This post has been sponsored by Allies for Children, however, all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own. #PGHSummer16

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 11.46.22 PMIt’s summer! While the idea of three months off of school can be exciting for kids, it can be troubling for parents and educators. You see, this is because of the “summer slump”, also known as summer learning loss.

This phenomenon is where students lose academic skills over the summer, potentially placing the student behind at the beginning of the school year. However, there are lots of opportunities to keep kids’ minds sharp this summer and many are even free!

I have partnered with Allies for Children and Pittsburgh Summer ’16 to celebrate the Summer Learning Day initiative. Summer Learning Day is an annual national advocacy day led by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to highlight the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy every summer.

To help celebrate, I have come up with a list of camps and activities for kids to do in and around Pittsburgh this summer to not only keep them active, but also to keep them learning.

Sports & Outdoor Activities

Allegheny County Parks offers a number of free programs for kids such as golfing, fishing, swimming, kayaking, and winter sports. Some of these include:

Basketball mini camps — approximately 30 free basketball mini-camps are held in over 10 communities for kids ages 9 to 18. These camps also include a free boxed lunch.

Swimming lessons — free swimming lessons for kids ages 5 and older are available at Boyce, North, South, and Settler’s Cabin parks. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Kayaking — Spending a day kayaking on one of Pittsburgh’s three rivers as well as numerous other rivers and lakes is a perfect way to get your children outdoors.

Spray Parks — The City of Pittsburgh has six spray parks which allow kids to cool off on hot summer days. What is even better is that children of all ages and all abilities are able to enjoy these parks.

Educational Activities

Carnegie Libraries — In addition to their summer reading programs, the various Carnegie Libraries offer summer educational programs.

Nature Programs — There are a variety of nature programs held in the county’s nine county parks which aim to help teach kids about the value of our natural resources and our eco system.

Carnegie Museums — Pennsylvanians with a Access/EBT Card can receive a discount at any of the Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh. Just present your card as well as a photo ID.

Geocaching — This is a really fun activity to do with the kids and all you need is a GPS. Type in the coordinates and it will tell you which way to go to find a “treasure” which can range from a log book to some more expensive items. Just download the Geocaching Live App and begin your adventures.

Cultural Programs — Whether it is gardens; musicals and plays; teas and tours; or even a history lesson, you can find cultural activities throughout the county.

There are so many activities in and around Pittsburgh for students to participate in this summer, and I know that this list only scratches the surface. So make the most of the summer and get your kids out there and have them keep learning!

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