Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself. Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.
We’re in our ninth week of summer, with four weeks to go until school starts. Kids driving you crazy yet? I ask this only because a week or so ago Rose’s unruly behavior forced me to lay down the law with an observance of “Amish Day.” What’s Amish Day you ask? It’s something I learned about from a friend years ago before I had a child. This friend had two teenage daughters, and whenever they acted out with behavior that really drove him over the edge, he’d send them to their separate bedrooms for a day long timeout. But wait, before you say, “so what?” this time-out had the added twist of no electricity. He’d shut off the power to their part of the house, which meant no computer, no TV, no Xbox, no cellphone and … no lights. Voilà! Amish Day! He use to say that the solitude gave them time to reflect on their choices. <Insert snickering here> Rose’s infractions weren’t nearly so serious to deserve a day in solitary, but I still felt like she needed a reboot to the ol’ attitude adjustment computer. So she spent the day indoors with no fun electricity, meaning we’d leave on the air conditioning, the stove and lights but she’d do without the TV, computer and DVD player. As a bonus for me, I also had her help me clean the house, thus completing the whole Amish Day experience.
The mid-summer doldrums can definitely cause even the most well-behaved child to go a little berserk (the same thing happens around Christmas). Most of the time it can just be chalked up to being hot and bored. A good way to head off the boredom is to shake up the routine and do something a little different. Here’s my Top Ten List of Summertime Diversions:
1. Have your picture taken with the Traveling Man Sculptures. Take the the DART Green line to Deep Ellum and snap a photo with these three amazing metal men located along a three block stretch of Good Latimer. My favorite of the three is “Waiting on a Train.”
2. Go fishing. Head to your nearest pond, river or lake with fishing pole in hand, Mayberry style. If you’re short on poles, bait, a place to fish or even a catchy tune to whistle, you can head over to Bass Pro Shop in Garland for its weekly Kids Fish event. Little anglers can learn to fish in an outdoor tank with the help of an associate.
3. Go roller skating at Fair Park. Roller skating gives you a chance to slow down and really look at all the beautiful artwork outside of the frenetic State Fair setting. Send the kids off in search of the the famous Woofus.
4. Whoop it up at a Wild West Show in Fort Worth. This historical reenactment of the original Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show features trick roping, trick shooting, trick riding and even a singing cowboy. It happens at the Cowtown Coliseum in the thick of things at the Fort Worth Stockyards. Be sure to stay for the cattle drive later in the afternoon.
5. Beef up the comic book collection. POW! BIFF! WHAMO! Check out Half Priced Books on Northwest Highway for Comic Book Wednesdays . All regularly priced comic books are reduced to the sale price of 50 cents.
6. Plan dinner with a visit to the Dallas Farmers Market. I’ve heard that a great way to get kids to eat better is to let them pick out and prepare their own fruits and vegetables. Here’s a chance to test that theory.
7. Ride the McKinney Avenue Trolley. The M-Line’s air-conditioned and heated restored vintage trolleys run down McKinney and portions of Cole Avenue 365 days a year and are free to ride. Look for the brown M-Line Trolley signs along McKinney to ride. Don’t worry about hopping on San Francisco style with small children. The driver will stop for passengers at the designated locations.
8. Explore history. Start with the Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza and then head over to the Old Red Courthouse. Finish up with a trip over to Pioneer Plaza for a photo opt with the the longhorns.
9. Escape the heat with a dip in an indoor pool. Yes, a trip to the neighborhood pool is a great diversion, but c’mon people, it’s nearly August and most of the pools I’ve been in lately have been less than refreshing. The City of Denton has a great indoor pool that’s part of its Water Works complex. In addition to plenty of room to swim and places to sit, the pool also boasts two diving boards (a rarity these days) and a pretty cool slide.
10. While we’re on the subject of indoor … try an INDOOR playground for a change. One friend suggested I include sliding down the stone planters at NorthPark Center in this list and, though I wouldn’t make a special trip to NorthPark, she is partly right. Some of best free playgrounds are as close as your neighborhood mall. Both the Shops at Willow Bend and Collin Creek Mall have great play areas with plenty to do. Rose loves the Spiderjump (bunjee jumping) at Collin Creek Mall.
Hopefully these little diversions will help you and the tikes escape the summer doldrums and Amish Day.
Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer. She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 7-year-old daughter, Rose. Tell us about your ideas for quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at [email protected]