Here at Kidadl, we want to help your children get as close to the real thing as possible and with zoos and farms across the country opening their virtual gates you can see it all from the comfort of your own home. So who’s ready?! We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo, you can come too, too, too!
1. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is a fantastic source of information, their website is packed full of things for the children to see and do . You'll find virtual tours of some of their best galleries, engaging games and videos on how to make things like bird feeders, nature journals and a pitfall trap to catch insects! They’ve also got some great ideas on how to help your children get involved with nature at home like building a bug hotel, preparing a butterfly feeding station and creating a wildlife corridor. Visit their website to find all of these and more.
2. Edinburgh Zoo
Although Edinburgh Zoo may be closed they’ve opened their virtual doors with live cameras set up in some of our favourite enclosures, your children can still get up close to some of their favourite animals. With 4000 animals to look after the zookeepers will still be working hard so there will be plenty to see. Visit the Giant Panda,Yang Guang, the penguins-all 100 or more of them! Keep an eye on Dharma, the zoos Sumatran tiger and finally Tanami, the Koala. Be sure to check in on the animals at different times during the day and if you’re lucky you’ll manage to catch them at feeding time! All of the family will love this one so be sure to check it out.
3. Bocketts Farmyard Classroom
A Kidadl favourite, Bocketts Farm is a working family farm based in the Surrey countryside, passionate about educating and teaching the younger generation about British farming they’ll be bringing the farm to you! From the comfort of your own homes, you’ll be able to explore the farm and learn about some of their wonderful animals along the way.
Bocketts Farmyard Classroom Series will stream live from their Facebook page on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 AM. They will not only be covering a new KS1 topic each week but alongside each video, there will be a worksheet for your little one to complete. These can be downloaded and printed from their website. Don’t worry if you miss a video as they’ll be saving the whole series on their Facebook page so you can revisit them whenever you want. To download your workbook visit their website (Username: educationatbocketts Password: farming). To view their videos follow the link from their website to their Facebook Page.
4. Google 3D animals
Turn your home into a virtual zoo with Google 3D animals. If you’ve not already tried this, this is guaranteed to provide the whole family with hours of entertainment. Google have released a new feature called augmented reality (AR) which means you can project a 3D animal through your screen. Ever fancied having a pet snake.. or even a pet tiger?! Children will love seeing some of their favourite animals in your home and thinking up new animals to try.
All you need is a device which is AR enabled (most modern smartphones are) for Android users Google requires operating systems of 7.0 or higher and for iPhone users you’ll need to be running on iOS 11.0 or higher.
How it works: Simply open up Google on your phone or tablet. Scroll until you see a white box saying ‘Meet a life-sized...’ there’s a little box which says ‘View in 3D’. Click on this box then choose AR or ‘view in your space’, you’ll need to move your phone around a little and then your chosen animal will appear in your room. You’ll all have lots of fun with this one!
5. National Geographic Kids
Visit National Geographic Kids and register for free to get access to a great range of learning resources for children of all ages. There’s informative games, quizzes and printable pdfs to keep your children busy.
6. Chester Zoo
Want to see what a Zookeeper gets up to in a day? Visit Chester Zoo’s Facebook page where the zookeepers will be live streaming animal antics directly from the zoo to your living room. The kids will love getting up close to some of their favourite animals from watching the red pandas have their breakfast to having brunch with the Giraffes! Make sure to keep an eye on their Facebook page as they will also be hosting virtual zoo days where you can enjoy a whole day at the zoo without having to move from your sofa. If you don’t have Facebook you can still join in the fun, just search ‘Chester Zoo Facebook’ into Google or watch via their YouTube channel.
They also have a huge amount of learning resources on their website for both KS1 and KS2 to keep your little ones busy. Via their website, go to Schools>Learning resources and you’ll find a brilliant range of age-appropriate activities like how to make an animal mask, creating animal shadow art, colouring activities, quizzes and much more.
7. Paignton Zoo
Head over to Paignton Zoo and you'll be able to see their resident Flamingos, Meerkats and Sulawesi Crested Macaque Monkeys streaming live 24/7 from their Webcams. As well as being able to watch some of the animals in real-time, the amazing team over at Paignton Zoo will also be uploading a variety of educational activities and informative activity worksheets to their website for children up to the age of 11 to enjoy. The activities will be based on wild animals, native species, environmental issues and much more. One not to be missed.
8. BBC Bitesize
BBC Bitesize is a great website providing bite sized informative video clips and mini games to help enhance your child’s learning, covering both KS1 and KS2, this is definitely worth a look. Keep an eye out on their website as from Monday 20th April they will also be sharing daily online lessons for all ages as well as a new channel on BBC iPlayer.
9. Dublin Zoo
Over at Dublin Zoo, they are giving you a glimpse into the day in the life of some of their animals with live webcams and a fun-filled activity series to join in with at home. Your children will love watching their live webcams, you can tune in live to see their African Savanna, home to giraffes, rhinos, ostrich and zebras or catch a glimpse of their herd of Asian Elephants who we’ve been told can usually be spotted daily around 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM. Not forgetting the penguins, make sure to tune in to see them have their lunch at 2:30 PM every day.
Join in the fun at home with Dublin Zoo’s #DUBLINZOOFUN series, where they've put together some fun activity worksheets for your children to complete at home. They will be releasing a new activity workbook every weekday each themed around one of the animals at Dublin Zoo. These can be downloaded and printed from their website.
Also, if you would like to be in with the chance of winning a Family Day Pass to Dublin Zoo when they re-open, complete five of these activity sheets and send them to [email protected]
10. Folly Farm
Fancy a virtual farm day? Head over to Folly Farms Facebook Page where they’ll be bringing the farm to you! Folly Farm will be sharing video updates of all of their animals and giving us a glimpse of daily life on the farm. Lambing season is in full swing so as well as seeing lots of cute newborn lambs, you’ll also get to see and hear about their other resident animals from the Rhinos, Pigs, Armadillos, Sloths to the Fish and Turtles!
11. RZSS Highland Wildlife Park
Are your children mad about Monkeys? Then why not take a virtual visit over to RZSS Highland Wildlife Parks Live Webams where they can try and spot some Snow Monkeys. Sometimes hard to spot so try checking back at different times during the day if you cant spot them the first time. Their website is full of great learning resources for children of all ages. Whether your children are in Nursery, Primary or Secondary you'll find something for everyone here, covering topics like Dinosaurs, conservation, Polar Bears and habitats there's plenty to keep the kids engaged with fun activities, quizzes and printable worksheets. Make sure you stay tuned to their page as new resources will be added weekly.
An outdoor pursuits person at heart, raised in the East Midlands countryside, Sarah now lives in Surrey with her two daughters aged 3 and 9. She loves to travel and spend her days outdoors finding new and exciting places to explore with her girls. If she’s not outdoors then you’ll likely find her at home baking, crafting, gardening as well as exercising to keep fit.