For many Santa Clarita Valley parents, the end of the school year is a time of dread. What are you going to do to keep the kids entertained and out of trouble?
Every parent wants their child to enjoy summer vacation. Activities don’t have to be educational, they can just be “fun.” Although, it is surprising how many “fun” activities can teach children new skills, or expose them to a wider world than their own backyard.
Use summer vacation as a time to engage and encourage your children to have active fun, away from homework, social media and the “same old routine.” Now is the time to make super summer memories.
Here’s a few ideas for enjoying your summer “kid” time.
Swim lessons are a typical summertime activity. Swimming is fun, and many children find the highlight of their summers is the annual chance to improve their breaststroke or backstroke.
In addition to the City of Santa Clarita Parks and Recreation swim lesson programs, which can be found in the Seasons magazine, there are also private swim schools to consider.
Academy Swim Club, 28079 Smyth Drive, Valencia
The only year-round, child-friendly aquatic safety program in the SCV. For more than 30 years they have provided an internationally recognized “Learn-to-Swim Program” to thousands of young children.
Water Wings Swim School, 8917 Reseda Blvd., Northridge
My Little Swimmer, 5654 Oakdale Ave., Woodland Hills
Revolution Swim School, 6454 Hesperia Ave., Lake Balboa
Pick your own fruit
Teach children where their food comes from. Take them to a nearby farm where they can pick their fruit. Depending on the season, there are “U Pick” cherry orchards and strawberry fields not far from the SCV. In the fall, seek out stone fruit and apples orchards to pluck your fruit.
McGrath Family Farm, 1012 W. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo
Info www. mcgrathfamilyfarm.com
A certified organic farm that grows its strawberries without the use of pesticides the farm also grows variety of flowers to encourage bee pollination.
Murray Family Farms, 6700 General Beale Road, Bakersfield
A great place for young children to explore the strawberry fields, pick some tasty fruit and visit the farm’s petting zoo. Take a peek at the peacock hutch and aviary to observe hundreds of tropical birds. There are also chickens.
Underwood Family Farms, 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark, 93021. Info: https://underwoodfamilyfarms.com
In addition to strawberries kids can visit the animal center, chicken house, climb the haystack and play in the sandbox.
Library reading programs
Santa Clarita Library reading programs are a great way to expose your child to reading as a “fun” activity. Too many children associate reading with school work and don’t realize the worlds of adventure that await inside the pages of a book.
Are they interested in magic? Space travel? Animals? Kids like themselves? There are books for nearly every interest.
The Santa Clarita Library Summer Reading Program, “A Universe of Stories,” runs June 10-July 27. To register, visit https://scvsummerreading.com.
Complete the 5 Book Summer Challenge. Participate in programs at your library. Earn digital badges by completing missions online and reading books from age specific lists. Pick up prizes in your library or be entered into online raffles.
Learn a new skill
Ask your child. What is the one thing they’d like to learn? What is their passion? It should be an activity in which they are currently not participating.
This is an opportunity for your child to expand their world and their skillset. They might discover an unknown talent, or they might discover they aren’t as interested in the activity as they thought. Both outcomes will teach your child something about themselves.
Do they want to learn how to draw? Archery? Gymnastics? How to throw a fastball? Cooking skills? Play the guitar? Maybe they want to learn how to surf?
You might be surprised to learn something you didn’t know about your child. Whatever their interests, or passions, there is usually a summer day-camp or class available somewhere in the southland.
It should be an annual exercise to try something new at least once a year.
A great place to check out available classes and programs is the City of Santa Clarita Seasons brochure. It can be found online at www.santa-clarita.com/city-hall/departments/recreation-community-services-and-open-space/recreation/seasons
Museums and other educational facilities throughout Southern California host annual summer sleepover experiences for children.
Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd., L.A.
Bugs and Butterflies sleepover is June 21, 6:30 p.m. Get exclusive access to the Butterfly Pavilion before the museum opens, explore exhibits after-hours, special bug-themed performance, enjoy touch specimens and more.
Antarctic Dinosaurs sleepover is July 19, 6:30 p.m. Explore the Antarctic Dinosaurs exhibit after hours and meet with a Natural History Museum scientist who has traveled to Antarctica. See a dinosaur encounters show, enjoy dinosaur touch specimens and more.
Sleepovers include access to museum exhibits after hours, 3D movies, themed crafts, activities, a scavenger hunt and special performances. It also includes an evening snack and continental breakfast the next day.
Children 5-12. Children must be accompanied by an adult with no more than two adults per one child and at least one adult per four children.
Los Angeles Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, L.A.
Creature Camp Outs: June 22, June 29, July 6, July 20, July 27, Aug. 3. Aug. 10, Aug. 17, Saturday 6:30 p.m. to Sunday 10 a.m.
Sleep in a tent under the stars and listen to the nighttime sounds of the zoo. This outdoor experience includes guided evening and morning tours of the zoo, interactive programs for the young and old, a nighttime snack and live animal presentations. Continental breakfast is included.
Aquarium of the Pacific 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach
Teen Overnight: Wednesday, Aug. 7, 5 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
Dive deep and enjoy a night sleeping with the fishes in this teen-only event. Start the night with a pizza party before becoming an ocean explorer to discover the mysteries of the deep sea. This overnight camp program includes aquarium exploration, hands-on activities, pizza party, light snack, cereal breakfast and a souvenir T-shirt.
Pilot your very own remote-operated vehicle (ROV) through an obstacle course, feed the stingrays at the aquarium, witness real bioluminescence in the aquarium classroom and sleep in front of one of the most popular exhibits, the Tropical Reef or the Sea Otter Habitat.