Summer is a good time for children to expand their awareness of the world outside winter classrooms. It is an especially good time to travel to new places, immerse oneself in art activities or gain perspective in history and culture. This article has six educational activities for kids on summer vacation in Minnesota. Parents interested in reading about further summertime intellectual stimulation for their children may also enjoy a previously published article, Best Summer Reading Events For Kids.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 3rd Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
The MIA offers many multi-session classes and single-session studios for youth ages 4 to 17 to explore art by visiting galleries and working in the studio with art educators and guest artists. Find a class and a date that works for you with the 2014 Youth Summer Schedule Overview or pick the type of class you are looking for at Youth and Family Programs. Additionally, MIA offers free Family Days on the second Sunday of each month, where the entire family will create art, take artful adventures and meet with local artists, dancers, musicians and storytellers.
American Swedish Institute
2600 Park Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55407
ASI is offering a series of Summer Day Camps throughout July and August on Thursdays for children entering grades one through five. For just $50 per child per session, thirsty young minds can discover the history and culture of Sweden and the Norse land. Produce art, participate in creative play and hear stories during indoor and outdoor activities. All of this is done with fun themes such as Vikings, Pippi Longstocking, Nordic Culture and Food.
Free First Saturday at Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Plan a family excursion to the Walker on the first Saturday of each month this summer. Open the world of art to your kids ages 6 to 12 as they participate in an array of activities and art making. The rest of the family can tour the gallery while the kids are having their fun. A few of the fun themes are Sonic Circus, Performance Play and Fly Away Home. Visit the website for dates and times of each event.
Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post
43411 Oodena Drive
Onamia, MN 56359
Date: July 5 – Bead a Ring, Aug. 2 – God’s Eye Activity, Sept. 6 – Dream Catchers
Travel to the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post on a Saturday and learn the story of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. For a nominal fee, children age 8 and up can spend about an hour enjoying the story reading and get refreshments while they learn how to make a genuine artifact. In July’s program, they learn bead-stringing technique and will go home with their own handmade ring. August visitors will take home their own hand-woven “God’s Eye” replicas of ceremonial shields from the southwestern United States American Indians. September visitors weave a dream catcher supposed to protect their dream world. While you are there, check out the restored 1930s trading post filled with American Indian gifts produced by Mille Lacs artisans.
Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site
1620 Lindbergh Drive S.
Little Falls, MN 56345
Experience the humble life of a young farm boy who grew up to electrify the world about the possibilities of aviation by flying alone from New York to Paris. Charles Lindbergh’s boyhood affinity for aviation, technology and nature were noteworthy. Costumed characters portraying Lindbergh family members and neighbors share insights about the lad. Kids can pitch in helping with chores on the farm, try a “Spirit of St. Louis” flight simulator and release their energy on an interpretive trail along the river and the nearby Charles A. Lindbergh State Park. This is only an hour away from the Mille Lacs Museum.
History HiJinx: Robot Mania!
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Date: Tues. through Sat. through Aug. 15, 2014
Readers may recall the genius of sketches and models by Leonardo da Vinci. So too will students have the opportunity to create models of movable figures. Kids get to view toy robots in the new History Center exhibit, Toys of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Then they get to create their own robots from paper and cardboard back in the classroom. Perhaps being exposed to the creativity of a Mr. Potato Head, Gumby or a Barbie doll will inspire a budding young Renaissance Man or Lady.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn., and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.