We’ve all heard about summer brain drain. Kids can lose up to an entire month of learning lazing around watching YouTube all summer. While some lounging is just fine, it’s a good idea to keep your little ones mentally and physically engaged over the break, and the University of Georgia is here to help.
Bryan McCullick, coordinator of UGA’s Health and Physical Education Teacher Education Program, said finding that balance is key. “During the regular school year, kids have 7 hours when they’re being challenged mentally and have things like recess, physical education and team sports for physical stimulation,” said the kinesiology professor. “When kids are out of school, they’re not being stimulated as much. Doing anything you can to keep your kids moving and cognitively engaged is the perfect combination.”
Here are just a few of the things you can do on campus to keep your kids entertained and enriched over the break.
Explore campus on foot
Walking UGA’s main campus is a great way to get plenty of exercise while exploring the U.S.’s oldest public college. Campus is open to the public and easily accessible by bus or car. Park downtown or in the Tate Center parking deck off Lumpkin Street, or take an Athens-Clarke County bus to the Arch. All UGA buses are free to the public.
On North Campus, you’ll see some of the oldest buildings in Athens and Northeast Georgia, like Old College and the Chapel. Be sure to stop and ring in summer with the Chapel Bell – it’s not just for gamedays
Next, make your way to South Campus and visit the Trial Gardens, where the newest varieties of annuals are tested against the southeastern heat and humidity.
Be sure to pick a time that’s not too hot and stay hydrated. Also, pay attention to the landscapes – our campus is an arboretum, so follow along with the walking map to learn about the trees as you wander.
Visit the State Botanical Garden
Located on Milledge Avenue, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia has a variety of opportunities for kids and families to spend time outdoors and learn about native landscapes. The SBG has free parking and is on the Riverbend and South Milledge UGA bus routes.
The SBG has seven hiking trails and eight different gardens to explore. While the gardens are great for family walks, dogs are not allowed. There are also organized programs for kids and families, like the free Nature Ramblers group that meets weekly and monthly full-moon hikes that allow families to see the gardens come alive at nig
The garden also hosts a monthly Sunflower Concert Series featuring musical acts of different genres. Bring a picnic and blanket to enjoy live music in a beautiful setting. Tickets for the Sunflower Concert Series are $15 general admission and $45 for the whole season.
Inside the Visitor Center is a café and gift shop. The SBG grounds are open daily, but the Visitors Center is closed on Mondays. Check its website for detailed times. Grounds: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily.
Full calendar: http://botgarden.uga.edu/events/
Explore the Georgia Museum of Art
The University of Georgia is home to the official state museum of art, and it’s the perfect spot to spend a hot summer day. The museum is open to the public every day but Monday, and admission is free. Located in East Campus, you can park in the East Campus parking deck or take the University Village, East Campus Express or Orbit bus on the UGA routes.
The museum offers events for all audiences, including families, toddlers, teens, seniors and college students. Tours, film screenings, gallery talks and lectures help audiences to appreciate the many temporary exhibitions and works from the large permanent collection.
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m. Exhibitions and event info: http://georgiamuseum.org/