Parents often wonder how they can help their children stay occupied this summer. Reading programs are standard for the summer, but there are kids classes, local entertainment facilities and ballpark events that parents may not know about.
Here are the six programs and attractions to keep kids busy.
West Valley Library Classes & Summer Reading Program
With a theme of “A Universe of Stories,” Maricopa County Library District’s Summer Reading Program celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing.
Goodyear and Litchfield Park branches, as well as Avondale and Buckeye libraries, are all participating. Visit maricopacountyreads.org or head to any of those four library locations for details.
Kids can enter minutes read online, plus they can enter “secret codes” for more points (game boards are also available at the library). Those who earn 500 points win a food coupon and 1,000 points earns a free book.
Secret codes can be found out in the community at parks, businesses, community centers and other strategic places, as well as at library events. West Valley View readers can get an extra 5 points with the secret code: westvalleyview.
The reading programs are a good way of keeping kids from experiencing “the summer slide,” according to Kimberley Carroll, Maricopa County Library District’s west area regional manager.
“Reading with children and encouraging children to read at least 20 minutes a day may help reduce or even prevent this loss of learning,” she said.
That’s a big reason why the library has a Summer Reading Program. Not only can reading help children continue building their reading skills, the books they read can expand their knowledge in other areas.
“For many families with elementary-aged children, the public library is the only community space available during the summer months where they can access free educational and cultural enrichment activities and programs,” Carroll said. “This is particularly important in Arizona where temperatures keep families on the lookout for inviting indoor spaces.”
As a result, libraries in the West Valley tend to see their busiest months in July and August.
Summer classes at West Valley library locations are also free and fun. Different branches offer a variety of options, so check out the ones at libraries near you. They include kids’ yoga, story time, family movie nights, science, animals and escape rooms.
In addition to the library’s reading program, be sure to check out the summer reading program at Barnes & Noble, 1446 N. Litchfield Road in Goodyear. Print off the reading journal on the website for kids in grades 1 to 6. In August, they can turn in their journal for a free book. Barnes & Noble in Goodyear also has Read to Daisy every Monday, where kids can read to a certified therapy dog. Check out their calendar for other upcoming events.
City parks and recreation activities
Buckeye, Goodyear, Avondale, Litchfield Park and Tolleson each have their own city parks and recreation activities that will keep kids busy.
Many West Valley parks and recreation departments have summer camps, sports teams and performing or visual art opportunities.
Check out their websites or grab a copy of their program guide for details.
Litchfield Park: litchfield-park.org/25/recreation-services
Goodyear Ballpark events
Free Movie Nights at 7 p.m. monthly. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Bring a blanket and enjoy a movie from the outfield lawn. Light snacks and beverages will be available for purchase.
Here is the lineup: “Ralph Breaks the Internet” May 31; “Smallfoot” June 28; “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” August 30; and Captain Marvel September 20.
Extended Spring Training is scheduled through June 1. Check online calendar at goodyearbp.com for details. The Goodyear Ballpark is located at 1933 S. Ballpark Way.
Local pools and splashpads
Pools and splashpads are great ways of staying cool. Many local pools have affordable swim passes so families can visit all summer. Be sure, as well, to check out their swimming lessons and swim teams. If you’d rather cool off by running around in the water, two West Valley public splashpads are fun and free.
Goodyear Community Pool at 430 E. Loma Linda Boulevard will have free swim days on June 29 and July 27. They’ll have games, activities, raffles, prizes and snacks on those days.
Buckeye Aquatic Center at 207 N. Ninth Street will have free swim days on June 1 and June 8, and July 6 and July 13.
Southwest Valley YMCA at 2919 N. Litchfield Road in Goodyear has an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a recreational pool with a three-story waterslide.
Friendship Park at 12325 W. McDowell Road in Avondale, and Goodyear Community Park at 3151 N. Litchfield Road have free splashpads open to the public during the summer. Be sure to bring your own snacks, towels and plenty of sunscreen.
Area Fun Parks
Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park at 16501 W. Northern Avenue in Litchfield Park has 600 species of animals, rides, a petting zoo and daily shows. They also offer Safari Camp, which will be held June 17 to June 21 and July 15 to July 19. See wildlifeworld.com for details.
TeenyTown Playland at 2958 W. Indian School Road in Litchfield Park offers a fun indoor activity center for children 10 and younger. It is a mini town where kids can pretend to work at a café, or be a teacher, among other things. Visit teenytownplayland.com for hours and pricing.
Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park at 15305 W. McDowell Road in Goodyear offers an array of activities, including obstacle course, ropes course, climbing wall and skyrider coaster. Pricing depends on the attractions selected. For more, visit urbanairtrampolinepark.com.
Main Event at 10315 W. McDowell Road in Avondale has bowling, arcades, laser tag, karaoke and mini golf. It’s a great way to get out of the heat and have fun indoors. Visit mainevent.com for details about hours, pricing and specials.
Elevate Trampoline Park at 701 N. 137th Avenue in Goodyear has trampolines, foam pits, ninja course and toddler area. It’s sure to be a good time for parents and kids of all ages. Go to elevategoodyear.com to learn more.
Bowlero at 1425 N. Central Avenue in Avondale has bowling, arcade games and food. For hours and pricing, including summer pass options, visit bowlero.com.
Planet Fitness at 515 S. Cotton Lane in Goodyear and 200 N. Avondale Boulevard in Avondale offer free use of the gym for teens 15-18 through September 1. It’s a great way for parents to spend time with teens improving their health. Visit planetfitness.com for more information.
Estrella Mountain Community College offers summer classes for kids. These include dance, Lego, art, culinary, stop animation, cartooning, sign language, Spanish, STEM coding, science, woodworking and piano. Visit estrellamountain.edu/kids-college for full details.
Marcia Ford, EMCC instructional services coordinator, said they started 10 years ago offering just a few computer and culinary classes.
“These classes offer the students opportunities to try new activities and take a more in-depth look at current interests, as well as a chance to make new friends,” she said. “We quite often see students exchanging phone numbers at the end of the class to stay in touch.”
Home Depot at 1489 N. Dysart Road in Avondale is hosting three workshops for kids this summer: June 1 (putting green) and July 6 and August 3, the latter of which at TBA. Workshops are free. Visit sciencefaircentral.com for details.
Science Fair Central, built by The Home Depot, and Discovery Education have joined forces to help STEAM power classrooms and homes across the country as students prepare for their careers.
As special guests, The Automatons, robotics club from Odyssey charter school in Buckeye, will be at the workshops. Come out to meet the team, learn about robotics and STEAM, meet their robot Sebra who took them to the State Championships this year, and build your project.
Michaels at 1475 N. Litchfield Road in Goodyear has many craft classes geared toward families throughout the summer, including a butterfly puppet garden, painted rock bugs and a Father’s Day puzzle card. Check the event calendar for the Goodyear location at michaels.com.