It seems like Summer is flying by, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the sun and have some fun around Kansas City! In order to keep kids active and help them escape the mid-summer blues, we’ve compiled a list of 7 fun activities to enjoy during the rest of summer vacation.
1. Visit a Local Park, Library, or Farmers Market
A park, library, or farmer’s market is a great opportunity to get out and explore different things. And chances are there’s one (or more) near you!
Kansas City is known for its many beautiful parks, and some of our favorites include Swope, Loose, and Penguin. Swope Park, located at East Meyer Boulevard and Swope Parkway, is filled with different attractions and adventures. Kids can hike on the various trails, complete the Treetop Adventure Course, visit various nature centers within the park, and plenty more.
Jacob L. Loose Park on Wornall Road, commonly called ‘Loose Park’, is a more scenic and tranquil area with a gorgeous rose garden. Kids have the opportunity to visit the garden center, the spray park, a playground, historical monuments, Loose Lake, and more.
Penguin Park, located on Vivion Road in Kansas City’s northland, is a well-known favorite among children, because of the simplicity and uniqueness of the park itself. The park is adorned with different animal statues, including a penguin, giraffe, elephant, and kangaroo that children can interact with while playing on the playground.
You can also take your child out to your local library. Some libraries have events specifically for children, like storytime, that keep them engaged while also increasing their reading skills. It’s the perfect place to let your child pick out a few books, read them, or even take books home for later.
Farmers' markets are great places for children to experience something new and learn more about food. There are tons of farmers' markets in a variety of places throughout Kansas City where you and your child can buy fresh fruits and vegetables or find some unique locally made items. And the fun doesn’t have to end when you leave the market. You can make a plan with your child to use the fresh produce from the market to cook lunch or dinner together.
2. Get Acquainted with Some Animals
Zoos are a great place for children to witness both common and exotic animals. Visiting zoos or animal sanctuaries allow children to learn and interact with a variety of animals that they may never normally come across. Our favorite animal places include the Kansas City Zoo and the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead At the Kansas City Zoo, located in Swope Park, kids can discover all sorts of different animals and habitats from around the world! This 202-acre sanctuary gives children an interactive experience with animals that entertains, educates, and engages. The KC Zoo boasts over 1,300 animals, including chimpanzees, kangaroos, elephants, penguins, sea lions, and more. In fact, the Kansas City Zoo was honored as one of the top 60 zoos in the U.S. in “America’s Best Zoos 2008”, and was ranked no. 1 in the nation for “African Animals and Exhibits” and no. 1 in the nation to see chimpanzees and kangaroos! The zoo also hosts special events and shows throughout the year, like the Sea Lion Show, Wings of Wonder (WOW Bird Show) and Mizzou Day at the Zoo.
At Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, in Overland Park, kids can see and interact with farm animals, birds, butterflies, and more. The attraction features different show gardens, nature trails, a Native American display, playgrounds, pony rides, and plenty more for children and adults! Children will learn about more than 250 animals and different birds, flowers, and vegetables. The farmstead gives kids the opportunity to bottle-feed baby goats, milk cows, and ride horse-drawn carriages.
Some of our personal favorites are the Arabia Steamboat Museum, Wonderscope Children’s Museum, Science City, and Children’s Peace Pavilion.
Arabia Steamboat Museum sits in the heart of Kansas City’s famed River Market area. It offers children the historic story of the sunken and century’s lost steamboat Arabia. At the museum, kids and kids-at-heart alike can learn about the history of the steamboat by viewing preserved treasures from 1856 and by observing preservationists recover artifacts. Children will be enthralled for hours by the museum’s interactive displays and artifacts that continue to piece together the history of the Steamboat Arabia.
Wonderscope Children’s Museum, located in Shawnee, allows children to learn through cooperative play with others. At Wonderscope, children can engage with fun and unique exhibits and programs that educate them on the arts, sciences, and literature. Most exhibits allow children to use their imaginations to pretend play while learning valuable skills and concepts. Kids learn how food comes from farm to market to table. Wonderscope keeps children entertained and helps keep their minds active and sharp through innovative exhibits.
A great way to keep children occupied and engaged for hours, and perhaps for the whole day, is by visiting an amusement park. Amusement parks, like Worlds/Oceans of Fun and Schlitterbahn Waterpark, allow children to explore a different atmosphere and have relaxed fun through a variety of different rides.
At Worlds of Fun, located in Kansas City, MO, kids can ride many different rides made specifically for them and bond with family. Worlds of Fun boasts over 20 kids attractions that will spark young minds with wonder. Attractions include Planet Snoopy, where children can interact with the well-known Peanuts gang, plenty of more mild, but still thrilling rides, and even a petting farm. At Oceans of Fun, the aquatic adventure sister of Worlds of Fun, kids race down speed slides, cruise down curving tube slides and take a vertical plunge down the Predator. Milder options are available for the less adventurous like pools, play areas and Splash Island. All are designed to keep kids and their parents cool in the summer heat.
5. Get Crafty
Crafts are a great way for children to use their imaginations and feel a sense of accomplishment when they make something with their own hands. It can also be a great way to bond with your child. There are endless possibilities when making crafts, and you can use common objects scattered around your house to create something new. You can even tailor crafts to your child’s developmental level and make them easier or a little more challenging.
Some craft ideas include: making paper snowflakes, painting or coloring, creating paper puppets, making clay to sculpt cool creatures, create frames for photos with popsicle sticks, and many, many more.
The crafts can also be tailored for upcoming holidays or family events, allowing your child to think outside the box and use more of their imagination. With so many different craft ideas, children are sure to have fun and be engaged while using their hands to create something of their own!
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6. Make Homemade Food
Making homemade food with your child is a fantastic way to teach them about different foods, bond with them, and have a little fun creating something delicious. There are many different foods your child could help you make. They could even help make breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Some great foods to make include things like pizza, ice cream, cupcakes, bread, popsicles, and more. The key is to get your child involved throughout the process. In making pizza, a child could help knead the dough and place the different toppings on the pizza. Your child could even make their own small pizza by picking toppings only they want, while you supervise. In making homemade ice cream, children can see science in action and learn how different ingredients interact with one another (i.e. the reaction between salt and ice).
When making homemade food, children will not only have a delicious treat but will also learn more about different ingredients.
7. Take a Little Trip
Sometimes getting away from the house can offer you and your child a little break. A nice fun-filled and relaxing weekend can provide your child with a new atmosphere and allow them to experience some adventure. Your getaway doesn’t need to be complicated, just enough to give your child something new and exciting to do. Places like Great Wolf Lodge or CoCo Key Water Resort can give your child a nice little break from home and can be a great family weekend.
At Great Wolf Lodge, in Kansas City, Kansas, there’s a ton children can do to pass the time. Children can participate in pool parties, barbecue dinners, and a Trailblazer challenge, complete the MagiQuest, play mini-golf, have an adventure with the Compass Quest, create their own Great Wolf Kids character, and more. Great Wolf Lodge also has many different attractions in their large indoor waterpark, including a watercourse, tubing rivers, small pools, and many water slides. There’s no doubt your children will have many different activities to take up their time!
At CoCo Key Water Resort, located in Kansas City Missouri, children can explore the large indoor water park, the arcade, and relax in the hotel portion of the resort. The Key West themed indoor waterpark has many different attractions for children, including Parrot’s Perch (an aquatic jungle gym), the Coconut Grove Adventure River perfect for tubing, a small wading pool for the smallest guests, body slides, tube slides, and much more. And after all that fun and swimming, you and your children can stay at the attached Adam’s Mark Hotel for some relaxation. Children of all ages are sure to have water-filled fun at CoCo Key Water Resort!
Kansas City offers a variety of ways to keep you and your kids entertained all Summer long. Learn more about all that Kansas City has to offer on our online Communities page.