As the academic year has come to a close, students can discover a number of ways to have fun and stay busy this summer. The Museum of Natural History and El Campo Branch Library have programs in place now through the end of July. Planned sessions at the museum will be in-person, while the majority of those at the library will be held virtually.
Children ages five and up can sign up for the museum’s Animal Camp, which will be held from 10 a.m. until noon each Wednesday starting June 9 and running through July 28. The good news is, there is still room available for Animal Camp sessions.
“We’re absolutely still accepting kids for camps,” Museum Director William Hedstrom said.
Children attending Animal Camp will discover unique details about turtles, elephants, beavers and other critters, including their species, habitats and other particularities. Activities include crafts, touring the facility and its animal mounts, demonstrations and some guest animal appearances.
Six sessions on Thursdays from June 17 to July 22, for the museum’s Science Camp will take place from 10 a.m. until noon.
“Science Camp this summer will be educating and exciting for kids,” Hedstrom said. “We’ve got plans to teach kids about weather, circuits and plants with hands-on experiments.”
A registration fee is required for both camps, and for those wanting to attend just one or a handful of sessions, that is possible for a small fee.
To register, call the museum, 979-543-6885 or go by the facility located inside the El Campo Civic Center to fill out a registration form and pay fees.
The library’s summer program for children and adults kicked off with the first day of registration for the reading program on Tuesday, June 1. All programs are free of charge. This year’s theme is “Tail and Tales.”
Branch Manager Brigitte Vaughan was very pleased with Tuesday’s turnout.
“It is great to see so many of our patrons and their families back in the library,” Vaughan said. “They are excited to participate in the activities.”
To participate in the reading program and a chance to win prizes, stop by the library to register and pick up a reading log to be turned in at the end of the program.
Virtual programs are being offered for children from preschool age and older by logging on a website for each program. Links can be found on the Wharton County Library’s social media page.
Family Time will be held on Tuesdays starting June 8 and ending June 29.
In “Unicorns Break the Cage” on June 8, two curious kids discover what they believe to be a unicorn. Are they real or not? Log in at www.talewise.com.
A reading magic show by magician John O’Bryant can be accessed virtually from June 15 through July 15 at www.JohnsGotMagic.com.
The week after, a live virtual program at 10 a.m. will be Wild Things Zoofari. To view, log in at www.wildthingszoofari.com.
For the final Family Time session on June 29, the Houston Museum of Natural History will be exploring dinosaurs. This program is available from 8 a.m. on June 29 through 8 a.m. June 30.
Preschool Storytime, geared for children six months old to five, is also a virtual program. It can be viewed on the library’s Facebook page. Storytime programs start Wednesday, June 9 and conclude July 21. Each week will focus on a different animal theme, such as farm tails, pet tails, zoo tails, dinosaur tails, imaginary tales, ocean tails and favorite tales.
Geared for young adults, the library will a host a virtual program just for this age group on Mondays, June 7 through July 26. Activities in June include making a summer smoothie, recipes to make with dad, making a miniature fruit pizza and patriotic kabobs. July continues with a supermarket price challenge, mixing up a trail mix, a program on the dangers of vaping and creating a graham cracker style gingerbread house for a Christmas in July activity. Youngsters can log onto the library’s Facebook page to participate. They should also complete a paper or online evaluation form after each program they view, then turn in to the library for a chance at winning prizes at the end of summer.
All young adult programs are done in partnership with the Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program.
Children interested in doing crafts, can take advantage of the “come and take” crafts on Thursday mornings by picking up kits starting at 9:30 a.m. Crafts will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis until supplies are gone. Crafts will include a farm animal paper bag puppet, Father’s Day craft, sand art, making a visor and more.
As an added incentive to read throughout the summer, patrons can enter the early bird drawing for a chance to win a $100 gift card. The last day to submit is July 1 and the final reading logs must be in by Saturday, July 31 to win prizes.
The theme of the library’s closing program on Wednesday, July 28 is a foam party entitled “Big Time Bubbles.” The party will be from 10 - 11 a.m. Patrons should bring a towel and lawn chair. Also, all children must have a parent or guardian sign a waiver prior to the event.