Get a Jump on Summer Activities for Kids
By Sarah Wright
Once school lets out for summer, parents scramble to sign their kids up for all sorts of fun activities. There are many options out there for kids of all kinds, such as summer theatre, day camp programs, parks and recreation events, and much more. Often these activities fill up quickly, so it’s good to start thinking about what your kids would like to do now, before summer arrives.
When kids are involved in summer activities, not only does it chase away the boredom blues, but kids can learn important skills like creating or crafting, and teamwork. Often these programs also boost a child’s confidence, helping them make new friends and create great summer memories. Here are just some of the exciting options available in the Lakes Region this year; plan ahead and sign up your kids early for the classes of choice.
If your child enjoys the spotlight, there are some great options for summer theatre workshops. The Winnipesaukee Playhouse in Meredith has a summer program for children ages 5 to 14, beginning in July. Campers will collaborate with a teacher and each other to create their own productions using storytelling and improvisation. They can also take beginner’s workshops in art, dance, and music. Each week features a theme and will end with a stage performance for friends and family. The Winnipesaukee Playhouse is located at 50 Reservoir Road in Meredith. For information about the camp schedule and weekly themes, or tuition cost for the program, visit www.winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org or call 603-279-0333.
The Kingswood Children’s Summer Theatre in Wolfeboro is entering its 49th season this summer with a production of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” Kids will meet at the Kingswood Arts Center from 8:30 am to noon on weekday mornings after the local schools close. Performances will be held on the last weekend of July. If your child is unable to commit to the entire month of production and performances, you can sign up for a special one-week enrollment where children can take part in the acting, art, singing, and dancing for the show, and see what it’s like to be part of the ensemble. For detailed information, call 603-630-7952 or visit www.wolfeboro-arts.org for updates.
As always, there are many local nature camps to get your kids outside this summer. At Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center on White Oaks Road in Laconia, campers age 4 to 14 can make awesome outdoor summer memories at the WildQuest Camp. There are different themes each week, from June 24 to August 23, with days filled with activities like animal and plant identification, arts and crafts, Quests, games, hands-on learning, a weekly all-camp project, and much more. Registration has already opened for this very popular day camp. For more information, call 603-366-5695 or visit www.prescottfarm.org.
At Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, kids ages 4 to 14 can explore nature and science through its Guided Discoveries day camp. Experienced naturalists and educators lead kids through the week-long outdoor adventures that run from June 24 to August 16. Kids will learn about creatures of the land, water, and air; make ceramic sculptures, learn how wild animals survive; create fantasy homes for fairies and gnomes; participate in some mad science experiments; and much more. To register or find out more about the summer program, call 603-968-7194 ext. 7, or visit www.nhnature.org.
The Libby Museum of Natural History on North Main Street in Wolfeboro is a lovely little museum, chock full of amazing taxidermy, Native American artifacts, antique money, and old household tools, among many other interesting items in the collection. The museum’s summer program for Young Explorers age 5 to 7 is popular for its creative play, crafts, exploring in the museum, and time on the nature trail, all beside beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. The program will be offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 am to noon, from July 9 to August 8. Sign up at www.thelibbymuseum.org. Kids ages 11 to 14 won’t want to miss the museum’s Wilderness Skills Week, offered this year from 10 am to 3 pm, the week of June 24 to the 28. Day campers will learn important skills like fire safety, shelter building, tracking animals, identifying trees, spoon carving, and more! Register at the above link for this fun program, or call 603-569-1035.
Are you looking for a fun experience for your kids involving boating, lake ecology, crafts, and games? Then you’ll want to sign them up for the Lake Discovery Camp at the New Hampshire Boat Museum, also in Wolfeboro, on Center Street. Session One is for kids in grade kindergarten through second, and it runs from July 22 to 26, and Session Two for grades 3 through 6 is held the week of July 29 to August 2. Both sessions meet from 9 am to noon, and will include crafts, games, science experiments, rides on Molly the Trolley, a tour of the Marine Patrol’s boat, sailing model boats with the Back Bay Skippers, the Watershed Warrior program, and a Lake Winnipesaukee boat tour on The Millie B wooden boat.
The museum also offers a Youth Sailing course for kids ages 9 to 15. Taught by a U.S. Sailing certified instructor, participants will learn the basics of sailing, boat handling, and knots—all on beautiful Lake Wentworth. For boys and girls age 12 and up, the museum provides an amazing opportunity for kids to build their own boat. From July 29 to August 9, kids will work on boat kits from 9 am to 3 pm, and can choose to build a two-person canoe, a one-person kayak, or a Bevin’s skiff. During the class, kids will use the provided tools, and learn boat-building skills from experienced staff and volunteers in a friendly environment. At the end of the 10-day session, there will be a special launch on Lake Wentworth to celebrate the completion of the boats. (Families can also choose to build a boat together from July 6 to the 14.) To register for any of the museum’s above programs, or to find out more, visit www.nhbm.org or call 603-569-4554.
Kids can also learn to sail in Gilford with the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association. With sessions offered for kids of all levels between the ages of 7 to 16, top-notch instructors will teach budding sailors all the important skills they’ll need to gain confidence on the water. There’s even a Racing Club for kids who feel ready for a more independent sailing experience. Further information about the session schedule and registration is at www.lwsa.org, or call 603-589-1177.
These are just a few of the amazing opportunities around this summer for kids of all ages! The Lakes Region also has many overnight camps, and parents can also check with their local libraries and Parks and Recreation departments for other daytime activities and programs. Start filling in your summer calendar now and let the fun begin!