Not only is summer a great time for the kids, it's also a great time for teachers and parents. In many cases, teachers are parents who are spending summer vacation time with their kids. Proudly, I am included in that scenario. While my own sons were growing up, much of our summer was spent at some ball field or gym. Participating in summer sports is the situation for many parents and kids that can consume their time and energy. Therefore, finding the time for relaxation and different types of fun can be a difficult mission. It took a conscious effort for my family to break away from the chains of organized sports and do some activities that did not require a uniform, equipment, and a ball.
While the lessons of organized sports are important, spending time with family and friends in an uncompetitive way is also important. So what are the sorts of things that families can do for summer vacation that will enrich their understanding of the world? What follows is a list of suggested activities to enrich both the worlds of the young and the young at heart. Some are very affordable, others take some planning.
1. Hiking, biking, and whitewater rafting. (In Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smokey Mountain National Parks offer a variety of outdoor activities for all. In Tennessee and Georgia, the Ocoee River Region is home to whitewater rafting as well as fishing and rock climbing.)
2. All day trip to a terrific amusement park. (Notable mentions are Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN and Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH.)
3. Visiting relatives both far and near.
4. College visits in other states (My oldest son and I visited four college campuses during the summer prior to his senior year.)
5. As many visits to as many museums and memorials as humanly possible. (Notable mentions are The Alamo in San Antonio, TX, Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, CA, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH, and the battleship memorials in Pearl Harbor, HI. And in Anderson County, TN, The Green McAdoo Cultural Center , the Museum of Appalachia, and in Oak Ridge, TN, The American Museum of Science and Energy.)
6. Any type of activity that involves water from beach trips, skiing and boating at the lake, to a visit to the local swimming pool. ( Although, I've not yet experienced Beach Side in the Great Lakes, MI, I have been told by several reliable sources that the resorts are simply amazing.)
7. Going to a zoo, an aquarium, or any other wildlife preserve.
8. Going to a profession baseball game.
9. Travel to many states or countries.
10. Eating out, going to a movie, shopping with friends and family.
These activities allow everyone to bring home a winning trophy!