August 3, 2016
We’ve reached the point in the summer when there’s a good chance you’re going a little stir crazy. The kids are out of school, and you can’t help gazing wistfully at social media pictures of your friends off on grand adventures. A friend shared that very feeling with me today. She and her husband have done a ton of work on their house and taken a few day trips, but they haven’t had any real getaways.
Then she came up with a fabulous idea. She took her kids for a trip to a local Asian market. They came back amazed at what they had seen, smelled, and tasted. The market sells every part of the animal, not just the parts we’re used to seeing at our local grocery store. In the food court they tasted Thai Tea with boba, and ramen. They brought us treats from their outing: sodas sealed in their bottle with marbles, and fun snacks like shrimp crackers and chocolates. It felt like receiving souvenirs from another country. My kids begged to go there too.
Without leaving the county, they had found an adventure. It got me thinking, what other found adventures could we encounter right in our own backyards?
Ethnic and Farmers’ Markets
My friend’s idea was spot on. A visit to an ethnic grocery or gift store is a wonderful way to help your children learn more about other cultures as they see, touch, and smell products and foods from different parts of the world. Less exotic but just as interesting, to my kids at least, is the local farmers’ market, and the “Pick Your Own” fruit orchard and berry farm. Visiting these places reminds kids how food is grown, and who does the work to grow it.
Learn From Local Enthusiasts
Discover a new side of your town through the eyes of enthusiasts! No matter where you live, people in your area pursue many unique interests. In my area, for example, an astronomy club meets twice a month at night, sets up telescopes, and welcomes the public to come view the cosmos. I also recently discovered that docents for our local Parks and Recreation Department offer guided tours of the local river to educate the public about geological and biological points of interest.
Animal Shelters and Refuges
Most shelters have a pet pal program that allows people to come in and love on the animals. Your kids can experience having a pet, or multiple pets—and you don’t have to deal with any chewed-up shoes! Many areas also have wildlife rescue groups that take in more unusual creatures, including birds and reptiles. If you do a little research, you’ll likely find other opportunities for your kids to see wildlife. Not far from where we live, for example, there is a wolf sanctuary where, for a small fee, you can (safely) hang out with the wolf pack.
Local Historical Society
We all tend to take our home town for granted, but a trip to your local Historical Society will make familiar streets and buildings come alive with history. Find out all of the interesting incidents that came together to make your home a town. Maybe you can catch early photographs or paintings that show how much your town has changed, or introduce you to a famous local hero.
However you chose to fill the remaining summer days, I hope they are filled with joy and adventure!