Back to School with a Bang
Celebrate heading back to school with a custom parent-child outing personalizing the day specifically around your child’s favorite things and interests.
Best Back-to-School Photos…When I Grow Up
Create an album for your child capturing not just the smiles of baby teeth, missing teeth, braces and grown-up pearly whites—capture who they are! Take a photo of your child against a backdrop with the child on the far right of the backdrop (a sheet or solid wall is ideal). Then, using your favorite photo editing software, add text to the left of the image answering basic questions about your child: name, age, favorite color, favorite hobby, what they want to be when they grow up, favorite pet, nickname, favorite school subject, etc. Do this again next year, and the next, until they graduate. You’ll both treasure being able to see the changes.
Grab a Bite During Back-to-School Shopping…Just You and Me
Moms often find the task of school shopping a daunting chore, but it can be a great chance for one-on-one time with your child. Schedule dates with each child individually and go to lunch, buy that special outfit, get a new haircut and do something fun. Start the conversation now and keep it going all school year long with ongoing ice cream dates. To make the date extra special, select a special restaurant for lunch—one with a special treat!
Before the First Day for Elementary
Ask your child what he’d love to be when he grows up and plan a special back-to-school outing around the theme. Click “Going Places” on KCParent.com for inspiration. A few ideas include:
- Astronaut: Take him to the Gottlieb Planetarium at Union Station Kansas City (UnionStation.org), then spend a day playing at Science City, where you’ll explore the Science of the Sphere exhibit, and buy some astronaut ice cream in the gift shop for a treat.
- Artist: Explore the free Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Nelson-Atkins.org) and encourage your child to take photos throughout the galleries, talk about his favorite pieces and then grab a bite on the Plaza afterward. As you walk the Plaza, take time to look at the art in the architecture. Or create your own masterpiece at a paint-your-own pottery shop like Paint, Glaze & Fire or Ceramic Café.
- Baseball Player: Spend a day at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM.com), where you’ll discover the history of American baseball from the African American perspective, beginning in 1863, and get to know many famous local baseball stars. Kids and adults alike will love measuring up against the life-size bronze statues of players in mid-game on the baseball diamond.
- Chef: Take your child to a local farmers market (complete guide on KCParent.com) and let him select a few ingredients. Spend a day cooking together and trying new recipes.
- Doctor: Visit KidScape at the new Johnson County Museum (JoCoGov.org/dept/museum/exhibits/kidscape). Young children love the all-new interactive KidScape with many aspects of adult life to explore and pretend. A favorite is the hospital where children care for sick patients.
- President: Learn about the presidency firsthand at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library (TrumanLibrary.org) in Independence. There, visitors participate in interactive exhibits including a replica Oval Office; they also explore Truman artifacts and special exhibits. Then, visit the Truman Home for a tour of the 33rd president’s house. After sightseeing, stop by Clinton’s Soda Fountain on the square for a treat.
- Toy Inventor: What kid doesn’t dream of inventing new toys? For many parents, back-to-school time prompts reminiscing about their own childhoods. Head to the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures (5235 Oak St., Kansas City, MO, 816.235.8000), where visitors explore hundreds of toys and treasures.
- Train Engineer: Ride the rails with the Belton, Grandview & KC Railroad (BeltonRailroad.org) with train rides on weekends. Kids love the 5-mile, 45-minute round trip train ride.
Before the First Day for Tweens & Teens
Making the most of your time with your children is important. Teens and tweens often spend more time with peers than parents, but keeping communication open is essential, and having fun together is the best way to do just that! Heading back to school can be exciting, but also a bit stressful. Take time to relax with some fun.
- Laugh: Make reservations to see a show at Comedy City (816.842.2744 or visit ComedyCity.cc). Comedy City is a live improv comedy competition where members of the audience offer suggestions as two teams compete to earn your laughs! The All Ages Shows (7:30 on Friday and Saturday evenings) are clean (bad language isn’t allowed), funny and one-of-kind. You’ll never see the same show twice.
- Teamwork: Test your puzzle solving skills at one of the city’s many escape room entertainment venues. You’ll find Escape Room at Paradise Park and Union Station (EscapeRoomKC.com), Breakout KC in the River Market district (BreakoutKC.com) and the Exit Room in Lee’s Summit and Overland Park (TheExitRoomKC.com). Players are given a time limit to solve puzzles and unravel codes to escape a real-life scenario.
- Adventure: For those who want a daring adventure, head to Go Ape KC (GoApe.com/Locations/Missouri/Kansas-City), located in Swope Park. This attraction offers treetop and private group adventures. The two- to three-hour obstacle course includes 40 crossings that feature rope bridges, five zip lines, Tarzan swings and net bridges.
Kristina Light’s eldest daughter dreams of being a lepidopterist (Butterfly scientist), so the annual Festival of Butterflies at Powell Gardens is on their back-to-school priority list.