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How to act like a tourist to find family fun

Summer has arrived, and guess who is in charge of your family’s entertainment?

That’s right, you are.

Oh, yes, of course you want them to be able to entertain themselves.  That’s the best idea, absolutely.  But as most of us have experienced, kids entertaining themselves is more of an end goal than a current reality.

So what to do with your kids for two whole months?  Most of us end up with a bit of time away, some camp time and then a few weeks and a whole bunch of weekends to fill.  One of the best ideas is to become a tourist in your own town; for the days and weeks you will all be in town, you’ll need things to do that are local and accessible.  And if they can be things that take you out of your neighbourhood and out of your normal routines, all the better.

How am I doing it?  I actually laid out the weeks on a calendar, and booked some time off for us to have some family time together.  Then I found my oldest some half day camps for a few of the weeks, and one full day camp for another.  With his three year old sister still in daycare four mornings a week, this will give me some quiet work time, while still leaving plenty of time for play and relaxation.

Next, I looked for events going on around town that we might want to attend – things like a local ball game, festivals, the fair, family attractions – all things that will be likely to add some excitement to our afternoons and break up any routine we might get into when the kids aren’t busy at camp or playing at daycare.  I also jotted down the location of nearby splash pads and park programs just in case.

But surely there was more?  How to track down some of the lesser known events or interesting places to visit?  How to find what might be happening outside my neighbourhood or immediate community?

I decided to take my search online.  Who knows what else might be going on?

Here are a few interesting things I found going on across the prairies – are any in or near where you live?  Look for local events or happenings in cities or communities you may be planning to visit.

What about rappelling down a building for a good cause?

Or a combination swap meet and farmers’ market?  They are looking for vendors, sharing details of what sounds like a great space and interesting event.

The Cochrane Cookhouse and Artisan Market sounds amazing, and is in a town I’d like to visit anyway…hmmm…


And who would have though there would be a free musical theatre class in Winnipeg for ages four through seven?


I also found all kinds of garage sales, moving sales, fundraisers, book sales, used kids’ clothing and toy sales which might be fun to check out with the kids.  Sometimes kids that like to wander and shop are just as happy to make their discoveries at a garage sale for much less expense.  I like for kids to see older toys or things that show a bit of history.  And it’s nice for them to be able to buy something interesting for their money, rather than just the latest plastic toy they saw on a commercial.  I still remember some of my tiny garage sale and secondhand purchases from when I was a kid.

I’ll be keeping an eye on these sections as the summer goes on, watching for inspiration.  Oh, and remember, parents deserve a summer treat now and again too, so if you spot an event, concert or fundraiser you want to attend, don’t hesitate.  Look again, and you might just find a babysitter so you can!

We all like to make happy summer memories!

How do you like to find out about local attractions?  What will you and your family be doing this summer to explore your city and neighbouring communities?

Writer, editor, recovering chocoholic. Most often found writing, drinking coffee, and chasing kids. Find her on Twitter @littlemissmocha.

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