Options remain to keep children occupied when school is out

Max Bled, 3, of Starkville, plays with his toy microscope. Basic science experiments are among the activities Max’s mother, Anna Bled, plans for him when he is on extended breaks from preschool. (Submitted photo)
Staff Writer

With Christmas passed and a few days left before the new year arrives, many children are left with little to do, and many parents are stuck trying to entertain them.

However, hope remains for exasperated, exhausted families and despondent, bored children.

Anna Bled, a Starkville resident and mother to Max Bled, 3, said she finds plenty of crafts, simple baking and cooking projects and board games to keep Max
occupied during times when he is not attending preschool.

She said many of the activities she finds for Max involve science, as she is a science educator and her husband Florent Bled is a researcher at MSU.

“We got him a toy microscope, and we’ve been looking at different things under the microscope, and we’ve been asking him to describe them and to just explore
different things, “ Anna Bled said. “Another science experiment that he really loved was putting vinegar in baking soda. He likes watching the bubbles.”

She also said he enjoys doing winter-themed crafts to send to his grandmother who lives in France.

“She usually likes one craft per season of the year, so we did a handprint and we turned it into a little mitten with his name on it,” Anna Bled said.

She also said Max and his father would often go to the park together when the weather permitted.

“We really try to challenge him in a way that is fun for him," Anna Bled said.

Anna Bled also said she and other friends with children would sometimes come up with activities to do together.

Another fun activity was suggested by Starkville resident Sal Keith on the SDN Facebook page. Keith recommended buying a large roll of bubble wrap and allowing children to pop the bubbles, even unrolling bubble wrap in the garage and letting children ride their bicycles or scooters over it.

For older children and those who want to stay active, the city of Starkville’s recreational facilities remain open and offer games, including basketball and racquetball at a low cost.

“Our office is at the Travis Outlaw Center with the two basketball courts,” said Starkville Parks and Recreation Department Director of Recreation and Sports
Gerry Logan. “We experience a pretty significant increase in activity during out-of-school times. Right now, our gym is very busy. We’ve got probably 30 or 40 people in there playing on the two courts.”

Logan said no specific activities were planned, but the department was considering activities for future years.

“Here, it’s hard to find indoor space where you can get some exercise or do something for an hour or two, especially with it being so cold, we’re one of the few options in town and a very, very reasonably-priced option.”

The Outlaw Center is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Basketball fees are $3 for those 17 and under and $5 for those 18 and up. Racquetball is also available at $5 per person.