Scholastic Parents: The Learning Toolkit
Family Activities in August: Cool Learning Ideas
Try these kid-approved activities to incorporate learning throughout the month of August.
on July 31, 2015
August -- the height of summer vacations and warm weather -- is normally a great month. Kids are still around all day and enjoying the carefree feelings of summer, but they (okay, "we") can start to get excited about the return of school. The intense heat that often comes in August, however, can sometimes be a bit too much to handle, especially for younger children. Take the opportunity during any excruciatingly hot days to spend time indoors as a family, playing and leisurely reviewing different educational concepts before the start of school. Plus, as summer camps/programs end and kids spend more time at home, you'll probably be looking for new activities.
Check out this kid-approved list and enjoy the last few weeks as a family, without the crazy schedules!
1. Museums and Science Centers
They are filled with indoor learning activities that are extremely entertaining for the kids (and normally interesting for parents as well)! The exhibits are an obvious place to start because they expose kids to many different topics in one day. Check the museum's "Events Calendar" before you go because they likely have exciting activities planned throughout the month. They may also have a free or reduced admission day. Here are some examples:
● New York Hall of Science has many hands-on activities, and every Friday during the summer they have "Rocket Park Recess," which is an event with scavenger hunts, demos, workshops, and information about making health & fitness easy, fun, and delicious! If you're around NYC, join Adventure to Fitness and NYSCI Friday, August 14, from 12-4 pm to participate in some of the kids' favorite episodes all afternoon in the Viscusi Gallery, like these kids did last week!
● San Antonio DoSeum has a Back-to-School Bash on August 4 with lots of fun school readiness activities.
● Tampa Glazer Museum has a month filled with exciting events and Tuesday, August 4 is Free Admission Tuesday so take advantage of that awesome opportunity!
● Children's Museum of Houston has interactive science workshops and free Back-to-School immunizations on Thursdays!
● San Francisco Children's Creativity Museum offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families until Labor Day 2015.
● Madison Children's Museum offers free family-fun activities in their Funkyard Festivals ranging from blacksmith demonstrations to circus fun!
Your local aquarium is another cool, fun, and educational place to visit during those hot August days. Aquariums offer an interactive opportunity to learn about marine life, aquatic ecosystems, endangered species, the differences between mammals and fish, and the importance of taking care of planet Earth. Once you get home, you can have the kids draw or write about their favorite animal or exhibit and then explain why they enjoyed it so much.
3. Air & Space Centers and Planetariums
Most kids absolutely love learning and talking about space. They can learn about different constellations, planets, the Space Station, gravity, astronauts, the Milky Way, and so much more. Once you're back home, you can lay out a blanket at night and try to identify the constellations and stars everyone learned about!
4. Local Historical Sites
Most states have a wide range of historical sites to visit. Pick ones that will be particularly interesting for your children (and hopefully not too far). It'll be especially meaningful for your kids to learn history about their state or hometown.
We often forget about how exciting the library can be for kids. A simple library card provides admission to endless journeys throughout history, science, space, and fiction. The kids practice reading and stay cool! Additionally, many libraries hold free events for the whole family, such as storytelling and magic shows.
6. Assorted At-Home Activities
For budget-friendly learning activities you can do at home, check out these different suggestions:
And don't forget Adventure to Fitness! Participating in an episode as a family is another awesome way to spend your time indoors. The kids will not only learn about many different time periods (i.e., Colonial Era or the Maya Empire) and places (i.e., Galapagos Islands or the Serengeti), but they also will get in 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity!
I hope you enjoy these suggestions and that your families enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation while getting those brains ready to learn again!