School’s Out - Summer Programs can be found around any corner

  • SUMMER LEARNING. Tacoma Public Library’s Story Lab is well used during the summer with teens working on video projects, like the 30-second book reviews the book group posts on its blog to help younger children select books worth reading. (Photo by Steve Dunkelberger)

Think of it as the “new math.”

A week or so has passed since the final school bell rang and those school- age children who wanted to just “veg out” all summer break have now issued their demands for something to do, and they want it now.

It’s a good thing, then, that Tacoma Public Schools, Metro Parks, the Tacoma Public Library and other groups have options for vacationing students to avoid death by boredom.

Breakfast and lunch programs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the Superintendent of Pub- lic Instruction are available at most pub- lic schools around Tacoma, although the registration period has come and gone. But Metro Parks has drop-in lunch and activity offerings at community parks around the city as well. Metro Parks Tacoma will provide meals at no charge to attending children 18 years of age and

younger. Metro Parks Tacoma encour- ages participation by all regardless of race, color, national origin, age, sex, reli- gion, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation or ability.

On top of free eats, Metro Parks has free playground and park activities on its summer calendar, including a Ready to Learn Mobile Tech Lab that will visit Wright Park on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays so children can learn math and literacy skills as they play computer games starring their favorite PBS charac- ters. They receive sticker journals to track their adventures, record what they learn, and win prizes. This project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant provided by the Department of Education to the Corpora- tion for Public Broadcasting and KBTC, a service of Bates Technical College.

For theatrical activities, Tacoma Youth Theatre, Tacoma Little Theatre, Tacoma Musical Playhouse and Lakewood Play- house have summer theater camps as does the Grand Cinema, which is hosting Summer Film Camps to teach children

the art of filmmaking through a part- nership with Tacoma Public Library’s StoryLab program and its state-of-the-art video editing studio. The library also has story times, activities and book clubs meeting during the summer for early readers, teens and adults. Each club has its own rules and prizes as well as special programs and events including magic shows, puppets, music, family crafts and games. Yes, the library will have a Mario Kart video game challenge this summer.

If cultural education is the goal, chil- dren ages 8 to 12 might want to check out the Asia Pacif ic Cultural Center’s roster of summer camps that explore the cultures of 15 countries during the three, full-week camps. Children can have fun learning about the cultures and traditions of Pacif ic Rim nations through interac- tive lessons, arts, crafts, and cultural games. Each week focuses on five cul- tures, with one country being highlighted every day. Children can enroll in a single week or the whole three-week slate of cultural education and entertainment.

The specifics of each program are too lengthy to list, so get those fingers tapping on keyboards to find a program that fits:

Tacoma Public Library

Tacoma Public Schools

Parent Help

Tacoma Youth Theatre

Metro Parks of Tacoma

Tacoma Little Theatre

Tacoma Musical Playhouse

Lakewood Playhouse

The Grand Cinema

Asia Pacific Cultural Center



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