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It's official: Summer is here. The joyful songs that accompany the end of the school year will inevitably turn into a lamentable refrain that is far from music to a parent's ears.

"I'm bored."

As your superintendent, it is my mission to prevent boredom and promote engaged learning. And, if there has ever been a summer where "bored" is just not an option, the summer of 2015 is it. Here are just a few suggestions on how to actively engage kids in fun, learning activities every day of the week.

Head over to the Bentonville or Bella Vista public libraries and find activities for kids of all ages. Spending time at the library not only promotes reading, but shows the value of spending time with books in an increasingly digital world. Check each library's website for information on all the activities and programs offered.

Dive into the new Bentonville Recreation Center for a day of family fitness. This place is amazing. Kids will love the indoor water park. But, the Recreation Center isn't just about physical activity; it also has classes available. Last week, I saw kids engaged in cool science experiments. Yes, science experiments at a recreation center. What's cooler than that!

Spend a day at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. They have activities for kids to let their creativity loose. But I suggest you add some exploration and observation into each visit by really focusing on a different time period in American art. Can you find a connection between early American artwork and Abstract Expressionism? There is no better place to ask questions and think big thoughts than in the galleries.

And don't forget the trail system. Run, hike, or bike your way to the Bentonville Square for ice cream at the Spark Café.

Ride the Razorback Greenway. Pack a lunch, some water and get on your bikes and cruise. Find out what's around the next corner and enjoy the beauty of Northwest Arkansas. Or hit the trails at Slaughter Pen for a mountain bike adventure. Challenge yourself to explore a new trail, or ride a bit further each trip.

Make something. Take a minute to really look at the "stuff" in your garage and storage areas. Want to put it to good use? Then let your kids loose to tinker, repurpose, and create. There's no more creative way to practice critical thinking and problem solving skills than allowing kids to get their hands on a pile of "stuff." Don't be afraid to let kids be the engineer or artist. Step back, be an assistant, and follow their lead. They will surprise you.

Visit the Scott Family Amazeum after it opens on July 15. I toured this facility last week and it is truly an amazing resource for families to get hands on with science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

Let's not forget the Pea Ridge National Military Park, the Museum of Native American History, the Peel Mansion Museum, the Walmart Museum, Compton Gardens, Lawrence Plaza, and all the shady, neighborhood parks in our communities.

Bored? Busy, would be a better word.

Have a wonderful summer.

NAN Our Town on 06/25/2015

Print Headline: Bored? Not in Bentonville

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