When your kids finish up a long week of school, complete with hours of homework, the last thing they probably want to do on the weekend is engaged in further educational activities. And yet, the truth is that they are constantly learning, whether they realize it or not.
Allowing them to learn how to play the latest version of Angry Birds, discover new and interesting ways to murder the English language through the truncated art of texting, or soak up a Hannah Montana marathon this weekend, perhaps you can find ways to help them learn something useful by disguising it as an entertaining activity.
The work of a parent is never done, but you might find yourself having fun and learning something new in the process, too. So here are just a few activities to consider adding to your weekend roster.
- Nature hike. Is there anything better than getting outdoors for physical exertion, a little Vitamin D, and some education along the way? Pack up a picnic lunch and some native plant and animal guide books and head out to parts unknown for a walk in the woods. You can look through the books ahead of time to prepare and then ask kids to find plants for specific purposes (edible versus poisonous, for example, or those that might help with cuts and scrapes). Or you could simply ask them to identify the plants and animals they see along the way using pictures and descriptions in the book.
- Museums. Kids might not be keen to take in the offerings of the Renaissance masters, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other options. Many fine art museums have kids programs that can help them to learn about this sometimes stuffy field in a fun and hands-on way. But you can also consider natural history, science, or aeronautics museums as alternatives.
- Historical attractions. The country is dotted with historical attractions, and there are bound to be quite a few in or near your immediate vicinity. Check in with your state’s historical society to find nearby sites like buildings, battlefields, and other places of historical significance. Think outside the box a bit. For example, the Mob Museum just opened in a historical courthouse (home to some of the Kefauver Committee hearings) in downtown Las Vegas, and the interactive exhibits and taboo displays would surely appeal to older teens that might spurn other types of museums. In any case, it’s one option to explore.
- Library. Books are educational in their own right since engaging in any type of reading stands to increase vocabulary and improve spelling and reading comprehension. Of course, there are plenty of nonfiction texts for additional education, but if your kid wants to spend hours reading fantasy or adventure novels, you really can’t complain.
- Online games. You might not be too keen to play virtual games, but it doesn’t take an online master in strategic management to see that parents should be finding ways to work educational offerings into the lineup since most kids are already hooked on social gaming. Luckily, there are tons of games online (and for mobile devices) that feature educational content (or at least added value). You may have to sift through a lot of options to find something that is both appealing to your kids and suitable for your purposes, but it will be worth the effort if it keeps the minds of your children engaged.