Summer is here! It's time to swim at the pool, dig in the backyard, and play in the park. It's also time for you to continue your children’s education all summer long. The problem is you can only take so much whining! While I encourage taking time to sit down and do more traditional summer school work; there is a fun way to get to it.
Become Your Children’s Tour Guide
Go behind the scenes at a bowling alley, discover how candy is made, or learn about how pizza is assembled at a restaurant. There are all kinds of great tours available in your town and surrounding areas if you start looking.
We started 5 years ago and have been doing different tours every summer. It all started with a question from one of my kids, “Mom, what’s the inside of the fire station look like?” Did you know you can go ahead and schedule your own tour to see? You just need a big enough group. You can do internet searches to discover more already established tours in your area or try asking on Facebook, (especially if you are a part of your local area’s group page). Simply asking can reveal hidden gems that you will treasure for years to come. If you are using a search engine, type in “your city tours” or “your city behind the scenes” to start your hunt. The Visitor’s Bureau can also be a wealth of knowledge.
Don’t just search for tours in general though, search based off your children’s interests. We love bowling but the kids always wondered what happened to the pins after you knocked them down- where did they go? I contacted the manager at our Brunswick Zone XL and asked if he would be willing to give us a behind the scenes look. He was more than happy to do so. We saw the machines behind the alleys, inside the kitchen, and other spots around the place. Not only did we learn a lot but we found a business that we love to recommend.
Some tours you set up will be free while others may cost a few dollars. If you get a good group together you can also get discounted admissions to local museums, zoos, or aquariums.
How does this encourage learning?
- It fuels your children’s curiosity- You’ve answered some of their questions in a meaningful way. Now they have more questions and the motivation to seek out the answers.
- You learn a lot on these tours. After a tour,recap what you’ve learned, scrapbook, have your children write a report on it, or fill in homemade worksheets. Before you go, talk about the history and why it’s important.
- Write questions up before you go so you kids can ask the tour guide or find the answer at the museum when they get there. As they uncover their answers, have them write it down. At home have each person present their questions and answers.
- You learn more about your community- how you can help, why it’s important, and what part you play in it.
- Exercise- It gets you all out of the house and walking. Active bodies mean more active minds.
Tours allow your children to practice writing, reporting, reading, history, and more. Plus it's tons of fun. Some of our favorite tours were playing in front of the green screen at the local TV station, riding an old streetcar at the Trolley Museum, and finishing the scavenger hunt at the Space Foundation. Start searching and take a peek behind the scenes this summer! If you are in the Colorado Springs area, be sure to check out this list of places to visit.
Places to Consider for Your Tour
Be sure to check sites like Groupon for discounted admission to museums and other neat places in your area.
- Fire Station
- Bowling Alley
- Local Museums- Pioneer, Sports themed, Local history, Children’s
- Fine Arts Center
- Whole Foods is the only grocery store I’ve found that loves to do tours
- Pizza Restaurant (we love Dion’s)
- Nature Centers, National Parks, or hiking trails
- College campuses (ask a sports director to take you through all their gyms- as long as you don’t have teenagers it should work with their college rules; get a tour of the college library)
- Your Bank
- Big stores like Bass Pro Shop
- Food Bank or other local community services
- Humane Society
- Local factories- like a candy or bread factory!
- Frozen Yogurt Shop
- Local TV Stations
- Sports Stadiums
Sneak in some bonus learning time when they need some down time with a Living Scriptures Streaming Subscription. They have excellent shows like the Living Scriptures but also Liberty Kids (mine love this show) and other great movies. Right now, I can give you 50% off your first month too! You can even download some to take on your next road trip.
Your Turn- What place do you want to see behind the scenes? What have been some of your favorite places to explore?