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Around The Arts

July 7, 2012

School may be out, but there's lots to do to keep kids busy

Now that school's out for the summer, my daughter is proclaiming that we are, "the most boring family on Earth."

She never attended day care or preschool and spent her days without formal structure. She's an easily adaptable child and quickly adjusted to the strict schedule of her kindergarten classroom.

But, as the quarters passed, it became clear that she missed the independence we allowed her during her preschool years.

So, it's quite surprising to me that after just a few days she's yearning for that structure she's quietly dissented the past several months.

Now, I'm on the hunt for programs to fill her calendar.

My first instinct was to find out what libraries in the area are offering this summer. I was pleased to not only find reading groups still very much alive in today's digital world, but many creative classes and activities as well.

Oneonta's Huntington Memorial Library is hosting "Afternoon Adventures," a program featuring short stories and fun crafts from 1 to 2 p.m. every Thursday through August. Delhi's Cannon Free Library has several opportunities to see performing art _ including a mime and a singer. And, encourage your little one's creativity through the organization's Lego Club, which meets the first Tuesday of the month from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. The Smyrna Public Library has many fun programs this summer, many of which are music-related. "Fiddling with Books" will feature a guitar and fiddler duo who bring books to life through music from 2 to 3 p.m. July 12.

Libraries are one of the best allies a parent can have for keeping children busy and creative. Check out your local library, and neighboring towns' as well, and you'll be sure to round out your weeks.

The arts are in full force throughout the summer at individual companies, as well as farmers' markets, festivals and fairs. The latter usually offer great ways to experience art and our short-lived summer weather at the same time. Many times small-to-nonexistent budgets prevent large-scale advertising, so make sure you check local bulletin boards and road-side signage for smaller events.

Many of our year-round venues have full summer schedules as well. For example, Lynn Trefzger, a comedic ventriloquist, will be featured at 3 p.m. July 15 at the Earlville Opera House's "Free Earlville Awesome House Event for Children & Families." Also part of that series is a comedy theater performance by Robert Post at 11 a.m. July 24.

For older children, the Franklin Stage Company offers numerous free performances throughout the year, as well as a wonderful internship program for students 14 and older. According to its website, junior interns assist with various backstage responsibilities _ from stage management to lighting, sound and construction, as well as performing. Internships are for the entire summer, and interns are awarded a small stipend for their work.

The Studio for Arts and Crafts in Cobleskill offers various classes in pottery, stained glass and more throughout the year, and special summer sessions as well. And, something I would have loved when I was a child, they offer four, one-week summer camps. Students get to create their own banks, T-shirts, pottery, fused glass projects and more during these summer sessions. The camp runs from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

My research has been overwhelming, as there are so many wonderful and artistic programs in this region. And, best of all for my strictly budgeted family, many of them are free.

My daughter is still meeting with her Girl Scout troop twice a month, and in August her fall sport will begin practicing, but this is neither a full enough calendar to satisfy her nor a well-rounded enough calendar to satisfy me. I'm putting together lists of weekly and one-time events, which she can pick and choose from to get back to her scheduled ways, and I hope we will no longer be the most boring family on earth. (However, Daddy, who due to my busy summers working at Glimmerglass pretty much becomes a single parent during July and August, may wish we were.)

June Dzialo is a member of ArtsOtsego, the alliance of Otsego County arts organizations, and marketing and public relations manager for The Glimmerglass Festival. Column ideas and questions may be sent to aroundthearts@gmail.com. 'Around The Arts' columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/aroundthearts.

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