What are your kiddos up to this summer? Hopefully they’re enjoying a well-deserved break from the classroom, hanging out with friends, enjoying the great outdoors and brushing up on their ice-cream-eating expertise. But even the most laid-back kids can benefit from a little structure during summer, whether it’s at camp, in an art class or at a playground program. To help you discover some of the coolest activities for your brood, we’ve rounded up a few of the great summer programs offered in Edina.
Arts & Crafts
For your budding Michelangelo or Georgia O’Keeffe, check out one of Edina Art Center’s three-day summer camps. As the art center’s popularity continues to grow, the staff has added over a dozen new summer camps for 2014. “Clay on the wheel camps are always the highest in demand,” says Michael Frey, general manager of Edina Art Center. So register for those as soon as you can. For students enrolled in both morning and afternoon sessions, supervised lunch is available for $9.
For early elementary students, this class is a perfect introduction to working with clay. Kids practice with sculpture and create a bowl that incorporates some fun and wacky details. For kids ages 5-7. $71-$83. June 10-12, 9:30 a.m.–noon. Edina Art Center, 4701 W. 64th St.; 952.903.5780; edinaartcenter.com
Story Teller Class
In this class, kids dig deep into their imaginations to create an exciting story—whether it’s mythological or realistic, historical or contemporary. Then students use other art media, like storyboards, to illustrate their tales. For ages 8-10. $71-$83. June 24-26, 9:30 a.m.–noon. Edina Art Center, 4701 W. 64th St.; 952.903.5780; edinaartcenter.com
Clay on the Wheel
Aspiring potters learn the basics of wheel-thrown pottery to create one-of-a-kind bowls and mugs, along with the final steps in the process, from glazing to firing. Ages 7-10. $71-$83. July 1-3, 9:30 a.m.–noon. Edina Art Center, 4701 W. 64th St.; 952.903.5780; edinaartcenter.com
For almost-teens who want to express their creativity, free drawing is a great outlet. In this class, students use pencil and charcoal to draw a variety of subjects and learn about shading and texture. Ages 9-12. $71-$83. June 10-12, 9:30 a.m.–noon. Edina Art Center, 4701 W. 64th St.; 952.903.5780; edinaartcenter.com
Comic Art Class
Any superhero fans at home? How about graphic novelists? In this class, older elementary kids learn how to create their own comic book characters and craft compelling storylines. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! The sky’s the limit. Ages 8-10. $71-$83. June 10-12, 9:30 a.m.–noon. Edina Art Center, 4701 W. 64th St.; 952.903.5780; edinaartcenter.com
Edina’s own health and wellness experts at the Southdale YMCA offer a variety of summer programming for kids, from day camps in the park to traditional wilderness camping. The Y specializes in full-day programs for families who need summer childcare, and the focus is always on the Y’s core values: caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Sign us up!
Summer Power Kindergarten
Give your kindergartener a jump-start on a big school year with this summer-long camp. Each week has a different focus, from arts and humanities to science and service projects. Kids also enjoy field trips to zoos and museums, while making friends and learning about wellness. For kids entering kindergarten or first grade. $129-$187 plus a $50 registration fee. June 9–August 29, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Southdale YMCA, 7355 S. York Ave.; 952.835.2567; ymcatwincities.org
Summer Sports Sampler
This camp is a great fit for sports-savvy kids and newcomers alike. Unlike competitive sports teams, the emphasis here is on building skills and having fun. Each week, kids learn about a variety of sports and games, from swimming to basketball to soccer and everything in between. Appropriate for age 4 through grade 6. Full and half day options available. $100-$150. June 9–August 29, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Southdale YMCA, 7355 S. York Ave.; 952.835.2567; ymcatwincities.org
Day Camp Kici Yapi
For summer-camp traditionalists, look no further than this variety of week-long day camps, hosted at Prior Lake’s beautiful Camp Kici Yapi. Families can choose from a range of camp focuses, including horses, outdoor adventuring and traditional camp activities like canoeing, archery and fishing. Transportation is provided to Camp Kici Yapi from the Southdale YMCA. Organized by Southdale YMCA, 7355 S. York Ave.; 952.835.2567; Visit ymcatwincities.org for dates, costs and other information.
Faith & Fun
Faith communities are some of the biggest organizers of summer activities for kids, from classic vacation Bible school to faith-based overnight camps. Check with your place of worship to find out more about summer offerings like those we’ve highlighted here. And remember—most church-organized summer activities are open to kids of all faith backgrounds.
For young kids who might be a little nervous about attending overnight camp, this five-day sleep-away camp at Covenant Pines Bible Camp in McGregor, Minn., is a great introduction. Elementary schoolers spend their days exploring the great outdoors (climbing tower, anyone?) and playing group games. Evenings include worship and small-group discussion with counselors. For kids entering grades four through six. $360. August 17-21. Organized by Colonial Church, 6200 Colonial Way; 952.925.2711; colonialchurch.org
Hundreds of middle schoolers attend—and thrive at—this one-week overnight camp at Covenant Pines Bible Camp in McGregor, Minn.. “There is something wonderful that happens when 200 middle schoolers unplug and are transported to a place unlike any other,” says Nicole Lindsay, middle school ministry director at Colonial Church in Edina. Kids play games, participate in team-building activities and spend time in gloriously unplugged conversation. For kids entering grades six through nine. $410. August 9-14. Organized by Colonial Church, 6200 Colonial Way; 952.925.2711; colonialchurch.org
Older elementary school kids attend field trips and learn about giving back in a hands-on way at this one-week day camp at Christ Presbyterian Church. “Every day will be a new adventure,” says Jill Campbell, member of Christ Presbyterian Church’s kids’ ministry team. Meals, snacks, transportation and spiffy T-shirts are included. For kids entering grades four and five. $150. July 21–July 24, 9 a.m.–4. p.m, except Thursday until 8 p.m. Christ Presbyterian Church, 6901 Normandale Rd.; 952.920.8515; cpconline.org
Vacation Bible School
This classic summer sojourn, affectionately known as VBS, offers even the tiniest tots a chance to play with friends, share their creativity during craft time and sing songs. VBS is offered during convenient morning hours, and includes snack time. Appropriate for kids in preschool and kindergarten. $35. June 10-12 or June 17-19, 9 a.m.–11:45 a.m. Christ Presbyterian Church, 6901 Normandale Rd.; 952.920.8515; cpconline.org
Park & Playground
One of the best parts of summer vacation is getting the chance to play and explore in your own backyard. The Edina Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of super-convenient playground programs for kids of all ages, held at local parks and incorporating games, crafts, stories and even leadership training for older teens. Be sure to check online at edinaparks.com for a full list of programs. Here are some of our favorites.
Elementary-schoolers participate in structured outdoor activities and enjoy a weekly visit from Edina’s craft and activity specialist. A high staff-to-child ratio means kids get lots of one-on-one attention. For ages 6-10. Mondays and Wednesdays, June 16–July 30, Tuesdays and Thursdays, June 17–July 31. 1-4 p.m. $45. Programs offered at Arden, Highlands, Normandale, Weber, Cornelia and Todd parks. For more information, contact Edina Parks Department; 952.826.0367; edinaparks.com
Is your kiddo a budding environmentalist? Or maybe a budding chef? “Green” kids find plenty to love at this brand-new afternoon program. Lewis Park hosts Edina’s Edible Playground, where kids tend the garden, create eco-friendly projects and make healthy snacks. Plenty of active playtime is included. For ages 6-10. Mondays and Wednesdays, June 16–July 30. 1-4 p.m. $62. Lewis Park, 7300 Cahill Rd., Edina; For more information, contact Edina Parks Department; 952.826.0367; edinaparks.com
Leaders in Training
Younger teenagers gain valuable leadership skills to help prepare them for high school jobs and beyond, all while giving back to community kids. Participants volunteer two mornings or afternoons a week and help set up games and activities for younger children at local parks. For ages 13-15. Application and interview required. June 11–July 31. $45. Times and locations vary; For details contact Edina Parks Department; 952.826.0367; edinaparks.com