Summer Guide: Summer Activity Guide For Kids

Campin’ It Up In Abq

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Summer Activity Guide for Kids
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As the mercury rises in the High Desert, the boundless energy of children seems to curve in a complementary, upward arc. Add to that the fact that school’s out for summer, and even the most creative and devoted parents can use a resource guide of summer activities for their children. Read on for an overview of the vast expanse of recreation and diversion possibilities for the youngsters.


Thanks to the wonders of modern tech, it’s easy to make a splash while still calling the desert home. Swimming is one of the best aerobic workouts available when done properly. And exercising in water both increases resistance and heightens workout intensity—water is approximately 800 times more dense than, you know, air—and the support provided by water makes it the perfect means of exercise for kids with joint problems or other physical disabilities. But even beyond the physical benefits, swimming classes and groups can improve kids’ mental health by reducing stress and providing a means of active meditation. Start your search with swim lessons here.

The City of Albuquerque offers swimming lessons in seven levels or “waves” in both morning and evening classes. Cost is $25 every two weeks. For more info, visit

YMCA of Central New Mexico hosts five levels of children’s swim lessons at Horn Family YMCA (4901 Indian School NE) and, starting May 17, at McLeod Mountainside Family YMCA (12500 Comanche NE). Lessons are included with membership dues ranging from $32 monthly for those under age 18 to a family membership for $62 monthly. Learn more at

The JCC of Greater Albuquerque offers private, semi-private and group lessons at their Aquatics Complex (5520 Wyoming NE). Group swim lessons are held on Sunday mornings, Monday-Thursday mornings and Monday and Wednesday evenings, and fees range from $70 to $150 depending on membership affiliation and selected course. For more info, visit


Public school art budgets have been cut pretty close to the bone, but artistic studies remain necessary for a well-rounded education. So what’s an art-seeking parent to do? Beyond providing opportunities for everyday self-expression and creativity with provisions for art (read: paper, safety scissors, glue and crayons or colored pencils), you might be surprised at the wealth of artsy courses available to your young’uns. This is a subject where your mad Google-fu skills can prove invaluable. Depending on your kid’s particular aesthetic interests and taste, maybe you’re in the market for watercolor classes or drum lessons or a modern dance course. The options for artifying your child’s summer are bounded only by your curiosity and commitment to research.

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (2401 12th Street NW) hosts two Pueblo House Summer Camps in 2014. Both offer opportunities to make pottery, bake bread in hornos, garden, interact with Pueblo artists, dancers and elders, and to learn about and celebrate Pueblo history, art, food and culture. The first camp, for kids ages 6 to 10 years old, runs two weeks, from June 2 to 13—weekdays from 9am to 4pm—and costs $250. For kids ages 11 to 13, the second, week-long weekday camp runs from June 23 to 27. Scholarships are available. To learn more, visit

At the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW) in June, local teens have a chance to participate in a four-week intensive writing workshop, Voces: Writing Institute for Youth. Each year’s workshop features a writing mentor—typically a published author or local poet—and last year’s workshop was facilitated by arts collective Urban Verbs. As of press time, information on 2014’s mentor was unavailable, but there’s certainly no shortage of talented local writers from which to choose. The workshop includes a special celebration of student work for family and friends, and NHCC publishes the writing produced each and every fall. For more info, visit or call 246-2261.

New Mexico Jazz Workshop’s Creative Arts Summer Camp offers a plethora of artsy educational opportunities for first-graders through sixth-graders. Each two-week summer session—June 2-13 and June 16-27—runs weekdays from 9am to 3pm. Morning arts classes include drama, art, rhythm and culture, mallets and jam band. Afternoon electives include drum set, cartoon drawing, hip-hop, singing, capoeira, ukulele and Brazilian samba drums. The two-week sessions will run you $330, but discounts and scholarships are available. And this year, seventh- through ninth-graders can get in on the fun, too, with a special session from June 30 through July 11. To learn more, visit


If your offspring are a) trying to catch up/get ahead in their academic pursuits or b) voraciously hungry for knowledge, assist them by making summer camp do double-duty. Learning and fun aren’t mutually exclusive, and kids of any age can get a leg up academically while having a blast at a number of intellectually rigorous camps here in Burque. From linguistics to natural science to engineering and beyond, make this a summer to remember by filling it with education that’ll last a lifetime.

Being bilingual is an invaluable skill in New Mexico and the world at large, and there’s no better time to start learning than childhood. Instituto Cervantes’ (1701 Fourth Street SW) Spanish Summer Camp serves kids ages 6 to 11 years old in learning and using Spanish in both creative and academic contexts. The camp runs from 9am to 3pm weekdays from July 7 to 25, and incorporates theatre, art and design, and music and movement. Tuition for this español camp ranges from $349 to $749 on a sliding-scale model. For more info, visit

Does your daughter or son have an analytical mind? Do they simply refuse to give up until they’ve figured out how things work? If you answered yes to one or both of the preceding questions, you may be raising an engineer. And if that’s the case, there’s no finer camp series for your kids than Albuquerque Engineering for Kids. With topics ranging from video game design to the history of engineering cities to robotics, this series of engineering camps is based at Albuquerque Learning Center (3501 Coors NW), and prices vary. To learn more, visit

Beginning in June, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (1801 Mountain NW) offers scientifically oriented kiddos several summer camps to choose from in its 2014 Young Explorers Summer Science Program. From kindergartners to junior high students, there’s a camp for everyone. Examples include Planetarium Producer, Dinosaur Detectives, Space Explorers, Summer Science Sleuths and many more. Depending on the length of the course, camp fees range from $140 to $285 before Museum membership discounts. To peruse these scientific method-hypin’ camps or for more details, visit


If our bodies are temples, concern for our children’s physical fitness should verge on religious fervor. If it’s not part of their daily routine, it’s much harder for kids to learn habits like eating healthily and exercising regularly. In a world where the vast majority of “food” is heavily processed, unwholesome junk, any advantage you can give your offspring is vital. Movement is essential for the human body to function at its optimum capacity. So whether it means walking the dog as a family or assigning outdoor chores, making exercise a part of everyday life is a must—for both yourself and your young’uns. Read on for info on local summer camps that can reinforce the importance of movement for youth.

The camp for a son or daughter who’s unnaturally obsessed with ’80s dance flicks—see Footloose, Flashdance and White Nights for starters, and don’t knock it ’til you’ve watched ’em—the National Dance Institute of New Mexico (1140 Alto Street, Santa Fe) has expanded its services to Albuquerque elementary schools. The Hiland Theater (4800 Central SE) is NDI’s base of operations in Burque. Early Steps and Early Steps Saturday camps group classes 3 to 4-year-olds, 5 to 6-year-olds and 7 to 9 year-olds. Held from 9 to 11am (and 9am to 10am on Saturdays), these classes run through July and August. Tuition for these workshops is $65. A 10-day musical theater camp called Arts in Motion is scheduled for July 14 to July 25. Full tuition for this theatrical camp is $500, but sliding-scale rates are available. For more info, visit

Did you know that UNM Continuing Education offers courses and camps for kids, too? Well, they do, and—alongside offerings like Film Camp for Teens, Intro to Silversmithing and Jewelry Making and LEGO NASA Space Camp—High Desert Yoga (4500 Copper NE) is teaming up with UNM Cont. Ed for yoga camps for youth aged 6 to 11 and 12 to 17. Held throughout the summer on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, camp tuition is $120. Working out both mind and body is what yoga is all about. With a little help from this camp, your progeny will be rocking Downward Dog and uttering “namaste” before you know it.
Summer Activity Guide for Kids

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Summer Activity Guide for Kids

CC BY Waag Society

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