Summer Activities for Kids in Omaha, NE – 2018

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Summer Activities for Kids in Omaha, NE – 2018

Summer break is quickly approaching, and by the end of May, kids of all ages will be enjoying their few sweet, sweet months of freedom from the classroom and rigorous school-year schedules. While the summertime is generally a laid back, relaxing and magical time to just be a kid, there’s a wide array of options that offer an experience meeting that criteria but also incorporating learning, exploration, exposure to new things, socialization, creating, and more at the same time.

It’s important for parents/guardians to encourage involvement in activities during this downtime for a variety of reasons. Above all, kids benefit greatly from maintaining some form of structure in their lives. Also, since we live in a time when it’s all too common for kids to have a screen in front of their faces, summer presents an opportune time to unplug and experience a life of fun and adventure, and exposure to new things. Then there’s the now well-documented phenomenon called the “summer slide,” or the learning loss that occurs over the summer months. Research from Johns Hopkins National Center for Summer Learning has shown that children can lose two months of grade-level equivalency in reading and over two and a half months in math. Moreover, according to the National Summer Learning Association, educators typically spend four to six weeks in the fall getting students back to where they were at the end of the previous academic year.

With no shortage of excellent options, selecting something that fits well with a child’s individual interests and needs while also coordinating well within a family’s busy schedule is entirely possible.

If you have a child with special needs and are under the impression that it will prevent him or her from attending and participating in a summer camp, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that’s not the case at all.

Sarah Tselentis-Children's Respite Care Center

Sarah Tselentis
Children’s Respite Care Center

“CRCC’s summer camp provides opportunities for school-age children with special needs to enjoy the same summer experiences as their typical peers,” says Sarah Tselentis with CRCC. “For their parents, it offers an environment where their child’s medical, and therapeutic, (both rehabilitative and behavioral) needs can be met.

CRCC’s summer camp is a dynamic and fun-filled recreational summer day camp for children ages 6 to 21 years. For 11 weeks, children experience off-site field trips and special in-house activities while working on creative projects and establishing friendships with peers and adults.”

She goes on to explain, “When you have a child with special needs, their age cannot define their level of independence. Many of the children and young adults who attend CRCC’s summer camp cannot simply stay home for the summer and for working parents, that can be a challenge. A parent of a typically developing child has numerous options for their school-age child over the summer but for a family of a child with complex needs, CRCC’s summer camp is one of the few resources for families.

At CRCC, we have a team of uniquely skilled people who deliver comprehensive and compassionate services that help children with complex needs to be all they can be…and give their parents real hope for the future. We understand there is a great need for our services. As we continue to see the need in our community grow, we are looking at options to expand services to meet that need.”

In closing, Tselentis offers the following advice to all parents: “I encourage parents to find a program that supports their child/youth’s growth by providing a loving and nurturing setting where the experiences they will have foster a sense of trust and self-esteem. Activities and programs should help children learn about expressing themselves, interacting with others, building relationships, and learning about the world around them. These opportunities should allow children to explore what is around them and become more independent with each new discovery they make. Any program should encourage family involvement and provide an environment where parents and caregivers are always welcome. Most of all, find something that your child/youth will enjoy, because the best way for him/her to learn and grow is by having fun.”

You can learn more about CRCC by visiting the website at www.crccomaha.org.

There’s still time to get registered for many of the summer activities for kids of all ages that are being offered this year across the Omaha Metro, but do bear in mind that availability is somewhat limited at this point. Put it on your list of parental priorities this month, because it’s an experience that is truly such an important part of childhood. You’ll also be thankful you did when you’re enjoying a little of that precious adult time!

 

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