Most families know about story time at the local library, community theater presentations, swimming lessons at nearby pools, and similar activities, but your town probably has more activities for kids than you realize.
Here are some examples when you’re looking for something for the kids to do:
Home Depot Workshops
You might be familiar with Home Depot as a go-to place for home improvement supplies, but did you know that the company also holds kids’ workshops at its stores? These weekly workshops are free and are geared for kids between the ages of five and 12.
The topic varies each week, but it’s usually something fun, like building a bird house or race car. Kids get their own apron, a project kit, pin, and certificate of achievement when they’re all done. The workshops are typically held on the first Saturday of each month and run from 9 a.m. to noon. If you plan to bring your child, register online to ensure that there will be enough kits for all attendees.
Some townships offer bike rodeos that blend safety lessons with a good time for kids. Rodeos are put on by a variety of organizations, from police departments to insurance companies to civic groups to Boy Scout troops, and they all run in a similar fashion. Families get together so the kids can try out an obstacle course and learn the basics of bike maintenance and safe riding.
Fire Station Tours
Many fire departments offer station house tours. Things are relatively quiet in between calls, so the firefighting professionals welcome the chance to teach youngsters about fire safety. Some will let families come down for tours, while others restrict them to organized groups. Call your local fire department to get the details. Just remember, there’s always a chance your tour could get cut short if a call comes in because the fire fighters are always working.
5K and 10K runs and marathons are getting very popular with adults, and the fun is spilling over to families. You probably have quite a few runs going on in and around your hometown, and many of them will include a family-friendly fun run. It may be 5K or be a shorter version of the regular races, and every kid who completes will get a medal. What better way to encourage your child to take an interest in physical fitness in an enjoyable, non-competitive way?
Animal Shelter Tours
Kids love cute puppies and kittens, so find out if your local animal shelter offers tours. Many are happy to have children visit because it’s a great chance to educate them about pet care and teach them compassion for animals.
If you don’t have a nearby shelter that offers this program, call the local veterinarian’s office. Some vets will let youngsters go behind the scenes and learn what it’s like to become an animal doctor. Who knows? Your budding vet might just be inspired to continue on that challenging career path.
When you think of the zoo, you probably imagine strolling with your child through a place where the animals are in cages or enclosed habitats. You can watch them, but there’s no contact. However, many zoos are now starting animal encounter programs. For an extra charge, you can do things like pet a penguin or hand feed lettuce to a giraffe, depending on your local zoo’s programs.
Aquariums often run special hands-on programs, too. They might be as mild as feeding a stingray or touching a starfish or as exciting as actually petting or swimming with dolphins.
If you live near one of the Federal Reserve Banks, you might not have realized that it offers tours. Schedules vary, depending on the location, but you’ll find the exact days and times on your closest Federal Reserve Bank’s website. At 30 minutes, the tours are short enough to keep a child’s interest. They’re a great way to slip in a little education along with a unique experience.
Do you live near a large manufacturing facility? Find out if it offers factory tours. You can bring the family into a variety of factories across the country, from Crayola for the younger kids to Harley-Davidson for the teens. It’s easy to find these tours online; if you live in a populated area, there’s probably something within driving distance of your town.