Heartland towns offer many summer activities for kids

Heartland towns offer many summer activities for kids
By: Holly Brantley
Kids are barely out of school and no doubt some parents have already heard the words: "I'm bored."
Perhaps it's time to get your kids out of the house and into summer programs.
Many heartland communities have unique ways to help you keep your kids entertained. The best part: they won't cost a lot of money and some organizations even offer some programs for free.
One of those free programs is offered through Cape Public Library. Of course, no summer destination is out of reach through books.
"I like books about Egypt and history and stuff," said Miles Dean of Cape Girardeau.
Miles signed up for the library's Summer Reading Program: Paws, Claws, Scales, and Tales. It's a chance for kids of all ages to interact with their parents, read for fun, and learn. "You exercise your mind when you read books," said Miles.
Harley Sample finds some of her favorite things at the library. "I like to color and I like to read," said Harley. Harley's dad agrees, reading keeps young minds sharp.
"They won't forget everything they learned in school over the summer," said Brad Sample. "They can keep learning some things and be ready to go back to school right away."
And, there are even prizes to be won by readers. "When you reach your goal, you win a free book and your name goes into a drawing for a free bike," said Sharon Anderson, Youth Services Coordinator.
While some kids dive into reading, children from Charleston, Scott City, Kennett, Sikeston, and Cape Girardeau dive into summer competition with the Southeast Missouri Swim Conference.
"I just like to swim," said Alexandra Merrill of Sikeston. Natalie Stevens of Sikeston swims year round. She explains why she likes the extra practice, "Because I like to win races."
Parents say the weekly meets keep their children busy and active. "It's fun," said Lisa Merrill. "They learn a lot about pool safety."
It's not too late to sign up for these and other summer activities across the Heartland.
Cape Girardeau's Parks and Recreation Department offers a number of different activities all summer long.
Through the parks department, children can take part in everything from cooking to painting to swimming. Cape Girardeau Public Library's programs run from birth on up. All programs through the library are free.