It’s their summer break, a time to relax and have fun. Yet, inevitably, those precious little mouths will say two words, “I’m bored.” Learn the ABC’s of summer break in Mid-Missouri and consider these 26 ideas.
A is for getting ‘Artsy’
Stop by Capital Arts Imagination Station and put everyone’s imagination to artistic use, with recycled materials, paint and art supplies available. Take in a creative art classes at Unique Creations or inquire about themed summer art camps for kids ages six through high school at Village Art Studio.
B is for ‘Being like Belle’ … or the Beast
Capital City Productions invites audiences to be their guest for “Beauty and the Beast” Aug. 10-13, 17-20 and 24-26 at the Shikles Auditorium. Children can join in “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” summer camp from July 24-28 and July 31-Aug. 4. followed by a public performance of camp play at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4.
C is for ‘Camp MAGIC’
Kids experiencing the death of a loved one are invited to Camp MAGIC (Mending A Grief In Children), held rom 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 3 at Binder Park Pavilion. The camp is a one-day grief retreat for children ages 6-18 where they find ways to identify and express their grief through making memory boxes, reading books, releasing butterflies and more. SSM Health Hospice & Home Health Foundation sponsors the free camp, which is staffed by professionals and trained volunteers.
D is ‘Disc Golf’
Jefferson City Parks and Recreation and Jefferson City Disc Golf Club teamed up to construct two 18-hole disc golf courses — the Joseph C. Miller Park and the north end of Binder Park. There is no cost to play, and they are open during daylight hours.
E is for the ‘Eclipse’
The Capital Eclipse Celebration is a weekend long festival with activities planned prior and during the total eclipse at about 1:15 p.m. Aug. 21. Held from Aug. 19-21, the celebration includes paid and free events including prison tours, a drum circle, concerts, the Scholastic education series, Katy Bike Ride, a lecture by a real-life astronaut, art-related activities, eclipse viewing and BBQ.
F is for ‘Farmers Markets’
Take the kids to a farmers market and learn about healthy eating. The Lincoln University Farmers Market includes art, learning and kids play activities, cooking demonstrations and a tasting table. Stop by from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday through early October at the Dickinson Research Building parking lot.
G is ‘Gone Fishing’
Take the kids fishing at any local or nearby waterway, lake or public pond. Who knows you might just catch some dinner. Or visit the Reel Time Fishing With Kids event from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. June 10 at the Bass Pro Shops Lake in Columbia.
H is for ‘Helping Out’
Help out your community by cleaning up a local park or your neighborhood. Volunteer at a local animal shelter or inquire about reading stories or books to residents at a senior center or nursing home. Find out from the kids what they would be interested in doing, and make a plan to give back.
I is for ‘Ice Cream Splash’
Taste lots of ice cream varieties at the Jefferson City Cultural Arts Foundation’s third annual Ice Cream Splash from 6-9 p.m. July 14 in front of Arris Pizza Palace. Live entertainment, unique arts and crafts, vendors and more is also included in the ticket price. Proceeds benefit funding a new Splash Park at the corner of Lafayette and Dunklin.
J is ‘JC Parks’ summer camps
In June and July, Jefferson City Parks and Recreation offers five main one-week camps for children in first through seventh grades. Camp activities could include archery, canoeing, fishing, confidence course, hiking, nature studies, recreational sports, swimming and more.Additional co-sponsored camps and sports clinics are also offered.
K is gaining ‘Knowledge’
Gain knowledge at area museums, including the Missouri State Museum at the Capitol, Jefferson City Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Missouri Military History, Cole County Historical Society Museum and Jefferson Landing Historic Site.
L is ‘Library Activities’
The Missouri River Regional Library offers multitude of free activities for children and teens, including monthly family movie nights, story times, anime clubs, card and board game sessions, guest speakers and educational programs.
M is ‘Movies under the Stars’
Spend an evening watching a free film at the Capitol south lawn during Stars Under the Stars. This year’s line-up is Disney’s animated classic, “Beauty and the Beast” June 9, “The LEGO Movie” July 14 and “Angels in the Outfield” Aug. 4. Each movie begins at dusk.
N is for a ‘National Holiday’ celebration
Have the kids search for national holidays and celebrate it in their own way. Don’t forget their most important day, National Children’s Day on June 12. If they choose to get a little wild on their holiday, just remind them it’s National Eat Your Vegetables Day on June 17.
O for ‘Out and About’ at kid-friendly events
Get out and about to some kid-themed events, such as KidsFest, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 3 in downtown Jefferson City. This area-wide event boasts lots of free activities including games, demonstrations, vendors, performances, food and giveaways.
P is for ‘Pow Wow’
Learn about Native American culture at the 10th annual “For the People” Pow Wow, from noon-10 p.m. May 27 and noon-5 p.m. May 28 at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fairgrounds. Watch the head staff perform many dances and songs to the drum circle. Guests can visit Native American vendors, taste native food, enter raffles and even join in the fun.
Q is for ‘Questing”
Scavenger hunts can become epic quests of adventure and some of the most popular games include geocaching and munzee. There are free geocaching and munzee quests around the globe, and Jefferson City, Parks and Recreation encourages them within in its many parks.
R is for the ‘Runge Conservation Nature Center’
Stop by the Runge Conservation Nature Center for bird watching, land cover demonstrations and live animal sightings and education, hiking, exploring 3,000 square feet of exhibits and displays, or attend one of its public educational and interactive programs.
S is for National ‘Skateboarding’ Day
Celebrate National Skateboarding Day (June 21) early during the 2017 Shred Fest from 4-7 p.m. June 3 at Columbia Skate Park in Columbia. Show off skills by entering the best trick contest, watch the action, and listen to music. The event includes helmet giveaways and food, and is free.
T is for ‘Time’ to read with animals
Kids of all ages will enjoy a new program, “Sally’s Buddy Books,” at the Jefferson City Animal Shelter, in honor of the late optometrist Sally Bodenhamer. Select a book, read to animals at the shelter and create more sociable animals for adoption.
U is for ‘Up-cycling’
Take some of worn out household items and “up-scale” them. Explore some ideas on Pinterest and visit some local businesses for inspiration. For example, grab some photos, pieces of fabric and paint, and create a shadow box for the family room or as a present for the grandparents.
V is for ‘Vacation Bible Schools/Camps’
Many Jefferson City area churches hold vacation bible schools and summer camps that offer the benefits of a summer camp, plus the bonus of spiritual enrichment. Check with your church or explore some others, with most churches in Jefferson City holding vacation bible schools.
W is for getting ‘Wet’
Jefferson City also has multiple pools for learning lessons such as the Jefferson City YMCA, or enjoying aquatic activities, dive-in movies or just splashing, such as Jefferson City Parks and Recreation’s Memorial Park Family Aquatic Center and Ellis-Porter Riverside Pool.
X is for moving beyond the toy ‘Xylophone’
The toy xylophone is often a toddler’s first introduction to making music. Kids can move on to real instruments, strengthen their vocals, learn dances and create visual art while studying culture at the Music, Art and Dance Camp in Jefferson City. With two weeklong sessions available for kids ages 4-12, this year’s camp has an Australian theme.
Y is camping through the ‘Y’
Join a summer camp at the Jefferson City YMCA. Summer camp opportunities for kids from kindergarten through sixth grade are held May 30-Aug. 1, with activities including field trips, camp assemblies, special guests and events, a climbing wall, swimming, arts and crafts, weekly themes, science, games and more. Youth summer sports camps are also available.
Z is for ‘Zoom’
The summer does go by so fast, so zoom into fun experiences. Take in some roller-skating by racing around and playing games at SK8 Zone. Or, fly across Missouri’s beautiful treetop canopies at the Eco Zipline Tours in New Florence, near historic Hermann, or Zippy’s Zipline in Eldon near Lake of the Ozarks.