Curbing the Summer Slump: Social Studies
Boston is an amazing place full of historical experiences to explore. The first colonists began to rebel again England, and the American Revolution started right in our backyard. Even if you aren't ready for the full history end of it, social studies boil down to the study of the communities in which we live. This summer you can experience so much historically and socially with your kids while enjoying the outdoors. Here are my top picks for learning experiences to engage and expand your child's mind this summer -- both in and out of the city, as well as in your own neighborhood.
1. Freedom Trail
Enjoy an afternoon in downtown Boston with your family walking the 2.5 mile red brick marked Freedom Trail. Grab lunch and picnic near the Frog Pond playground and wading pool after you finish the walking path. The Freedom Trail is full of history and you see the sights of the first Revolutionaries, the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere's house, and the meeting house where Patriots met in secret. You can print your own map at the Freedom Trail website. This activity is best for upper elementary age children for comprehension, but enjoyable for the stroller bound as well, especially if your journey ends at the Frog Pond playground.
2. Duck Boat Tours
The famous Duck Boat Tours are fun for all ages. This is a guided tour of the major Boston sites leading to the American Revolution and is great for those who prefer the fun, engaging tour guides. If you pay close attention and can answer the questions correctly, you may even get to drive the boat once in the harbor! You can board the Ducks at three locations: Prudential Center, the Science Museum, or the New England Aquarium. Admission can get a bit expensive (yes, they even charge for infants), but with a group of 20+ you can get discounted rates.
3. Minuteman Trail & the Minuteman National Historical Park
Feel like hiking and experiencing a bit of history through the eyes of famous Concord authors? You and your family should check out the Minuteman Trail & the Minuteman National Historical Park. Visit the site where the first shot of the American Revolution was fired -- also known as the shot heard around the world! The park offers many activities throughout the summer, such as reenactments, storytelling, musical performances, and guided tours.
Not for the very young or easily spooked, Salem is home to the history of the witch trials of the 1690's, when innocent colonists were accused of witchcraft. Salem is a great day trip, approximately 30 minutes north of Boston. There are several attractions to explore such as the Pirate Museum, Salem Witch Museum, House of Seven Gables, the 3D Haunted Museum (high-tech and history combine), Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery (think of a wax museum of spooky famous characters), witch trial reenactment, and witch's dungeon, as well as many craftsman shops and often street performers during the summer.
5. And in your community...
For those who may not be ready for the above agendas, explore your local community spots that are terrific for little learners. The best spots for little ones are your local fire department, police station, post office, farmer's markets, and local farms. As you explore these locations, talk about the jobs that each offer and how each serve the community. Each site creates unique and fun learning experiences!