How to turn summer with kids into fun, instead of my nemesis

Summer is my nemesis.

We used to be friends. As a child, I loved the sunshine and the long days without school or schedules. Now, as a parent of four little ones, everything has changed. School and schedules are my survival tools, and summer? Summer is an ocean of no place to be, nothing to do. Summer is terrifying.

Summer is an ocean of no place to be, nothing to do. Summer is terrifying.

But, if having four children under the age of four (we are now at four under the age of six) taught me anything, it was to plan ahead. So, I did a little research and gathered recommendations from friends and a few of the fine folks who work for our fair city, including Nancy Neill, indoor recreation coordinator for Lubbock Parks and Recreation; Erica Handley, children’s librarian for Mahon Library; and Ryan Shelburne, content coordinator for Visit Lubbock. (You can join me in following these entities on Facebook @lubbockparks; @lubbocklibrary; and @visitlubbock.)

I was pleasantly surprised and am, dare I say it, even a little excited about some of the child-friendly (and low-cost or free) activities coming up in the next few months.

Some of them are shared below. I’d also love it if you shared your ideas in the comments!

Maybe, if we work together, we can make friends with summer again. Or, at least, stop avoiding her at the supermarket.

Maybe, if we work together, we can make friends with summer again. Or, at least, stop avoiding her at the supermarket.

Summertime Survival Guide

June

9th-Annual Butterfly Release: Lubbock Garden and Arts Center and Lubbock Memorial Arboretum will present an evening of free family fun, including face painting, crafts and music, beginning at 5 p.m. June 16 at the Garden and Arts Center, 4215 University Ave. in Lubbock. The event will close with a release of butterflies and ladybugs. For more information, call (806) 767-3724.

Rock N Read: America’s Got Talent contestant and ventriloquist Meghan Casey, along with her dinosaur, will perform two shows for Lubbock Public Library.

“We’re looking forward to her,” Handley said.

The events will be at 11 a.m. June 19 at Mahon Library, 1306 9th St.; and 12:30 p.m. June 19 at Godeke Branch Library, 5034 Frankford Ave. For children going into fifth grade and younger. Space is limited, tickets are required and can be obtained the day of the event at the hosting library. For more information, visit lubbocklibrary.com.

The Magic Flute: Caerus Ensemble will accompany stories with music at 10:30 a.m. June 20 at Mahon Library, 1306 9th St.; and 10:30 a.m. June 21 at Godeke Branch Library, 5034 Frankford Ave.

“They’re just fantastic,” Handley said.

For children going into fifth grade and younger. Space is limited, tickets are required for this event and can be obtained the day of the event at the hosting library. For more information, visit lubbocklibrary.com.

July

Story Dance Theatre with Ballet Lubbock: Ballet Lubbock will use dance to tell stories at 10:45 a.m. July 11 at Godeke Branch Library, 5034 Frankford Ave. and at 10:45 a.m. July 18 at Mahon Library, 1306 9th St. For children going into fifth grade and younger. Space is limited, tickets are required and can be obtained the day of the event at the hosting library. For more information, visit lubbocklibrary.com.

Yoga in the Plaza: Moms often bring kiddos along to these free classes, Neill said. The hour-long programs are presented by a variety of instructors in a variety of styles at 9 a.m. Saturdays, July 7 through Aug. 25, in the Buddy and Maria Elena Holly Plaza, 1824 Crickets Ave.

As an added bonus, Neill said, participants can stop by the nearby Lubbock Downtown Farmers Market afterward.

“When you’re done, you can go shop,” she said.

She knows how moms think.

For more information, visit playlubbock.com. For information about the Lubbock Downtown Farmers Market, visit lubbockdowntownfarmersmarket.com.

August

Happy Birthday, Everybody: Celebrate everyone’s birthday at this special story time for ages 8 and younger at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 1 at Groves Branch Library, 5520 19th St. There will be music, crafts and stories.

For more information, visit lubbocklibrary.com.

Model Railroads: Free show of model railroad trains presented by the Lubbock Model Railroad Association during library hours Aug. 6 to 11 at Groves Branch Library, 5520 19th St.

All Summer Long

Lubbock Lake Landmark: Shelburne says the lifelike exhibits and outdoor activities are just some of what makes this attraction stand out.

“I personally think it’s one of the coolest things that we have,” he said.

Offerings include regular Night Hikes, chances to tour working excavational sites, and classes for children and adults.

For more information, visit facebook.com/LubbockLakeLandmark.

(Indoor) Movie Fun: South Plains Mall, Cinemark Movies 16 and Alamo Drafthouse Lubbock are offering a variety of family movies at discounted rates this summer. For more information, visit southplainsmall.com/events; cinemark.com/smc and drafthouse.com/hub/alamo-family.

Lubbock Public Library will host several free children’s movie screenings over the summer. Space is limited, tickets are required and can be obtained the day of the event at the hosting library. For more information, visit lubbocklibrary.com.

(Outdoor) Movie Fun: Watch a free family movie under the Texas sky at one of five Movie in the Park events in June, July and August. For a list of films and locations, visit playlubbock.com.

Play in the Park(s): Did you know Lubbock is home to 81 parks and 56 park playgrounds? Visit playlubbock.com for locations and more information.

Science Spectrum: An oldie, but a goodie. I enjoyed reminiscing about this longtime Lubbock attraction with Shelburne who, like me, remembers going there as a child. Classic features (like the captured shadow, the airplane, the periscope) are there for our children to enjoy now, along with new exhibits and a terrific preschool area. For ticket prices and hours, call (806) 745-2525 or visit sciencespectrum.org.