Inventive Activities For Children
Museums Offer Inspired Summer Programs For Kids From Virginia Beach To Hampton
If you’ve been thinking of museums as rainy-day places, think again. They may have serious missions, but Coastal Virginia’s museums are also committed to serious fun. And they’re rolling out inventive summer programs for kids in everything from art to robotics.
In short: they’re anything but stuffy.
The Children’s Museum of Virginia and The Virginia Living Museum are known for their kids’ programming year-round. Here are some additional offerings from local, one-of-a-kind institutions guaranteed to entertain and educate the kids while school’s out this summer:
Virginia Air & Space Center
If your child’s imagination is captured by the cosmos, the “Cool Science” summer camps at the Air & Space Center may be for him or her. With a mission to show how exiting the world of science can be, these camps seek to inspire kids from kindergarten through eighth grade to aim for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers. Kids can choose from programs in space detective work, “cool science” (informative adventures in chemistry, ecology, and other sciences), aviation, robotics, rockets, architecture, and more. There’s even a program with NASA to teach kids what they’ll need for a trip to Mars.
The Chrysler Museum of Art
Reopening just in time for summer, The Chrysler will be offering art camps that feature activities you’re not likely to find anywhere else in the area. Teens ages 13–15 can try their hands at glass-making, learning this challenging art form in the museum’s cutting-edge glass studio. They’ll practice a variety of techniques—including flameworking and glassblowing—and learn about the physical properties of glass. Tweens ages 10–12 can spend a week exploring the galleries and making art—a collaborative project with the Virginia Zoo will round out the camp. Young artists will be inspired by both the world-class art around them and the art of their own creation.
Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center
Art and music are on the schedule at several camps for ages 6–15 hosted by the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center in historic Olde Town. Older kids will construct a West African drum they’ll learn to tune and play. Young campers will have the opportunity to make their own artist books, explore a variety of mediums including collage and printmaking, learn about ancient Egypt, and study the artistic side of recycling while making treasure out of trash.
The Mariners’ Museum
In a nod to their newest exhibit, The Savage Ancient Seas: Dinosaurs of the Deep, The Mariners’ Museum is hosting paleontology-themed “PaleoCamps” this summer for kids ages 5–12 that introduce aspiring scientists to the study of prehistoric creatures. With themes like “Towering Tylosauruses,” “Mysterious Megalodons,” and “Astounding Archelons,” these camps will bring the ancient world to life for your kids.
Exploration is the name of the game for ages 9–12 at the summer camps offered by Nauticus. Your kids will have the option of building remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to investigate watery depths or discovering more about the Chesapeake Bay and navigating our local watershed. They could also take a trip on board the “Leaning Barge,” billed as “America’s greenest vessel,” to learn more about the Elizabeth River in a partnership with the Elizabeth River Project. Either way, they’ll have a great time going beneath the surface of our waterways.