No matter how much fun a child might have in school, summer is still better. Summer is the time when kids get to design their own day. They can watch bugs in the morning and wade in the gutter in the afternoon. The next day they can reverse the schedule and do water sports in the morning and science experiments after lunch.
If Mom and Dad both work, the kids' summer might not be quite so unstructured. But still, there will be long hours of sunlight and more time for fun. No matter how children spend their days, you can be sure of two things: Summer ends too quickly, and none of us get all the playtime we want.To help you make sure you take advantage of every opportunity, we made a list for you and your youngsters. We found 55 ways to have fun. There must be at least 2,042 more.
So, if you can't get excited about anything on this list, invite some young friends over to eat Popsicles and lounge on the lawn and make up your own lists of Fun Things You Absolutely Have to Do Before School Starts Again.
Here's our summer list of ways to have fun at home or on the road. Some cost money and some are free:
1. Whether you want to act, cook, make puppets or jewelry, climb rocks, play with computers, study birds, learn wilderness survival or math maneuvers - Salt Lake Community College Kids on Campus has a class for you. Three sessions: June 10-28, July 8-26, and Aug. 5-23. Ages 8 to 17. Prices range from $45 to $70. 957-3428.
2. Find the biggest piece of butcher paper in the world, roll it out in your driveway and paint a mural.
3. The pools open on Memorial Day thanks to Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation. You can enter a jacks or marble tournament. You can play T-ball, machine-pitch softball, be in a track meet, take golf lessons or take day camp through one of 13 recreation centers. Help out with chores at Wheeler Farm or sign up for classes and learn some old-fashioned skills. For a catalog and calendar call 468-2560.
4. June 3-9 are Butch Cassidy Days in Moab. 1-800-635-6622.
5. If you are a Cub Scout, you can tie some knots, pan for gold, race a paddle boat, climb a wall or just fish at the Cub Country adventure camps in Millcreek Canyon from June 15 to Aug. 10. New camps this year include Fort Centennial, Jurassic Forest, Mississippi River Adventure and Twilight. $9.50 per boy; $2 for adults. 582-3663.
6. Play records and teach your children the dances from your youth. Twist and shout.
7. Make Pretend Soup. Here's the recipe:
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 small banana, sliced
1 cup berries (any kind, fresh or frozen; if they're frozen, defrost them first, and use all the juice - it'll add color to the soup)
1. Place the orange juice in a bowl. Add yogurt, honey, and lemon juice.
2. Whisk "until it is all one color."
3. Place 5 banana slices and 2 tablespoons berries in each bowl.
4. Ladle the soup over the berries and bananas.
NOTE: You can add other kinds of fruits as well. Slices of kiwi are especially pretty. Makes about 4 servings.
To the grown-ups: A few cooking hints and safety tips:
- To help a young child measure the juice without fear of spilling, put the measuring cup in a pie pan or a baking pan. Put the juice in a small pitcher and let your youngster pour it into the measuring cup. If spilling occurs, it goes into the pan, and there is no mess.
- Expect honey to be messy. Don't worry too much about exact measurements. Whatever your child can manage will be fine for the recipe.
- Use a big bowl for the whisking. You can hold the bowl steady while your young cook whisks away. You can trade places if somebody gets bored or tired.
- To help a young child peel a banana, cut it in half crosswise, then make a slit all the way down the side of the skin. Repeat on the other side, and give the peel a little tug to start. Then let your young cook do the rest.
- If you decide to use fresh-squeezed juice, squeezing the juice will be a fun project unto itself. It is quite challenging for a small child to squeeze juice, so be sure to provide a guiding hand and lots of elbow room.
- From "Pretend Soup" by Mollie Katzen
8. The Dixie College Computer Camp is for 12- to 14-year-olds. Create your own home page, learn about CD-ROM and computer graphics. Camp costs $149 and runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 8 through 12 and includes a tour of a local computer software manufacturer. 652-7675. Also musical theater, chemistry, basketball, football, sports medicine and junior golf.
9. June 7 finds a Pony Express re-enactment at Simpson Springs in Tooele County.
10. Set a trap by digging a little hole in the garden. Rinse an empty yogurt container and stick it down in the hole so the top is level with the ground. Put a little cheese in the bottom of the container and see what kind of critter comes calling.
11. On June 14-16, take in the Paiute Restoration Gathering and Pow-Wow in Cedar City.
12. The library rocks all summer long. Any day of the week, you can find a preschool story hour somewhere in the Salt Lake Valley. The official summer reading program is called "Reading Is a Magic Trip." Children will log their triumphs and get a certificate from Ms. Frizzle. A real live Magic School Bus will take children to Kennecott, the Parley's Water Treatment Plant and other amazing spots; preregistration is a must. The week of July 8-13 offers a free literature conference for children who want to write poetry, drama or meet a favorite author. All this plus chess tournaments, the Internet and science experiments. Call 524-8200.
13. Go to Morgan, June 20-22, for the Morgala Days Rodeo, at the fairgrounds.
14. On June 22 at Salt Lake County's Wheeler Farm there will be an 1896 ice cream social.
15. A scavenger hunt will make time go more quickly for little brothers and sisters when they go with the family to an older child's soccer or baseball game. Draw a picture list and have young child look for a baby, a fan wearing a red shirt, a clock, a sign with a picture of food, etc.
16. If you don't mind paying for a pretty place to stroll, Red Butte Garden and Arboretum is for you. Admission: $3 for adults; $2 for kids; under 4 free. Or call the Red Butte Wildflower Hotline, at 581-4747, and find your own pretty place.
17. Pretend you are a tourist and go to the Visitor Information Center, 180 S. West Temple, in Salt Lake City. They'll suggest ways of entertaining children at Pioneer Trails State Park, or listening to the Tabernacle Choir, or visiting the State Capitol or Kennecott. Call 521-2868.
18. Caryl Waller Krueger's book, "1001 Things to Do With Your Kids" (Abingdon Press), suggests having a block party. Choose the house in your neighborhood that has the biggest driveway. Invite everyone to bring a favorite dish to a pot-luck supper. Before supper hold a three-generation relay race. After supper, sing songs.
19. Discover something smelly, old or crawly on a Utah Museum of Natural History adventure. Four- and 5-year-olds can study microbes - slime, mold and protozoa - stars and planets, sea life or a dozen other aspects of the natural world. Six- to 8-year-olds can do herpetology, physics, electricity and more. Nine- to 12-year-olds can take, among others, a "Detectives of the Past" class or "Paleo Insects in Amber." Call 578-8287.
20. Make a scary tunnel. Connect card tables with sheets. Turn off the lights, then let kids crawl through. A grownup or older child can make weird noises and reach into the tunnel to touch the crawlers with an ice cube, a feather or some wet noodles.
21. On July 4, there will be Independence Day celebrations throughout the state and, in Blanding, the Blue Mountain Shadows Folk Festival.
22. Lallapalooza creates art adventures regularly at the Children's Museum of Utah. Paint and paste and join in the fun every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. There will be magicians and science projects, too, in addition to the museum's regular hands-on displays. Call 322-5268.
23. July 12-14 is a Balloon Festival in Park City and Scottish Festival in Payson.
24. Make a grandparent book. Take notes on what things your children already know about their grandparents. When they visit, have the children ask more questions about what the grandparents were like when they were little, or the world events they remember. Look through old photo albums together to jog some memories. Write up more notes and put them in a folder.
25. July 24 Pioneer Days celebrations throughout the state. Call 538-1467 or 531-1996 for details.
26. Have a family reading hour every day - after lunch or just before bedtime. You can each bring your own book, or read aloud. Try the classics. If your children get squirmy with "Tom Sawyer" or "The Jungle Book," move on to "How to Eat Fried Worms" or "Amelia Bedelia."
27. Ballet or baton twirling, poetry or phonics, karate or chorus or dinosaurs or drama - there must be 100 classes offered through Granite School District's Community Education this summer. Call 481-7204.
28. July 19-20 is Lamb Days in Fountain Green.
29. Write a letter to a relative.
30. Look out. The Davis County Library summer reading program is called "Dangermaze Utah." A series of adventure stories, written especially for this program, give children choices. For details, call 451-2322.
31. July 26-Aug. 3 is the annual Festival of the American West in Logan. 1-800-225-FEST.
32. City Rep Family Theatre offers classes for actors 16 and under; three sessions, June through August. The play "Treasure Island" runs through July 13 and "Alice in Wonderland" runs July 20 through Sept. 14. 532-6000.
33. July 26-27 is the annual Chili Cook-off at Duck Creek, in Kane County.
34. Make a miniature golf course in your back yard.
35. Make Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies. Here's the recipe:
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIES
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate, melted, cooled
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Lightly spray or grease 8-inch-square baking pan. Cream butter, peanut butter and brown sugar in large bowl of electric mixer. Beat in eggs, vanilla and melted chocolate just until thoroughly combined. Fold in flour, baking powder and peanuts. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or just until toothpick inserted in center comes out slightly moist; do not overbake. Cool in pan on rack. Cut into squares. Makes about 16 brownies.
- Thanks to Jean Williams, Deseret News food editor, for this recipe
36. Aug. 1-3 and 6-10 offers the Castle Valley Pageant.
37. Warthogs on display! At Hogle Zoo, through mid-September. Monkey Forest, the first phase of Monkey Island, opens in August. The zoo offers overnight safaris and a dozen kids' classes, too. For tots through teens. With names like "Pachyderm Pals" and "Gorillas in our Midst." 582-1631.
38. Write a poem that rhymes.
39. Here's a reading suggestion: 5- to 9-year-olds who like "James and the Giant Peach" should also like "Dr. Doolittle" and "The Wizard of Oz." For more suggestions on making reading part of your family's daily life, check out "Taking Books to Heart," by Paul Copperman (Addison-Wesley).
40. PACT is the YWCA's program for teens who want to learn about healthy relationships and to take what they've learned into the community. PACT runs Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. from June 17 to July 30. Cost is $95, with financial aid available. Call 355-2804.
41. In Moab on Aug. 10, the Dead Horse Point Square Dance will be held at Dead Horse Point State Park. 259-2614. Meanwhile, at Promontory, the 20th Annual Railroader's Festival will be held at Golden Spike National Historic Site. 471-2209.
42. Play charades.
43. Slow-pitch softball, bowling, puppet shows in the park, cartooning, drama, tennis tournaments - and more. Sandy Parks and Recreation has a fat booklet full of fun listings. Call 561-6712.
44. From Rainbow Publishing in Salt Lake City (1-800-598-1441) comes a series of workbooks geared toward helping children keep up on school skills over the summer. There are also lists of suggestions for family activities such as holding a fire drill in your home.
45. Surprise an elderly neighbor by weeding his or her garden.
46. Make plans to attend something musical with your child - a ballet, symphony, a concert in the park.
47. Aug. 29-Sept 2 are Onion Days in Payson.
48. Diaper gym/swim, toddler gym/swim and swimming classes for children of all ages at the YWCA this summer. The YWCA summer camp for girls gives 6- to 13-year-olds a place to grow vegetables, play games and do art projects and learn ethnic studies. 7:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m. June 17 through Aug. 23. Scholarships available. Call 355-2804.
49. Wait until dark, then play flashlight tag.
50. Kidspace is a hands-on activity center at the Salt Lake Art Center. Please call ahead if you are bringing more than five children; those under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Paint, clay, collage. Free admission. Call 328-4201.
51. Throughout the summer, Mondays and Tuesdays are special Kids' Days at Tracy Aviary, with activities from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There's a $1 charge for art supplies. A $10 family pass gives admission for the summer. Call 596-8500 for details.
52. Trigonometry, family camping, parent-child golf, Spectacular Spanish, Space Adventure, Creative Clay, art camps, gymnastics, sailing, U.S. history and a dozen other classes and adventures for youngsters 4 to 17 are available through the Youth Institute at the University of Utah. 581-6984.
53. Aug. 30 and 31 are Swiss Days in Heber.
54. This being the 100th anniversary of Utah's statehood, you might want to include at least one Utahish activity on your list. You could swim in the Great Salt Lake, or hike in Arches or Bryce.
55. If you like to learn as you ramble, call the Utah Museum Services Office (533-4235) for a free list of museums around the state.
Teens looking for a useful way to while away the summer can call the Volunteer Center in Salt Lake City, 978-2452, and talk to Dorene Gogins. She can find projects for youth as young as 10 years old; she can find one-time projects, ongoing projects or group activities for Scout troops or church youth groups. Volunteer centers in other parts of the state include those in Utah County, 374-8108; Weber County, 625-3782; and Cache County, 752-3103.