Summer of Fun Learning

Summer is here and the kids are out of school. Looking for summer fun for your kids? This time of year can be full of outdoor play, trips to local parks, and days spent by water. We put together a list of activities, trips, and ideas for all your summer learning needs. Most of these opportunities are either free or low cost. Some require travel in Virginia but many are close by in Richmond. These simple activities will make a summer of fun learning for you and your child.

Let’s Get Out of the House

Virginia has a number of beautiful, historic parks and places to visit this summer. If you and your family are feeling adventurous, you can go out and explore these places together.

  • Bluebird Gap Farm – Do your kids like animals? Stop in at Bluebird Gap farm in Hampton and visit with 150 domestic and wild animals. There is a picnic area, garden, playground, nature trail, and arboretum.
  • Natural Chimneys
    Photo credit Chris Sanfino

    – Located in Solon, Virginia this beautiful park has incredible natural features that resemble freestanding chimneys.

  • Rogers National Recreation Area – Located in Marion, Virginia this amazing outdoor area spans 200,000 acres. If you and your kids love the outdoors there is plenty to do. You can hike, camp, bike, fish, and sunbath on beaches.
  • Frying Pan Park Farm – Go back in time and take a peek at farming in the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Frying Pan Park Farm, like Bluebird Gap, has opportunities for children to get to visit with animals of all kinds.
  • McCormick Observatory – Go star gazing with your family! This observatory located in Charlottesville is open only on the first and third Friday of every month from 9 to 10PM. You can view celestial objects through telescopes (weather permitting), tour the Observatory, hear a presentation by an astronomer, and see the exhibits.
  • Chesterfield Berryfarm – In Chesterfield you can go berry picking with your families. Right now, strawberries are in season.

Close to Home Creative Learning Activities

If it is a rainy day or you just cannot get out of the house, here are great ideas for at-home educational play. These ideas are low cost and require supplies you may already have in your home. Activities are listed under the supplies you will need.

  • Tape
    • Make an outdoor board game using tape and chalk. Tape off two long rectangles and section the rectangles into squares. In each section, write in chalk a command or directions. For example, write in the squares these directions: sing a song, jump rump, make a silly face, skip, and run around the yard once. Your kids can use a beanbag to toss onto a square and follow the directions.
    • Make a throwing tarp in your back yard. Get a large tarp and cut out different shapes. Write how many points each shape is worth. Use colorful duct tape around the edges of the cutouts and tie up the tarp. Give the kids a ball to throw through the holes and they can keep track of their score.
    • Make a giant hopscotch game on the lawn with tape.
  • Cardboard
    • Have your kids make cardboard castles or play houses.
    • Give your children paints to create large works of art together on the cardboard.
    • Help your children make a lemonade stand and sell ice cold lemonade in the front yard.
    • Draw a town and roads at the bottom and let your kids play with Legos and toy cars.
  • Paint
    • Use a salad spinner to create abstract art. Place circles of paper inside a cheap salad spinner, dab tempera paints on top, cover, and spin!
    • Put cardboard or large pieces of paper down. Take bubble wrap and wrap your kids feet in it to make “stomping paintings”.
    • Have your children paint places they would like to visit.
    • Set up an art space in the backyard and let children paint the animals they see

A Kid Free for All!

  • Udvar-Hazy Center is a FREE air and space museum located in Chantilly, Virginia.
  • Maymont – Is located right here in Richmond and is free. Visit beautiful gardens, a petting zoo, and wildlife exhibits with your family.
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts – is free and open to the public. You can take your children through and ask them to draw art inspired by artists they see.
  • AMF Bowling – Go bowling with your kids! There is free bowling all summer long for children.
  • South of the James Farmer’s Market – Every Saturday morning in Foresthill Park you can walk through the South of the James Farmer’s Market. It is fun and festive to visit. Walk through with your kids to view beautiful, local produce and gorgeous arts and crafts. It is a feast for the senses!
  • Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park – Located in Henrico, this park is a living history farm set in 1860. There are free tours are the farmhouse and animals every week from Tuesday to Sunday. As you explore you can meet guides in costume. They will give you a glimpse into the lives of Dr. John Mosby Sheppard, the owner of Meadow Farm, and his family. On selected weekends, they demonstrate seasonal activities in the farmhouse, barn, doctor’s office, blacksmith forge, kitchen, fields, and pastures. Visitors can also stop by Meadow Farm’s Gift Shop for a variety of items.

Enjoy Your Summer of Learning

There are so many ways you and your family can enjoy your summer together. If you are looking for more ideas, you can try Buzzfeed’s 33 Activities Under $10, Fun Activities and Events for Kids, 101 Fun Things to Do with Kids This Summer, and check out these Free Places in Virginia to Visit. If you all get hungry on your adventures, you can check out these places where kids eat for low cost or free.

 

 

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