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Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Neely Lovett (right), a teacher at Hephzibah High School, gathers his campers around before they play football. Mr. Lovett holds a summer camp, Positive Boys Positive Men, at T.W. Josey High School's gym. The sports camp, for ages 8 to 15, also teaches life skills, discipline and respect.


It's important to keep your children's brains engaged this summer and not just let them veg in front of the TV. Here are a few ideas.


BUILD: Have them build a kite, a birdhouse, a boat or even a Lego structure. Building accesses spatial temporal reasoning and improves fine motor skills. Most kids get absorbed in the process of creation.

COOK: Have kids help in the kitchen or become chefs for the day. Cooking uses reading skills, math skills and basic judgment. The finished product will produce pride and self-confidence. It also gives the parent a mini-vacation.

CHESS AND SCRABBLE: Chess accesses math and sequencing skills. It is an excellent way of keeping your child's mind active and quick. Many public libraries have chess clubs. Scrabble is an excellent way of building your child's vocabulary and perfecting dictionary skills. You can also compete with your child to keep skills agile.

ART: Summer art projects can be great for keeping your kids busy. Get them outside and have them work on landscape paintings or drawings. Or have them work on a found art project. Looking for components for their project can become a treasure hunt. The art supplies you provide can be minimal. The point is to give them ideas.

WRITE: Activate your child's storytelling abilities by reading a portion of a story and having the child finish the story in his or her own words. Younger children also can illustrate their stories. Writing flexes the entire brain and is beneficial for a child's development and success in school.

TAKE A TOUR: Taking tours can be fun and educational for you and your children. Contact your local newspaper or TV station and ask about arranging a tour. Learn about the inner workings of the media industry. Go to a museum or visit an art exhibit to see how art imitates life. Take a trip to the zoo.

Source: Vielka McFarlane, CEO and Founder of Celerity Educational Group



CHARLOTTE'S WEB: 6:30 p.m. gates open, movie at dusk; Georgia Golf Hall of Fame's Botanical Gardens, 1 11th St.; $1 admission, benefits the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center; part of Movies Under the Stars series; (706) 721-4004,

FRIDAY DANCE: 8:30-11 p.m. Fridays; Ballroom Dance Center, 525 Grand Slam Drive, Evans; dance to swing, salsa, waltz, tango, shag and foxtrot; free lesson at 8:30 p.m.; $5; (706) 854-8888, www.theballroomdance

NIPPLES TO THE WIND: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through July 1; The Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St.; $35;


ORLEANS, POCO, FIREFALL: Hot Southern Night, Saturday, 7 p.m., Lake Olmstead Stadium, 78 Milledge Road; $18; (803) 278-4849

APPRECIATION DAY: 4-8 p.m., Public Safety Appreciation Day for public safety officials and their families; Lookaway Hall courtyard, 804 Carolina Ave., North Augusta; free; (803) 279-2323

FATHER AND SON BREAKFAST: 9 a.m., Hammond Grove Power Word Ministry, 590 Hemlock Drive, North Augusta; speaker will be the Rev. James Strowbridge; (803) 279-1493

TERRY & JORDAN: 8:30 p.m., Pat's Martini Bar, 201 Richland Ave., Aiken; (803) 648-1028