Family time is a critical part of growing up. And sharing activities with children helps them grasp the importance of social interaction while developing the skills necessary for later in life. But quality time with the kids doesn’t have to be all work. From animals to archaeology and spelling to science, help your child compete to be the best of the best, or just enjoy some of the following activities.


Palm Beach Zoo Children’s Workshops

1301 Summit Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33405
(561) 547-9453

Ages: 2-4
Event Date(s): Year Round

The Zoo has over seven hundred animals from Florida, North, South and Central America, Australia, and Madagascar. You and your child can get up close and personal with some of them in this workshop designed to excite and intrigue. In addition, your child will be entertained with stories, crafts, songs and games. The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society endeavors to “inspire people to act on behalf of wildlife and the natural world.” Early childhood education is a good place to start.


Mound Key Kayak Tour to Koreshan State Historic Site

8661 Corkscrew Road
Estero, FL 33928
(239) 992-2184

Ages: 12-15
Event Date(s): Now through December 2016

Families can take a kayak tour within the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve to reach the cultural center of the Calusa Indians where Ponce de Leon arrived from Spain in 1513. The nearly 2000-year-old shell mounds rise up over thirty feet, and are considered the most significant archaeological site in South Florida. On your way to the island you may spot dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and wading birds native to Florida. The tour is offered by The College of Life Foundation (The News-Press 24th Annual Best of Southwest Florida Winner). Reservations are required.


Miami Herald Spelling Bee

3511 N.W. 91st Ave.
Miami, FL 33172
(305) 376-2729
Miami Herald Spelling Bee (March 2017):
Scripps National Spelling Bee (May 23-25, 2017):

Ages: 9 to 12

In 1996, deaf student Jimmy McCarthy, of St. Petersburg, Florida, made history when he became the first hearing-impaired individual to compete in a national Spelling Bee. In 2016, two South Florida students made it to the national level. Now is the time for parents and kids to start looking into competing, beginning with the Miami Herald Spelling Bee. Contact Adele Lorenzo at the newspaper for dates, information and specifics about this event. The champion of each local spelling bee qualifies for participation in the Scripps National Spelling Bee to be held at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland.

Related: 5 Tips For Students Adjusting To New School Schedules


The 62nd State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida STEM Competition

The Lakeland Center
701 W. Lime St.
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 834-8100

Ages: 11-18
Event Date(s): March 28-30, 2017

The State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida (SSEF) is gearing up for the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) competition. Beginning in September, teachers and their sixth to twelfth grade students are given the rules and policies of STEM experimental research projects. So now is the time to compete in schools and fairs in preparation for selection by your South Florida county or region. Colleges and businesses follow the competition closely, and offer cash awards and scholarships to those exhibiting outstanding talent in their fields.


Little People Playthings by Pocket of Lollipops

Miami Main Library
101 W. Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130
(305) 375-5599
TDD (305) 375‑2878

All ages
Event Date(s): October 29, 2016

The libraries Artist Pop UP Studio Program has on display over 200 dolls from their collection. The dolls represent many countries and exhibit their regions distinctive style. This event not only invites families to view the dolls, but Pocket of Lollipops, a husband/wife artistic and musical team, will entertain with music that promises to take listeners to “another dimension far in the past or future.” Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes.

Related: Ask A South Florida Expert: After-School Activity Ideas

Dylyce P. Clarke is author of The Royalty Principle: a Guide to Reigning in the Kingdom of Heaven. Her personal testimony includes events which she refers to as “close encounters of the God kind.” She is President of Space Coast Word Weavers, a writer’s critique group, and has published short fiction stories in magazines.