With school districts across the U.S. closing in-person classes for the remainder of the academic year (and possibly beyond), parents are searching the internet for kid-friendly activities to keep their little ones occupied and entertained at home. More importantly, without regular school activity, parents are looking for options that are both fun and educational. DMOs can be an excellent resource for this in-demand content, whether it’s historical, artistic, cultural, scientific or all of the above.
Here are a few examples of creative ways that DMOs can help out during this era of distance learning while also amplifying the efforts of their local partners and businesses.
1) Classes and Demonstrations
Give parents a break from homeschooling duties by hosting a class, experiment or demonstration. Select a historic monument, a significant person or cultural tradition to feature, and then tell the kids about it through the eyes of a local. Get creative and tell the story with puppets or fun graphics. In one cool example, Visit Philly recently partnered with local attraction The Franklin Institute to host a weather demonstration on how clouds are formed.
2) Activity Books and Coloring Sheets
Develop an activity book or series of coloring sheets that keep kids creating while learning about your destination. Visit Albuquerque teaches kids about the New Mexico state bird, the road runner, in a branded activity book that also provides itinerary ideas for families when they’re ready to travel again. Visit Austin provides a downloadable coloring sheet that helps get kids’ artistic juices flowing. Encourage parents to post kids’ masterpieces on social media using a specific hashtag and tagging your destination.
3) Digital Puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles are a hot commodity these days! In fact, they’re selling so fast that retailers are having a hard time keeping them in stock. You can provide a virtual alternative and also help exercise minds with interactive digital jigsaw puzzles that display unique scenes from your region. Explore Georgia offers visitors to their site a range of puzzle scenes to construct along with a paragraph about each location with historical facts and context.
4) Virtual Tours
Show off your destination with live or on-demand video tours. Make them kid-friendly by selecting attractions and themes that may be of special interest to children. Visit Salt Lake is offering virtual tours of their parks and outdoor areas for users to explore on-demand. For older kids with an Instagram account, @VisitTheUSA is posting virtual road trips with a choose-your-own-adventure element in their Instagram stories. The account periodically asks followers to vote on which destination they want to (virtually) visit next.
5) Concerts and Story Time
Partner with local talent to host a virtual concert or story time like Chattanooga Tourism Company. On their Facebook page, Chattanooga Tourism hosted a live sing-along concert with local musician Jennifer Daniels. In between songs, Daniels tells animated stories and has the kids count along with her. Tiny viewers practice following directions, listening and even get some energy out dancing along.
Once you have a library of kid-friendly educational content, consider publishing an aggregated list on your website that can serve as a one-stop-shop for parents. Include links to kid-friendly partner content, as well as your destination’s local zoo, museums or attractions. Visit Austin published a blog post dedicated to activities for kids here that serves as a great example.
Find clear, timely answers to questions about COVID-19 and travel and tourism in Miles Partnerships' Clarity in a Time of Crisis resource center, including essential insights and recommendations for DMOs and tourism organizations.