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Monday, June 3, 2013

Visiting Colonial Williamsburg with Kids

 
As a homeschooling family, we love hands on learning.  One of the best places to do this is in Colonial Williamsburg.  Over Memorial Day weekend, my family had the privileged of heading there with my In-Laws.  The kids were so excited to have 5 days with Grammie and Poppop, and I was thrilled to have a break from the classroom.  While we have been to Williamsburg before, this was the first time the kids were old enough to really enjoy it. 
 
 

Tips for preparing for your trip

  • Homeschooling days are a great time to visit Colonial Williamsburg.  They offer an amazing discount as well as special hands on programs geared towards children.  You can check for upcoming dates on Colonial Williamsburg's website.  They usually are held in September and February.
 

  • Special homeschooling discounts are available year round.  Be sure to call in advance to get information on pricing.  We paid $100 total for 4 adults, and 2 kids for one day!  Three of my children were free because of the ages.  I will note that they had a special promotion going this weekend which made it even cheaper than we had budgeted.  Another nice thing about this program was that everyone in the party got the pass for the discounted price (not just the educator and students)
 

  • Plan out what items you most want to see.  Most likely you will not be able to see everything in one day.  If you are able, plan to spend at least two days in the historical area. 
 

 
  • Be sure to request the children's maps for your visit.  These special maps indicate the "go to" sites for children.  At these sites, kids can get a hole punched in their maps.  Collect 5 punches and earn a special pin.  It is a great way to keep your kids engaged while there, and teaches them how to read a map!  (Just an added bonus!)
 
  • Costumes are available for rent in the visitors center.  Many children love to explore while wearing one.  My kids were content with their hats they found at a gift shop.  Hats are also available all over the town and at the street market.
 
  • Check the schedule for special events.  Be sure to see the Fife and Drums if you can!

Must see places with kids

  • Great Hopes Plantation is just a short walk from the visitors center.  Enjoy a leisurely stroll into history as you learn about life for the slaves and average colonist. 

 
  • The Governor's Palace and Gardens is just breathe taking.  Be sure to explore the gardens!  The maze overlooking the river was one of my children's favorite things from the day!
 
 
 
  • The Courthouse is interesting for older children and those interested in politics.  Be sure to visit the stocks...
...and pillory!
 
  • One of my personal favorite places to see is The Colonial Gardens.  Watch as the gardens are tilled and planted.  If your lucky, your child may be asked to help with the job!
 
 
 
  • Right next door is The Weaver.  Watch as they sheer a sheep with real shears.  Then learn how they washed, dyed, and spun the wool and finally weave it into beautiful cloth.
 
  • The Magazine is the place that all little boys want to see.  Learn about the struggles of this military and firearms storage house and if your lucky see one fired!
 
 

More hands on places to see

I don't have any pictures for the rest of these, but all are great places to explore!
 
 For more great hands on fun for kids visit www.colonialwilliamsburg.com
 
***If you will only be visiting for one day, consider starting at The Capital and working back towards The Palace.  Many of the shops on Duke of Gloucester Street close in the early afternoon for the street shows. 
***Consider dining in one of the historical taverns.  It is a little pricey, but the experience is worth the extra cost.
I never seem to make it into pictures because I am always behind the camera!  Does that happen to you too?
 
Learn about what to see at Jamestown here
 
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3 comments:

  1. We took our girls here a few years ago. We made costumes so they could have practice sewing. We had so much fun even though it ended up being over 105 degrees every day we were there!

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    1. 105 degrees! Good grief! I am not sure I could have handled that! :) Sewing costumes would be a fun project to get ready for the trip. I think it would give a greater appreciation to what the lifestyle was like. Thanks for visiting!

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