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Home school ideas: Places to ‘visit’ in Scotland

Written by Fiona

January 22 2021

Many attractions across Scotland are offering on-line home schooling programmes, classes and creative ideas. With schools to remain closed to most pupils until at least the middle of February, these visitor attractions could be a useful resource for parents.

The attractions include Edinburgh Zoo, V&A Dundee and Glasgow Science Centre, where virtual lessons cover subjects such as science, biology, design and history.

This list has been compiled by VisitScotland.

You can learn about wild animals such as wildcats, see here at the Wildlife Park, Kincraig, by Kingussie. Credit: P Tomkins / VisitScotland

Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park  

Well known for its education programme, RZSS is bringing its parks directly to families at home through a range of fun activities for children of all ages. Learn about individual species, native wildlife and animal behaviour, or why not arrange a virtual tour to see some of the parks’ most famous residents?

Thanks to a series of live webcams, children can also still watch some of Edinburgh’s zoo’s favourites such as the penguins and pandas.     


Five Sisters Zoo  

Throughout the current lockdown period, the West Lothian-based zoo is offering short online classes, twice a week on YouTube and social media, along with accompanying activity sheets for children and families to complete at home.

Join Head of Education Adam as he takes a journey through the zoo, meeting keepers, watching animals and helping children learn about topics such as habitats and adaptation.    

See Five Sisters Zoo.

V&A Dundee is providing home school ideas for children. Credit: VisitScotland

V&A Dundee  

Scotland’s first Design Museum has been inspiring designers of all ages since it opened its doors in Dundee. While visiting isn’t possible just now, there are still plenty of ways to get those creative juices flowing during this latest period of homeschooling.

V&A Dundee has developed a range of challenges, design prompts and resources inspired by the museum, exhibitions and programme.

Explore the now-closed Mary Quant exhibition, learn more about textiles and construction, brand and marketing, along with the wider social context of the Quant era. Younger learners can take inspiration from Dundee’s comic book history by designing their own comic strip.   

Glasgow Science Centre  

For budding young scientists fascinated by the world we live in, Glasgow Science Centre is bringing back its award-winning GSC at Home series. Curated by its team of science communicators and linked to the curriculum, it offers a fun way to still enjoy the wonders of science as part of homeschooling.

Aimed at families, particularly those with young children, there are 115 videos to explore or you can tune in every day at 10am and join the team as you learn together about subjects such as the Solar System or the Human Body.  

Glasgow’s Museums (including Kelvingrove Museum)  

With learning resources such as virtual tours and PowerPoint presentations covering topics like Art and Design and Social Subjects, Glasgow Life’s Museums’ learning programme is a fantastic educational resource for both teachers and parents.

Explore Ancient Egypt with a virtual visit to Kelvingrove Museum or for older school children use Glasgow’s museums renowned collections as the starting point for discussions, creative activities and critical thinking.  

Dynamic Earth has ideas for kids at home.

Dynamic Earth  

To help homeschoolers, Dynamic Earth has created an online portal that shares ideas and try-at-home experiments, covering topics such as Climate and Sustainability, Oceans and Space.

Inspired by experiences you can enjoy during a visit to Dynamic Earth, little learners can discover more about different habitats, try hands-on activities such as making a tornado in a glass or even design their own dinosaur. 

Historic Environment Scotland

Take a virtual step back in time and let Historic Environment Scotland bring history to life for learners during lockdown. #learningwithHES offers interactive ideas to engage children with Scotland’s past.

Take a 3D tour of Caerlaverock Castle, let junior tour guides tell you more about Doune Castle, build a catapult with the Craft Knight or recreate an old recipe from Scottish history, there are a host of activities inspired by Scotland’s heritage for youngsters to discover until travel is possible again.  

National Museum of Scotland.

National Museums Scotland  

While visiting a museum might not be possible, National Museum Scotland has sought inspiration from some of its exhibits to offer a range of resources for parents and teachers. Museum at Home covers topics within Social Studies, Languages and STEM. 

Primary pupils can try museum yoga with moves inspired by museum objects, make paper art inspired by Scottish wildlife or learn about the Ancient Egyptians. Meanwhile, secondary school children can explore minerals using a mobile phone or discover Scottish stories from the First World War.   

Aberdeen Science Centre  

Every Thursday join the team at Aberdeen Science Centre for #StayHomeScience, a fun, science-related activity children can take part in at home with a handy instruction video to guide you through each activity. Virtual learners can then head over to the ASC YouTube channel to view more videos teaching young science enthusiasts about topics such as the immune system, weather and gravity.

See Aberdeen Science Centre.  

Aberdeen Archives, Galleries and Museums (including Aberdeen Art Gallery) 

Taking inspiration from Aberdeen’s cultural collections, Aberdeen City Council is embracing new ways to share the city’s stories and artworks with virtual visitors. Families can discover, create and learn together at home with access to a range of online art and music activities to encourage creativity, including exploring the BP Portrait Award 2020 exhibition.

See Aberdeen City learn.   

Elgin Museum.

Elgin Museum  

With a Museum Musings blog, YouTube videos and a host of engaging activities, there will be plenty to excite young learners at home until this Moray attraction reopens. With an aim of helping people enjoy the history of the area, the museum will be sharing ideas, insights and star objects across their social media channels, including how to play museum bingo, creating your own excavation and learning about the Stone Age. 

See Elgin Museum.  

Scottish Maritime Museum

The Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine offers an online learning programme for pupils.  The cross-curricular Ship to Shore Online Learning Workshops, which centre on the Scottish Maritime Museum’s most popular Curriculum for Excellence linked STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities, are available from until the end of February 2021.  

The Scottish Maritime Museum, which is based on the Harbourside in Irvine, Ayrshire, offers resources on topics and activities as fascinating and engaging as the life of Scotland’s lifeline Puffer boats, buoyancy and Archimedes’ ‘Eureka’ moment, the design of the Titanic and how to send ‘socially-distanced’ Morse Code messages to classmates.

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