School is out, parents are still working and the children are stuck at home watching TV. The Recreation Department is giving those children the opportunity to spend some time in the park and use their creative talents for free this summer helping to cure the summer boredom.
“It gets the kids out of the house and lets them express themselves,” said Katy Phillips, Recreation Department site manager.
Recreation on Wheels has been driving around the neighborhoods of Turlock offering arts and crafts activities since the early 1990s, said Erik Schulze, recreation supervisor.
Monday was their first day back on the road after a lack of funding last year that prevented the Recreation on Wheels program from taking place in 2009, Phillips said.
Funding for this year’s program came from the Turlock Police Department through the Police Activities League funding.
The Recreation van will be heading to Donnelly Park on Mondays and Fridays, Crane Park on Tuesdays, Columbia Park on Wednesdays, and Broadway Park on Thursdays. The van will be at the assigned parks from 10 a.m. to noon weekly all summer until school starts again in August.
“I love it,” said Turlock mom Lesa Steiner as she played with her one-year-old daughter at Tuesday’s site. “I am always looking for stuff for the kids to do. With the budget cuts, it shows that Turlock still cares about the kids.”
The Recreation van comes stacked with construction paper, markers, paint, glue, Dixie cups, and anything you could imagine.
On Tuesday morning, the 10 children and parents that came to Crane Park were putting together a sun out of construction paper and paper plates. Bubbles and painting also occupied the neighborhood children.
Arts and crafts activities range from painting pictures to creating bubble makers from cups.
“We are trying to do inexpensive things that kids can make on their own from things around the house,” Phillips said.
Sometimes Phillips just takes everything out of her van, places it on the picnic tables and lets the children create their own masterpieces to express their creative side, she said.
“It is nice to get out here and do something with art,” said 10-year-old Emilee Fanning. “I would be at home watching TV right now, but instead I can be outside working with art.”
Fanning plans on coming back to one of the park dates and bringing a couple of her friends.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.