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Keeping little minds active is just as important as physical activity for our kids. So when the weekend hits, what’s an adventure-seeking family to do? Sure, there are tons of great ideas for keeping kids entertained, but we’d like to think that entertainment can be both educational and fun. Luckily, Southern California is rife with activities that fit the bill, from museum visits to outdoor gardens, there are plenty of opportunities for your learners to get a dose of schooling while having a good time. In fact, we’re pretty confident that these ideas are so much fun that they won’t even know they’re getting an education at the same time. Now get out there and enjoy your weekend.

KinderCare is dedicated to promoting an educational learning environment filled with fun and creativity. You can rest easy knowing that your kiddos are in a great place where they’re cultivating social and academic skills that will aid them now and for many years to come as they become doctors, lawyers, teachers and parents.

1. The sun is shining, meaning it’s the perfect excuse to get outside and get your daily dose of Vitamin D. While you’re at it, show your growing gardeners the importance of sunshine for plants as well as people. Not only will they learn about the way plants thrive in our sunny and fair city, but they’ll also learn a thing or two about taking responsibility for their very own garden.

kids gardening

2. It’s not every day you see sharks, jellies, and exotic fishes on your weekend trip to the beach, but marine creatures like these are aplenty at the Birch Aquarium. Fish fans of all ages will be amazed by the collection of species on display and the plethora of information about each animal. Plus, budding marine biologists will revel at the chance to dunk their hands in the tide pool exhibit or get lost looking at the 7,000 gallon tank. They’ll be learning about the wildlife that lives right off our California shores in no time at all.

3. Healthy eating habits start early, and there’s no better way to get your kids thinking about making healthy choices than showing them exactly where their food comes from. And no, we’re not talking about the supermarket. Head to a local farmer’s market on the weekends and meet the very people who grow, pick, and sell you the delicious foods your little chefs can help prepare for dinner. See which items they can identify as fruits and which as veggies, or print out a food pyramid and have your mini Jamie Olivers fill it out.

4. Whether it’s an adventure tale, fantasy, or a story about being a kid, immersing your bookworm in a good read is a great way to pass the time. Take turns reading to each other in your homespun version of story time. You’ll not only build your kiddo’s vocabulary, but you might just inspire them to write their own story.

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5. What kid doesn’t like to play mad scientist? Whether it’s learning about chemical reactions or observing how plants absorb water, your little thinkers will love the chance to conduct experiments just like BIll Nye the Science Guy. Check out these classic science experiments that are all kid-friendly and kid-approved. Best of all? They’ll be too busy having fun to realize that they’re learning as they go!

6. Sure, you could learn history by reading it in a textbook…or you could live it. A trip back to the frontier days is as simple as a car ride to neighboring Julian, Ca. Smith Ranch will have your 49ers panning for gold and exploring an old gold mine from a steam-powered train. Tour guides and staff are all dressed in period clothing, so it really feels like you’ve stepped back in time for a few hours. How’s that for a history lesson?

7. We believe that hands-on interaction is the best way for kids to learn about the world around them. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center seems to agree, that’s why they’ve made just about every one of their exhibits completely interactive. From a studio for little tinkerers to channel their inner inventor to stunning IMAX shows about everything from butterflies to the Arctic, there are countless opportunities for everyone to walk away having learned a fun fact or two.

Reuben H Fleet

8. Are your kids up for an adventure that boasts a serious cool factor? Then visit the USS Midway in its permanent home in San Diego. You and your sailors-in-training will learn all about the vessel’s 47 year career while getting the chance to explore all the inner workings of the ship, from the engine room to the control tower. An added bonus for airplane crazy kids, they’ll get the chance to sit in the cockpit of a real aircraft.

9. You don’t have to travel across the globe in order to give your tiny travelers a taste a foreign culture. At the Japanese Friendship Garden, visitors can take in the sights of the elegant garden, complete with moon bridges and koi ponds. The authentic rock garden and rotating displays in the Exhibit House grant a glimpse into Japanese culture while their weekly yoga, meditation, and kids karate lessons demonstrate traditional Japanese customs and practices.

10. Fine art doesn’t have to be something that only grown ups get to enjoy. The colorful sculpture garden at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art will give your kids the chance to get out their wiggles before heading into the museum. Once inside, pencils and sketch pads will allow them to create their own versions of the artwork on display. Tape their sketches on the wall when you return and host an art show where their masterpieces are available for all to see.

sd museum

How do you plan on spending the weekend with your little learners?