursions that happen online through video conferencing software, livestream video, or digital map and photograph platforms
What are good virtual field trip ideas?
The best online field trips often revolve around experiences that are off-limits or logistically impossible for in-person visits. To keep students interested, these virtual trips should involve interactive elements such as question and answer sessions, games, and special requests. Good virtual field trip ideas include online behind the scenes zoo visits, virtual museum tours, and remote city tours.
What are the benefits of virtual field trips?
While traditional field trips have tactile aspects and the thrill of escaping the classroom, virtual field trips can allow for insider access to areas like animal enclosures at the zoo, aircraft cockpits, or historical sites. Online field trips can accommodate hundreds of students simultaneously with very few logistics; typically the only requirements for these events is a stable internet connection and video conferencing software. Virtual field trips are often low-cost and very easy to plan. Plus, students can visit a much wider variety of destinations, since there will be no actual traveling.
How do you do a virtual field trip?
The first step in planning virtual field trips is to decide on your venue and activity. You can choose between self-guided tours or live-guided experiences. Typically, live video and interaction makes for a more compelling visit. Most sites offering virtual tours list prices on the website, but you can always reach out to staff to ask for a quote. Once you book your trip, pick a day and time for your visit and inform the students. You can plan tie-in activities like research assignments and presentations to enhance your student’s learning. You can also make the day special by providing snacks, especially if the snacks are theme-appropriate!
How can you make virtual field trips fun?
The best virtual field trips provide insider access. Instead of dwelling on the fact that your students will not visit in person, you should seek out experiences that would be impossible in person, for instance piloting a fighter jet or visiting a family in Mumbai. To hold your student’s attention, you should seek out tours with interactive elements, or at least plan tie-in activities that make the online trip more of an event. You can make the day extra fun by providing a special meal, such as ethnic food to accompany your digital world tour, or a standard pizza party to supplement any trip.
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