Colonial Williamsburg for Kids – Part 2

Last week, I posted the first part of Colonial Williamsburg for Kids. This week, let’s look at some of the great programs.


Let’s start with the pet peeve of a lot of the people that I worked with – please do not bring your 5 year old on the Ghosts Amongst Us program. “But Justin, it’s an adult program,” you’re saying. “But Justin, it has adult themes,” you’re saying. “But Justin, who would bring a five year old on a ghost tour,” you’re saying. Trust me – I have had them on my tour. The parents then complain that the tour is too scary for their children. The Tavern Ghost Walk is better for kids, but with the programs geared towards them, it’s not necessary.

What are those programs? Let’s look at a few. This is not meant to be a complete list, but just a jumping off point.

Lanthorn Tours

I will admit that I am pretty biased here – I gave these tours and they were among my favorites to do. This evening program is not offered to the general public often, but when it is, you should jump on it. Guided by a lanthorn, a guide will take you to four of the trade shops, and talk about how they operated. You’ll also get general knowledge and stories. Why are these different from seeing the shops during the day? When you go during the day, you see each one on its own. However, in the evenings, the lanthorn tour will link all four of the shops into a common theme. Status and wealth was a favorite of mine – especially when I visited the silversmith.

Courthouse trials

Want to be a lawyer? Ever dream of the excitement of sitting on a jury without all of that pesky missing work? The courthouse in Colonial Williamsburg runs a very entertaining program where members of the audience get to assist in the trial and then act as the jurors.  Will you find the defendant guilty? Will you be able to decide based upon the evidence, and the standards of the 18th Century?

Games on Palace Green

When it is time to get the kids running around, take them to the Palace Green. There, staff from Colonial Williamsburg will be hosting an informal game session, with fun games that would be played by kids in the 18th century. Hoop and stick was my favorite, but there are always others. Options vary based upon which staff member is around.


Every year, Colonial Williamsburg releases a new game around its Revolutionary City program. This year, it is the King’s Advance. The program integrates modern technology, cell phones, and social media into the mission of teaching history and engages children. It has been very highly regarded and there is a reward for success. It gets children involved as actors, learning about history, instead of just passively watching it take place.

No matter what type of programs you are looking for, Colonial Williamsburg has one for you. It is a great family trip because it is so easy to include everyone. I hope that this sample of things to do inspires you to check out the place that I called home for three wonderful years.