It seems as though the summer has been going on forever. With the heat, monsoon storms and endless beating sun, the new school year can’t come soon enough.
A host of events in August — most of them free — allow kids and families to chill out for a bit before the back-to-school grind. Many are suitable for older kids. (You know, the teens who can’t drive yet but always need something to do.)
Here are 12 fun ways to break the monotony.
8/4: Java Grounds cooking workshop
Java Grounds, a coffeehouse that offers workforce training for youth, hosts a cooking workshop on Aug. 4. The business says many kids in its programs have been able to get jobs later. Java Grounds works with the non-profit Heart for the City to mentor youth.
Details: 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4. Java Grounds, 8385 W. Deer Valley Road, Peoria. Free. 623-572-8887, www.heartforthecityaz.org.
8/4: ASU Sun Devil Football Pep Rally
Payson holds an Aug. 4 rally featuring Arizona State University football staff, players and coaches to celebrate the start of the fall season. The next day, the Sun Devils will scrimmage at Camp Tontozona, the team’s Payson practice location. The rally includes games, a football obstacle course, alumni autographs, speakers, vendors, the Sun Devils mascot Sparky and the Sun Devil Spirit Squad.
Details: 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4. Green Valley Park, 1000 W. Country Club Drive, Payson. Free. 928-474-5242.
8/4-12: Hip Hop Dance Championships
The 16th annual USA Hip Hop Dance Championship, World Hip Hop Dance Championship and World Battles take place in Phoenix. These competitions bring together more than 4,000 dancers from 50 countries, including the winners of preliminary events around the world. The event is run by Hip Hop International.
Details: USA Hip Hop Dance Championship, Friday-Sunday, Aug. 4-6, at Arizona Grand Resort and Spa, Baseline Road and Interstate 10, Phoenix. World Hip Hop Dance Championship preliminary events, Monday-Friday, Aug. 7-11, at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa. World Hip Hop Dance Championship finals, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, at Grand Canyon University Arena, 3300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix. Tickets start at $20. More info at hiphopinternational.com.
8/5: Disney Channel star meet-and-greet
Ricky Garcia, known for his role in “Best Friends Whenever” on the Disney Channel, greets fans, signs autographs and takes photos at The Outlets at Anthem on Aug. 5. The actor has 900,000 Instagram followers and is part of a band that was featured on “The X-Factor.” The mall is holding contests for winners to interact with the star, including posting a selfie there using #MeetRickyAtAnthem on Instagram to win a private meet-and-greet or front-of-the-line pass. Older kids can apply to be the event’s social media reporter.
8/5: Prowl & Play: Dinosaurs!
Dino fans are sure to love roaring and exploring at the Phoenix Zoo. The fun evening includes meet-and-greet with Raja the Baby T-Rex, sandpit fossil digs, waterslides, dino-themed activities and crafts.
Details: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5. Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. $8. 602-286-3800, phoenixzoo.org.
8/12 and 9/9: Learn Your Lizards walk
At the University of Arizona’s Boyce Thompson Arboretum, kids and adults can learn about Arizona’s most common and colorful reptiles. Leading the journey are “Wild Man Phil” Rakoci; Arizona Game and Fish Department researcher Dan Leavitt; and reptile wrangler Jamie Wisenall.
Details: 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 12 and Sept. 9. Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, 37615 Highway 60, Superior. $12.50, $5 for ages 5-12, free for ages 4 and younger. 520-689-2811, ag.arizona.edu/BTA.
8/12-13: Phoenix Art Museum Free Family Weekend
During the second weekend of each month, the Phoenix Art Museum offers a free weekend of family-friendly activities, including scavenger hunts, live performances, story time, free tours and more.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13. Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave. (near McDowell Road / Central Ave. Station on Valley Metro Rail). Free. 602-257-1222, phxart.org.
8/12: ‘Bring It! Live’
The audience will have the opportunity to be part of the action at “Bring It! Live.” Check out Miss D and her Dancing Dolls as they perform their new routines. Participate in live voting and a Q&A with the cast.
Details: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12. Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix. $31-$104. 602-379-2800, comericatheatre.com.
8/14: ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’
Fathom Events puts on a one-night cinema event across movie theaters nationwide for “Batman and Harley Quinn,” the newest film from Warner Bros. Animation. Based on an original story, the film recounts a quest in which Batman and Nightwing enlist Harley Quinn’s help to save the planet. The event includes a first look at a Harley Quinn featurette.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14. Showing in nine theaters across Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale and Surprise. Tickets, showtimes at fathomevents.com.
8/26: Music and Stories with Junie B. Jones and Friends
Actors from Spotlight Youth Theatre sing and dance as they recount tales from Junie B. Jones’ “Top Secret Personal Beeswax” journal, including portrayals of Junie B., Herb, Lucille and all her friends.
Details: 11 a.m.-noon Saturday, Aug. 26. Glendale Public Library, Foothills Branch, 19055 N. 57th Ave. The library opens at noon, but doors to the lobby will open at 10:45 a.m. for the show. Free. 623-930-3831, glendaleaz.com/library.
Through 9/2: Flashlight Tours at the Desert Botanical Garden
Come hear, see and even feel what the nighttime desert has to offer during a self-paced walk through Desert Botanical Garden. Visitors may bring along their own flashlights or buy one in the Garden Shop.
Details: 7-9:30 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays, through Sept. 2. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. $24.95, $12.95 for ages 3-17. 480-941-1225, dbg.org.
Ongoing: Great Arizona Puppet Theater shows
This non-profit puppet theater puts on shows year-round. Through Aug. 13, the theater performs “Rumpelstiltskin.” From Aug. 16 to Sept. 3, look for a musical version of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.”
Details: 10 a.m. Wednesdays through Fridays; 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays; and 2 p.m. Sundays. Great Arizona Puppet Theater, 302 W. Latham St., Phoenix. $10, $7 for ages 12 and younger. 602-262-2050, azpuppets.org.