Activities abound for vacation week

There will be lots to do in Dorchester for kids of all ages during next week’s school vacation. From swimming to snow-shoeing and storytelling and dance, the city, its libraries, community schools and other organizations have lined up a variety of free-time activities.

• The city will highlight the week with “Boston R.O.C.K. IT!! Launch into Summer” at the Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner next Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event, which will be open to youth ages 9-14, will feature information about summer opportunities from Mayor Thomas Menino and city officials as well as celebrity MC Roy Barboza from WJMN 94.5 in addition to youth performances and raffles.
Participants will be able to gather information and share e-mail addresses so the city can communicate with them about summer opportunities and their parents can start enrolling them in summer programs.

• The Leahy-Holloran Community Center will be offering a comprehensive lineup of activities for the week that includes preschool play programs, cheerleading and sewing workshops, softball clinics, dodge ball, video game tournaments, and a water basketball game with teenagers playing against the Boston Police in the pool.
For kids ages 3 to 5, there will be a creative movement and parachute play day on Tuesday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. A pre-school play group is set for Wednesday, also at 9:30 a.m. Thursday will be movie day beginning at 9:30, and Friday will feature story time and crafts at the same hour.

Arts and crafts for varying age groups will be held throughout the week at noon and 1 p.m. On Tuesday at noon, 5- and 6-year-olds can design macaroni jewelry. At 1 p.m., 7- and 8-year-olds will craft jewelry boxes. On Wednesday at noon, a class will be held for 9- and 10-year-olds to make jewelry boxes and at 1 p.m., a class for 11- and 12-year-olds will focus on crafting photo collages.

And there’s more: Kids can get ready for summer with a field trip to Fenway Park’s batting cages on Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. The program is free and open to children ages 10 through 16. Spaces are limited and participants should register with Charlie Conners at 617-635-5150 or send an e-mail to leahy-hollorancc@gmail.com.

In the pool, a variety of programs are scheduled for all ages, including recreational and parent/child open swimming. The water basketball tournament between center teens aged 12 and older and the C-11 All Stars will be held on Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
For those 18 and older, Sally Harney is offering Irish Ceili and Set Dancing workshops. There will also be classes available for adult belly dancing.

Call 617-635-5150 or visit leahyhollorancommunitycenter.comfor a complete schedule.

• Those looking for outdoor fun, may want to try snowshoeing. A Winter Snow Festival at Franklin Park this Saturday will offer free activities and winter sports from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will be welcome to snowshoe, cross country ski, sled down the golf course slope, and build a snowman.

A limited number of snowshoes and sleds will be provided.

Those wishing to ski should bring their own skis. Pre-registration is required at 617-442-4141 or via e-mail to rsvp@franlinparkcoalition.org.

• On Thursday, the Boston Natural Areas Network will be offering an introductory snowshoe program at 1 p.m. along the Neponset River in Mattapan. The event is open to families and free snowshoes are available to borrow in both adult and youth sizes. The walk will take place even if there is no snow and the course will be along the riverside trail behind the Ryan Playground. Warm clothing and boots are recommended.

The group will meet at the parking area of the Ryan Playground, which is located on River Street between Mattapan Square and Lower Mills. Reservations are required to borrow equipment and participants should contact the BNAN at 617-542-7696 or at info@bostonnatural.org.

• GoKids Boston will host a series of activities that will take place from Tuesday through Friday on the UMass-Boston campus. The program is open to kids between the ages of 6 and 13. Activities will include interactive gaming, swimming, team challenges, nutrition education, and more. Snacks and lunches will be provided each day for all participants.

Participation will be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a fee and registration form required. General cost for participation for the week is $151 (there may be subsidy slots available). For more information call 617-287-5437.

• The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is offering a free program for families and children aged 5 and older on Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Djembe Dell Arte will present “African Dance and Drumming,” an event that features song, dance, and drumming from West Africa. Space is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. To make a reservation, call 617-514-1644 or send an e-mail to JFKcelebrate@nara.gov and include name, the total number of the group attending, and contact information.

• The Lower Mills branch library will feature a Reading Readiness program with Ms. Maija on Tuesday at 10:30 in the community room. The program’s theme is “shapes and sizes” and is designed for toddlers in the 3-4 age group. There also will be two kids movie times scheduled for the week, at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday. Snacks will be served. For more information contact the library at 617-298-7841.

• DotArt is offering two special courses during vacation week. “Magical Creatures” is for children ages 6 through 8. The course, which involves making a zoo of creatures out of recycled materials, incorporates health snacks, structured play, and art making. It will be held Tuesday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $150.
“Beautiful Faces,” is a course for children ages 9 through 12.
Students are challenged to create a professional quality self-portrait in acrylic paint on canvas, accented with gems and glitter and covered with clear resin. An exhibition will give family and the community an opportunity to see their work. The course will be held Tuesday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Walter Baker Artist Lofts. Cost here is also $150. For more information call 617-265-3503 or visit dotart.org.