By TRONE DOWD
While children often get exercise during the school year due to physical education requirements and recess, the same cannot be said about the summer break. During this annual two-month stretch, youths may find themselves at home with little to do and little motivation to get out of the house.
In Queens, there is no shortage of free ways to keep your kids active and healthy during the summer doldrums.
Summer Time Sports Experience
Have a son or daughter who loves all things sports? This year, the city’s Parks Department is running the perfect program for your family. The Summer Time Sports Experience program for children, ages 8 to 14, is a continuous program held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday that is aimed at helping youngsters learn both the basics and advanced techniques of various sports, including, volleyball, lacrosse, baseball, basketball, soccer and more.
The program takes place 2:30 p.m. at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Summer Time Sports is a drop-in program, so parents and children are free to decide the weekly programs in which they are likely to participate. For more information on Summer Time Sports, call (718) 393-7370.
Nature Center Adventure
In Bay Terrace’s Fort Totten Park, kids are invited to take part in an educational adventures in the World’s Borough.
The Nature Center Adventure is another program held by the Parks Department. It offers New Yorkers a chance to slow down and learn how to appreciate the smaller things in the Big Apple’s more natural environments. Activities include scavenger hunts, games, arts and crafts. Get up close and personal with animals and plants while learning from the city’s top Urban Park Rangers.
While the program isn’t focused on exercise, it is sure to keep your little ones hiking in the sun and meeting new friends for the summer. The event takes place every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Aug 18. For more information, call (718) 352-1769.
Summer Fun At Rockaway Beach
According to the Parks Department, the “Summer Fun” program at Rockaway Beach is one of the more popular pastimes in the borough. Similar to the Nature Center Adventure, Summer Fun focuses less on actual exercise and more on getting your child out of the house and having fun in the sun while they learn, meet new people and burn some calories in the process.
Held in collaboration with the Queens Library, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Park Conservancy and Friday of Rockaway Beach, the summer program features lawn games, arts and crafts, a book share program and reading areas as well as designated play areas where kids can run around until their heart’s content.
The program is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Beach 98th Street and Shorefront Parkway. It will run through Aug. 26.
City Parks Foundation
For those looking for something a bit more organized, the City Parks Foundation has you covered. Working in conjunction with the Parks Department, the City Parks Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to bring engaging activities to parks across the five boroughs, be it through art, education, community building and, most importantly for this list, sports and exercise.
The nonprofit offers five different options, including soccer, golf, tennis, track and field and fitness for kids up to age 17 at more than 350 schools, recreation centers and parks around the city. The best part is that the activities are completely free and available for walk-ins.
For more information on how to get your child involved and what sites in your neighborhood offer these fun and fit programs, visit CityParksFoundation.org.