Wednesday, April 27, 2011

So, what are you doing this summer?

Programs, fun and writings from 5th-graders

Welcome to the Idaho Mountain Express' annual guide to summer activities for children.

Finding out the best ways for children to spend their summers away from school is always a challenge for parents. This special section provides some suggestions.

There are many skilled instructors in the valley who work hard to offer the best environments for kids to enjoy themselves and learn. And living in the mountains adds to the fun for kids in the summer.

Express reporters Terry Smith, Tony Evans, Sabina Dana Plasse, Robin Sias, Trevon Milliard, Katherine Wutz, Jennifer Liebrum and Jeff Cordes have been busy finding out the variety of ways kids can fill their days.

It's also important for kids to have unscheduled time during the summer—to be kids. Check out young Wyatt Minor in the photo on this page. He's biking with friends, wasting a little time, challenging himself and making memories.

Many times it's vital for kids not to be anywhere except where they want to be. So, set parameters if you're a parent, know whom your child is hanging around with, insist on family mealtime and trust your child to make good decisions.

But, really, what is it that kids really want to do in the summer? Providing answers in the imaginary realm here are local fifth-grade students taught by Beverly McNeal at the Community School. Here are some of their musings on their ideal dream vacations.


Community School, 5th grade

I stare at an old British castle. The castle is made out of stone, seems to be falling down in some places. Without thinking, I go inside the castle. You would not believe it! Inside the room is a blood-red carpet with red velvet chairs and ... a unicorn!

I slowly approach the unicorn; he looks up at me. I freeze. But the unicorn gives me a comforting look that says, "Don't worry, I'm nothing to be afraid of!" I think—what have I wanted to do this summer? Ride a unicorn! I get onto the unicorn's back. Before you can whisper "amazing" we are soaring across the sky.

After an hour we descend to a house—my house. I did not want this ride to end. I turn around and the unicorn is gone. I look up at the sky, not there. I then look back to my house. "Time for this dream to end," I whisper. I pinch myself, nothing happens. "I never thought I could live my dream vacation!"


Community School, 5th grade

My heart is pounding. A light breeze blows my hair. Slowly I take a few timid steps across the cool grass. I take a deep breath, and I dive off the cliff. A burst of wind blows at my face. I can barely see through the dense fog. Suddenly a strange tingly feeling comes over me. Wings sprout out of my back and ... I fly.

The feeling is exhilarating. I soar over the treetops, a huge smile plastered on my face. I dive and roll and do loop de loops. I can barely see the people walking around as I shoot over England, Paris, even China! They're all completely unaware that a 10-year-old girl is flying above them. The sun shines brightly. It's blinding. I can barely stand the heat. Suddenly my wings start melting. Before I know it, I'm sitting up in bed, my brother shining a flashlight in my face. "W-What happened?" I ask, confused.

I realize it was all a dream. I get dressed and walk outside. "Strange," I think aloud. Even though there is no breeze, it's almost as if I can still feel the gentle wind on my face.


Community School, 5th grade

Imagine galloping down a grassy pasture on your wonderful horse, then staying at a cabin for three nights with some of your best friends and your loving companion. This would be my dream summer vacation.

When we saddle up the horses they know what's coming next. Thinking of the smell of the wonderful grass and the wind blowing through their manes makes them want to gallop down into the forest. They want to run through the raging river and up and down the mountains, weaving through the trees and in and out of fields. I love the sound of the raging river and the sound of the horses' hooves hitting the ground with a nice galloping sound.

I taste the mist from the river, and see all the meadows. One of the best parts is seeing my best friend right next to me, then taking off into the meadows. At the end of the day the sun sets and we take a ride. Afterward, we gallop back to the cabin, tie up our horses, have dinner and have great dreams about what we're going to do tomorrow.


Community School, 5th grade

In a perfect world my vacation would take me all over.

I would go to Europe. I would bike till I could bike no more. Riding, riding and riding some more. I would see the Tour de France. What a race!

I would get on a flight and arrive in the middle of the night in the country of Australia. I would take a trip to the Australian bush. I would see animals like snakes, koalas, lizards, camels, wombats, crocodiles, kangaroos, dingos and platypuses.

Next destination on my dream vacation would be Africa. I would go on a safari. I would have the time of my life, seeing the things I'd never seen before.

I would hop on a plane and go to Costa Rica. I would camp on the beach. I would surf every day and explore the jungle. Then I would come back to the U.S. and realize that my vacation was over.



Community School, 5th grade

For my dream vacation I would go to Hawaii and surf. I would go to the beach with the best waves.

As I walk to the beach, the smell of fresh salty air fills my nose and I hear seagulls screeching farther down the beach. I get into the water. It's warm and refreshing. As I paddle out, I see two black and yellow striped angelfish swimming beneath me. I see a good wave coming. I turn my board around and start to paddle. At first I paddle slowly and feel my chest against the rough wax on the board.

Then I paddle harder. I'm riding on the wave. I'm ready to stand up. One swift move and I'm up on my feet and riding the wave—carving up and down the face of the wave. I'm pumping to get momentum. As soon as the wave starts to curl, I drop back into the tube. The tube is like a great green house that is just flowing and the wind is in your face. Then I touch the inside of the wave and speed up.

When I'm done, I turn, pull up the face of the wave and jump off of it. I land in the water with a splash. I paddle back out again and do it all over.

Coolest vacation ever.


Community School, 5th grade

I'd like to be in the Bahamas on Bill Gates' yacht. I'd redesign the whole thing. I'd put an I FLY tube on the top deck so it actually seems like you're flying. I'd put in a PF Chang's for dinner and a Wise Guy's for lunch. I'd take the biggest kitchen and make it into a breakfast buffet.

Next to the I FLY tube on the top deck you could bungee jump and base jump. Then I'd put a flat screen the size of a movie theater screen in every room. I'd replace the beds with massage beds. I'd get rid of the crew and get the nicest crew in the world and the best cook in the world.

I'd put in a waterslide that goes all the way around the ship, even over the edge. It would have a clear waterslide with clear walls and a clear bottom. I'd put customized jet skis on the yacht. I'd even put four 1,000-horsepower motors in the engine room. That's my dream vacation. Bill Gates needs to start working on that.


Community School, 5th grade

I would go to the land of the Pyramids—Egypt. I've seen so many cool pictures of the Sphinx and all the pyramids that I bet it would be cooler to see them in real life. It would be fun to ride on a camel to see the sights instead of riding in a van or a jeep. I'd like to dress up in Egyptian clothes so I wouldn't get hot. The camel could take me to the Sphinx so I could climb the long set of steps.

While I'm in Egypt I'd eat Egyptian food like a camel burger and take a boat down the long Nile River.

What I'd want to do most is go inside the Pyramids to see all the tombs where the mummies are buried and where all the treasures are. It would be the oldest thing I'd ever seen that wasn't in a museum. I hope I really get to do this someday.


Community School, 5th grade

My summer dream vacation would be going to Hollywood and working on a set as a cameraman or editor.

I would rather do it on an action movie than a scary or animated movie. If I couldn't do that, I'd want to follow around the builders for the set and help them build. I've always been interested in tech and building. I think a typical day in Hollywood for me would be waking up to a limo at my door. I'd get in and eat breakfast as it is driving me to work.

Walking to work I'd see tons and tons of movie stars. Since I'm working on an action film, I'd see Vin Diesel and Russell Brand. I'd go into the studio and meet my fellow cameramen. We'd shoot the scene where Vin Diesel is running and shooting at a robber who is shooting back. I'd like this one the best because we'd have to run along with the camera.

Then I'd go home in my limo and watch TV by fireside in my theater.


Community School, 5th grade

Best thing that could happen to me this summer would be to get to travel around the world on a cruise ship.

I can already imagine lying on a beach in Argentina in the warm white sand, or eating amazing food in Paris, maybe even going on a safari in Africa. The ship would have a water slide that goes off the side of the ship and an all-you-can-eat dessert bar.

I'd want to go to at least one country on four continents. The continents would be Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. The country I'd want to go in Europe is France, because of the great food. In South America I would want to go to Argentina because it has mountains with snow and beaches. In Asia I would want to go to Japan because of the amazing culture. In Africa I would want to go to South Africa so I could go on a safari.

It would be the best summer vacation ever!

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