Summer months are meant to be spent on the go, at least for kids. Being on the go doesn’t necessarily mean parents have to spend a lot of money to provide fun and entertainment for children. There are many free or inexpensive experiences that can be found in your “backyard.”
Some kids love to announce their boredom… my guess is that you do not want to constantly hear about their lack and need for fun. I want to save you from that. I have come up with some ideas on how to keep your child entertained and excited about learning through the summer. No matter their age, you can keep them engaged with these 10 ideas for summer learning, anywhere but home.
1. Visit an Art Exhibit
If you have a young artist, a trip to an art museum or local art gallery is a great way to encourage your child to get in touch with their inner Picasso. Sign up for a tour to get the inside scoop on each piece in the exhibit. If official tours aren’t available, take a journal to write down artists’ names and names of the artwork to further research at home. Children can also get creative by recreating their favorite work of art.
2. Explore the Zoo in a New Way
Zoos provide endless opportunities for learning. Before visiting, choose a region of the world that interests your child. Search the zoo for animals whose origin is in that region. Compare the animals’ from a few regions to one another and discover their differences and similarities.
3. Bring a Lesson to the Park
Sometimes getting fresh air is all that is needed to help stimulate and rejuvenate the mind. Take advantage of nice weather and take your lessons and reading time to a park. You can also turn your park visit into a nature hunt. Prior to the park visit, make a list of things to look for while there, (i.e. specific birds, flowers, trees, insects, etc.). After learning, your child can burn some steam by walking the trails or playing on the playgrounds. Pack a lunch and end the day out with a picnic!
4. Go to a Farmer’s Market
Meet local farmers and learn about supporting and eating local by attending farmer’s markets throughout the summer. Ask a lot of questions and be prepared to try new fresh foods, baked good, products and more. Kids will appreciate their food a lot more after learning where it comes from and creating a relationship with the people who have helped produce it.
5. Take Advantage of Your Library
Discover the many events and programs that are offered during the summer. From story times to reading contests, to special guests and events, your local library is bound to have something going on every day that allows you to step outside of your home to learn.
6. Shadow a Professional
What does your child want to be when they grow up? Find someone for them to shadow in a professional setting. Whether for a day or a summer-long internship, shadowing is a great way to better introduce your child to their potential career choice. If your child is in high school, the time spent during the shadow counts as volunteer hours, which they will need for college scholarships and applications.
7. Create a Lemonade Stand
Entrepreneurial skills can be developed at a young age. Your child can learn all about creating a business plan, marketing, and sales by running a lemonade stand, rummage sale, or car wash in front of your home. Depending on their age, they may need some extra help from you, but what a cool way to be introduced to running a business?!
8. Visit a Farm
If you live in the city or suburbs, get a peek at farm life by actually visiting a farm. Spend a full day with farmers and learn what it takes to care for farm animals. Request to feed, brush or bathe the animals. Have your children prepared to ask questions like: What do the animals eat? How is summer care different from other seasons? How long do the animals typically stay on the farm?
9. Visit A Local Community
Learn how others live by taking a trip to a nearby community which is different from yours. For many people in and around Vancouver, this could be somewhere like Chinatown where there is a world on interesting and exciting discoveries to be made.
Another alternative is Commercial Drive with its host of independent stores, a packed calendar of community events and the history of Little Italy to unearth.
Or, if you live in the city and want to explore somewhere different, why not try Horseshoe Bay, Fort Langly, or Chilliwack and try a taste of life on the slower, more sedate side of the tracks.
Afterwards you and your littles can make a list of ways in which your communities are similar and ways in which they are different. You could also create a Staycation Journal to record your journeys in and around the lower mainland.
10. Discover Your Local Landmarks
What makes your town or city unique? What draws visitors? It may be a restaurant or just a big rock. Do some research through your local Tourism Information Office and find out what famous and infamous landmarks exist in your community.
Once you identify and visit them, have your child create a map of your city or town, being sure to indicate the location of the landmarks. This is an opportunity for your child to build a sense of pride in their hometown.
Which of these activities will you be adding to your summer list?
Let me know which one of these activities you’ll be adding to your summer bucket list, or hop on over to the RedHeadedPatti Facebook Page and share your plans, adventures, and photos.