Summer’s almost here and just about every parent I know is thinking about what their kids will do this summer. On one hand, there’s the relief of relaxed days filled with fun. But you also need to find things for them to do to keep their minds occupied too. And for some parents, there is the stress of finding things for them to do during the days while you’re at work … Summer is a delicate balance like that.
In past years, my kids have filled their summer days with swimming, sandcastle building and fun days with their cousins. There’s been bike riding and library visits too. And we take day trips to explore aquariums, food trends (what? I write about food!) and more.
But this year, I am paying a little more attention to making sure that learning doesn’t fall by the wayside in the summer.
Recently, I was asked to sit in on a call with Microsoft Retail Stores and learn about what they have to offer parents like me. I was so surprised to learn that they offer summer camps. The week-long Youth Spark Summer Camps run for two hours each day, and teach kids things like visual storytelling and digital movie making. Best of all? They are absolutely free (the only catch is that parents are expected to remain at the store during the two hours).
Many stores also feature theater space that you can reserve for birthday parties and other gatherings — and kids get to play Xbox and check out the technology during them (you can reserve them for adult networking too). When I dropped in on the Danbury, Connecticut, Microsoft Store last Friday, there was a party happening in the theater space. The kids, who were doing some super active Kinect game, were jumping around and looked like they were having a blast.
At the store, you can also play with the latest Microsoft gadgets (I checked out the Surface when I was there … it had a pink keyboard). They have phones, Xboxes, computers and more set up and ready to check out.
And if you need a little tech support, the Answer Desk can help. Whether your computer is running slow or you need some help with parental controls, they will walk you through your issues. You don’t even need to book an appointment — just show up! Oh, and the stores offer classes for adults too. It was really interesting to hear how Microsoft is working to provide an environment for learning and explorations.
Have you dropped in on a Microsoft Store? What did you think?
Disclosure: I am being compensated by Microsoft via The Motherhood for listening in on the call, visiting the store and writing this post. All opinions are my own. Microsoft is also providing the gift card for the giveaway.