“There’s nothing to do!”
This might be a phrase that every parent is very familiar with, especially when it comes to their child and the start of summer vacation. Those of us that live in the Treasure Valley are incredibly lucky as the valley boasts a large number of free, or nearly free, activities for the entire family throughout the year. As summer vacation approaches I would like to share some of my favorite resources for families in the valley. Below you will find brief overviews of the programs that I would like to highlight and some information about their summer offerings.
Idaho Food Bank: Picnic in the Park will run from June 5th until August 11th this summer. There will be lunch and an activity provided for free to all children ages 1- 18. There are 25 participating locations in the Boise metro area. Please see the Idaho Food Bank’s website at www.idahofoodbank.org for location details, menus, and more.
Boise School District: Breakfast and lunch will be served Monday through Friday at participating school sites beginning June 5 until August 4. These meals are available for free to all children ages 1-18. For more information regarding location details please contact Boise School District at 854-4090.
West Ada School District: Breakfast and lunch will be served Monday through Friday at Storey Park, in Meridian, beginning June 7th until August 2nd. These meals are available for free to all children ages 1-18. Adult meals will be available for purchase. This year there will even be chances to win prizes such as; a bike, soccer ball, football, or Frisbee. For more information regarding location details please contact West Ada School District at 350-5108.
Summer Camps/ Programs:
Boise Public Library: The Boise Public Library will be hosting many fun events over the summer. Summer Fest 2017 will begin on June 1st and will run until July 31st. There are separate reading programs available for children, teens, and adults. Registration for the summer reading programs will open on June 1st. For more details about the reading programs and other programs offered at the Boise Public Library, please visit their website at www.boisepubliclibrary.org or contact your local branch.
Meridian Library District: The Meridian Library District will be hosting a variety of fun events over the summer. The Meridian Library District’s summer reading program will begin on June 2nd and will run until August 15th. Preregistration opened May 15th. For more details about the reading programs and other programs offered at the Meridian Library District, please visit their website at http://www.mld.org/ or contact your local branch.
The Meridian Library District also offers the area’s first technology library called unBound. unBound is a technology lab and educational facility that hosts classes, workshops, and offers meeting space to those who are interested in technology, design, coding, and so much more. Two programs to highlight for this summer would be Moms Who Code and Family Make-it. Moms Who Code is a group where parents can meet informally to code and play around with technology. During Moms and Tech + Maker Storytime, children will be offered a story time to reflect the topics that the parents are learning about. Family Make-it happens every Saturday and covers a variety of STEAM (science, technology, education, art, and math) topics. The program encourages families to work and learn together. For more information about the many resources, programs, and classes that unbound offers, please visit their website at www.mldunbound.org .
Boise Parks & Recreation: Boise Parks & Recreation offer a variety of classes throughout the year for children, teens, and adults. The summer activity guide will be available in hard copy and online. Scholarships are available for families in need of financial assistance and the appropriate forms can be found online at the Boise Parks & Recreation’s website at http://parks.cityofboise.org/news/2017/04/summer-activity-guide-is-here!/.
Meridian Parks & Recreation: Meridian Parks & Recreation offer a variety of classes throughout the year for children, teens, and adults. The summer activity guide will be available in hard copy and online. Scholarships are available for children in need of financial assistance and the appropriate forms can be found online at the Meridian Parks & Recreation’s website at www.meridiancity.org/activityguide .
Boys & Girls Club: The Boys & Girls Club offers a safe place for children to learn and grow. The programs offered through the Boys & Girls Club services are designed to promote and enhance the development of children by increasing their sense of competence, usefulness, belonging, and influence. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Ada County will be offering a summer program this year. The cost will vary based on the hours the child is at their local clubs. There is an additional fee for any field trips the child will participate in. The local clubs will schedule one field trip per week throughout the summer. Scholarships and payment plans are available for those families in need of them. For more information about the summer programs, cost and fees, and financial assistance, please contact your local Boys & Girls Club or visit their website at https://www.adaclubs.org/ .
Treasure Valley Family YMCA: The YMCA offers a variety of summer camps and programs for youth and teens. A guide to their camps and programs can be found online at their website at www.ymcatvidaho.org . Financial assistance is available for families that qualify. Please contact your local YMCA for more information.
Free or Reduced Activities:
Kids Bowl Free: Register your children using www.kidsbowlfree.com to receive 2 free games of bowling every day, all summer long. Family passes may be available for parents to join in on the fun. Shoe rentals are not included, but shoe rental passes may be available for purchase. Please see participating bowling alleys for more information.
- 20th Century Lanes-342-8695
- Emerald Lanes- 344-2695
- Big Al’s Meridian- 780-6118
- Meridian Bowling Lanes- 888-2048
- Pinz Bowling Center- 898-0900
Discount Movie Days:
- Northgate Reel: $1 Tuesdays
- Country Club Reel: $1 Tuesdays
- Overland Park Cinemas: $1 Tuesdays
- Village Cinema: $5 Tuesdays
*Not valid on opening day of any feature or on holidays. Not valid for special engagements. VIP, 3D, and D-Box surcharges apply.
Floating the Boise River: Due to severe weather this past winter, the river may not be open for safe floating this summer. However, if the flood waters subside and the river becomes safe once more, then the information provided below will be helpful to you and your family:
The put-in area is located at Barber Park and consists of a six mile trip that will drop off at the take-out area at Ann Morrison Park. Shuttles are available between the put-in location and the take-out location and a fee applies. Raft, tube, and life jacket rentals are available, for a fee, through Boise River Raft & Tube rental service. For more information, please visit the City of Boise website at https://adacounty.id.gov/Parks-Waterways/Float-the-Boise-River.
Movies under the Stars: Starting on June 17th and running every Saturday until August 26th Boise Parks & Recreation will be hosting seven movies beginning at 7pm, with games and entertainment for the whole family provided by the Boise Parks & Recreation Mobile Recreation Van. Family friendly movies will be shown at dusk on a giant inflatable screen. For more information, please visit the City of Boise website at http://parks.cityofboise.org/activities,-classes-and-sports/movies-under-the-stars/.
Movie Night in Meridian: This year Meridian Parks & Recreation will be hosting CableOne Movie Nights every Friday evening in June, July, and August. The family friendly movies will be shown at dusk on a giant inflatable screen at Settler’s Park in Meridian. For more information, please visit the City of Meridian’s website at www.meridiancity.org/movienight .
In case there are not enough ideas listed in this guide for you, please feel free to visit the Women’s and Children’s Alliance Pinterest page for more ideas and inspiration. There are lots of ideas for conversation starters, do-it-yourself projects, and the links for this guide can also be found on this page. Have a very happy and healthy summer!
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