Monday, February 20th, 2012
Today we celebrate Presidents Day and the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It’s often easy to forget that long weekends commemorate important individuals and their contributions to our country’s history.
There are many ways to teach children about past presidents but one of my favorites is through interactive virtual field trips that bring the experiences to you. While the sites below have been screened through the lens of a parent and educator, please be sure to take a look at them to ensure they are age appropriate for your own child.
- George Washington’s Mount Vernon— Located just south of Washington, D.C., Mount Vernon served as the home of George and Martha Washington. Get an overview of Mount Vernon through a brief video and then take a tour of President Washington’s 18th century home through the virtual mansion tour. Older kids will enjoy the timeline of his life as well as George Washington’s World for Kids, an interactive educational site
- Ford’s Theater— Depending on the age of your children, you may or may not want them to know that President Lincoln was assassinated in Ford’s Theater however this site is an important place in our nation’s history. See the inside of the theater through a virtual tour. Beautiful screen size images of the interior and exterior of the theater, Presidential Box, and view from the box will help deepen a curious child’s understanding.
- Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello- While you may not be able to travel to Charlottesville to visit Monticello in person, the interactive Monticello Explorer provides a 3D tour of the house and more information can be found in my full review, Virtual Field Trip: Monticello. Also be sure to check out The Monticello Classroom, a treasure trove of educational resources for kids.
- John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum- Located just south of Boston offers online visitors the opportunity to learn about what a day in the life of President John F. Kennedy was like by paging through his White House Diary that includes “digital scans of his actual Appointment Diary for any given day as well as video, audio, and photos of the day’s events.” Click through to We Choose the Moon to follow the historic moon landing, photos, and footage that was the result of President Kennedy challenging Congress to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. This site recreates the historical Apollo 11 lunar landing on July 20, 1969. Or visit at your leisure through a virtual museum tour. To access the virtual museum tour, click on the Visits tab and locate Virtual Museum Tour in the pull down menu.
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