By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
During the school year, there are plenty of chances for children to stay active with recess and physical education classes a part of the daily routine.
In the summertime, children get even more chances to stay active and have fun. Many agencies and rec departments offer those opportunities, including K-State Extension offices in Seward County and Meade County.
For the last few years, the Extension offices have teamed up to provide the Summer Fun Activities program. Activities for this year kick off next Thursday with Oz-Some Weather, a program Seward County 4-H Program Assistant Amber Dietrick said is all about the Southwest Kansas weather.
“There is a storm chaser out of Oklahoma City coming,” she said. “There’s also the National Weather Service coming to bring a lightning simulator. That’ll be a lot of fun. For the storm chaser, everybody is invited to come for his little presentation starting at 9:30. The 30-minute presentation is not just for kids from Marty Logan. The rest of the day is just for the kids.”
Oz-Some Weather runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 14. It is for ages 8 to 12 and will take place at the Seward County Ag Building.
June 21, Summer Fun Activities has a day camp for young people. Dietrick said Meade County Extension people will be heading up that activity, and it has a farm theme. She said slots for the day camp have already filled up.
Campers age 7 to 12 are scheduled to leave the Seward County Extension office at 8 a.m. June 21 before heading to Meade Park. They are scheduled to return to the Extension office around 3 p.m.
For the day camp, participants will get crafts, games and snacks, and a lunch will be provided. They are asked to bring a watter bottle, though.
After a break of about two weeks, Summer Fun Activities continues July 10 with the Dr. Seuss-themed activity, “Oh The Places You’ll Go.” This activity will run from 9 a.m. to noon at the Ag Building. This activity is for ages 5 to 7.
“They’re going to plant some trees just in little pots and make some slime, just all sorts of Dr. Seuss fun,” Dietrick said.
In addition, kids will get to take part in games, stories and snacks, and for lunch, a Dr. Seuss favorite, “Green Eggs and Ham,” will be served.
Another break of a little more than two weeks will take place before the final Summer Fun Activities event, the Superhero Academy July 26.
“They’re going to do all sorts of team building, some science experiments, some exercises to get strong like a superhero,” Dietrick said.
The academy will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ag Building and is for ages 8 to 12. Future superheroes are invited build their skills, test their X-ray vision, perfect their villain capture, get super strong and graduate from the academy.
Dietrick said she has been hard at work promoting this year’s Summer Fun Activities.
“There’s flyers, they’ve been put all over Facebook,” she said. “Also, you can come by our office and get a flyer, or just call our office and reserve your spot. At the bottom of the flyers, it has each activity, and we need a name, phone number, etc. In order to reserve the spot, we do have to have the payment, though, because there is usually a waiting list. If they’re not going to show up, we need to be able to release it to other kids.”
As for the choice of activities, Dietrick said she just simply “winged it.”
“I had the storm chaser contact,” she said. “I actually went to school with his daughter. I thought a weather one would be fun and educational. We do try to give them some sort of education with the thought of 4-H as educational. Not that you have to be a 4-H member, but that is still our goal. The rest of it is just what sounds fun to us. What we want to participate in if we were that age of kids?”
When it comes to choosing activities for Summer Fun, Dietrick said this is done with the goal of keeping kids active in mind.
“Extension, in general, does a lot of health and wellness activities, so we always try to incorporate active play and healthy play and educational all together,” she said. “That’s Extension wide.”
As for what she hopes children will get out of Summer Fun, Dietrick said she simply wants them to have a great time.
“We hope that they learn something new, especially on the weather one,” she said. “Learn something new and exciting there, and make some friends. Hopefully, they’ll want to check more of what we have to offer out.”
While Meade County and Seward County are putting on Summer Fun Activities, Dietrick said the events are open to anyone in the age groups.
“We have sent flyers down to Turpin, the Beaver County area, the Texas County area, Stevens County,” she said. “Anybody who wants to come who’s of age is more than welcome to come.”
Dietrick is in her first year as the coordinator for Summer Fun Activities, formerly called Summer Fun Activities, and she said she simply hopes to see what she can do to continue to make the program better and more fun for future years.
For the Oz-Some Weather, day camp and Superhero Academy activities, the registration price is $10. For the “Oh The Places You’ll Go” event, the price is $5.
Registration forms are available on Facebook at Seward County Kansas 4-H & Extension, at the office at 1081 Stadium Road in Liberal and by calling 624-5604.