There are parents who have the summer planned — vacation this week, camp the next, art classes followed by learning an instrument or a foreign language. Others of us are less prepared and find that despite our best intentions when summer started, the kids are doing very little that is productive, unless you count the teen educating the preteen on the exact formula of a Law and Order episode or how to handle the heat of a whole bag of Takis for breakfast (at noon) or somehow making every towel in the home disappear.

They will probably say they are just fine with the status quo. Don’t listen. Make them do something — we will all be better for it.

From Scribbles via Instagram

Steve Jobs dropped out of college before designing the Macintosh computer, but he continued to take classes that interested him. One such class? Calligraphy. Jobs told people it largely influenced the look of the Mac. Lake Highlands Advocate reader Meghan Coates offers Camp Scribbles, which teaches calligraphy, card making and stationery and kids’ crafts. Beginner classes in July still have space. Daily workshops last four hours, Monday-Thursday, and are held in the home. A week runs $200 and includes all supplies, lettering guides and snacks. More details are available by emailing  Registration and detailed description of camp here.

Studio Arts Dallas

Studio Arts Dallas offers more summer classes and camps than we could begin to list — suffice to say they run the gamut from fantasy/painting for 6 year olds to portfolio advisement for teens, from evening classes to full-week morning camps. A full list of the opportunities is here. It also is safe to say the creative young participants are left in the best of hands. Studio Arts Director Barley Vogel calls her teaching practice her “primary art form as much as [a] spiritual practice. This calling allows me to walk in beauty and experience creation in each brushstroke or pen line a student places on a piece of paper,” reads her bio. The Studio Arts once was the neighborhood Whataburger and maintains the recognizable A frame. The architect who renovated the space graced the cover of Architectural Digest in 2010. You can read more about the studio’s history here.

Daylong adventure camps for children ages 3-12 are aplenty at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and School in Lake Highlands. These KidVENTURE camps teach sports, tech, sea and space and all sorts of fun stuff in between. Each includes a mid-week field trip and add-ons such as pre- and post-camp childcare. Start the selection and registration process here.

For the parent who wants to toughen up the child — make him or her faster, stronger, better at a chosen sport, more helpful when it comes to moving furniture, there is Garage Fit, a class for children 7 and older offered by Lake Highlands resident Peter Hernandez, who describes it as “a healthy way to tire your kids out while giving them a fun, great workout.” The class is 45 minutes two days a week in a garage gym behind Forest Meadow Jr. High. “I [also] teach one on one, and small group training … everything from pull-ups, to boxing, to slam balls,” says the coach. Try out a class for $15 or buy in bulk for $12 per class. Contact Hernandez at or 312.560.8241.

Dallas Equestrian Center

For the child who wants a pony and the parents who actually considered the request, try this neighborhood camp out first. The Dallas Equestrian Center at 8787 Park Lane in the Lake Highlands area offers week-long morning Equestrian Camps wherein children 6 and older learn all about the horse —  grooming, saddling, bridling, leading, mounting, dismounting and riding form. The last camp listed is next week, June 26-30 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Cost is $550. Then, if you still decide to purchase that pony, you can talk to the proprietors about boarding.

Bonus: Home Depot offers free Saturday workshops for both youngsters and adults. For example, on July 1 from 9 a.m.-noon, parent and child might build a bug house. You can also learn to install a toilet or ceiling fan, but I am pretty sure that’s for the grown-ups. Check out more from the Skillman location in the Lake Highlands area here.

More ideas? Please let us know.