Temptation. That’s what I face this time of year, when the novelty of summer wears thin. Spending time in the pool is great, but the days are long, and “he’s taking my stuff!” is a common phrase heard around my house. It’s during those moments I’m tempted to spend money I shouldn’t. But then, I need to retain my wits during the summer. Otherwise, I risk falling at their feet in relief when I greet my kids’ teachers come August.

Perhaps you, too, are in search of creative ways to keep your brood happy, active and, above all, away from various remote controls without breaking the bank. Fortunately, many local museums, bookstores, restaurants and more in Ahwatukee and around the Valley are generously offering free events and activities for families to beat the heat and get out of the house.

So moms and dads, get your kiddos moving, crafting, reading, learning and enjoying some yummy food that is sure to please you and your budget. Enjoy, and our family will see yours out and about town!

• Cardon Children’s Medical Center/KTAR 92.3: 2010 Fit Kid Challenge Kickoff, Saturday, June 12: 8 to 11 a.m. (Southern Avenue and Dobson Road in the parking lot with the air conditioned tent), bannerhealth.com/cardonchildrensfitkid.

Bring the whole family for this free event that includes breakfast, obstacle courses, a visit with the Wii truck, prizes and appearances by News-Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Connie Weber and Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken. Help kick off this summer’s Fit Kid Challenge, a free four-week summer program for kids that rewards completing activities designed to help kids make healthy choices in nutrition and lifestyle.

• The Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, (602) 262-8848

Heard.org/sizzling. Sizzlin’ Summer Saturdays: Free admission all day every Saturday in July, featuring special events for kids, including hands-on activities, music and dance performances, book readings and author appearances, treasure hunts, goody bags and more. See website for specific times. This event is on second Sundays and third Fridays each month with free admission.

• Ironwood Library, 4333 E. Chandler Blvd., (602) 534-1900,

Phoenixpubliclibrary.org/kids. Now through July 31: Extra, Extra! Read Your Way to the Ballpark! This countywide program invites children aged birth through 18 to complete a “booklog,” earning points for every 50 pages read, or for 20 minutes of reading or listening to a book read aloud. Kids who complete the log earn a free book and a ticket to an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game. Visit the library’s website for additional story times for younger kids and activities for teens.

• Brilliant Sky Toys & Books, 4929 E. Chandler Blvd., (480) 785-8697, phoenixaz@brilliantskytoys.com. On Saturday, June 12 at 11 a.m. bring your readers and fans to meet everyone’s favorite kitty, SkippyJon Jones, in character for story-time, crafts, activities and more.

• Borders Bookstore, 870 N. 54th St., (480) 961-4915, Borders.com. On Saturday, June 12 at 11a.m. bring your young movie fans to celebrate the release of Toy Story 3, with stories, giveaways, crafts and games for kids ages 6 to 12.

-Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. Miss Marty, Ahwatukee’s favorite reader, hosts the kids for a lively hour of music and book reading followed by crafts and games.

-The Summer Reading Program encourages your kids to read 10 books over break and they win a free book selected by Border’s.

• Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, 14205 S. 50th St., (480) 598-1300, Rockbottom.com. On Mondays and Tuesdays kids 12 and under eat free all day, no minimum purchases; try the “make your own pizza.”

• Arriba’s Mexican Grill, 4649 E. Chandler Blvd., (480) 753-4453, Arribamexicangrill.com. On Sundays one child eats free with the purchase of an adult’s meal, all day.

• Babaloos Cuban Café, 1241 E. Chandler Blvd, (480) 460-1528, Bablooscubancafe.com. On Tuesdays one child eats dinner free with the purchase of an adult’s meal.


Diane Meehl is a freelance writer, mother of three and volunteer. She can be found out and about in Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach her at dianemeehl@cox.net to share ideas for fun places to visit.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.