Millions of children around the world are out of school and depend on parents or their family members for homeschooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine and lockdown are all phrases we now use on a daily basis as we strive to find a balance between our working lives and childcare. I started creating daily online courses for my son (Indigenous Studies, Climate Change, Nutrition, Healthy Cooking, Animals) until our Toronto School Board launches their official e-learning program next week. .

To help interrupt the day, here are five kid-friendly virtual museum exhibits in Toronto. If you are reading this from all over the world you can still check them out, then when it is safe to travel again come to our wonderful city and visit your favorite museums in person.

Royal Ontario Museum

To keep kids busy for a while and for endless learning opportunities, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has over 45,000 objects online where they can take a virtual tour of their home and explore by topic. . Their Greatest Hits Tour is suitable for Grades 1 to 12, and features unique objects and specimens in the art, culture and nature collections. Families can roam the ROM’s five floors of galleries and exhibition spaces and travel to another world, from the ancient past to deep space. As local residents of Toronto, my son and I have visited the ROM in person countless times and we still love the ancient Egyptian mummy exhibits. Currently listed on their website is an activity called Make A Mummy Case with step by step instructions on how to do it at home. If you don’t have all the supplies, you may be able to order them online or choose another activity based on the art supplies you currently have.

Hockey Hall of Fame

There have been a lot of disappointed hockey fans this season, including my son who missed the rest of his playoff season. Not to mention that the Toronto Maple Leafs were on their way to qualifying for the NHL playoffs. (You never know, we could won the Stanley Cup!) For all things hockey, head to the Hockey Hall of Fame for a 3D virtual walking tour that children can do while sitting at their desks. This educational tour of the Great Hall allows viewers to click on the Stanley Cup to read the details and change their perspective. They can also participate in 18 online exhibition tours, including the TSN Theater with a video preview of Stanley’s Game 7; the Hometown Hockey exhibits; photos of the Montreal Canadiens changing room; and the foyer exhibits which include columns of honorary members of famous hockey players. Play the hockey song in the background to keep everyone at home in the hockey spirit.

Bata shoe museum

There are several components online where out-of-school students can satisfy their shoe cravings at the Bata Shoe Museum. Their website features a virtual museum with educational exhibits, including Canadian Indigenous cultures, footwear from multicultural groups in Canada, fashion footwear, and special purpose footwear. Once you’ve picked a story, you can learn all about shoes from that era. For example, students can learn about Japanese shoes and archaeological evidence suggesting that the earliest form of footwear in Japan were rice straw sandals created around two thousand years ago. The website includes resources for teachers that you can plan at home.

Art Gallery of Ontario

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has tons of artwork on its website that art-loving students can view from home. Discover Toronto artist Margaret Priest and her Construction series, which focuses on ornamental designs in building materials. The museum also launched AGO From Home with a video on its website that explains how viewers can interact with their art team through unique stories, videos, artwork, and fun how-to videos. The AGO tries to bring people together through art during this difficult time in the world. If you have art supplies at home, kids can create their own masterpieces after the virtual tour is over.

The National Ballet of Canada

The National Ballet of Canada, a leading international company, has a virtual museum where students can learn about some of their most remarkable productions. Explore online exhibits such as the history of ballet, set and costume sketches, shoes, photos, videos, costumes and original artifacts. Their website is user-friendly so kids can just click on the production they want to learn more about, like Cinderella, The Nutcracker, and Romeo and Juliet. There are also several videos on their website where families can watch Ballet Moments of their favorite performances until the talented and graceful ballerinas return stronger than ever to the famous Toronto stage.



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