city kids: a guide to summer fun in the burg.

I don’t know about you, but during the school year, I am BUSY. And my kids are busy. The end of the year arrives none too soon, but still shockingly fast, and I often find I’m… unprepared. Come Monday, June 10, I’m going to have that “oh-my-gosh-what-the-heck-am-I-gonna-do-with-the-kids-now” freak out. But this year, I’m determined to be prepared when they ask, “Mom, what are we going to do today?” So I’ve compiled this list — for myself, for you, for everyone who might find themselves in this predicament — of activities, camps and classes offered by Harrisonburg businesses and organizations to keep your kiddos busy allll summer long.

kids on a slip-n-slideSpitzer Art Center Children’s Workshops
Children ages 5 – 10 can sign up for one of many classes offered at the center. Register one week ahead for topics such as collage, drawing, water color, greeting cards, and more.

Larkin Arts Youth Summer Art Program
Kids ages 6 – 14 can attend week-long, 3-hour classes for $85. Classes include papier mache, sculpture, basket making, drawing, collage, photography, food art, painting, and a bunch of others.

larkin arts signArts Council of the Valley and Court Square Theater Summer Art Camp
These 3-hour, Monday to Friday classes cost $80 and include acting, characterization, script writing, choreography, improv, singing, dancing, poetry, filmmaking, comic creation, plus many more. Ages 6 – 15.

You Made It! also offers week-long camps, Monday to Friday for three hours, for $185. Ages 6 and up. Classes include clay, canvas painting, wheel throwing, pottery painting, fused glass, and several others.

kid in treeExplore More Children’s Museum offers 4-day classes, three hours per day, for ages 3 – 5th grade. Topics include LEGO engineering, Jedi training, Culinary Kids, Project Funway, Castles, Crowns and Catapults, Animal Adventures, and Construction Junction, to name a few.

kids hands holding LEGOSBlue Ridge Community College Learning Can Be Fun 
BRCC offers a zillion classes for grades K – 12, including art, music, dance, theater, culture, history, literature, nature, science, technology, sports and outdoor recreation. The classes run Monday – Friday for 3 hours each day, through the end of July.

James Madison University
JMU also boasts a large assortment of camps for summer kids, including baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse, football, fencing and field hockey. They also offer band camp, diversity studies, poetry workshops, nonviolence seminars, and STEM classes.

Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation
In addition to spending some time at one of our many city parks, like Purcell, A Dream Come True, or Hillandale, your child can enjoy swimming at Westover Pool (open Monday through Saturday noon to 7pm and Sunday 1pm to 7pm) and a variety of classes. Some of their offerings include guitar, mountain biking, water adventure, adventure sports, rock climbing, rafting/kayaking, a ton of dance classes, archery, fishing, jump rope, skate boarding, and pretty much every major sport.

child in pool child at poolMassanutten Regional Library kicks off its annual Summer Reading Games, but you have to register THIS WEEK to get the free pass to the Massanutten Water Park. Other activities include Baseball Storytimes (Turks read to kids), Crafty Kids, LEGO Club, and Stitch and Knit, plus others.

RMH Wellness Center has full- or half-day camps on a weekly basis, for kids ages 4 – 11. Kids will learn about topics like dinosaurs, medieval times, the ocean, and space, plus participate in activities like swimming, rock climbing, indoor and outdoor games, playground time, crafts, fitness, and sports.

Library signYes, summer is about relaxing and decompressing after a stressful school year, but keeping your kids active will make them healthy, blah blah blah. Really, it’ll make them SLEEP WELL at night :) So sign up for something today! Consider it an investment in the sanity of your household. You’ll all be better for it.

child asleep in carCopyright © 2012-13 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

what makes the burg go round: LOVEworks.

On Saturday, April 13, the kids and I made our usual trip to Shank’s Bakery and the Farmers Market when we spotted our friend Nicole in the back yard of the Arts Council building. And then we remembered it was a special day! It was the day to unveil LOVEworks!

LOVEworks 3The caution tape around the large, six-foot letters was intriguing enough — toddlers chased each other between the letters and tugged curiously at the yellow ribbon — but Cal was especially impressed by the giant novelty scissors Nicole pulled from the trunk of her car. He promptly noted she was NOT running with them because that would be “extra-dangerous.”

Before she and other officiants cut the ribbon, she filled in the gathering crowd on the unique project. LOVEworks is a program by the Virginia Tourism Corporation that seeks to promote the message that “love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.” Harrisonburg makes the twenty-first city in Virginia to create and display a LOVEworks sculpture. You can see pictures of the other twenty sculptures at the Virginia Is For Lovers site.

LOVEworks collageHarrisonburg artists Nicole Martorana (yes, she wears a lot of hats), Jeff Guinn, and Mike Herr designed our love letters, each six feet tall and spanning a total of sixteen feet. The L represents Harrisonburg’s cultural diversity and is covered with a photographic collage of local residents’ belongings from their native countries. The O is wooden, representing agriculture, with a planter built into the top (holding strawberries, sedums, and other native plants) and metal sides that will rust over time.

LOVEworks sculptureThe V is made of bicycle parts and spray-painted blaze orange to symbolize our cycling, hunting, and fishing friends. And the E is a combination of magnetic dry erase and chalk board designed to be an interactive symbol of Harrisonburg’s love of art. In fact, it can be used as another exhibit location on the First Fridays art walk.

And then, the giant scissors snapped and LOVE became an official fixture downtown.
But we already knew that, huh? :)

LOVEworks coupleCopyright © 2012-13 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.