Family vacations have come to a screeching halt, but that doesn’t mean the fun that comes along with them has to be lost. Kids Club Directors and Education Coordinators from seven notable resorts and destinations are throwing you their most imaginative ideas to keep kids captivated. Whether you have a budding artist, aspiring actor, future scientist or super scout in your midst — these seven activities are sure to inspire creativity and learning.
DIY Flower Paintings: Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa , Orlando, FL.
Situated next to a beautiful 85-acre spring-fed lake and minutes away from the gates of Walt Disney World, Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa suggests creating simple DIY crafts to keep the little ones entertained while inside. You can make flower paintings using items you already have at home, including an empty water bottle, scissors, paint and construction or plain paper. To begin, start by cutting the water bottle in half and save the bottom half. Next, kids will dip the bottom of the bottle in the paint and press it onto paper, creating beautiful spring flowers. Finally, kids can decorate the flowers however they choose by adding a stem or drawing in a ladybug—the possibilities are endless!
This YouTube video shows a cute example.
Homemade Maracas: Royalton Riviera Cancun, Cancun, Mexico
The Clubhouse KidsClub at Royalton Riviera Cancun encourages kids to learn more about the culture surrounding the resort in both a fun and educational way, through a variety of daily activities and classes including arts and crafts, language, cooking, music and dance. In order to bring this culture into your home, the Clubhouse Kids Club Director suggests creating homemade maracas to inspire movement and creativity. "To make these musical sensations, one needs 2 plastic eggs, dry rice, tape and four plastic spoons. First, fill the egg with the rice and tape the seam shut. Next, tape the two spoons to the egg with the handles facing down then tape the two handles together. Finally, put on the performance of a lifetime with your new instruments”
Produce & Perform an At-Home Blockbuster Movie: Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Going above and beyond the traditional games to offer activities that bring imagination to life, from acting and dancing to designing sets and directing shows, Stars Kids Club™ at Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica encourages kids to explore a world where they can do it all. To help keep the imaginations alive while at home, the Stars Kids Club™ Director shares tips on how to produce and perform your very own blockbuster at-home movie.
What you’ll need: at least one child with an active imagination; an audience (family members or toys), props/costumes and either a camera or your phone to capture it all.
1. Select the story you’d like to act out. Either recreate a favorite show or bedtime story, or come up with totally new content, but remember to tailor the storyline around your kid’s strengths and interests.
2. Set the stage. Use sheets as backdrops and/or curtains, dim the lights to set the mood and create homemade tickets ahead of time that you can collect at the door.
3. Now, onto the supporting items—costumes and props. Old Halloween costumes work great (as do mom & dad’s closets), or you can DIY them. Regardless, definitely do dress up because the costumes are half the fun!
4. Dress rehearsal. The rehearsal is optional but if it makes everyone feel more prepared, we suggest running through the show once before performing it.
5. It's time to SHINE! Roll out the red carpet, get the popcorn ready and prepare for what is sure to be a memorable performance.
Montage Merits Program: Montage Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, SC
“One of the ways we like to engage children when they visit us at Montage Palmetto Bluff, is with our Montage Merits program. Children explore activities ranging from, “roasted a s’more,” to “biked River Road” and “spotted a bald eagle.” Every completed activity results in a merit badge, ultimately earning “Gilbert the Gator” status at the resort. While it can be challenging to do some of these activities now, you can still create your own at-home merit program, ” suggests Amanda Valovic, Children’s Program Manager at Montage Palmetto Bluff.
"Why not “roast a s’more” in the oven (with parental supervision), build a blanket fort, spot a squirrel outside the window, bowl a strike—at Wii bowling? There are many opportunities for you to build a merit program of your own. Take 30 minutes and get creative with ideas from games you played as a kid or silly indoor challenges. Google “minute to win it” games and you’ll have plenty of options. As a parent, this engages your mind for a little creative thinking, which is good for all of us! Your kids will be busy for hours, depending on how challenging you make the tasks!”
How To Build The Perfect S’more: Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark, Monticello, NY
Known as the S’mores Capital of the World, The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark knows a thing or two about the art of making a perfect S’more. Last year, The Kartrite successfully made the world’s largest S’more! Every night the resort’s outdoor fire invite families to cozy up in the brisk Catskill Mountain air and roast marshmallows. The Kartrite suggests an at-home version of the ooey-gooey dessert for those stuck at home, with just three ingredients and a few simple steps.
Head of Activities, TK Kopp, says “Gather 6 graham crackers, 6 fun-sized chocolate bars and/or peanut butter cups and 6 large marshmallows. Then, preheat the broiler, assemble the S’mores—without topping them with graham crackers—on the baking sheet, and place under the broiler for a few seconds until the desired level of toasting. Remove and top with remaining graham cracker and enjoy!"
Capillary Action From the Challenger Learning Center: Tallahassee, FL
Education Coordinator, Layne Mikesell, at the Challenger Learning Center in Tallahassee Florida suggests creating fun, DIY art to learn more about science. For this experiment, children will create a colorful design on a coffee filter using washable markers and drop small amounts of water onto the filter. The coffee filter will have the same effect as what happens during tie-dye and kids will observe capillary action—the ability for liquid to flow upward, against gravity. Children can try this with a black felt pen to watch all the pigments separate!
Virtual Classrooms: Outdoor Sea Turtle Hospital & South Florida Science Center and Aquarium , The Palm Beaches, FL
With travel currently out of the question and schools closed across the country, many partners in The Palm Beaches have adapted amidst the current climate to offer refuges of calm and contemplation, for kiddos stuck at home. Area partners have created virtual experiences for kids and parents to Discover The Palm Beaches from the comfort of their living room, including underwater digital escapes and DIY science experiences you’ll have to “sea” to believe! Along the 47 miles of golden, palm-tree-lined coastline, The Palm Beaches' most beloved residents (sea turtles) create nesting spots, which typically occur between the months of March-October.
To spur education during a time of isolation, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center is broadcasting live, each day, a Virtual Coastal Classroom from the Outdoor Sea Turtle Hospital, that focuses on sea turtle and ocean conservation for eager minds of all ages.
If your child prefers sci-fi over seascape, tune into South Florida Science Center and Aquarium’s virtual classroom for daily short science demos and DIY lessons, weekly virtual exhibit tours, and, of course, scientist story-time. Whichever adventure they choose, children can spark imagination, and continue their education, discovering The Palm Beaches at their own pace.
— Maria Chambers