As excited I am for the boys to get out of school this week, I am a bit nervous, too. While summer means fun and sun and time together – it also means that the boys need to be constantly entertained!
Although we spend lots of time in the yard playing ball, gardening, and riding bikes, we also know that behavior is better if we take regular ventures outside of the house. In you are local to the Philadelphia area, here are some of my favorite things to do to keep the boys busy.
We spend a lot of time outside in the summer, so on weeks when we aren’t at camp, we often will head off into nature to work out some energy. Our area in Chester county has an awesome open space initiative, and as a result we have a bunch of local land preserves available for walking, riding, fishing, and more.
Stroud Preserve is a favorite freebie, as you can walk through meadows, fields, rolling hills, forests, and rivers – all in one place. The kids love watching for butterflies, birds, and turtles as folks ride past on their horses. There are trails for all fitness levels, short loops, difficult loops, shaded loops, never ending loops – and some adorable donkeys and scenic barns along the way.
Another nearby trail option is West Chester University’s Gordon Natural Area, an educative space where families can get fresh air and learn about native plant species.
Longwood Gardens is another favorite place to get my boys outdoors – with family memberships available at affordable rates, it is a beautiful setting to go walk and spend time together. They have lots of kid-oriented activities, too – with indoor and outdoor children’s gardens, fountains, three treehouses, weekend entertainment, Nightscape, and more, it is a family friendly way to enjoy nature.
On summer weekends, it seems like all the neighbors pack up their kayaks and tubes to float down the Brandywine River/Creek. With three little guys, we have not tried this yet, but it is on our to do list for the next year or two.
There are tons of quality neighborhood parks, but sometimes a special summer day deserves a special place to play. The Philadelphia area is brimming with excellent parks and areas for recreation to explore. Smith Memorial Playground in East Fairmont Park is the playground of all playgrounds for children under age 10. With more than 50 pieces of equipment and a giant slide, this playground is big enough to spend the whole day exploring.
Treehouse World, a new place to play in West Chester, is the talk of local parents. With treehouses galore, trampolines, rock climbing trees, and a huge swing, this place is sure to please adventure seekers.
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is a favorite of my boys. With a rich history and tons of trains to physically explore (yes, you can go inside many of them!), this Lancaster area museum is tons of fun to explore.
My boys are obsessed with American Ninja Warrior, so when we heard an Urban Air will be opening this summer in Downingtown, we got so excited. The first rainy day that is place is open, we will be trying our hand at the obstacles.
The Adventure Aquarium is a rainy day staple. Created with kids in mind, the Adventure Aquarium has tons of kid-friendly exhibits and the new Shark Bridge where kids can walk above sharks.
Finally, who can resist the Academy of Natural Sciences on a rainy day? With dinosaurs and a real-life dig, a kids’ corner where they can touch all kinds of animals, and tons of life-like dioramas, my kids were entertained for hours last time we visited.
Local Health Care
When out and about this summer having fun, it is important to have a plan for healthcare when you might need it. The Children”s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP) and the CHOP Care Network make up a growing network of 50+ facilities and resources aimed to provide high quality healthcare for all children. The CHOP network provides emergency healthcare, well visits, and treatment for a wide variety of children’s health needs. When we are out and about this summer, it comforts us to know that we have some of the best pediatric health care options right here in our backyard.