Las Vegas Sun

May 24, 2018

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Prevent ‘summer slide’ with these educational adventures


Mikayla Whitmore

Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Writer’s Block hosts the Young Readers Book Club, for ages 12 and up.

On average, students lose two months of reading and math skills over summer break. Researchers have long documented this “summer slide,” finding that it hits the most at-risk youths the hardest. And it adds up.

By fifth grade, learning loss leaves low-income students as much as three years behind their peers, despite the fact that during the school year their skills improve at close to the same rate. The antidote? For all kids, we recommend a combination of reading for pleasure and taking advantage of the valley’s many venues offering “edutainment” — where learning is innate to stoking the imagination.


Writer’s Block: Students of all ages will find a curated selection of books, one-of-a-kind toys and artificial birds up for adoption. From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays the bookshop hosts the Young Readers Book Club, for ages 12 and up. This month’s book is “Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal” (register online or call 702-550-6399). 1020 Fremont St., Las Vegas

Clark County Library District: Club Read is a free program for youths from preschool to high school that runs through July 31 and offers everything from yoga for toddlers to an invention challenge for older kids. Participants at any branch have the option of reading 20 books or for 10 total hours to receive a prize and entry into the grand prize drawing once they turn in their reading logs. Various locations

Read: “Lola at the Library,” “Inside Out & Back Again,” “Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education”


Artisanal Foods

A lion fish looks out from a tank at Artisanal Foods, 2053 E. Pama Lane, Monday, June 12, 2017. The shop has a curated collection of products and tanks with sturgeon and lion fish so the staff can teach about sustainability. Launch slideshow »

Artisanal Foods: Take le petit chef to ogle the shelves of this gourmet store, where they’ll find Malaysian mushroom jerky, California fennel pollen, pearls of rosemary oil from Spain and yellow grits from South Carolina. Each meticulously curated product has a card listing how and where in the world it was crafted, and the staff is happy to engage in conversation about the need to support sustainable, quality foods. Another conversation starter? Sturgeon and lionfish tanks. 2053 E. Pama Lane, Las Vegas

Sur La Table 5-day Summer Cooking Series: The posh kitchen supply store offers cooking or baking camps for children and teens. For $250, they get a week of instruction about ingredients, equipment and cooking methods. Various locations

Read: “Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes,” “Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes,” “Wookie Cookies: A Star Wars Cookbook”


Las Vegas Natural History Museum: Treasures of Egypt — one of only two sets of replicas authorized by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities — delves into the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. And the new Rainforest Adventure (through Sept. 4) navigates forest layers and how essential they’ve been to human survival. Tickets are $5-$10. 900 Las Vegas Blvd. North, Las Vegas

Bonelli House: This well-preserved specimen of Anglo-territorial architecture and furnishings in nearby Kingman dates to the early 20th century. Kids can learn the story of the prominent family who built it in this nationally registered piece of Western heritage. Guided tours happen Monday through Friday. 430 E. Spring St., Kingman, Ariz.

Read: “Good Night Nevada,” “One Crazy Summer,” “The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog”


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Young at Art at the Discovery Children's Museum.

Color Me Mine: The paint-your-own ceramics chain welcomes walk-ins, workshops and parties and can help the little artist learn about different glazes and techniques. Even for those too young to finish a piece on their own, this is a chance to get hands dirty while sparking creativity. The District at Green Valley Ranch, Suite 133, Henderson

Discovery Children’s Museum Fantasy Festival or Young at Art: Imagination reigns in the Fantasy Festival exhibit hall, with its life-size ship and castle where children are transported to the medieval era to be crowned queens and kings or dubbed court jesters. Young at Art explores color, line, shape, texture, space and form, offering visitors watercolor paints and fluorescent melted crayons to create their own works. Entry is $14.50 for ages 1 to 99. 360 Promenade Place, Las Vegas

Read: “The Dot,” “The Art Book For Children,” “Harold and the Purple Crayon”


Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens: The new living display (through Sept. 9) transports visitors from the Strip to Italy’s Isle of Capri, weaving fanciful villas with lemon trees, tiered fountains and lush vegetation. 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas

Springs Preserve Summer-Fun Camps: For each of summer break’s nine weeks, the preserve is hosting a camp for ages 6 to 12, ranging in theme from “superheroes and villains” to “under the sea,” with activities such as acting or swimming. And the Nevada State Museum is on the same campus. One-day tickets are $4.95-$9.95 (4 and younger are free). 333 S. Valley View Blvd. at U.S. 95, Las Vegas

Read: “The Tiny Seed,” “Dinosaurs and all that Rubbish,” “A Mango in the Hand: A Story Told Through Proverbs”


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CSN Planetarium

CSN Planetarium: The community college’s North Las Vegas campus hosts Southern Nevada’s only public planetarium. Children can see virtual realities projected on the dome, or view the galaxy through a powerful telescope while learning how stars and planets change through the seasons and why. Programs are offered from 6 to 8 p.m. Fridays and 3:30 to 8 p.m. Saturdays, and tickets are $4-$6. College of Southern Nevada, 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave, North Las Vegas

National Atomic Testing Museum: This explosive experience takes you back in time to America’s nuclear weapons testing program at the Nevada Test Site, weaving geopolitical history with modern nuclear deterrence. Tickets are $16-$18. 755 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas

Read: “See Inside the Universe by Book,” “How the Meteorite Got to the Museum,” “Volume One: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima”


Pinball Hall of Fame: Children can explore what life was like before video games at this museum dedicated to pinball machines. Different eras of technology and pop culture are represented, and each game includes a handwritten history courtesy of owner Tim Arnold — a living encyclopedia when it comes to his collection, from a 1970s-era safe cracker to the mysterious vibrating platform called the “Relax-A-Lator.” 610 E. Tropicana Ave.

Hoover Dam and the Boulder City Hoover Dam Museum: After marveling at the superstructure, families can hit the museum for $1-$2 and explore old artifacts and personal accounts of its construction. 1305 Arizona St., Boulder City

Read: “The Crossover,” “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda,” “You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Hoover Dam!: An Explosive Job You’d Rather Not Do”


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A baby sulcata tortoise is displayed at SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium in the Boulevard Mall Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. The 28,000 sq. ft. facility features aquatic life, reptiles and birds.

Seaquest Interactive Aquarium: Book a session for snorkeling with stingrays ($29.95-$39.95 includes general admission) or commune with creatures from far-flung parts of the world, including the giant Pacific octopus or the Brazilian seahorse. For those content to just observe the displays, entry is $9.95-$14.95. 3528 S. The Boulevard mall, Suite 340, Las Vegas

Lion Habitat Ranch: This refuge for exotic animals is full of cats, but young giraffe Ozzie steals the show (maybe because he’s known to paint holding a brush in his mouth). Tours allow children to see the animals at rest or being fed or watered by the staff, and families can even dine at a picnic table surrounded by their enclosures. Costs vary by activity. 382 Bruner Ave., Henderson

Read: “Chicken in the Kitchen,” “Ocean Soup: Tide-Pool Poems,” “Tuki and Moka: A Tale of Two Tamarins”

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