5 Educational Summer Pursuits for Kids
Live it up during the warmer months with these family-fun activities taking place on the Paradise Coast.
Build with Blue
The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples will challenge young guests to build upon their imagination with the Blue Exhibit. The traveling exhibit from Imagination Playground brings a plethora of blue blocks in a variety of shapes and sizes—from oversized building blocks to miniatures—allowing children to construct to their imagination’s content. The exhibit challenges children to work together to create over-sized forts and structures, letting them set the stage for play, or gives kids the option to create their own miniature masterpiece, testing out the notions of balance, symmetry, and more—think of this exhibit as a cross between Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, good old fashion blocks, and a jungle gym, all in one. In addition to the blue blocks, the exhibit includes a block wall, play areas, “blue dress up” that includes spandex sensory suits, and a pint-sized design space for the smaller builders out there.
- The Blue Exhibit will be in C’MON’s traveling exhibition space through September. The exhibit is free with regular museum admission—$10 per person.
Designed for children on the autism spectrum and other sensory integration disorders, Sensory Nights makes the museum more accessible by muting the lighting and sounds, as well as limiting the crowds so that all can enjoy C’MON. Scheduled once a month, programs designed specifically for children with disabilities will be available for the whole family to enjoy.
- Sensory Nights runs from 5-7 p.m. Space is limited and registration is required. Admission costs $5 per person.
- If additional adaptations are needed, contact email@example.com or 239-514-0084.
- For C’MON’s summer Sensory Nights schedule and more information, visit cmon.org/education/sensory-nights.
Into the Wild
Beat vacation boredom with the Naples Zoo’s new summer camp program, Summer Camp WILD, which runs June 13 through August 1. Designed for children aged 5 through 7 and 8 through 12, these weeklong camps will feature individual themes and offer activities including arts, crafts, and games in the zoo’s new portable classroom, as well as behind-the-scenes tours and animal encounters.
“It’ll be a very interactive experience,” says Stacy Graison, the zoo’s director of education. “Kids aren’t going to learn if they just stand there staring at the animal and hearing fact after fact. They need to be engaged and really feel connected to the animals.” Over the course of the week, kids will have the opportunity to visit every exhibit at least once and learn how each one connects to the theme of their camp—whether it’s Zoo by Design, where they’ll get to create their own animal exhibits, or ZSI: Zoo De-tech-tives, where they’ll solve mysteries to earn detective badges. Other themes include Art Safari, where kids can make molds of zoo animals’ footprints, and Nurturing Nature, which will teach them about animal behavior and training.
- For more information, and to register your child, visit napleszoo.org/summercampwild.
Turn Over a New Leaf
At the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, youngsters can join the Little Explorers program, which is best for children 18 months to 5 years old. They can build a creature tunnel called a burrow, have fun with nature crafts, listen to stories and participate in other activities in the Ferguson Learning lab. The Conservancy’s Dalton Discovery Center also has more than 100 animals and interactive exhibits. Each adventure follows a theme, giving those Little Explorers a little guidance as they discover the wonders of nature.
- Little Explorers programs begin at 10 a.m. Registration is not required, and is free with regular Conservancy admission—$13 for adults, $9 for children ages 3-11, free for children 2 and younger; free for members. For more information, visit conservancy.org.
Here’s a look at what’s to come this summer:
- July 14 and 16: Small Green Snake
- July 28 and 30: Where Should Turtle Be?
- August 11 and 13: The Little Lazy Lizard
- August 25: Commotion in the Ocean
Chart a New Path
Feel like taking a bike ride? Check out the Gordon River Greenway. The paved nature trail follows the Gordon River alongside the Naples Zoo and the Conservancy. Watch for a great horned owl, bald eagle, raccoon or even a fox! Rent a bike at one of Naples’ bicycle shops, or join a group with Naples Bicycle Tours, which is open to ages 12 and up. Helmets, water and snacks are included.