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Here’s a list of family activities to enjoy the summer in Columbus

Looking back: local mom says free splash pad and playground bring families together

Mickey Shavers' two energetic young boys love to play at Woodruff Riverfront Park, where the Splash Pad and Freenotes Harmony Park are free and open to accessible for all to enjoy
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Mickey Shavers' two energetic young boys love to play at Woodruff Riverfront Park, where the Splash Pad and Freenotes Harmony Park are free and open to accessible for all to enjoy

With only one full week of summer break to go, I feel compelled to say thank you to the many people, organizations and entities that made this summer – one in which I did not teach but instead spent nearly every day with my two young kids (yes!) – a success.

At the end of every school year, I’m sure I’m not the only parent to go into a state of panic. If you work full time through the summer, you are asking yourself: “Where are the kids going to go every day? How much coordinating and financing will this require?” Depending on how old they are, camps might be a good option.

Our daughter is 5, so this summer most camps became open to her. We were thrilled with her week at Springer Theatre Academy, which was her kickoff to the summer. At her age, the camp is only a half day (could be morning or afternoon) and culminates in a presentation/open class at the end of Friday’s session. She absolutely loved her time at the Academy.

I am not surprised, considering our daughter has a familiarity with the Springer and a flair for the dramatic, but I won’t just take it for granted. Academy Director Sally Baker has been in her role for four summers now, and she has held on to what was great about the program and enhanced it beyond what it ever was when I was coming up. Any of you with young people in your lives, regardless of their theater background or financial situation, should strongly consider the Springer Academy for summer camp. They offer need-based scholarships and their pedagogy innovatively draws creativity and teamwork out of students.

Our son is not yet 3 years old, so he had very few camp options available to him. Instead, we filled up most of our days doing fun and free activities in town. The Muscogee Moms website calendar and The Columbusite’s “Sunday Best” e-newsletter were the best sources of info for planning an inexpensive week of outings. I recommend both to parents looking for interesting family activities in our area.

Some of our favorites this summer included:

(1) the Double Churches pool – what a fun splash area for tiny swimmers,

▪ (2) the Columbus Public Library system – Libraries Rock! was a great summer reading theme and programming for the kids was always well executed,

▪ (3) the Splash pad and Freenotes Harmony Park in Uptown Columbus – a classic hot-weather destination for our family,

▪ (4) the Columbus Museum – Fantastic Fridays were fun and educational,

▪ (5) theater performances – the GRT hosted the Summer Theatre Festival, which included great family shows (we liked “James and the Giant Peach”), the Springer Theatre Academy produced a uniquely physical rendition of “The Jungle Book”

Besides outings and a couple of getaways, much of the rest of our time was spent reading (for pleasure, but also for school) and enjoying the Kiwi Co STEAM-themed activity boxes that come on a monthly subscription. I would highly recommend the Kiwi boxes to parents who have been considering them. And while I like Barnes & Noble fine, nothing beats the CVLGA for checking out books and returning them when done. Have a great weekend, reader, and enjoy what’s left of summer vacation!

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