Around a month into summer, it’s about that time for the infamous “I’m bored.” Your poor children have been hit with the dreaded summertime blues.

Suddenly, those toys they couldn’t put down during the school year have lost their luster. They’ve played the same game 100 times, and now that they’ve figured it out, it has lost that je ne sais quoi that once lured them out of bed all hours of the night.

It’s midsummer now, and for youngsters, it is inching by as once did those last few months of school.

A veteran nanny and jaded summertimer myself, I know that summertime activities can be expensive and it’s just not feasible to go the beach, or Water World, or Adventure Land every single week, so…

I created a short list of free or cheap activities to check out specific to Dothanites.

Library of Things

One you may not be aware of is a product of the Dothan Houston County Library System. It’s a collection of non-traditional “library items” that aren’t books, but provide opportunities for learning and engagement.

Any DHCLS cardholder can reserve and check out an assortment of items, for free, for one week at a time. Borrowers 19 or older can check out a pair of binoculars, a telescope, or a metal detector for an outdoor adventure. Or you can check out a microphone or a projector and screen for a night the whole family can enjoy.


You don’t have to send your kids to a faraway summer camp to get some of the same experiences. There’s plenty of educational camps right in the Wiregrass.

If yours doesn’t, many churches in the area hold a week or two of Vacation Bible School, and you don’t have to be a member to enroll. Some have a fee, but most are modest amounts, and some are free.

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) hosts one-day science camps that are free, thanks to the Southeast Health Foundation, for 12- to 18-year-olds and I read they still have some openings for July 10 and July 11. The camp is from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and features six science-based activities children can rotate in and out of.

Workshops for kids

I didn’t know this prior to research, but several area businesses offer short classes for youngsters, mostly featuring crafty activities.

Home Depot has one hands-on workshop this summer that teaches kids to make a little tow truck on Saturday, July 6 from 9 a.m. to noon. According to Home Depots website, “together, you and your child can build a custom toy tow truck with an operational boom to rescue model vehicles from ditches and embankments, move disabled vehicles, or simply put the model on display. Once your wrecker construction is complete, your child can customize it with paint and stickers.”

Kids get to keep their craft, receive a certificate of achievement, a workshop apron, and a commemorative pin.

Michaels has arts and crafts classes every week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday called Camp Creativity. For kids age 3 and up, children have access to new projects for only $3 for each 30-minute session.

Before perusing its website, I had no idea how many different slimes you could make: jungle slime, Milky Way slime, unicorn slime, and safari slime, which is certainly different from jungle slime.

Saturday, June 29, Michaels is also having a special day to make Firecracker slime from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; all you have to do is buy a plastic jar.

The slime part may have thrown you off. After all, you’re probably thinking your kids already have enough slime. But, I believe if you asked them, they’d say they do not.

Discount Movie Days

A favorite of mine because it was the easiest, and I could usually convince the 11-year-old in my care that the best movie was also the one I wanted to watch, is AMC Discount Tuesdays.

The discount lasts all day and also extends to cheap eats at concessions. AMC Stubs Members, its free reward program, can get a $5 Cameo Combo, which is a fountain drink and popcorn.

AMC Dothan 6, the theater on Ross Clark Circle behind Hobby Lobby, also takes part in the Summer Movie Camp promotion. Every Wednesday morning, kids can get admission to kid-friendly movies and a KidsPack for $4 plus tax. A schedule of movies can be found on their website.

Chalk Talk, an education notebook compiled by education beat reporter Sable Riley, appears each weekend in the Dothan Eagle and at

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