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December 21, 2014

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Keep cool during summer playtime

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Sam Morris

Ethan Kwok screams while his sister Grace Kwok giggles in a hurricane simulator at Lied Discovery Children’s Museum Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013.

Getting children outside to play can pose a challenge in Las Vegas’ triple-digit summer heat. And forgoing play because of the weather can result in stir-crazy kids and destroyed homes.

Temperatures over 100 degrees cook the valley about 70 days a year, when public health officials warn that outdoor play can be dangerous.

What can you do to keep the rugrats occupied in scorching heat?

Level 1: Easy, free activities

Air conditioning: check. Ice-cold drinks: check.

Make homemade playdough

Materials: 1 cup salt, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup flour (plus additional flour), saucepan

Directions:

1. Mix salt, water and flour in saucepan and cook over medium heat.

2. Remove from heat when mixture is thick and rubbery.

3. As the mixture cools, knead in enough flour to make the dough workable.

Activities to keep your children away from the television? Read on.

Childs' Play locations

Where: 7260 S. Cimarron Road, Suite 100, Las Vegas; Phone: 702-722-6041

Where: 7060 N. Durango Drive, Suite 130, Las Vegas; Phone: 702-834-5500

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday.

Run Plus Fun location

Where: 10875 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 100, Henderson; Phone: 702-272-2255

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Adventure Dome location

Where: 2880 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas; Phone: 702-794-3905

Hours: Vary slightly but generally 10 a.m. to midnight daily.

Discovery Children’s Museum location

Where: 360 Promenade Place, Las Vegas; Phone: 702-382-KIDS (5437)

Hours: Summer hours, from June 1 through Labor Day: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

General hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday.

• Host an indoor picnic. Children can help make sandwiches, drinks and other snacks. Spread a blanket out on the floor. Pretend to swat at pesky flies.

• Use painter’s tape to lay a street grid on your floor. Let your children build a city with their blocks and use their toy cars and trains on the streets.

• Build an indoor obstacle course.

• Test kids’ balance on a log made from rolled-up carpet.

• Set up “lily pad” couch cushions so kids can hop from cushion to cushion.

• Create a tunnel by stringing streamers from chairs from your dining room table.

• Make a bean bag toss game by having your kids throw bean bags into a bucket.

• Head to the library. We tend to forget about them in our tech-crazed world, but public libraries offer a huge range of entertainment options. The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District has 14 urban branches, North Las Vegas has three, and Henderson operates another three that are open to children. And programming extends way beyond traditional story time.

• Henderson libraries showcase jam sessions with musicians.

• The Summerlin branch hosts a lunchtime summer movie series.

• The Spring Valley branch has Fun Fridays, in which librarians set out Legos, video and board games, and other activities.

• The West Charleston branch features puppet shows.

Level 2: Cheap alternatives

Hit an indoor playground. Las Vegas is brimming with businesses that cater to kids. Bounce houses and indoor playgrounds abound. But call ahead, because many close during regular business hours for private parties.

Childs’ Play features several slides, forts and rock-climbing walls, as well as a miniature basketball court and separate play area for tots. The southwest location also has a photo studio.

The cost is $10 per child for first visit, then membership is required. Memberships cost $28 to $38 a month for the first child and $14 a month for each additional child.

Run Plus Fun features a three-story jungle gym with slides and a ball pit, as well as a separate space for toddlers. Customers can bring in their own food and drinks.

Cost is $9 per child for walk-ins. A $500 membership buys unlimited play for one year.

Level 3: Pulling out all the stops

Go ahead, splurge a little. You’re desperate. These attractions might cost a little bit more but should keep your kids occupied for hours.

• Adventure Dome. For older children, Circus Circus’ amusement park offers all-day passes for roller coasters and other rides.

A regular pass for children 48 inches or taller costs $29.95. A junior pass for children under 48 inches costs $16.95. Individual ride passes also are available for $5 to $10.

• Discovery Children’s Museum. The museum has fun, hands-on educational exhibits focused on the arts, sciences and humanities. There’s a large art studio and water play area.

Cost is $12 for everyone age 1 or older. Annual family memberships are available.

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