1. Ask kids to create their own board games. Let them choose something they love (i.e. dogs, cooking, Disney, soccer, etc.), and challenge them to design a board game around their passion. From creating the game board and researching their topic to figuring out the rules and writing simple directions for others to follow, this hands-on activity truly puts the fun in learning.
2. Plan “surprise adventures.” Think outside the typical tourist spots for these family field trips. Look for Civil War re-enactments, factory tours, Renaissance festivals, historic home tours, jazz concerts, ethnic festivals, botanical gardens, county fairs, living history farms, planetariums, animal sanctuaries, historic battlefields, lighthouses, and working ranches.
3. Teach your kids how to play chess. Don’t know how? Learn together! (A simple Google search will turn up some great starting points.) Once your kids master the basics, sign them up for a chess club. “Chess trains your brain to think critically—to discover like a scientist, create like a technician, innovate like an engineer, and problem solve like a mathematician,” explains Wendi Fischer, the Scholastic Director of America’s Foundation for Chess, a nonprofit organization that brings chess into schools. “In fact, a third-grade student once told me, ‘I like chess because it’s sneaky learning.'”