Free and low-cost summer activities available for Flint-area children and families

Summer is here, but for many Flint and Genesee County families, keeping children and teens safe and engaged in fun, productive activities that don’t stretch tight budgets can be a challenge. High-quality summer programming is particularly critical for school-age children and youth, who can fall victim to the “summer slide,” losing about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation and reading skills before returning to school in the fall.

Fortunately, there are a variety of free and low-cost summer options available locally. For more than 80 years, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has supported activities for children and young people in Flint and Genesee County — and this summer is no exception. While many Mott-funded summer programs for students focus on learning and enrichment, most offer plenty of opportunities to have fun and increase physical fitness too.

This year’s options include:

Flint Public Library: There’s something fun going on almost every day at the Flint Public Library. In addition to the Summer Reading Challenge program for children and teens from June 10 through August 5, there are all kinds of free activities for all ages, including Lunch on the Lawn Storytime, Drop In and Build, Tell a Tail (where children can read to therapy dogs), Teen Writers Summer Workshop, computer classes and more. Located on the Flint Cultural Center campus, the library is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday — 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The library is closed Sunday and Monday. Registration is open all summer for the early, kid, teen, and adult programs.

Crim Fitness Foundation: Registration for Crim’s summer running clubs is open through July 18. Runners 5 to 17 years old are invited to join a club and train all summer with friends and family for the Kids Invitational on Friday, August 18th at Flushing County Park. The cost of the club is just $5 per runner and covers the cost for the Kids Invitational, a shirt with your club name, and Family Fun Night on Tuesday, July 18th at Bicentennial Park in Grand Blanc. Those who do not register for summer running clubs are still welcome to join us for the Kids Invitational.

Be sure to check out the many activities offered for children and families at the Genesee County Parks & Recreation Commission. With more than 11,000 acres of woods, rivers, lakes, trails, beaches and campgrounds, the parks offer a number of summer activities at 23 sites. Summer playground programs, which also provide lunch, are operating at five city and county parks through August 25. For more information on fitness classes, gardening, nature walks and more, take a look at the Family Fun Guide. You can request a printed copy by calling 800-648-PARK.

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint: Offering year-round programming for children ages 7–17, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint focuses on activities that increase academic skills and encourage creativity and physical fitness. Summer enrichment programs, serving between 400 and 475 youth each day, are offered at the Boys & Girls Club home facility on Averill Avenue. Registration is open year-round. There is a $10 fee to join.

While summer programming is winding down at the Flint Community Schools, the district’s Community Education STEAM Camp is coming up on July 24th-28th. This amazing, weeklong camp offers fun, hands-on learning opportunities for students in K-8th grade. The STEAM Camp will be hosted at Potter Community School and is open to any students in the Flint community. Registrations are filling up, but applications are still being accepted.

In addition, individual community schools are offering family-friendly activities — such as the Holmes Family Bike Club — through the end of July. Check with your local school to find out what’s going on this summer and what activities will be available in the coming school year.

Kettering University is offering a variety of summer science camp programs designed to inspire students about the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Open to elementary, middle and high school students, activities range from an introductory “basketball STEM” camp (scholarship help is available) to robotics and computer engineering camps. The fun continues through the fall.

The Flint Cultural Center is another great spot for children and families. A variety of summer activities and programs are available through the summer months, including many free events such as the Music Around Town concert series. To find out what’s going on at the Flint Institute of Arts, the Flint Institute of Music, Sloan Museum, Longway Planetarium, Flint Youth Theatre and The Whiting, visit their websites or take a walk through the beautiful Flint Cultural Center campus and stop by. Remember to check out activities at Applewood as well. Located directly adjacent to the Flint Cultural Center, the Charles Stewart Mott family estate hosts special events as well as weekly Children’s Storytime and Lunch and Learn programs.

Flint’s Tapology is offering a one week concentrated training for serious students of tap dance the week of August 7-11 at the Flint Institute of Music. Workshops run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and shoes are available for beginning-level students. Lunch will be provided. The cost of the workshop is $25 for Genesee County residents; $50 for non-residents.

Finally, remember to check in with the Flint Farmer’s Market where something fun is always happening on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

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