Summer Activities for Kids in Lincoln, NE
Now that spring break has passed, we’re in the homestretch of the 2016-17 school year. Parents everywhere know all too well that in what seems like a matter of a few weeks – but is actually more like a couple of months at this point – school’s out for summer. And just like the famous Alice Cooper tune, during that time it’s likely going to feel like “School’s out FOR-EVER.”
All joking aside, it’s incredibly beneficial for kids to be involved in a variety of summer activities, and it ends up working out well for parents too. Right about now is the time to get signed up for most of them though, so if you haven’t already, you’ll want to start checking out the options right away. Here are just a few ideas, all of which we’ve heard great things about and wanted to pass along!
Although a fair amount of summer activities are outdoor-oriented (we’ll be pool/lakeside soon everyone!), with the summer scorchers we have here in Lincoln, you’ll want to keep a few fun indoor activities in mind so you can mix it up. The bowling alley, for one, is a great way to spend a few hours.
“Based on its popularity in year’s past, we will again be offering our Kids Bowl Free program, which will run from May 22nd through August 13th,” says Brian Kleinknecht of Sun Valley Lanes. “Parents can sign their kids (ages 5 to 15) up for two free games of bowling per day. Registration is done online at www.kidsbowlfree.com/sunvalley.
Kids benefit from our Kids Bowl Free summer program because bowling is a fun activity that they can participate in alongside people of all ages, whether it be their friends, parents, or even grandparents. That’s not something that you get with some other youth activities, such as baseball or football.”
He also notes, “If bowling isn’t your thing, Sun Valley Lanes also offers a state-of-the-art arcade and redemption center with over 20 games that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, as well as thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes that can be won!”
In agreement, Jennifer Davis-Korn of 48Bowl also highlights the Kids Bowl Free program as an excellent summer activity for kids.
“Summer opportunities for kids and families are abundant at 48 Bowl, Inc. centers, Parkway Lanes and Hollywood Bowl. The best parts about bowling as a family in the summer are that it never gets rained out, you don’t need to lather the kids in sunscreen or bug spray to play, and it adds about 1 mile to your fitness tracker for every three games bowled!
To help you enjoy your time and maintain your budget, our most popular program, Kids Bowl Free, is back. Kids Bowl Free allows for all Lincoln area children between the ages of 5-15 to receive two free games of bowling each day from May – August when lanes are available. The pass is over $700 in open bowling value and all families can get one per child, free, by just registering! Families who want to join in the bowling fun with older kids, parents, a sitter, grandparents, etc. can add a 4-Person Family Pass for a one-time fee of $36.95. And yes, everyone on the family pass also receives two free games each day of the summer.
Shoe rental is not included in the program, but unlimited shoe passes and punch cards are available for purchase at the centers. Families who use the Family Pass even two times during the summer will have already saved money. For more information about Kids Bowl Free please visit 48bowl.com.”
Kids not only benefit from regular activity but from continued interaction with friends and others their age. Without summer activities planned over the next few months, it can be easy for kids to bum around the house and experience both boredom and loneliness.
“There are a lot of opportunities out there for kids to stay active and continue some type of routine, so no matter what it may be, make sure to get them involved in something,” emphasizes Diane Hesson of Play It Again Sports. “Sports, in particular, can be so important for their overall health, providing them with physical challenges and helping with mental acuity, all while they’re developing positive social skills. Children have so many opportunities to participate at various levels of competition here in Lincoln, and really should take advantage of that luxury.
At Play It Again Sports, we offer everything you should need to keep active this summer. Whether it’s for baseball, softball, football, soccer, golf, or another sport or fitness-related activity, we’ve got the items to outfit you and/or your young athletes. We have knowledgeable staff who truly enjoy applying their knowledge to help our customers find the right items and the right fit. For me, it is so rewarding to watch these kids transition from one sport to another throughout the year and to watch them grow. We get to be involved in that process – more so than I ever thought. To outfit them with their first pair of cleats or bat and then help keep them in equipment as they grow and mature on the court or in the field, that’s a neat thing to be involved in and that is what the Play it Again Sports model is all about.”
Along with regular activity, it’s important to challenge your kids to try something new or to learn new things – keeping the brain fit is just as important as the body.
Learning shouldn’t stop when the school day or year ends — just like after-school programs, summer learning programs can also help children grow and succeed in a fun environment. World of Knowledge Child Development Center is dedicated to helping youngsters develop a love of learning in their earliest years.
Here are three ways children benefit from summer learning programs:
Build Social Skills: It gives children the opportunity to form positive connections with other kids their age. Through activities like educational games, creative projects, and free play, children will learn how to be open-minded and a good team player. They’ll meet children from all walks of life and learn what it takes to be a good friend.
Develop Healthy Habits: When children don’t have structure in their environment, they’re more likely to plop down in front of the TV and eat junk food all day. Staying involved in activities prevent children from forming those bad habits by instead piquing their interest in physical activity and serving them healthy snacks.
Explore Extracurricular Interests: Most of the time spent at school during the year is focused on core subjects. But children’s growing minds are naturally curious about a variety of other topics and activities. Just the same as after-school programs, summer activities present the chance to explore those interests in-depth, through dance classes, music lessons, and sports.
For the best of both worlds, there are summer learning programs in our community that incorporate regular activity as well as exposing kids to new experiences. “We continue with learning through our school-age summer program, which still incorporates fun as well as education throughout the entire summer,” says Dawn Robinson of World of Knowledge Child Development Center. “During the summer we also offer soccer, dance and cheer clinics, music classes, and Jump Bunch.
There are several ways parents can help their children through the summer to help maintain routine and learning that I highly recommend. Help your child continue or gain the love of books/reading by visiting the library weekly. Have your child keep a journal throughout the summer about their day or what their day is going to be like, as this will help with building language skills and organizational skills to put their thoughts together on paper. For younger children, they can draw pictures and dictate what their picture is all about while having someone write down what they are saying. Finally, help your child become or stay independent by giving them chores to do around the house, which will help responsibility as well as with routine when transitioning back to school.”
You’ll find that there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the arts here in Lincoln too — dance, theater, music, book clubs, arts and crafts, etc. are among the most popular youth activities over the summer months.
Yet another way kids can stay active and engaged, while also learning the many valuable lessons that come along with community involvement and giving back, is volunteering. Similar to adults choosing to donate their time and talents to a cause that they feel strongly about, kids can be active in the decision as to where they volunteer. Once you’ve come up with ideas, it’s usually as simple as contacting a few places to see what opportunities they have and moving forward with the best fit logistically. Most volunteer opportunities will offer flexible scheduling, which allows for kids to get involved as much or as little as they like. A couple good ideas for youth volunteers where there is a need include local animal shelters and senior living facilities.
Although commonly referred to as the “lazy days of summer,” it’s a good rule of thumb to keep some sort of activity on the agenda, and to simply encourage kids to get outside and experience the world around them. Just don’t go too crazy with jam-packing the schedule, because it is still a time for children to relax, play, and just be kids. But in the right combination, summer activities will be the memories that they’ll look back on fondly as adults, while also being important for continued development and a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle right now.