Sneaking vegetables into our kids’ favorite dishes is a time-honored tradition of parenthood. But getting kids excited about learning can be a bit trickier. That’s where Colonial Williamsburg comes in.
Since 1932, the 301-acre living history museum has welcomed and educated visitors of all ages. Only a three-hour drive from Washington, D.C., in Virginia’s Tidewater region, it’s an easy way to go back in time to the founding of our country.
And with plenty of family-friendly programming this spring, Colonial Williamsburg offers opportunities for kids to learn without while having fun. They won’t realize they’re learning about history, science, math, and other subjects!
Here is some of the hands-on education kids can receive while thinking they’re just having fun.
Mathematics: Colonial craftspeople depended on mathematical skills to create works of art. The program “Drawing With a Compass and Rule” teaches kids and adults how to use a straight edge and compass to create simple geometric forms. And the “Plane Talk Workshop” will give families a hands-on chance to use geometry and the art of measuring while using the traditional woodworker’s most valuable tool.
Language Arts: Throughout the year, Colonial Williamsburg’s staff of trained actors recreate the literature of 18th-century theater. This spring, the Jug Broke Theatre Co. presents “Juvenilia,” a play about a young colonial girl who writes a play for her family to perform. And the family-friendly “Acting How To” will give your kids the chance to learn the “new” style of acting, circa 1753.
Science: Chemistry class is in session, whether your kids know it or not, during the special program “Dye Day at the Weaving Shop.” Learn how to experiment with 18th-century dye recipes to achieve dazzling colors. “Daub to Dough” teaches families how to make their own outdoor bread ovens for a hands-on, edible chemistry lesson. Then, brush up on biology by learning about the animals of Colonial’s Rare Breeds Program. There are also many opportunities to learn about the plants growing in the resort’s famous gardens. Or take the guided “Arboretum Walk” to learn about the museum’s collection of trees.
Music: Music was an important part of daily life in colonial Virginia. This spring, Colonial Williamsburg offers many family-friendly programs that celebrate this history of music and dance. “Highland Jubilee” shares the tunes and songs of Scotland that would have been heard in Williamsburg during the 1700s. And “Palace Concert” offers an elegant evening of chamber music played by the museum’s early music ensemble. There are also regularly scheduled concerts of period music throughout the Historic Area and Art Museums.
Art: The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are a must-see, especially on rainy days. Join museum staff for “At a Glance,” a family-friendly 20-minute guided tour of the galleries that showcase everything from fine decorative arts to folk-art whimsies. For a more hands-on craft experience, “Every Child Taught to Sew” teaches a variety of stitches. And “Re-animating 18th-Century Fashion” brings 18th-century art to life with a fashion show.
History: Of course, history lessons abound at Colonial Williamsburg. This spring, kids can get up close and personal with the past with many archaeological programs, including events at the exciting Custis Square excavation. The “Native American Life” series of programs shares the histories of Virginia’s earliest inhabitants, while the “Freedom’s Paradox” walking tour explores slavery in the colonial era. And don’t forget “Ghost Walk Junior” — kids will be so engrossed in these spooky tales that they won’t realize they’re learning about the colonial past!
Colonial Williamsburg has much to offer families this spring. For event tickets and lodging and dining information, visit colonialwilliamsburg.org.