Looking for a summer vacation destination … that doesn’t involve actual travel? The stunning city of San Francisco has created a multitude of fun online activities that celebrate the joys of the city by the bay from the comfort of home. Pack your bags and get ready to take a (virtual) trip to San Francisco with these six educational (and fun!) online activities. 

Learn how to tie a nautical knot and speak like a sailor. The San Francisco Maritime National Park Association’s online activities include instructional videos on knot tying, a list of sailor vocabulary and “Do-it-at-Home-Activities” printables that will teach kids how to build their own boat, draw their own oceanscape, ‘reave’ block and tackle, search for nautical words and more. 

Learn to draw with Disney artists. The Walt Disney Family Museum (WDFM) offers a series of virtual classes taught by a live instructor. Students can interact directly with the teacher to ask questions and receive personalized guidance throughout the class, all enjoyed from the comfort of home. The museum also offers a collection of free Education Resources for download, including instructional guides on animation basics. You can learn how to make your own flipbook, learn the do’s and dont’s of using shape language to design characters, and much more.

Set off on a virtual tour of Golden Gate Park. Speaking of songs to learn, Golden Gate Park’s 150th anniversary website has an entire section with activities for kids including a sing-along version of the park’s catchy theme song. Check out the printable coloring book pages and virtual tours of park attractions like the Conservatory of Flowers and the bison paddock.   

See science in action at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Click on over to the Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) where the online program “Bringing BADM to You” offers a series of tips and playful activities created by BADM educators. Every activity relates to one of three areas of early childhood development—Talk & Play, Science & Math, or Body & Brain. Within each theme are step-by-step videos, activities with written-out instructions, and tips to turn everyday moments into meaningful experiences. Each activity is research-backed and designed so children achieve one or more of BADM’s seven learning goals. 

Witness amazing natural phenomena via teacher-tested activities that use inexpensive household materials. San Francisco’s Exploratorium  is now offering virtual Science Snacks, an online collection of 285 hands-on, teacher-tested activities that use inexpensive household materials to make magic happen. Divided into easy-to-follow sections that include instructions, advice, and helpful hints, each one begins with a photo and/or video, a short introduction, and a list of materials. Other sections include assembly instructions, how to use the activity, and explain what’s going on, science-wise. Most Science Snacks can be built by one person, and topics include Astronomy and Space Science, Biology, Chemistry, Data, Engineering and Technology, Mathematics, Perception, Physics, and more.

Samurai! Tigers! Dragons! Explore the fascinating history behind masterpieces of Asian art. The world-class Asian Art Museum offers 37 videos of exciting legends and tales, involving fantastic samurai, tigers, dragons and magic, all told by expert storytellers. Students in grade six or higher will also want to check out “Make Your Own Mandala” with the Asian Art Museum: A mandala is a geometric meditation map made of nested squares and circles, typically arranged to represent the center of the universe and the four main directions, east, west, north, south. Before starting work on their own designs, participants can learn about the art form, then see a time-lapse video of six Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Phukhang Monastery in South India who created a sand mandala for the Asian Art Museum in 2012.

What will you visit virtually first?