Since before we had our little geeklings, my husband and I discussed at length how we wanted to take our children on as many interesting adventures as we could. At the time we really didn’t give much thought as to what that meant or what kind of adventures we had in mind. As the years have gone by, we have found events and activities that not only speak to our family’s nerdy side, but spark our children’s imagination. Each one of these 5 places offer the perfect mix of fun, entertainment, and inspiration for families and young minds.
We literally stumbled upon our first Maker Faire. It happened to be right next to a festival that we were headed to. It sounded interesting so we went in. We loved it! So much creativity. Science, technology, art, engineering, and more all in one place. The displays of ingenuity at Maker Faires are amazing. Last year we even got to have lunch with an unexpected guest – R2D2. Maker Faires can be found around the United States and around the world. This is one unexpected adventure I’m glad we took. Highly recommend checking out a Faire if you haven’t.
Before a few years ago, we had never been to a Con and now it is one of our favorite adventures each year. Our love affair with conventions started when my then 8 year old daughter expressed interest in going to one. My husband thought it sounded like fun, so he took her. She dressed up as Black Widow, took pictures with a variety of cosplayers, and met Stan Lee. She was hooked and in the process hooked us. Now we have friends that attend with us and spend hours creating new cosplay outfits for our children. Conventions provide a unique opportunity to show young fans an outlet for their passion and introduce them to a place where there are people with the same interests as they do. Most conventions have deals where children 10 and under get in free with an adult admission, so attending a convention when they’re young won’t break the bank.
Theater and Live Entertainment
At first, the idea of taking a kid to a theater production or live show can be intimidating. With our daughter, we were able to take her by the time she was 3. She was the perfect little attendee. Our son had to be a little older. With both children, we started by taking them to children’s theater productions or middle school and high school drama club productions. These types of performances are much less expensive and the kids love seeing other young people on stage. Also, the audience usually has other children, so the expectations of the audience members is different. People expect to hear a kid talk every once in awhile or have to get up for a potty break. Not to mention a child’s enthusiasm for what is occurring on stage not only makes a parent’s heart swell but the performers as well.
The theater isn’t the only live show that can open a child’s imagination. Traveling children’s shows can be a little pricier but can provide an entertainment platform that introduces a young person to a new interest. There are many amazing interactive shows out there today. Two of my recent favorites are the Doktor Kaboom! Science Comedy show and Marvel Universe LIVE Stunt show. My kids loved seeing all the science experiments by Doktor Kaboom and were amazed by the stunts in the Marvel show. When leaving both shows, our kids couldn’t stop talking about all the things they were going to do that were inspired by the shows. Local performance halls and Ticketmaster schedules are good places to start when looking for suitable shows for your geeklings.
There is so much to love about Renaissance Faires. Not only is it a quick trip back in time, but there is so much to do and see with children. My children love to go to see the performers and to participate in the mini adventures that are offered at our local faire. Each year they are excited to dress up as a knight or princess or fairy or whatever else that sounds like fun and become a part of it all. Ren Faires are fantastic examples of what great imaginations can create. Also, the discussions about history that come from visiting a Ren Faire can help children make educational connects that they may not have made otherwise. Renaissance Faires can be found throughout the year across the country. A quick Google search could help locate one near you.
Comic Book and Book Stores
Our family trips to the comic book or book store always gets our kids’ minds going and have produced some of our family’s most interesting conversations. Every trip feels like we are on a treasure hunt. What new book or comic are we going to find today. Each book is offering us not only another adventure but another opportunity to bond as a family. This is a shared interest that brings us together. Also, most stores offer other activities and events that bring together people with similar interests. Showing our children places where they can go to meet and interact with people that enjoy the same things is an added bonus of visiting these shops. Libraries are great to give your kids regular access to reading material, but an occasional stop to explore a book or comic shop could open a whole new avenue for adventure.