With summer break in full swing, many parents are seeing just how much time their children have on their hands. And the last thing that many of them want is for that time to be spent in front of some sort of electronic screen. In fact, the University of Michigan reports that television viewing among children is at an eight-year high, with kids ages 6-11 watching around 28 hours per week. Add to that video games, computers, tablets, and other devices, and there’s very little of anything else going on. The good news is that parents can keep their kids learning this summer, and off the screens, with a little effort.
“It’s always easier to just let the kids do whatever they want, and they may moan at first if you don’t, but keeping them doing other things will be well worth the effort,” says Nicole Montgomery, director of operations at WonderWorks Destiny. “Beating the summer brain drain is always a good thing, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.”Many teachers find that students tend to forget some of the things they have been taught over the summer break. Parents who make the effort to keep them learning over summer will send them back to school far ahead of the game. Here are some tips for keeping kids learning over the summer and doing so on a budget:
- Opt for new experiences. WonderWorks, for example, offers many new concepts and topics that kids are not usually all that familiar with. Kids can engage in everything from laser tag to climbing adventures that will challenge them, as well as provide them with a fun time.
- Get outdoors. This is the time to get outside and take a nature hike, explore the trails, and visit new state parks. See what types of classes are being offered by the state parks, so the kids can learn about a variety of topics.
- Visit the library. Most people today do not take advantage of their library enough. The library system offers hours upon hours of entertainment and education, all virtually free. Take the kids to get their own library card and visit once a week for new items. Check out to see what free educational classes they offer each week for kids.
- Set limits. Kids will almost always want to go on the computer, television, or play video games. But parents can easily balance that with other things, such as setting a designated amount of time they need to read each day, journal, or work on something new.
- Bake up a storm. Whether cooking or baking, kids love to get into the mix in the kitchen. When they do this it’s a great learning experience that involves following directions, math, and even chemistry. Check out kids cookbooks at the library, or find online recipes that they can do.
- Pick a place. This summer, have the kids grab a few board games and escort them to a local senior citizen center, where they can spend an hour or two playing games with the people there.
“These ideas for keeping kids busy and learning are all budget-friendly,” added Montgomery. “There are plenty of ways to make this a summer that combats summer brain drain, and to do it in a way that won’t break the bank. We’ve even lowered our prices for the summer so more families can take advantage of bringing their kids here.”
WonderWorks Syracuse is currently offer a summer special on admission prices, which are as follows:
Full Price Summer Price
General Admission $25 $15
Laser Tag $15 $12Ropes Course $18 $10
VIP Combo $38 $25At WonderWorks kids will find a variety of fun family friendly interactive activities to engage in, including:
- Laser tag arena – Friends and family compete in a game of laser tag.
- 4D XD Motion Theater – showing family fun movies the family will never forget.
- Canyon Climb Adventure – featuring 70 feet, 3 stories, and 81 obstacles to challenge everyone.
- WonderZones – offering a variety of areas to explore, such as natural disasters, physical challenges, light and sound zones, imagination lab, and space discovery.
- Sky Tykes ropes course – an activity for kids under 48”.
WonderWorks also offers birthday parties, as well as a birthday club. Sign up at their site for the birthday club, where the birthday person gets in free, and others in the party get in for $2 off each admission. Opens daily at 10 a.m.
WonderWorks, a science focused indoor amusement park located in Destiny USA, combines education and entertainment with over 100 hands-on exhibits. There is something unique and challenging for all ages. Adventures include: The Hurricane Shack, feel the power of 71 mph hurricane–force winds, The Bubble Lab, make huge, life–sized bubbles, The Astronaut Training Gyro get the NASA treatment and experience zero gravity, Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. WonderWorks is also home to two indoor ropes courses, Canyon Climb which is the world’s largest suspended indoor ropes course and Sky Tykes, which is a confidence booster climb for small children. WonderWorks also hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally.