It’ s the end of May and the kids are out of school. Moms and dads will soon be hearing those age old comments like “I’m bored!” or “There’s nothing to do!” Well, I am about to provide lots of ideas to keep the kids busy and learning new things all summer break. Here are your top twelve Ag-ceptional learning experiences!
1. First things first…there is agriculture everywhere you look! It won’t take much time to add a learning experience to a walk in the neighborhood, a trip to the park or a bike ride to a friend’s house. Nature watch from the USDA Forest Service has great things to see and do. Check out their “Critter Cam”. Kids will see nature in action. Then on a family walk or bike ride challenge your kids to take pictures or movies to record what they find.
2. There are sites full of different ideas to keep kids learning all summer long. Let the kids pick new day destinations for ag-adventures. Pack a lunch and let the kids create agendas of things to see and accomplish. It is exciting just thinking of the many options like a trip to Living History Farms.
3. The Iowa State Fair has things to keep you busy for the entire ten day event from August 13 through 23rd. There will be presentations, hands on learning, many different animals to see and of course lots of food and rides to try too!
4. Look into visiting a friend’s farm and learning how they run it. Kids can learn directly from families that live on the farm. There is so much to see and learn and so many different types of farms in our communities. Many farmers would love the opportunity to share what farming on their farm requires. Don’t know anyone that lives on a farm? Then check out some of the great farms that specialize in agro tourism (http://www.visitiowafarms.org/find_a_farm/).
5. There are loads of rainy day ideas for the computer. At http://www.agclassroom.org/kids/ there are all kinds of interactive projects and fun learning ideas for kids of all ages. Enter into the Kids Zone for science projects, farm and food fun, virtual tours and so much more.
6. At http://www.neok12.com/Agriculture.htm you will find online videos and lessons as well as games and activities for grade levels 3rd through 12th. Kids can learn in areas of their personal interest. Do they like machinery? There are lessons on that. How about Ag History…They have that, too! How about food for today and visiting farms…kids can do that on this site!
7. The USDA has a great link for kids – http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=FOR_KIDS . This link has loads of learning options. They can learn about dairy labs and cows and dairy products by doing fun puzzles, games and activities.
8. Maybe the kids are into animal or plant health. Well they have “beetle buster freeze” where you hunt for the Asian Long horned beetle…An interactive video game and worksheets to go along with this activity.
9. How about food and nutrition? Have the kids do a food-a-pedia activity.
10. Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation continues to grow and add links for teachers, parents and kids to find fun and exciting things.
11. Pinterest has great ideas on how to plant a garden in a Rubbermaid container. Let the kids build a garden of their own in a plastic tote.
12. There are programs that give the kids a camp experience to learn agriculture in their local environment. Come see us at the UNI STEM summer camp that offers fun and excitement in science, technology, engineering and math. Camp will be at the UNI campus July 7-10. There are more than a dozen other camp sessions for kids K-12 too.
13. How about the Iowa State Engineering for Kids camp for the child that loves the technology piece of agriculture? There is also a state 4-H camp site to let the kids have an adventure in nature. These sites will direct you to regional and local activities that can keep those kids busier than they could ever imagine. Mom and Dad will be thrilled with the educational contents of any of these camps and the kids will love the interaction with other kids their age and the exciting events that they will be able to participate in.
Parents…learning and fun are at your fingertips. It is time to get that summer calendar full of events and excitement for the entire family. We at Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation would love for you to tell us all about your great summer learning experience. Have a great Ag-summer!