With school out and summer in the air, planning a fun and memorable season can often feel like a daunting task. Vacation by plane? Or by train? How about finding fun in your own backyard!? When you think of the typical family summer vacation one might envision loading up the kids and the luggage to see some far off destination. However, with a bit of imagination and ingenuity, you can create an exciting summer adventure in your own neighborhood or local park. Think about the natural landscape and resources that are often untapped within our native Southern California. Using the resources right at your fingertips teaches your little ones to not only use their imagination and critical thinking, but it also teaches adaptability and resourcefulness. Let’s also not underestimate the importance of nature observation – take a walk and see what’s out there!
How about bug hunting or exploring what creatures live underneath rocks? Exposing kids to ecosystems working around us teaches them to recognize the many different types of plant and animal families. Why not go on a moonlight walk or a camping trip to find constellations you’ve never seen before or to recognize the sounds of nocturnal creatures? Try a backyard camp-out! Encourage quality family time and spending time underneath the stars, it is an experience many often ignore. Exposing kids to a world beyond our home and everyday life helps them begin thinking about the greater universe. Toasting some marshmallows can be an added bonus to the start to your family’s campfire traditions, or even music. You could start a "pan band (that's pots and pans)" and learn how to make rhythm as a family. Not everyone is musically inclined but learning together how to make a beat or rhythm can inspire creativity and also inspire laughter. These are just some examples of activities you and your family can do together to encourage both learning and play. There’s no greater joy than being the one to introduce your child to a lifetime and a lifestyle of becoming a nature explorer. You can take everyday moments and turn them into adventures you and your child will remember for a lifetime.
At Kidspace, we encourage families to learn and explore together this summer in our backyard. We have the privilege of having hands-on exhibits set in the great outdoors like the gardens and the trike tracks. We will give you the resources to create nature drawings and journals, as well as trade natural items at the Nature Exchange. Also, opening this summer is our new Galvin Physics Forest which will provide families an opportunity to learn the laws of motion in a natural environment.
Have fun and be safe wherever your summer vacations and adventures may lead you!
Blog Entry by:
Andrea Schutz, Museum Lead in Kidspace’s Education Department, was previously a Museum Educator for over a year before moving into a full-time role. Her background is in Elementary Education as a former manager of after-school programs in Title One Schools.