Keeping kids occupied can be a big challenge. Here are some ideas for activities to keep young ones engaged -- body and mind -- in Billings this week:
Kids are always imagng what they'd like to be -- a superhero, a cowboy, a dancer, a firefighter.
Now let them bring that mind picture to life by creating their own drawings of themselves in the roles that they imagine.
Just grab the sidewalk chalk and have the child lie down on the cement with arms and legs stretched out and spread slightly away from the body. Draw a chalk line around the child's body.
Then let the child draw in the the details.
They can color in hair, eyes, a nose, mouth and the clothes that they think they'd be wearing. Maybe a child adds a cowboy hat for a rodeo star, a cape for a superhero, a helmet and fire hose for a firefighter, a tutu for a dancer.
Or they can draw themselves as they are now. Some may wish to add a pet or favorite toy in their drawing.
Sure, the sidewalk chalk washes away. That's one of it's beauties -- that the colorful display is there and then gone to make way for another day's creation.
But it's a chance to stretch imaginations, build drawing skills and have an opportunity to talk together about your chld's dreams.
What: Little Guy football and cheerleaders signups.
When: Noon-5:30 p.m. July 17. 6-8:30 p.m. July 18.
Where: Center Court, Rimrock Mall.
Why: Parents can sign up now to get kids involved in these team activities this fall. It's a great way to have kids get exercise while learning new sports while gaining skills at listening to and following instructions and being a team player.
Details: Little Guy football is open to kids 10 years old on or before Sept. 10, 2011, through seventh or eighth grade. Eighth-graders are eligible only if their junior high does not have an eighth-grade football team. Applicants must be present to sign up. Bring a copy of player's birth certificate and proof of residence, such as utility bill. Cheerleaders must be 7-13 years old. $75 is due at signup.
Costs and information: $125 due at signing for football players and $75 for cheerleading. firstname.lastname@example.org. www.billingslgf.org.
What: Free dance lessons for all ages.
When: 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays, July 19-27.
Where: TDF, 145 Regal St.
Why: Kids can have lots of fun while learning new dance moves and balance. And they get to participate in a fun final event.
Details: Lessons are in preparation for a "flash" dance in a parking lot during a fun event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 30, which is National Dance Day.
Cost and information: Free. 256-6155.
What: Children's story time and activity time.
When: 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, storytime. 2 p.m. Thursday, July 21, activity time.
Where: Community Library at Montana State University Billings College of Technology, Tech Building, 3803 Central Ave.
Why: Kids have fun and learn, too, in activities at the West End library, which is a collaboration between MSU Billings and Parmly Billings Library. Storytime iss a good way to introduce kids to books and reading. And both it and activity time stretch imaginations.
What: Summer Open Studio.
When: 10 a.m.-noon or 1-3 p.m. Thursdays.
Where: Yellowstone Art Museum, 401 N. 27th St.
Why: Let kids express their artistic and creative sides in a fun learning environment.
Details: Ages 5-12 can take part in a different class each week. The schedule includes: Painting, Thursday, July 21. Mobile & stabile, July 28. Neltje, Aug. 4. "Little bit of everything," Aug. 11.
Registration opens no sooner than one week before each class. Walk-ins are welcome, but class size is limited to 20 students.
Cost and information: $5 for Yellowstone Art Museum members; $6 for nonmembers. 256-6804; artmuseum.org.
What: "Geology" for kids.
When: 9-11 a.m. Friday, July 22.
Where: Pictograph Cave State Park.
Why: Kids get to learn about the natural world in, well, the natural world from experts provided by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Feed questioning minds in a fun setting.
Details: Sessions are designed for ages 7-10, and topics vary week to week throughout the summer.
Cost and information: $2 donation requested for materials, snacks. 254-7342.
For more things for kids and families to do on the weekend and throughout the week, see billingsgazette.com/calendar, where you can also submit your own family-friendly public events.