Summer Boredom Busters

“I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!”  If you haven’t already heard this from your kids this summer, consider yourself lucky.  But chances are it’s coming.  To help combat the evitable summer boredom, here’s a list of some academic, recreational and sports opportunities to help keep your kids busy, happy and out of your hair.  Click on the blue hyperlinks for program websites.

Black Hills State University:

BHSU Summer Academic Camps are day and multi-day camps about topics ranging from history, photography, accounting, music and more. The BHSU Athletic Department is offering team and individual sports camps including football, volleyball, basketball, softball, track and cross country.

Location: 1200 University St in Spearfish, Phone: 605-642-6343.

Dahl Fine Arts Center:

The Dahl is offering a variety of classes and camps for kids, teens and adults. They also have family activities.

Location: 713 7th St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-4101.

Douglas School District:

Douglas has open gym and sports camps throughout the summer. The Douglas High School Community Library will be open Monday-Thursday, 6-8pm.

Location: 420 Patriot Dr in Box Elder, Phone: 605-923-0030.

Ellsworth Teen Center:

The Teen Center is a cool hang out for kids age 13-18 and has lots of activities, trips and programs.

Location: 1679 Ellsworth St, Phone: 605-385-5214.

Ellsworth Youth Center:

The Youth Center is a great place for kids age 5 (and in Kindergarten) through 12 and offers a school age program, open rec, and youth sports.  They also have Tae Kwon Do, piano and guitar classes.  On August 12-17, they are hosting the Missoula Children’s Theater.

Location: 1679 Ellsworth St, Phone: 605-385-2277.

Holbrook Library:

The base library has a great children’s section and the always popular Safariland play area. They are kicking off their Summer Reading Program on June 14-15.

Location: 2650 Doolittle Dr on Ellsworth AFB, Phone: 605-385-1688.

Journey Museum:

Besides being a cool place to learn about Black Hills history, the Journey is offering a Summer of Innovation Space Camp, monthly Family Fun Days, and more.

Location: 222 East New York St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-6923.

Just Jymnastics:

Along with their normal gymnastics classes, Just Jymnastics also offers day camps during the summer.

Location: 3660 Sturgis Rd in Rapid City, Phone: 605-341-0078.

Pennington County 4-H Program:

4-H has a number of day and week long camps for kids.

Location: 601 E Centre St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-2188.

Rapid City Club for Boys:

The “Boy’s Club” is a fun place for boys age 6-17. They have a variety of sports and recreation options, a summer education program and more.

Location: 320 N 4th St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-343-3500.

Rapid City Parks and Recreation:

Parks and Rec has a ton of summer programs – aquatics, day camps, field trips, sports camps, ice skating and so much more.

Location: 515 West Blvd in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-4168.

Rapid City Public Library:

The three Rapid City libraries have a variety of programs this summer, including their Summer Reading Program starting on June 8. They also have a series of summer reading events, a Family Adventure Scavenger Hunt, and weekly story times.


Downtown – 610 Quincy St, Phone: 605-394-6139

North – 10 Van Buren St, Phone: 605-716-4098

East – 800 Mickelson, Phone: 605-718-2904

Rapid City YMCA:

The Y offers a variety of programs, including swimming lessons, sports camps, and day camps.
Location: 815 Kansas City Street in Rapid City, Phone: 605-718-9622.

South Dakota Air and Space Museum:

The Air and Space Museum is another cool place to check out. They are holding a free Middle School Science Camp on July 24-26.

Location: 2890 Rushmore Dr at Ellsworth AFB, Phone: 605-385-5189.

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Outdoor Campus – West:

The Outdoor Campus is an awesome place to explore. They have a bunch of free classes for all ages.

Location: 4130 Adventure Trail in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-2310.

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology:

The SDSMT Youth Programs is offering a series of week long summer camps with topics like geology, robotics, and engineering.  The SDSMT Athletic Department is offering team and individual basketball and soccer camps.

Location: 501 East St Joseph St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-2511.

University Center Rapid City:

The UCRC is hosting Camp Invention for students entering grades 1-6 this summer. Kids will have the opportunity to learn about science and engineering in fun and creative ways.

Location: 4300 Cheyenne Blvd in Rapid City, Phone: 605-718-4112.

Youth and Family Services Girls Inc:

Girls Inc serves girls ages 6-17 and provides fun and exciting educational and recreational activities throughout the summer.

Location: 120 E Adams St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-341-5010.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  There is a lot more going on out there!  But hopefully it will help give you an idea of some things your kids (and your entire family) can do this summer.  For more ideas, check out these sites:

28th Force Support Squadron

Rapid City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes Association

Combat Summer Learning Loss – Use Stealth to Help Kids Retain Knowledge

By Teresa Latchford –

Suggesting your child open a text-book during summer vacation might make you the subject of hysterical laughter. But many parents share concern about summer learning loss, especially after 39 studies revealed students’ summer learning loss is equal to at least one month of instruction. “This work also showed that summer learning loss is more pronounced for mathematics-related subjects than for reading or language arts, most likely because many students continue reading over the summer, but few of them practice their math skills,” certified teacher, tutor and author Stuart Ackerman said.

While students tend to forget about school once the final bell rings, parents can use stealth to help their children retain reading, writing and math skills without breaking open a text-book throughout the summer, he added.

Mr Ackerman encourages parents to recognize and use their child’s interests, for example, video games, to their advantage. Consider purchasing a video game guide, a book that’s usually several hundred pages long and contains text about game strategy, to improve reading and writing skills. “Get your child to read the entire game guide and have him or her write down a plan on winning the game based on what was read,” he said.

Use the newspaper that’s already delivered to your door to work on reading comprehension. Start off with a section in which your child is interested, such as sports or entertainment, and have your child read it aloud. After that, discuss the article to help your child draw conclusions from it.

Keep maps and a globe around the house so your child can make connections between world events in the newspaper, online or on TV and their locations. “I purchased placemats of the world for my kids,” Mr. Ackerman said. “At dinner time, my children often read their placemat maps and have a good understanding of world geography.”

Forget the math worksheets; use everyday activities to help your child explore math. Have your child calculate the discounts offered the next time you receive coupons in the mail. For example, a stick of butter may cost $1.75, but the coupon is two sticks on sale for $3. Have your child figure out how much you would save.

Try turning to the sports section in the paper for decimals and geometry. Baseball is a great tool during summer to start the sport and math connection, he added. Your child can practice division skills by figuring out winning percentages and you can use all the geometric shapes on a baseball field to teach younger children.

For a hands-on experience, get your children in the kitchen. Baking is not only a great family activity, but the use of measuring cups and spoons will help children work with fractions. Have your children explore with measuring cups when following a recipe, such as two half cups fit into the one cup measuring cup, Mr. Ackerman said.

To incorporate some math-based learning into family time, consider using a traditional board game such as Monopoly.