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Fun (and Education) in the Sun

by Lori Sciame | May 24th, 2012 | Elementary

Time to plan summer fun in the sun.  If you have a child in elementary school, there’s tons of things to do to fill your days, everything from swimming at the lake to picnics in the park to riding bikes along a scenic route; however, if you’re looking for fun and educational summer opportunities, I have four fabulous suggestions for you.

1.  Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s markets are hotter than ever.  Don’t miss the opportunity to take your child to learn many important lessons.  First, you can discuss how buying local produce is not only good for the body, it is good for the environment.  Explain the concept of field to table, and why the origins (and production practices) of the food we eat should be considered.  Another benefit of farmer’s markets?  Math skills.  Give your child a set amount of cash to spend, then let them figure out how far the money will go, and even how much change they will receive from a purchase.  Locating a farmer’s market near you shouldn’t be too difficult; there are two in my tiny county in Wisconsin alone that operate every Saturday during the summer.

2. Art Fairs

Attend an art fair to help your child learn the concept of what “creative expression” means.  You will find paintings of all types using different media, jewelry, pottery, glass creations, and much more.  Many artisans even produce items especially for children at reasonable prices.  I’ve taken my children to art fairs across the United States, from Florida, to Louisiana, to California, and at each one, they find something inspiring.  Don’t worry if you aren’t “into” art, these types of events appeal to all.

3.  Civil War Re-Enactments

History comes alive during the summer months when local citizens and/or museum employees re-enact key battles of our country’s only civil war.  Although not suitable for the very young, these types of events will mesmerize an older elementary age child.  While there, you can take the opportunity to discuss the cause of the war, how the war ended, and the most notable figures of the time. Of course you’ll want to spend a lot of time discussing one of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

4.  Renaissance Fairs

Children absolutely love stepping back in time at the renaissance fair.  They can witness jousting tournaments, shoot archery, eat a turkey leg, and even banter with a jester at these larger than life events.  Of course, authenticity varies from fair to fair, but even a bare bones experience with this time period will give you plenty to discuss.  A great idea – check out books or look online for information about the Renaissance before you go, then your child can tell YOU if something hasn’t been portrayed correctly.

If you live in the Midwest, visit Bristol Renaissance Faire in southeastern Wisconsin.  The setting instantly transports you to another time and place, one where kings and queens reign. There’s so much to do and see, you could spend an entire day there.

Have fun this summer … and I hope you learn a lot!

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