At themotherbaord.com we’ve had our ear to the ground searching for unique ways to keep our kids entertained this summer. During our search we found a fun—and most of the time, free—idea you might want to try. Local tours. Let your kiddos be a tourist in their own town and set up tours with local business. Fire stations, police stations, and businesses are usually very open to the idea and many are already hosting tours. (Some places even hand out freebies for the kids!)
To start, just call up local business and find out who’s open to the idea. When you find a place interested in giving tours, here are a few questions to ask:
- Do you need to guarantee a specific number of kids in order to book a tour of the facility?
- Is there anything you need to prepare ahead of time?
- Are there any rules you need to discuss with kids before you get there.
- Will you need to bring money? How much per kid?
Kim Jackson, a childcare provider and blogger from Iowa, started tours in her hometown:
“The summer before last, we did lots of walks and I realized that the kids looked forward to going somewhere new and learning things that some of their parents did during the day. So that winter I started calling places to set up visits and everyone I asked welcomed us. We talk a lot that week about where we are going, what they think might see/do, and we find books in our collection to coordinate with each visit. It is written on our marker board so the parents always know what is happening that week and the next couple as well. Last summer was such a blast I knew we would do it again. It has been awesome!”
She’s setting up tours in grocery stores, farms, farmer’s markets, flower shops, restaurants, and more. Just look around at local businesses and you’ll come up with ideas!
Here are pictures of my little ones during a Fire Station tour. My son wanted to “drive” the fire truck and refused to leave. My daughter was obviously too young to do much, but we did pretend to put the hat on her – which her brother thought was pretty cool. My son talked about it for months after.
We’d love to hear tips and tricks from other parents who have set up tours before. Please share in the comment section below.
~ Ashley, from The Motherboard