When school lets out for the summer and the sunshine is here to stay, you and your children may both be looking forward to a few months without school. However, the thought of everything your child learned in school this year slowly slipping away might just be too much for you. Summertime is still the best time to take the family on an exciting vacation somewhere, but instead of taking another trip to an overpriced amusement park for day, consider planning a different kind of vacation – one that can be both fun and educational.
First, find out what your children would like to do. Although the thrill of the theme parks might seem like their only interest, your child most likely has some other interests and would be just as excited to explore those. Find a middle ground – something that will satisfy your child’s interest, but will also serve to teach him or her something. If your child seems hesitant at all, find guidebooks, brochures or videos or your proposed vacation destination to get them excited.
Choose a place or subject your child may have just learned about in school. For example, if your child just learned about the Revolutionary War or the founding fathers, find somewhere historical to take them. Visit old battlefields. Watch a reenactment. Talk with re-enactors. Your child will be learning more than you realize.
Talk with your child after each day and review your activities and what they may have learned, what their favorite newly learned fact is, what they were most surprised about, etc. But make sure to keep it fun and casual – don’t quiz your child each night or give them homework to complete. Remember, this is still a vacation.
Take lots of pictures. Later, when you get home, you can review the pictures and go over what you learned on your trip. This will help keep everything fresh in your child’s mind.
Most importantly, between all the fun and exciting learning. Make sure to schedule a fun activity or just some down time. Relaxing on your vacation will keep both you and your child happy and excited for each new day. Overloading yourself may just turn your vacation into a chore.
Here are a few vacation spot ideas to get you started:
- Washington DC. The capital of the country is overflowing with educational opportunities. Visit the Smithsonian. Tour the National Monument and memorials. Visit the White House, the Capitol Building and the Supreme Court. Explore Mount Vernon. Visit Georgetown.
- New York City. Spend a day museum hopping and visit the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History. Visit the Tenement Museum. Take a trip to Ellis Island. Explore Central Park.
- Philadelphia. Immerse yourself in history at the Independence Mall and see where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Step across the street and be wowed by the Light of Liberty show. See the Liberty Bell. Enjoy a historically accurate meal and dine where historical figures dined at City Tavern. Then visit Franklin Fountain for dessert and enjoy an egg cream or ice cream soda.
- Hunstville, AL. If your child is more science and technology-oriented, send them to space camp. Isn’t it every child’s dream to become an astronaut? And isn’t it every parent’s dream for their child to have fun while learning science, math, engineering and more?
- RV trip. Give your child the family vacation you once had. Load up your car or rent an RV and take a cross-country vacation. Visit the national parks along the way and learn about nature and the environment.
The thought of summer vacation may invoke images of lazy days spent by the pool or on the beach, and it may seem like your children want nothing more than to veg out. But with a little planning and compromise, you and your children can enjoy a fun, exciting and educational summer vacation.
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