We're midway through summer and you can already see everything your kids learned in school slipping away like the waterdrops off their swimsuits. It's time to start thinking about heading off complete summer brain drain.
Luckily, the Chicago area offers plenty of opportunities to have some fun while sneaking in a little learning about history, art and geography.
Here are a few ideas to make sure little brains stay engaged the rest of the summer.
Family outings can be easily adapted depending on the age of the child, and activities before or after a visit to a local landmark can supplement what you've learned.
Chicago and its suburbs offer hands-on opportunities to learn about the history of those who settled the land. Step back into life on a farm in the 1890s at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago. One of the kid favorites (this will surprise most moms and dads) is the farm chores programs, says Keith McClow, education site manager for Kline Creek.
"One of our biggest ones is the laundry process. They want to do it again and again with the scrub board and the soap," McClow says. Mom's farm chores are highlighted on Mondays; dad's are featured on Thursdays. During dad's farm chores programs, kids erect a scaled-down version of a timber-framed farmhouse.
"It's small enough for kids to lift the pieces and assemble, and then they can climb up on it and see how sturdy it is," McClow says. Kids also like collecting the eggs from the chicken coop or listening to stories from that time period.
To supplement the learning, visit your library for books by Laura Ingalls Wilder or Elsie Dinsmore, two young girls who wrote about life in pioneer times, McClow says.