Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Activities for Families and Kids

Heading out for a family trip? Before you go (and even if you are staying close to home), take a look at Factory Tours USA, which currently lists 573 tours of factories throughout the US. Categories include agriculture, vineyards, glass factories and mines and mining. Most are free or very low cost and there are links included to let you check on details. The site urges that you contact the business in which you are interested to confirm hours and availability of tours. There is also a feature that lets you search by geographical areas, so you can plot your visits by category or location.

No matter where you are heading, if you are bringing kids of middle school age or older, it is always a great idea to visit one or more college campuses along the way or at your destination. Walk around the campus, take a tour (always free, but you may need to schedule in advance and hours vary during the summer, so check the college's website under "visitors" for the best information). The goal of these visits isn't to consider any particular school, but to start getting your child aware of the many different kind of colleges out there and to foster family conversations about college, how to prepare for college, and even the financial realities of college in today's world. Have lunch in the cafeteria and see what you all think about the "vibe" on campus!

Closer to home, check out free or very low cost workshops for kids at stores like Home Depot, whose next free workshop for kids 5-12 is Saturday, August 2nd. Loew's offers free Build and Grow workshops.

And Michaels craft stores offer 30 minute craft sessions for kids while parents shop, for a $2 fee. They also offer an array of longer classes. All of these classes (except those for shoppers' kids at Michaels) require preregistration.

Thanks to Jeanette Pavini of Good Housekeeping magazine for some of these ideas.

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