SOUTH HAVEN — “Mom, I’m bored.”
That’s a familiar lament from youngsters as summer vacation winds down in August.
But, South Haven-area youth don’t have to spend time moping around the house. They can meet up with their friends and others when Books and Songs by the Beach returns to Riverfront Park.
On three Thursdays in August, children can enjoy a free lunch, book giveaways, school supplies, activities and entertainment.
Sessions will be from noon-1:15 p.m. today and Aug. 15 and 22. In case of inclement weather, Books and Songs will move to the Huron Street pavilion downtown.
Now in its third year, Books and Songs by the Beach is sponsored by South Haven Public Schools, the school’s summer F.A.R.M. (Fun, Activity, Reading and Meals) Bus and Kids Collaborative with financial assistance from the South Haven Community Foundation and Albemarle.
“Books and Songs began because family literacy and arts programs are a great ways to engage families in creative ways to foster literacy and arts, and help develop family-centered activities,” said Maple Grove Elementary teacher Heather Chalupa, who coordinates the program. “The creative arts, authors and other presenters will help engage children and families in fun activities.”
Since starting in 2017, the number of families taking part in Books and Songs has grown.
“During each week we have over 100 families come down to participate,” Chalupa said.
This year’s activities will be offered through the new Kids Collaborative, which consists of South Haven-area museums, cultural attractions, the school district and children’s activity groups who provide summer programs for youth.
South Haven Center for the Arts and Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum staff and volunteers will take turns leading the programs during Books and Songs.
Three performers also have been lined up for each session of Books and Songs.
This year’s schedule of activities and entertainment is:
• Today: Noon-1:15 p.m., free lunch and hands-on activities provided by SHCA. At 12:15 p.m., Leonardo Music will entertain. Leonardo, who has performed at Books and Songs in the past, is a Parents’ Choice award-winning family musician from Chicago who performs at schools, in libraries and at other special events.
• Aug. 15: Noon-1:15 p.m., free lunch and hands-on family activities provided by Bailey’s Budding Naturalists from the Bailey Museum. At 12:15 p.m., Nicholas Davio will perform. Davio writes and plays original children’s music as Mr. Nick. The Chicago-based songwriter is a music teacher at the Old Town School of Folk Music and Chicago Children’s Theatre. In 2014, he performed at the Lollapalooza’s kids stage.
• Aug. 22: Noon-1:15 p.m., free lunch and hands on activities provided by SHCA. At 12:15 p.m. Guy Louis will perform his Worlds of Music concert. Louis, a Michigan native, performs with a variety of instruments. An artist for Michigan Touring Arts, he has been performing children- and family-based concerts for several decades. He has been an artist-in-residence for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, in Vienna, Va.