As a parent, the summer months can be filled with a feeling of both excitement and dread. On the one hand, you aren’t obligated to rush your kids out the door in time for school each morning. Your lunch packing and pick-up and drop-off routine are paused for a few months. On the other, your kids will be home all the time. You’ll need to find enjoyable and educational ways to engage them and encourage them to keep learning.
This doesn’t mean you must send your child to summer school or pack them off to the library every afternoon. The summer is an excellent opportunity for the family to partake in various activities. It’s also a time for parents to spend quality time with their kids and learn from each other. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are five cultural opportunities for you to explore with your children this summer.
1. Host an Art Museum Scavenger Hunt
Hosting a scavenger hunt at an art museum is an inventive way to add some education to the mix. All it takes is creating a list of things for your budding art lovers to spot. You might send them in search of a suit of armor, a painting with a dog, or an African mask. If your older kids are seeking an adventure, this activity may be their favorite.
Since they’ll be going from gallery to gallery, you may feel more comfortable sending them off with a kid’s phone. This type of phone is solely for communication, without the distraction of the Internet, social media, and games. As a parent, it can give you peace of mind as your child roams the museum looking for their quarries. Invite a few of your kid’s friends for a fun event that will surely be the talk of the town!
2. Travel to a New Destination Through Food
While you may not feel comfortable traveling abroad, you can undoubtedly travel there in spirit by learning a new cuisine. Giving your children the chance to taste another culture’s food is a great way to teach them about the country. As a family, decide where you want to “visit.” Then go to the library and check out a cookbook or look at various recipes online for inspiration.
Get your children involved in planning the meal and taking them to the grocery store or specialty market to pick up the ingredients. Give yourself plenty of time to make the meal, and be sure your children help out with specific tasks. If you like, you can also set up the table in a way that represents the country’s culture. For example, sit on the floor before a coffee table if you are cooking Japanese or create a bistro-like feel for a French meal.
3. Visit a Historical Site or Children’s Museum
No matter where you live, there is likely a historical site you have yet to visit. This is a great way to schedule some academic learning during the break. Frequently, such sites have kid-friendly programs to keep them engaged. Take a look at the organization’s website before you decide to go and plan out what portions would be suitable for the entire family.
Children’s museums are also a great option. These museums weave in games and interactive exhibits that are fun and sneakily educational, too. If your kids are particularly rambunctious, you may feel more comfortable going to a children’s museum than an art museum. You won’t have to worry about them using their outdoor voices indoors!
4. Enroll Them in Summer Camp
Many camp opportunities are available in the summer months, many of which make great cultural opportunities. Your child could be immersed in a foreign language or learn how to code. Frequently, your child’s school or teachers will have recommendations for more educational camps. You may also find it helpful to ask other parents what commands they are signing their children up for.
Before enrolling them in camp, ask your children whether they are interested in going. You don’t want to make them feel like they are being forced into a particular camp. You may even find out they are no longer interested in Spanish, for instance, but want to try out acting instead. And do try to avoid overscheduling your kids. This is their break, after all, so you want to ensure they feel recharged before heading back to school.
5. Watch an Old Flick
You may not condone sitting in front of a television, but there are bound to be occasional rainy days. That’s when this tip will come into play. Make a list of several older films that would be age-appropriate for all of your children. Discover which streaming service has them available so that you’re ready to hit play when a wet day strikes!
Most older films weave in a valuable lesson — yet another educational opportunity. For instance, Casablanca reminds us that sometimes we need to make hard sacrifices for the greater good. While your kids may roll their eyes at first, remind them that these are classics and some of your favorites. Soon enough, they’ll be begging to watch another old flick.
Before the summer slides by, take some time to schedule some cultural opportunities. Whether you stay local at home or decide to venture out, there are ways to incorporate enjoyable educational activities. Get the entire family on board, and you’re sure to create some lasting memories.