News and Events for the Kids (SUMMER, 2008)
St. Louis Sizzles with Excitement
Smart Mom’s Know, “There’s plenty to do here in Saint Lou!”
Summer fun for kids abounds in St. Louis. After we list some interesting programs, you’ve only to do a few fast searches to get all of the details. One piece of advice is if there is a registration, “Sign-up early.” Many of these suggestions are so popular, and affordable, that they fill up very fast. You don’t want to be left out of the fun!
- If you have a 6-12 year old who loves the outdoors, perhaps they would enjoy the Junior Ranger program sponsored by the St. Louis County Parks. You need to go on line for this one. http://stlouisco.com/parks/jranger/JrRangerIntro.htm In order to join up, download the fun sheets for each park and answer all of the questions that are based on individual park visits. The trips to the parks are fun and rewards are great: a Junior Ranger badge, a certificate of participation and, best of all, two vouchers for free admission to nature programs.
- If you are raising a young gardener, why not attend the free meetings of the Fox 2 Children’s Garden Club? This group meets all year long, but the summer schedule is:
All meeting are at 9 a.m. No RSVP’s are required.
- May 3: Annuals at Queeny Park, Greensfelder Rec. Complex (550 Wideman Rd.)
- June 7: Perennials in a Container at Sherwood’s Forest Nursery& Garden Center (2651 Barrett Sta. Rd.)
- July 12: Summer Bulbs with Jason Delany at the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Blvd.)
- August 2: In Celebration of Useful Plants at Queeny Park, Greensfelder Rec. Complex (550 Wideman Rd.)
- Disc (Frisbee) golf is an excellent, very low cost, high interest activity to introduce to your pre-teens and teens. The trick is to let them discover it for themselves. If you show too much enthusiasm, it’ll be a lost cause. Buy a few brightly colored Frisbees and drop a few hints about the “sport.” Several St. Louis County parks have courses to play. My personal favorite is Jefferson Barracks, but there are currently 4 County parks that offer this inexpensive golf alternative. The only thing you need is a personal Frisbee. No carts, no bags, no special shoes or clothing are required, just enthusiam. http://stlouisco.com/parks/disc-golf.html
- The St. Louis Science Center has so much going on this summer, that it would be folly to try to list everything here. A much better idea is to mention a few, and then direct you to their official site for the complete calendar. http://www.slsc.org/ Probably most popular are the summer camp programs: Summer Science Blast, Great River Adventure, Segway Adventure and Science ‘n Motion. The various programs serve children from pre- kindergarten through high school. Half-day and full-day week-long camps are available. For more information, or to request a brochure/registration form by mail, call 314.289.4439. To register by telephone, call 314.289.4439 or 800.456.SLSC, x4439.
- The Children’s Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden is featuring some Great Green Adventures this summer. http://www.mobot.org/finn/family.html
- In May it’s “Kid’s in Bloom.”
- In June it’s “Trees Inside and Out.”
- In July it’s “Kids Care for the Earth.”
- In August it’s “Power of Plants.”
- They'll be celebrating Henry Shaw's 208th Birthday on July 24, 2008 with fun activities. Join in the festivities!
- It’s All Happening at the ZOO! If you haven’t noticed how beautiful the iron sculptures are since they have developed their rich, brown patina of rust, be sure to take a look as you enter. I see a great photo-op here. And when you enter, please notice that you do not have to stop and pay for a ticket. Unlike most other cities, our world-class zoological garden is free (paid by resident’s tax money). It’s no wonder that it’s packed on beautiful, summer days. http://www.stlzoo.org/
The Zoo offers a large variety of summer programs for children of all ages and ability levels. This includes an offering for children with special needs grades K-12. Registration is required so go to http://www.stlzoo.org/education/programsforindividualsfami/ and make your choices now. Three favorites are Camp Kangaroo, Camp Joey and this year’s Teen Camp, “Animals in Action.” http://www.stlzoo.org/education/programsforindividualsfami/campkangazoo/
These camps are not free, but they are discounted if you are a “Friend of the Zoo,” so you may want to purchase a membership. If your budget is a bit tight, I suggest scheduling a Family Zoo Morning each week. On your schedule focus on different parts of the Zoo each week and keep a log of observations, complete with drawings of animals, drawn maps, and photographs.
Hey! What about lunch?
Start now by collecting colorful bags, left over to-go condiments, cups, napkins, and anything that would be handy (and fun) on a picnic.
The main idea here is to be compact. Limit yourself to a tote bag, if possible. Chances are you will be the one toting it, so make it attractive, yet functional. It must be able to hold plenty of drinks, or else use the small, paper sleeves of drink mix that you just add to a bottle of fresh water. Remember St. Louis water ranks #1 in the country!
Choose foods that do not need refrigeration, unless you plan to eat first., the foil wrapped hot dogs are fine. PB&J is an all time favorite. Add veggie snacks, fruit and chips as desired. Most importantly, eat something at home first. If you wait, and the crew is hungry, that first snack stand (with the sky-high prices) will look way too good. Not to mention that tempers tend to flare on an empty stomach!
If you are a sneaky mom or dad, make a casual comment about how sorry you feel for those poor people in the snack line, no PB&J’s for them.
Aldi markets are my absolute favorite for grabbing “picnic/ lunch bag” fare. It’s a fast trip with few choices to make. Their peanut butter is great, the jelly tasty, the chips reasonable, and the bread is always soft and fresh (an absolute necessity for PB&J’s). Most complete picnics for 4-6 come in at under five bucks! Even if you serve foil wrapped hot dogs, the price stays very, very low. I love the Reynolds foils squares that I buy in a box at Dollar Tree. They make my “Aldi’s dogs” look very professional! Just remember to save all those relish and mustard packs and plastic cutlery that they throw in with carry-out orders. Don’t forget the hand sanitizer. In fact, better wash the hands thoroughly, and use the sanitizer.