What’s your kid doing this summer?

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It’s a summer lament that’s been heard for decades from kids: “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”  If those are words heard in Keizer households, there are activities for our young ones to do this season.

Parents want to be sure their children are safe and active during the times when they are not in school or with the family. Costs and assessibility can certainly determine what a kid can do in the summer months. Fortunately there are a number of free activities available.

It doesn’t cost anything for kids to head to Chalmers Jones Park at the Keizer Civic Center to play in the splash fountain on days when it hits 75 degrees. There is no organized supervision at the fountain so parents need to be sure their kids are accompanied by a responsible guardian.

For kids who enjoy wheeled fun, the Carlson Skate Park, also at Chalmers Jones Park, is a good place to try bike and skateboard manuevers. Biking is also a big draw at Keizer Rapids Park where cyclists can hit the trails and the BMX trails.

For the little ones (age 3 to 7), the Keizer Community Library is offering Story Time each Thursday morning through Aug. 14.  The library is a good boredom-buster as well for the older kids.

The Boys and Girls Club again will host Wild Wild Rec in July and August with a set schedule at several city parks.

Even without Wild Wild Rec Keizer’s 18 parks are perfect for kids to play to their heart’s content with their fun limited by their imaginations. Most Keizer households are within walking distance of one of the parks.

Although summer is the time for kids to forget about school and homework, we think developing a series of camps to be staged at our school buildings is a good way to stave off idleness. Camps would be two- or three-day courses that teach about things kids are interested in: the stars, drawing comics, making videos, producing music—whatever kids like.

There would be no homework, no studying, no tests or quizzes, just fun things to learn. Experts in our community would be asked to donate time to conduct the camps. The curricula should be designed as low cost as possible so the camps could be extremely low- or no-cost to kids and their families.

The school buildings that sit empty in summer would be ideal locations for these camps. By summer of 2015 a community group can take on the challenge and design a series of camps to offer a wide variety of topics yet leave a very light footprint on the school building.

Such summer camps would add a dynamic element to the choices already available to Keizer kids, whether free or not.

  —LAZ

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