Summertime Fun for Kids: Music, Art and Wildlife


Summer is a perfect time for kids to explore their interests. Without the obligation to daily homework, they have ample time to pursue other activities. Music lessons may not be the first thing that parents associate with summer vacation,  but these eight weeks are actually a great time for kids to experiment with instruments because they have time to practice. Furthermore, you can only get so much sun. So,  when your kids need a little shade, check out the following:

Rick’s Music in Cumberland offers lessons for voice, drums, clarinet, saxophone, flute, piano, guitar and various other instruments. Lessons can be taught on the premises or at your home. Additionally, Rick’s offers a large selection of instruments for rent and for sale. You can rent an instrument while you figure out if your child is going to stick with it or not, and then purchase that instrument … or not. Their customer service is unparalleled, in my opinion. I first visited Rick’s to inquire about clarinet lessons for my daughter and then returned to shop for an acoustic guitar for myself. I asked a lot of questions. The staff was knowledgeable, friendly and patient with my ineptitude. On one occasion, when I returned to buy a capo and strings, I was certain that an actual, bona fide musician might go crazy from helping me sort through the multitude of options, but, to my delight, the well-informed young man who assisted me remained not only sane, but helpful and cheerful as well.


2352 Mendon Rd. Cumberland; 401-658-3404;

School of Rock, with locations in Seekonk and Attleboro, Massachusetts, is another excellent venue for budding young musicians. With an emphasis on rock band performance and a variety of options for instrument and voice lessons, School of Rock just might inspire your child to follow in the footsteps of  … well, pick your favorite rock band. The Seekonk location will be running a number of summer camps for various ages and abilities this season, although instruction is available year-round. Whether your child likes to play solo or in a band, he or she will find a creative outlet with the help of the talented instructors at School of Rock.

1295 Fall River Ave. Seekonk, Mass; 508-557-0213;


If your child is creative, he or she is bound to be inspired at the Mount St. Charles Fine Arts Summer Camp in Woonsocket. This two-week, co-ed summer program for children in grades four through nine offers campers the unique opportunity to create a daily schedule from over 100 course offerings including Jazz Band / Improvisation, Claymation, Calligraphy, Chopped (Introduction to Cooking), Video Game Creation, Escape Room, Harry Potter Challenge, Hip-Hop, Knitwits (knitting), Magic, Multimedia Arts, Zumba, Photography, Archery / Rockwall and more. This camp is unique for three reasons: 1) The course offerings range from classic to contemporary art forms; there is truly something for everyone. 2) Campers design their own schedules, which means they will A) have fun, and B) learn about their interests. 3) Many of the camp instructors are full-time teachers and / or other professionals working in the fine arts. This year, the camp runs from July 17 to July 28 from 8am to 4pm. Tuition is a very reasonable $370.  

800 Logee St, Woonsocket; 401-769-0310;

But, of course, you will need to get your kids outside, too, and if you’re tired of fighting the heat and the crowds at the state beaches, you may want to spend a day exploring Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown instead. Close to both Second and Third Beaches, Sachuest Point is one of five national wildlife refuges in Rhode Island. Its 242 acres provide sanctuary to a number of migratory birds and are home to harlequin ducks and New England Cottontails as well. A series of flat trails provides breathtaking views of the ocean as well as multiple points of shoreline access. The Ocean View Loop is 1.5 miles long and very navigable (for strollers too, if you have little ones who still need a ride), but if your family isn’t ready for that distance, you can enjoy a stunning view of the Atlantic a mere tenth of a mile from the parking lot (which is free — a rarity here in Rhode Island). Huge rocks between the trails and the ocean host a number of tide pools that are home to snails, mussels and the occasional starfish. Kids can spend hours investigating the various life forms in the pools. I recommend bringing a beach bucket or two as well as a picnic lunch. The adults can relax and watch the waves roll in while the kids enjoy the tide pools. Over the years, I have brought innumerable friends and visiting relatives to Sachuest Point, and everyone loves it. It is not only beautiful, but also quiet, save for the sound of the surf crashing on the rocks, and a gentle but steady breeze keeps the temperature very comfortable. Amenities at the Visitor Center (open daily from 10am to 4pm) include immaculate restrooms, trail maps and information about the wildlife and history of the point.  It is, quite simply, one of my family’s favorite places on Earth.


769 Sachuest Point Rd, Middletown; 401-619-2680;