"What I Did on My Summer Vacation" is a September assignment being plotted in advance this month by wise Utah parents. Since there's nothing worse than hearing kids whine, "I'm bored!" now's the time to make a plan.
Not only will some advance scheduling keep boredom at bay, it might also keep kids out of trouble. The National Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL) notes that America has 5 to 7 million "latchkey" kids who spend their time home alone. And more than half of all violent juvenile crime occurs during the time kids are out of school.Our fair state is not immune from these problems. Statistics show that in Utah, 57 percent of all children under 13 were living with a single parent or had both mother and father in the work force. Rachel Fischer at Utah Children would love to see the community step up to provide more summer activities for kids.
Since no one loves the idea of television being the baby sitter, what can parents do?
We suggest you break out your calendar and grab a pencil. Be sure to allow some time for woolgathering and just plain daydreaming in all your planning. The kids will remind you this is a vacation, after all.
Below you'll find a plethora of day-brightening activities to fill up those long summer days. There are camps, events, suggestions and phone numbers for you to check out. May your days be full of fun! (And for heaven's sake don't let on that the kids may actually learn something while having fun!)
Like sunshine and blue skies - these things are all free!
- Nine rules for survival should you become "Lost in the Woods" taught by a representative of Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs; "Mythology, Men & Monsters!" not to mention magic shows and summer reading. All coming to your local Salt Lake County Library. Reg-is-ter in person or call: Kearns: 944-7612; West Valley: 944-7621; Riverton: 944-7549; Whitmore: 944-7533; East Millcreek: 944-7622; Smith: 944-7630; Park: 944-7618; West Jordan: 944-7646; Draper: 944-7548; Sandy: 944-7574 or Hunter: 944-7593.
- The first Monday of every month it's a free day for families at the Children's Museum of Utah, 840 N. 300 West. Call for tickets at 328-3383.
- Beginning July 10th the Brigham Young Museum of Peoples and Cultures (700 N. 100 East, Provo) opens a free exhibit "Common Threads: Weaving Cultural Identity," Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. closed on holidays, 801-378-6112.
- Murray Fish Daze, July 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at Winchester Park, 6400 S. 1100 West on the Jordan River. Open to all kids ages 12 and under. Bring a fishing pole and win prizes for the first fish caught, the biggest fish and the MOST fish. For this program and many others, get more information by calling 264-2614.
- The Weber County Library Sum-mer Reading Program is "Rock 'n Read." For kids 6 years and up, they will learn about science, music and a lot more. Discovery Time is for the 18-month to 5-years-old group and will begin June 14th. Call 801-627-6914 to register.
- Earn a certificate and a T-shirt by participating in the summer reading program at the Provo Library. Call 801-852-6658 for information.
- A "Friday Night Howl" - ever camped out on the family room floor? Pop some popcorn, watch videos, play games and have a family sleepover. (Parents are allowed to sneak to bed when their backs start hurting.)
- Deseret News garden columnist Larry Sagers notes that it's not too late to plant and tend a garden. Make this an allowance activity for spending money. Plant tomatoes, pumpkins, squash and watermelon now; and through mid-July, you can put in cool season plants like cabbage, broccoli and peas for mid-fall harvest.
For a small fee . . .
- It's a Saturday Safari at the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at BYU. Classes run from 9:30 a.m. to noon for kids ages 5-10. The cost is $4-$6 per student. The program runs through Aug. 1 and you can find out more by calling 801-378-5051
- Got any budding musical prodigy's at home? Treat them to a night under the stars at Deer Valley or Snowbird or under the gleaming crystal chandeliers at Abravanel Hall. On July 10th and 12th you'll get 2/5ths! That's a Beethoven Fifth Symphony and Fifth Piano Concerto. Or how about Rhapsody in Blue on Broadway on Aug. 7-9? And every kid alive ought to thrill to the cannon fire of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture Aug. 28-29. This would be worth saving for. Call 533-6683 for ticket information.
- Wee swimmers? Sign your toddler, pre-toddler and preschoolers up for swim classes at the YWCA. Some classes include gym activity. Times and fee information are available by calling 355-2804.
- It's a Dash 'n' Splash - fun run and swim at the Central City Community Center, 615 S. 300 East. Head to Liberty Park on June 26 at 9 a.m. The cost is $7 for those pre-registered; $9, the day of the run. Call 538-2062.
- Wheeler Farm's summer camps, June 8 through Aug. 28, are for kids 5-11 years old and will center on animal and farm life themes, crafts, games and more. Call 264-2212.
- It's hot. HOW HOT? At Tracy Aviary kids will find out Aug. 8 if it's hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk! But they can also find out how to birdwatch from members of the Audubon Society or learn how birds fly, swim and dive. (While the kids are at a class, moms or dads can learn about photography.) Call 596-8500 to pre-register.
- Calling all second-grade boys! It's a class on gross science. (Don't ask but the kids will love it!) The Children's Museum of Utah has lined up a bunch of fun classes from archaeology to doll making. Some scholarships are available. Call 328-3383 for registration information.
- Learn what's happenin' at Hill Air Force Base or when it's time for Strawberry Days on the Utah Travel Council's Travel Information On Line Web site. You can check out the whole summer at (www.utah.com) or call for recorded reports at 538-1896.
- To be or not to be . . . an actor! Check out the 16th annual Theatre School for Youth (ages 8-12) at the University of Utah's "Youth Education" summer classes. Call 581-6984 for registration info. And outside of Salt Lake City, there's King Koal Theatre for Youth in Price (435-637-2120) or the Nibley Children's Theatre at 435-752-7456.
- Sports camps? Name your plea-sure! Deer Valley's Adventure Camp offers hikes, learning activities and organized sports, all available by calling 1-800-424-DEER (3337). And Youth Education at the U. of U. includes everything from soccer to fly fishing, if you want something besides film making, guitar camp or creative writing. Call 581-6984 for information.
- And if your older kids are searching for career and work experience, the Salt Lake County's Summer Youth Development Program offers the chance to learn skills while earning money. Low-income youth ages 15-21 should call 468-3100 for the lowdown.
- Weber County sprouts will dig the Treehouse Children's Museum where the Earthworks Festival is a June highlight. Puppet shows, art garden crafts, pioneer games and ice cream are all awaiting your call at 801-394-9663.
- Don't forget, "it's all happenin' at the zoo!" Take the kids to see a tropical garden with 400 fluttering butterflies flitting before a waterfall. The Meet-a-Keeper program will teach kids what it's like to clean the foot pad of an 8,000-pound elephant and the World of Flight Bird Show is winging away with eagles, falcons and hawks. The newest exhibit is the Primate Forest with an indoor-outdoor viewing area. Call 582-1631 for information.
And kids - have fun!