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Educational Summer Activities For Kids In Connecticut

June 13, 2014 8:00 AM

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com

Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com

Summer is coming, and for many kids it is not just a time to goof off and lay about, but an opportunity to learn more about the things they like or want to learn about. For some, that means going to camp to hone some particular skill, going on adventures or taking part in unique activities. For others, it is a chance to catch up on reading for fun, and for that there are always libraries and literary groups eager to help here. Connecticut has many summer activities to offer that are both fun and educational, from exploring nature or developing leadership skills to learning how to sing and dance. Here are just five of them.

Pequot Library Summer Reading Program
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Ave.
Southport, CT 06890
(203) 259-0346
www.pequotlibrary.org

Reading may be its own reward, but getting a few little prizes for spending time with books does go a long way to encourage new readers to keep reading. At the Pequot Library, Children’s Librarian Susan Ei gives out stickers not for the number of books read but for the time spent reading. Children can redeem those stickers for prizes, and earn raffle tickets for even better rewards. The library starts a reading record for each child who joins the program, and in addition to keeping track of their progress in the traditional manner, also lets them choose a cardboard character to place on the library reading clothesline. For every hour a child spends reading, they can move their character along to another marker on the line. That visual reading race is just one of the games that help make summer reading even more fun for kids.

Related: Top Pottery Painting Classes For Kids In Connecticut 

Youth Enrichment at Stepping Stones
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Ave.
Norwalk, CT 06850
(203) 899-0606
www.steppingstonesmuseum.org

Children who enter the Youth Enrichment program at Stepping Stones emerge as leaders, both among their peers and in the community. The annual program provides opportunities for students in grades six through 12 to create and staff new events and workshops for other children who visit the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk. Participants have organized and run comic book conventions and pet days, craft fairs and cultural exchange programs and many other events that make good use of the museum’s exhibits, facilities and resources, including the art studio and science lab. This summer there is even a “rocket science” program. Participants with a particular talent, unique cultural background or special skill set are especially encouraged to share their gifts with museum visitors.

Bird Exploration at Connecticut Audubon
Connecticut Audubon Center at Fairfield
2325 Burr St.
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 259-6305
www.ctaudubon.org

Through the summer months, children ages 10 through 14 can come to the Connecticut Audubon Center in Fairfield to explore nature and especially the nature of Connecticut’s bird population. The exploration includes both outdoor activities in the nearby nature preserve and swamp, as well as indoor experiments at the center’s new Junior Science Lab. Other programs are held at the Birdcraft Museum nearby at 314 Unquowa Road. The center also sponsors an eight-week summer camp for children ages four to 14, as well as other special events. The Connecticut Audubon Society also sponsors other summer camps in Pomfret and Glastonbury.

Nature Discovery Summer Camp at Earthplace
Earthplace
10 Woodside Lane
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 557-4400
www.earthplace.org/summer-camp

The Nature Discovery Center at Earthplace in Westport offers nine one-week summer camps, each based on a particular theme, such as space, insects, dinosaurs or pets. Activities vary with each theme, but each camp is an adventure, and includes a lot of time exploring the center’s 74-acre wildlife sanctuary. Becky Neman and Amee Borys have a smart, experienced staff that knows how to entertain as well as educate campers. There are half-day and all-day camps for pre-schoolers, as well as all-day camps for children up through eighth grade. In addition, an overnight camping and canoe trip is available for those who become “Trekkers.”

Theater Summer Camp at Crystal Theatre
Crystal Theatre
12 June Ave.
Norwalk, CT 06850
(203) 847-4850
www.crystaltheatre.org

Children love the theater and the Crystal Theatre loves children. This summer, the renowned children’s theater will offer many different musical theater summer camps for children ages preschool through college students. The camps vary in length and theme, from the whimsical “Thumbelina” and “Puss in Boots” to the more serious “Improv and Acting Workshop.” Young and first-time campers are exposed to the basics while having fun, and Broadway professionals and other instructors help more experienced students hone their acting, singing and dancing skills. Each camp includes at least one performance by the children, usually at the Ben Franklin Theatre in Norwalk.

Related: Top Summer Camps Or Workshops For Teens In Connecticut 

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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