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10 Child Friendly Summer Activities in the Santa Clara Area

Summer is here and so are long warm days and ample opportunities for children to venture outside and bask in their break from school. Here are 10 things parents and caregivers can accompany children to do this summer in the Santa Clara area (#1-6 are free):

  1. Eat free breakfast or lunch at five nearby locations: Santa Clara High School, Wilcox High School, Don Callejon School, Boys & Girls Club- Alviso Youth Center and the Youth Activity Center- Cabrillo Middle School. This national Summer Food Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the California Department of Education. According to Marie Pfeiffer, Manager of School Breakfast and Outside of School Time Meals from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, no enrollment is required and anyone who is 18-years-old or younger can enjoy the free meals. Text “Food” (or “Comida,” which means “Food” in Spanish) to 877-877 to receive a prompt to enter a zip code for a list of the three closest meal sites. Call 1-800-984-3663 to hear meal times for specific sites. Meals will offer nutritious food such as milk, fruit, vegetables and perhaps a sandwich or a hot entrée.
  2. Hike through the Ulistac Natural Area (www.ulistac.org). According to Dennis Dowling, Executive Director at Ulistac Natural Area Restoration & Education Project Inc., young children enjoy looking for butterflies, birds and wildflowers here. Visitors can also rest or have a snack at the gathering circles. Although there are no water or bathroom facilities at the Ulistac, visitors can go across the street to Lick Mill Park for such amenities. The Ulistac Natural Area Restoration & Education Project offers free tours and activities upon request, although spots fill up quickly. (www.ulistac.org/tours-and-presentations)
  3. Explore a local park. (www.santaclaraca.gov/government/departments/parks-recreation/parks-pools/parks)
  4. Be entertained at Family Fun Night on Monday nights from now through July 17 at the Central Park Pavilion. Visit santaclaraca.gov/government/departments/library/events for more information about Family Fun Night and other free library programs.
  5. Check out Santana Row’s free events, including Mommy & Me, a club that currently takes place on the second Tuesday of every month. (www.santanarow.com/events/)
  6. Register for the Footsteps2Brilliance Early Learning Literacy App and play educational games on a smartphone, tablet or computer. The Footsteps2Brilliance web site explains that its curriculum “contains over 1,000 interactive books, songs, and games that can be read in either English or Spanish.” Supporting the Rising Readers initiative, the Santa Clara Unified School District and the City of Santa Clara partnered up to purchase a Citywide lifetime license for this app so that Santa Clara families can have access to it. Parents can go to www.myf2b.com/register/SantaClara to register themselves and their children for accounts.
  7. See Roberta Jones Junior Theatre’s “Disney’s The Lion King Jr.” at the end of July at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts. For show times and ticket purchases, go to santaclaraca.gov/residents/leisure-entertainment/roberta-jones-junior-theatre
  8. Get wet from all the water features at Boomerang Bay located inside California’s Great America. While at the theme park, also check out the Carousel Columbia, the Barney Oldfield Speedway and Planet Snoopy. (www.cagreatamerica.com)
  9. Make a furry stuffed critter at Westfield Valley Fair Mall’s Build-A-Bear Workshop. Customers select their animal, record a message, put a heart inside the animal, help a store employee with the stuffing, clean the animal and then name the animal with an official birth certificate. (www.buildabear.com)
  10. Marvel at magnificent Lego structures at Bricks by the Bay, held in early August this summer at the Santa Clara Convention Center. (www.bricksbythebay.com)
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