Thanks to Camille at Chicken Scratch n Sniff for being our guest blogger.
Summer has come and it’s now up to you and only 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 how pizza is assembled at a restaurant. There are all kinds of great tours available in your town or surrounding areas if you start looking.
We started five 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 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 other moms 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 give us a behind-the-scenes look. He was more than happy to do so. We saw the machines behind the alleys, the kitchen, and other rooms. 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 child’s curiosity. You’ve answered some of his questions in a meaningful way. Now he has more questions and the motivation to seek out the answers.
- You learn a lot on the 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.
- Your kids learn to ask pertinent questions. Before the tour, talk with your kids about question they might ask the tour guide, or find the answer at the museum when they get there. As your kids uncover their answers, have them write them down. At home have each person present their questions and answers.
- You learn more about your community. If your children participate in learning about your community, they’ll better understand how they can help, why involvement is important, and what their role might be as a citizen.
- Your kids will be more active. Having places to go 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 you have tons of fun. Some of our favorite tours were playing in front of the green screen at the local TV station, riding an old street car at the Trolley Museum, and finishing the scavenger hunt at the Space Foundation. Start searching and take a peek behind the scenes this summer!
Places to Consider for Your Tour
- Fire station
- Sports stadium
- Bowling alley
- Local museums: pioneer, sports themed, local history, children’s, science
- Fine arts center
- Grocery stores: Whole Foods is the only grocery store I’ve found that loves to do tours. Check locally owned stores also.
- Nature centers, national parks, or hiking trails
- College campuses: Ask a sports director to take you through all their cool gyms; as long as you don’t have teenagers it should work with their college rules.
- A 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 station
- Pizza restaurant: We love Dion’s.
Your Turn: What place do you want to see behind the scenes? What have been some of your favorite places to explore?
Camille loves to explore new places with her family of seven. You can often find her going on adventures, planning parties, or blogging at Chicken Scratch n Sniff. Discover more fun family time ideas on her Pinterest or Instagram.