I have four very good friends who brought their kids to Panama, and I've seen in every instance how the kids thrive here.
The international schools are very good. There are a variety of focuses, such as French schools, Jewish schools, Japanese schools or international schools that teach in English. At school, your children will meet kids from around the globe. One of my friends has a nine-year-old child who just represented his school in the Panama Math Olympics.
Panama is such a kid-friendly country that they host many kids-only activities, such as triathlons for kids, painting classes, pajama parties, story time, and more. The Panamanians are very big into family, so you can take your kids just about everywhere.
If you need help, nannies and maids are plentiful and inexpensive. Plus, the expat community works together to pickup kids, schedule carpooling, organize sleepovers, and get kids involved in community activities.
There is so much to do in Panama that it’s like a child’s playground. The ocean provides a whole slew of entertainment: swimming, snorkeling, surfing, spelunking, catching sand crabs, pier fishing, and collecting shells. Then there is the jungle, where you can see monkeys, sloths, parrots and other exotic birds.
In or near Panama City, there are 3 different public areas that have things like bike paths, outdoor gyms, basketball courts, tennis courts, and 4-seater bike rentals. Plus there is a great zoo that's different from the typical American-style zoos.
All over the country , there are waterfalls to climb, exotic plants to identify, and frogs to catch.
For traditional entertainment, there are movie theaters, kids restaurants such as Chuck E. Cheese, shopping malls, bowling alleys, golf, kids’ theater, concerts, and crazy over-the-top game rooms in many condo buildings with arcade-style video games and bounce houses.
There are also many special events that you can find listed in The Visitor, the Panama newspaper for visitors. (Check it out online at www.thevisitorpanama.com.) Some of these yearly events include the circus, a yearly fair, a boat show, international food fairs, and a host of other expos that can appeal to both kids and adults.
If you want your children to be involved in charity organizations, they can donate their time at animal shelters, help feed the hungry, or donate their time to a family who needs a little help around their house.