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March 2017

Real advice for

NEW MOMS Page 12

Baked asparagus fries Page 28


Go back in TIME Page 30

Play GAGA BALL Page 36

Design a


Page 42

Learn to SAIL Page 46

Become a





Page 2


Page 56

Get SOCIAL Page 60

Calvin, 4 Eden Prairie







Making it work Engineering camps at The Works encourage learning through play and experimentation.


Set sail for summer

Day trip The YMCA’s Day Camp Manitou offers everything parents remember about summer camp, plus a new heated pool, splash pad and high-ropes course.

Lake Calhoun Sailing School lets kids explore the open water right in the middle of Minneapolis.


On the prairie


Local history camps bring the old days to life for kids, who learn to enjoy chores (!) and the rustic nature of pioneer living.

Clickin’ kids Teens can learn the art of photography, photo editing and even digital printing as part of the Mpls Photo Center’s summer camp programming.


March 2017 •


Getting social Camp Connections helps kids with socialskills challenges enjoy traditional summer activities while learning how to interact and form friendships.


House of art The Eagan Art House cultivates kids’ creativity with camps that teach drawing, painting, sculpting, mixed media and more.

About our cover kid Name: Calvin Age: 4 City: Eden Prairie Parents: Becca and Tony Schmitz Siblings: Evelyn, 1 month old Personality: Curious, funny and caring Favorite toy: Ninja Turtles and Star Wars toys Favorite activities: Soccer, T-ball and swimming Favorite foods: Taquitos, chicken patties and blueberries Want to see your kid on the cover? Find out how at coverkid. Photos by Brooke Jakubov Photography

66 CAMP RESOURCES 76 Out & About • March 2017



I just want a dang shower Mamas, I know it seems impossible, but let’s stop martyring ourselves — if it’s not too much work! 10 CHATTER

Jobs for moms A local IT firm is helping moms return to work after they’ve taken time “off ” to raise kids. 12 BABY ON BOARD

Get real


Why not W sit? Learn why “crisscross applesauce” is usually preferred. 24 ON BEHAVIOR

STEM camp for girls Kids with disabilities can take part in this free camp.

There’s no cure for colic (except time). So you can, if you want, stop doing that elimination diet now. 14 TODDLER TIME

Dad’s night out! Cool new breweries are only the beginning when it comes to fun evenings out for dudes. 18 TEENS AND TWEENS

OK, this is just HARD Dating, driving, grades and new-found independence — it’s all coming on so fast! 20 GROWS ON TREES

Tax benefits for you Yes, your kid’s summer camp might be deductible.


Making time Getting a break from your kids requires assertiveness, planning and firm boundaries.


March 2017 •


Brain teasers Search and find for hours with these new releases. 82 FROM OUR READERS

Boys club

Get ready for cute overload with our readers’ latest pix.


PUBLISHER Janis Hall SALES MANAGER AND CO-PUBLISHER Terry Gahan EDITOR Sarah Jackson 612-436-4385 • CONTRIBUTORS Eric Braun, Abbie Burgess, Jamie Crowson, Megan Devine, Dr. Kimara Gustafson, Shannon Keough, Michele St. Martin, Lianna Matt, Jen Wittes, Jennifer Wizbowski CREATIVE DIRECTOR Sarah Karnas SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Valerie Moe GRAPHIC DESIGNER Dani Cunningham CLIENT SERVICES Delaney Patterson 612-436-5070 • CIRCULATION Marlo Johnson 612-436-4388 • ADVERTISING 612-436-4360 • 50,000 copies of Minnesota Parent are printed monthly, available at news stands statewide. Get Minnesota Parent mailed to your home for just $12 a year. Call 612-825-9205 for more information.

Minnesota Parent (ISSN 0740 3437) is published monthly by Minnesota Premier Publications. POSTMASTER send address changes to: MINNESOTA PARENT, 1115 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403. Minnesota Parent is copyright 2017 by Minnesota Premier Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Address all material to address above.

I just want a shower I

remember, when I was a new mother, looking desperately to my mama friends for advice. I had one friend who — skipping the fake war stories and humblebrags I’d become accustomed to — bluntly said: “I just want a damn shower.” Please pardon the not-family-friendly language, but the inflection/anger is important here. Indeed, just wanting to shower or use the bathroom in peace — without interruption from a needy child or spouse — has almost become a rallying cry for mothers of young children. Why is this so hard, getting 15 minutes to bathe or a few minutes to pee? Photo by Tracy Walsh / This problem speaks both to the shocking relentlessness of parenting (which fathers feel acutely as well), but also to the very real need for mothers to put themselves first, just sometimes. This trend of dependence starts during the early days of nursing and round-the-clock care for our infants: We get used to subverting our needs. In fact, we must sometimes. Indeed, making the transition from childless to parenthood is supposed to be hard. But then it continues, this heroic subverting of our needs, and goes on seemingly EVERY SECOND. And it shouldn’t. In this issue, our Baby on Board columnist argues that we can’t be good parents unless we stop martyring ourselves. How we feel changes how well we can parent, so we need to feel OK. Our School Days columnist, meanwhile, points out that most Minnesota moms — who we recently surveyed — get fewer than 60 minutes a day to themselves (and more than a quarter of those get fewer than 15). Her point? We can change this! See her column for tips and ideas. Finally, I’d like to offer another suggestion for parents who’ve moved out of the infant stage: Consider enrolling your kid in a camp this summer. (Register now.) This is our annual Camp Issue, after all. And in the pages ahead, you’ll find not just overnight camps, but many, many amazing (no, really) day camps, too, for all ages (yes, even toddlers). It’s a win-win: Your kid gets a new experience for the summer, and you get that much-needed Mama or Dada — or perhaps even couple — time! Because the truth is, Mama, you can bend only so far until you break. Dads, that goes for you, too. In fact, see our Toddler Time column this month for Dad’s Night Out ideas. In the end, your whole family will be better off if you can claim/make/take/demand your “me time.” Even if it is just a damn shower. Sarah Jackson, Editor


March 2017 •

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Mom, you’re hired! Stay-at-home moms — and veterans —

degree in computer science and eight years

often face huge challenges when trying

working in various IT positions for compa-

to return to the workforce.

nies such as Fingerhut and AT&T Wireless, she was unable re-enter the workforce

Many employers mistakenly view them as unemployable or undesirable because of

recently because of the 13 years she took

their so-called employment gaps.

to raise her children.

But the Minneapolis office of the

Another recent graduate of the program

IT-consulting firm York Solutions has

is Dee Hampton, a single mother of six from St. Paul.

successfully launched a new initiative — called the Barriers to Entry Program (B2E) — designed to help veterans, stay-at-home moms and others prepare for and secure work in IT project management. And — here’s the amazing part — no prior

Dee Hampton of St. Paul is a graduate of the new Barriers to Entry Program, which is offering its next paid training sessions starting March 13.

According to the employment website, the average salaries for IT

When Hampton came to the program, she’d worked a variety of jobs for 29 years. But she’d always struggled to make ends meet, despite having secured full-time positions in retail and corporate banking. Today Hampton and Gottwalt, both

information technology experience is required

project management consultants and IT

and participants begin getting paid a salary

project managers in Minneapolis-St. Paul

graduates of the program, are employed by

($15 per hour) when their training begins.

are $71,000 and $93,000, respectively.

3M in Maplewood — Hampton as an IT

The program starts with a three-week

B2E, which hosted its first Twin Cities

intensive training program and continues with

training in November, already has helped

mentoring, coaching, career advice, business

18 people gain IT employment.

communication training and an opportunity to join York’s consulting practice.

That includes mother of two Nora Gottwalt of Savage. Even with a college

consultant and Gottwalt as an IT project coordinator. Learn more, including the details about the next round of paid IT training, starting March 13, at

Museum opening delayed The Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul, rather than reopening in mid-April as planned, will welcome visitors in June, due to a logistical delay in its multi-milliondollar renovations. The contractor hired to fabricate the parts of The Scramble — the museum’s new four-story climbing adventure, featuring two towers, a spiral slide and a netted catwalk

40 feet above the ground — went out of business, which waylaid construction and forced the museum to find a new fabricator, which it did. Work has resumed on The Scramble, steadily rising in the museum’s huge glass addition along West Seventh Street. Museum officials say the wait — which began with a Dec. 5 closure — will be well worth it, thanks to 10 new exhibits, including The Scramble, plus an expanded toddler gallery, a maker studio with real tools, an exhibit for collaborative art projects, two outdoor spaces, a water and air-play space, a ninja-training course and a carpet skate park. And it’s all designed to emphasize open-ended, child-directed play, including more space and freedom to explore (35 percent more visitor space overall) and experiences that cultivate essential skills. The Scramble (geared toward ages 5 and older) will include stairs and platforms that will allow adults to ascend alongside kids as well as a separate Tot Spot with a ramp, webbed walking challenges and other components for younger children, all designed to teach problem-solving, calculated risk-taking and motor skills. Other updates — as part of the first major renovation for the museum since its 1995 opening in St. Paul — will include a cafe with a coffee bar (hooray!), more bathrooms, another elevator and renovated party and event spaces. The museum’s Mall of America pop-up play space, meanwhile — set up to tide members over during the construction — will close as planned in late April. To make up for the two-month delay at the St. Paul location, the museum will automatically extend memberships by two months at no cost to families. Pricing at the expanded museum will be $129 for annual Passport memberships (includes two adults and all the kids in the home). General admission (formerly $9.95) will be $12.95 for ages 1 and older. Learn more at • March 2017


Real advice for new moms W

henever I learn that one of my friends is going to have a baby, I promptly begin to panic on her behalf. “Congratulations!” I yelp, hoping my frozen smile will mask my palpable anxiety. I realize how crappy this is. For one thing, I’m taking someone else’s big life event and making it all about me. Furthermore, can’t I just stop wringing my hands for once and simply celebrate the pure joy of new life? Evidently I cannot. Because while I do, in fact, think the creation of new life is awe-inspiring and sacred, I know from personal experience that the first year of motherhood can be a wild ride. And this is why I’d like to offer some bits of advice I wish someone had shared with me when I was a wobbly, exhausted new mother.

1. Stop reading. The options are endless — the various sleep “solutions,” the Dr. Sears encyclopedia, tomes about the “womanly art” of breastfeeding, how to make your baby the

happiest one “on the block” and so on and so forth. Please, just walk away. Not only have these books been published primarily to make money for their authors, they’ve also been put into your hands to mock you. You’ll see what I mean when your unwomanly breasts fail to produce the promised “art,” despite all manner of lactation consultant-ordered interventions; when your baby is the saddest baby not only on your block, but in the entire metro area; and when all your dedicated “attachment parenting” habits result in a baby who screams in your arms yet snuggles up cozily and quietly with the teenage babysitter.

2. There is no ‘cure’ for colic. Let’s say you discover that your baby is “colicky.” She screams day and night as if she came into the world with a full understanding of the tragedy of human existence. You’d cry too, right?


Don’t smother your own needs in a masochistic attempt to prove to an apathetic world that you’re ‘mom enough.’ Find the people who care about you and let them help you. Like healing a broken heart, the only real cure for colic is time and what is referred to these days as “self-care.” You may be tempted to try to “fix” your baby with chiropractic adjustments, around-theclock white noise, endless bouncing, “energy work” and so much more. Don’t waste your time. Hire a trustworthy babysitter who can handle the screams and go get yourself a massage or a steak or a top-shelf smoothie.

Wooden teether

This teething ring — made from untreated Indian hardwood and finished with vegetable seed wax — features the added bonus of bunny-esque ears made of organic cotton. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by plastic, check out these “teething ears” (available in many prints and colors) — along with rest of the amazing-looking Finn & Emma collection. $22 •


March 2017 •

3. Acknowledge your own needs. New mothers are vulnerable — physically, emotionally and more. It’s a shaky time. I encourage you to make every effort to surround yourself with people who truly care about your well-being. It’s easy to lose sight of your own needs when you have a new baby. Meanwhile, you’ll most likely encounter people who claim they want the best for your child. When this comes at your detriment, proceed with caution. For example, we visited a baby chiropractor when my daughter was colicky. Through some sort of mind-meld with my 2-month-old, the chiropractor determined that my baby was “allergic” to my breast milk. But she didn’t want me to quit breastfeeding — the next crucial step was for me to implement an elimination diet that was so comprehensive I was left with little more on the menu than steamed celery and barley. Meanwhile, I hadn’t slept in weeks and was probably on the verge of a visit to the psych ward. This woman claimed to care about my baby’s well-being, but didn’t seem too terribly concerned with mine. At the time, this made a sick sort of sense to me: Now that I was a mother, I reasoned, my needs were secondary. Don’t smother your own needs in a masochistic attempt to prove to an apathetic world that you’re “mom enough.” Find the people who care about you and let them help you. I suppose this is what it boils down to, for me: Take care of yourself, so that you’re in your best state to take care of your baby. In other words: “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

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Shannon Keough lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two children. Send questions or comments to • March 2017


Time out for Dad! A

s promised in last month’s issue, Dad’s Night Out (DNO) follows Mom’s Night Out (MNO). I really want to make it clear: You dads need to do this! Though it’s sometimes implied that new fathers inherently have more freedom (you don’t lease your womb to occupants, you don’t breastfeed), you, too, need to remember what it’s like to be autonomous, light-hearted and interesting. Whether you and your better half agree on a night out once per week or once per month or … once, make Dad’s Night happen. Here are my picks for the perfect break from toddler madness for him:

1. Man food. Do dudes like fine dining and fruity cocktails, too? Of course they do. However, you can get your apple martini and arugula-fig flatbread fix with the ladies in your life. Instead, embrace stereotype with anything featuring the word BBQ in the title, your favorite rib joint or these selections chosen by your favorite toddler columnist: Fogo de Chao (piles of meat, Brazilian steakhouse style), Devil’s Advocate (obsessed with food shaped like balls), the Butcher & the Boar (bourbon, sausages and beyond) and Wienery (enough said), all in Minneapolis.

2. Team up. How long has it been since your days of playing in Squirt-level outdoor hockey tourneys? Summer little league? Playing kickball ‘til dusk? Reinstate that regular sporty meet-up you used to look forward to as a kid. Be it pickup basketball,


March 2017 •

racquetball, summer softball, a bowling league or even a kickball team, getting back into (or starting anew) old-fashioned team sport fun is a win-win. It’s male bonding, plus exercise. Last one to the dugout brings next week’s donuts. Bonus if the field has a grill.

3. Go natural. Minnesotans love getting outdoors. All. Year. Round. Not from here originally? Make Minnesota Nice with a native and get outside. Kayaking, fishing, ICE fishing, hiking — make a plan or just go. Huntsmen, I’m pretty sure you used up all your days out in November. No doubt you’re already counting the days until next year (and rationing out your last few pieces of venison jerky). But I digress.

4. Rock out. Chances are, there’s a band that you love — but your soul mate LOATHES (or, at best, barely tolerates). Relive your glory days by seeing a show by an old steady — or a new fave. Guns N’ Roses comes to town this summer, Rock the Garden will be headlined by Bon Iver and the iconic First

Avenue has a mailing list you most certainly should sign up for now. This is my personal favorite thing to do when taking a little breather from parenthood. There’s really nothing quite like live music.

5. Beer! I know I’m making assumptions. If you, fine sir, prefer a vineyard, coffee roast or teashop, by all means go forth and pick your poison. But if, like many dads (and mamas), you enjoy a beer now and then … lucky you! Minnesota is in the midst of a craft brewery explosion. Several have popped up during the past few years, all with tours and tap rooms and tastings. Surly is the mecca — huge, clean, firepitted, flannelled and bearded — but there are a bunch of other cool choices as well. You’ve probably heard of Indeed, Lake Monster and, the newest, Utepils. You might try Urban Growler and Bang, right next door to one another and a little off the beaten path. (Did you know that Bang is housed in an old silo? Cool, right?) And finally, Pryes Brewing (dearly beloved for its Miraculum American IPA) has announced a permanent home for its


Baking set Bring on the next MasterChef Junior! Sized just right for little hands, this 17-piece introto-baking box was a hit during our annual Toy Test. But this gift set isn’t just a toy. All the tools and pieces are designed for real cooking and repeat use. Though technically recommended for ages 3 and older, it seems like a good fit (with supervision) for all toddlers who like to play chef — pretend or for real. $25 •

brewery and taproom — expected to open in mid-2017 — right on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, across from Hall’s Island/Boom Island. If a new destination brewery isn’t cause for a scheduled DNO, then what is?





4. DIY. Let’s be honest. Nothing is going to get you a ticket to “Guy’s Night” quicker than finally finishing that tree house, cleaning the gutters or staining the deck. Order some pizza and make it a party. It’ll get done, your family will worship you and you’ll have fun in the process. You can even plan your next DNO while you work! Here’s to you, Daddio! Jen Wittes is a freelance writer and mother of two who lives in St. Paul. Learn more about her work at Send questions or comments to

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Making time for Mama M

others have a reputation of living their lives for other people. Indeed, I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that for me, as a kindergarten teacher-mother of four, I could spend every waking hour doing something productive that involves some sort of service to others, whether that’s cooking family meals, doing laundry, transporting children or helping with homework — the list could go on and on! But, speaking as someone with experience — and as one who has survived more than one mama-meltdown in her life — constant caregiving just isn’t sustainable. I know that to be the kind of mother, wife, teacher and friend I want to be, I need to take care of myself, not just other people. Making time for mama time each day is a great place to start. For those of us who struggle with taking care of ourselves, finding the time — or making the time — can be the biggest challenge.

A majority (85.7 percent) of Minnesota mamas get fewer than 60 minutes to themselves each day — and of those a quarter get fewer than 15 minutes (26.2 percent), according to a recent Minnesota Parent reader survey. Some mothers reported getting more than 60 minutes a day (14.3 percent). To all of the time-challenged mamas out there, struggling to make some mama “me time” happen each day, consider these ideas:

Find something you like to do. Take up a hobby or interest that helps you recharge your batteries, something that makes you feel good and nurtures your own well-being. Convince yourself that you deserve this time by articulating it to those around you. You could say, for example, “Mama is


going to go for a half-hour run so she can be strong and healthy,” or “Mom’s going to talk on the phone for a while so she can have some fun and happy grown-up conversation with a good friend.”

Be mindful of time. Why does it seem like some people have superpowers and are able to get so much more accomplished on any given day than others? The answer lies in time management. The fact is that while we all have 24 hours to work with each day, some people manage their time better than others. Be mindful of your time. Are you wasting precious minutes — maybe even hours — mindlessly surfing the Internet or scrolling Facebook, Twitter or Instagram when you’d really rather being doing something else? Work to control mindless habits.

A book to ‘end meltdowns’

On a recent Minneapolis Mamas Facebook thread, a mother lamented her 4-year-old’s terrible behavior. A clear chorus came back from mothers in praise of one particularly successful tactic — cutting back on screen time. Need a guide? Check out the much-praised Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time, written by Victoria Dunckley, an MD and an award-winning integrative child psychiatrist who specializes in treating children with treatment-resistant mental-health conditions. $18.95 •


March 2017 •

Schedule it. Make time. But how? I recently listened to the 24-minute audio book Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms. The author, Carin Kilby Clark, suggests moms create a plan to devote a longer chunk of time (at least an hour) each month to do something for themselves. Work with your spouse/partner, family members, friends or a child-care provider to help you free up this time. I’ve swapped out child-care/playdate arrangements with some of my friends, and it’s helped me carve out some personal time.

Set boundaries. Honor and take care of yourself by setting limits around your time. It’s OK (and realistic) to expect school-age children to learn and understand simple things — like it’s important to let Mom take a shower, go to the bathroom or talk on the phone without being interrupted multiple times. When we hold firm — by following through with consistent expectations — we can create these mini breaks throughout the day.

What do you want to do? What do local moms wish they could do in their free time? Here are their top picks, in order of popularity, according to our recent survey: Read, exercise, watch TV/movies, enjoy hobbies (knitting, photography, gardening, sewing, crafts, baking), shop/run errands solo, get together with friends, check social media, take a shower or bath, sit in silence, nap, go to a spa or get a massage. Sound familiar? Sound amazing? Are you inspired yet? You can take these ideas and make them your reality. (OK, you might not be able to make all of them happen in one month, but you have to start somewhere!) Megan Devine is an elementary school teacher who lives with her husband and four children in Northeastern Minnesota. She blogs at • March 2017


Parenting teens is hard I

have no excuse for my consternation. We’ve been warned for years. All along, we’ve heard comments in response to the antics of our kids’ younger personalities, playfully pointed out as little foreshadows of what might be yet to come: Oh, you think that’s bad? Just wait ’til they’re teenagers! She’s so pretty. Better watch out: You’ll have to fight off the boys when she’s a teenager. It goes so fast. Once they hit eighth grade, they’ll be out of the house before you can blink.

Time’s ticking away Despite all the warnings, I feel a little like I’ve been jolted into a new reality. Somehow this year — with two active teens — everything is moving at double warp speed. Any parent would agree: “They grow up sooooo fast,” as the old adage says. But why does it have to be so alarmingly true? Time is flying by faster than it ever has. I feel as though I’m in the middle of a pack of trained runners, who are well practiced at keeping their pace. I can’t help but think I should be farther back on the course somewhere.

thought: I’ll never have THAT screaming baby in a restaurant. I’ll never lose my toddler in an IKEA and have to have the entire building shut down so the staff can look for him. Likewise, with teens, we go into it with a bit of naivete. We may realize we’ve again tightened our grasp on our ideals — to no avail. And if we refuse to face reality, we can end up on shaky ground; and our relationships with our teens can suffer.

Our ideals

Teenage ‘I nevers’

Parenting teens is hard. Really hard. Shockingly hard. I suppose — just like when you become a first-time parent — you go into the teen years with certain ideals, certain “I’ll nevers.” Then, of course, when you’re in thick of it, your reality changes. Before parenting my kids as littles, I

I never thought I would show my fear when my kids were learning to drive. I’ll be calm, I thought. I never thought their schoolwork would cause me so much stress. I’ll let them learn through it, I thought. I never thought dating would make me want to yell at them. Date? No, never, not ’til college.


March 2017 •

I would trust them, I thought. I also never knew how much it would hurt to watch them become adults.

My truths I’m learning that you can’t go into the teen years with presets for how you’ll make things work, thinking your kids will work to protect your vision. You can go in only with your own overlying truths. And those core truths will help you keep your sanity when the emotionally charged days come. And they will come. Teens are wired to become independent from their parents. They’ll crave freedom away from you. They’ll lie stupid lies just to feel like they made their own decisions. We don’t know as parents in what ways our teens will deal with these urges. And we may be surprised at the feelings that rise up in us in response to them.

I’ll always believe my kids were each blessed with a certain set of just-them qualities — special characteristics that show they’re meant to have a purpose in life that’s unique to them. My job is to tell them they can achieve their life’s ambitions and support them through struggles and strife. In their day-to-day requests, challenges and attitudes, they seem to be telling me: I want to grow up just a little bit. I want to learn to fly. Are you going to let me? Even though it’s hard and scary and it hurts, I respond: I will. Jennifer Wizbowski lives in Excelsior with her husband, and daughter and son, ages 13 and 16. Send comments, questions and story ideas to


Personal safety service Kitestring calls itself “your virtual overprotective mom.” It’s a free, text-based service (not an app) invented by an MIT student who was worried about his girlfriend getting home OK. To use it, you text a time frame to Kitestring. When the time frame has passed, the service sends you a text, asking you to check in. If you don’t respond, Kitestring can send out a customized emergency message to your friends and family. You can even set up a duress code to immediately alert your contacts if you end up in danger. Sign up at • March 2017


The tax benefits of camp P

arents face many factors when deciding whether — and where — to send a kid to summer camp. Do the dates work with your family’s travel plans for the summer? Will your child miss out on a lot of sports or other activities at home? Will she make friends at camp? Will you choose a camp that focuses on sports, religion, outdoor activities, academics or something else? And of course, one of the most important factors is … What will it cost? Here’s something else to think about, and it affects the question of cost: Can the expense of summer camp help with your tax burden?

Yes, it can If your son or daughter goes to a camp that’s academic in nature, part of the cost


March 2017 •

should qualify for a tax credit or subtraction from your Minnesota taxes. “Academic in nature” includes courses in such subjects as reading, math, science, history, fine arts and foreign language. It doesn’t include sports and athletic activities or religious instruction. Before you hastily set up your own “summer camp” for an academic reading of Nancy Carlson books or create a course about the history of Star Wars fandom, keep in mind that instruction must be taught by a “qualified teacher.” The definition for that is pretty loose, but it can’t be a parent or sibling. The camp has to be in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota or South Dakota. Eligible for the tax break are the parts of the camp that include the instruction — so not food, transportation or lodging.

Ask the camp operator for a breakdown of what’s eligible and what isn’t.

Credits and subtractions While we’re on the subject, you can go to the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s website to find out about lots of other education-related credits and subtractions. Check it out before you file. Here are a few highlights: • Instructional materials including books, pens, paper, even art supplies. Save your receipts! • Fees for field trips • Tuition, including for private school, college classes that count toward high school graduation and summer school classes that are required for high school graduation. (The state does limit the tuition subtraction to $1,625 for each qualifying child in grades K–6

and $2,500 for each qualifying child in grades 7–12.) • After-school educational enrichment programs • Tutoring • Driver’s education classes. There’s also a long list of expenses that do not qualify for a credit or subtraction, such as school lunches, school uniforms, books and materials used for extracurricular activities or religious instruction, and testing fees for collegeplacement tests such as the ACT and SAT. Strangely, the department specifically notes that “Kleenex” isn’t eligible. Maybe someone tried that at some point. Also not eligible? Hardcover encyclopedias. But I’m guessing that one doesn’t come up too often.

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More deductions Most of us remember to deduct charitable donations, but here are a few other deductions many families are eligible for — but often don’t know about. Don’t let these opportunities to save slip away: • The cost of medical insurance premiums that surpass 10 percent of your adjusted gross income (There’s no 10 percent threshold if you’re self-employed.) • Tax planning and investment costs • The cost of packing and moving if it’s for a new job • Child-care costs, including babysitters • Home-refinancing costs. Eric Braun is a Minneapolis dad of two boys and the co-author of The Survival Guide for Money Smarts: Earn, Save, Spend, Give for young readers. Send comments or questions to

IT’S TAX TIME! Read more about qualifying expenses at • March 2017


Dr. Kimara Gustafson

What is PANDAS? Our daughter recently got over strep and a mom at school told us to watch out for ‘PANDAS?’ What’s she talking about? PANDAS stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections. It’s a relatively newly known syndrome, first described in the late 1990s. Revised diagnostic criteria and guidelines were just established for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 2012. A doctor may consider PANDAS as a possibility when a child abruptly develops obsessive compulsive (OCD) behaviors and/or tic behaviors following a strep infection, such as strep throat. It can also occur when a child with a known preexisting diagnosis of OCD or tic disorder (such as Tourette’s syndrome) abruptly experience worse symptoms shortly after a strep infection. New concerning behaviors include motor and/or vocal tics, obsessions/anxieties and/or compulsions. Children may also exhibit an abrupt

shift in behaviors such as becoming incredibly moody, irritable, anxious and/or experience a dramatic worsening in school or homework performance. First-line treatment for PANDAS is the same as treatment of a routine strep throat infection — antibiotics, which can help reduce mental health symptoms as well, according to the NIMH. Other than the laboratory tests to determine the presence (active or recent infection) of strep bacteria, PANDAS is a clinical diagnosis, meaning there’s no one lab test that can confirm the condition. Mental health challenges among children with PANDAS-related symptoms may require treatment with medications and/or behavioral therapies. Not every child who gets a strep throat infection will get PANDAS. Similarly, a child who has an underlying OCD or tic

Our preschooler has a really hard time sitting ‘crisscross applesauce’ during circle time. He instead sits with his legs in a W shape. Do we need to break him of this habit to protect his knees?


March 2017 •

disorder won’t necessarily go on to develop PANDAS after a strep infection. Strep throat infections are extremely common, with an average grade-school child having the infection 2 to 3 times in one year. By no means do all these children develop PANDAS. So in regard to your daughter, I would watch for any unexplained or dramatically worsening OCD or tic behaviors very shortly following her strep throat infection, and follow up with her primary physician if you notice anything of concern. If she’s already recovered uneventfully from her sore throat, fever and/or stomach pain, then I wouldn’t be concerned about PANDAS at this point. Learn more about PANDAS (and a related condition called PANS) at and X

As you may have already discovered, there are differing opinions on the topic of W-sitting. It can be common for younger children to prefer to sit in this position as it’s actually a more natural position for their hips. Often young children may be born with a slight in-turning of their thighbones in relation to their hip joints (increased internal hip rotation). Typically, over time, this increased hip F rotation decreases through normal growth and movement

and the thighbones straighten out, thus making cross-legged sitting the more comfortable position. In addition to being more comfortable due to the internal rotation of the hips, W-sitting requires less truncal or core strength and therefore can offer increased stability for upright sitting for young infants and children. One concern with this position, however, is that it may be an indication of something more going on, such as internal rotation of the hip persisting into an older age. Other concerning issues among older kids who rely on this sitting position would be trouble walking or running, knees that bump into each other more than usual or the feeling or appearance of being pigeon toed. It could also mean a child isn’t developing the adequate core strength and is compensating for more stability and balance by W-sitting. Another concern for children who prefer to sit in this position for extended periods of time is that they’re inadvertently limiting their upper-body rotation, which can make them less able to reach across the body with the opposite hand, which can impact fine-motor and hand-eye coordination skills in the future. Regarding your specific question, it doesn’t appear that W-sitting would be putting undue stress on any of the leg joints, including the knees. However, I would recommend gently encouraging your son to start transitioning to another sitting position. If the crossed-leg position isn’t comfortable, he could sit long-legged or with his legs both to one side. If he still seems to want to continually sit in the W position, I would recommend discussing this with your primary physician. X Dr. Kimara Gustafson is a Minneapolis mother who works as a pediatrician at Masonic Children’s Hospital and the Adoption Medicine Clinic, both at the at the University of Minnesota. Send your questions to

“I have had a joy from which no one can rob me. Can you offer anything to that joy of an artist?” — Mary Cassatt, 1844–1926

The Basic Elements of Drawing and Design

Ages 5-8 Providing the foundation for later study in watercolor and oil painting.

Call or go online for Class Information Malcom Kelner, Age 8

6 51.69 9.1573

Chosen by WCCO “2013 Best Places for Summer Art Activities” | Winner: City Pages “Best of the Twin Cities” Art Academy MNP SPEC H4_#1.indd 1

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PACER Center

A STEM camp for girls F

or parents of a child with a disability, it can be a challenge to find a summer camp that’s fun, rewarding and welcoming. “It’s so hard to find activities, especially for girls on the autism spectrum,” one mom told The PACER Center. PACER is out to change that. Every August for the past 14 years, PACER, located in Bloomington, has run its EXploring Interests in Technology and Engineering (EXITE) camp for middle school girls with all disabilities.

volunteers, including a high school girls robotics team, pitch in to make EXITE Camp as exciting and relevant today as it was when it launched in 2003 with help from IBM. On any given day, you might find girls programming LEGO robots to compete in a bowling competition, enjoying liquid nitrogen ice cream or creating micro solar panels — to name just a few of the activities that have taken place at EXITE Camp.

Beyond academics A fun mix of activities In this free camp, a group of 30 girls gather for five days of hands-on activities to learn just how much fun Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) can be. Corporations help sponsor EXITE and provide some of the volunteers. Animal experts, computer scientists, engineers, a local meteorologist and a wide range of

The girls who participate face a range of disabilities. Teachers and volunteers are sensitive to that and work to make sure everyone feels welcomed. “It gave my daughter a chance to experience new things in a safe and supportive environment — an environment that values diversity and seeks to make sure everyone is supported and gets a chance,”

‘My daughter made friends, which was a huge accomplishment for her. The opportunity to be with girls her own age who also have disabilities made her feel less singled out than at school.’ said one mother whose daughter hopes to come back to EXITE Camp this summer. “At school, it is too easy for her to sit in the back and avoid interaction. My daughter developed a sense of accomplishment, that SHE can do this.” Another mother, with daughter on the autism spectrum, said: “I thought it

was phenomenal, all the companies that came in and did activities with the girls. On the day hosted by CH Robinson, my daughter came home talking about the basics of the supply chain and how fruit is packaged. She learned STEM skills and built her confidence. It was a very valuable experience for her.” Another mother said she discovered a renewed hope for her daughter’s future: “She gained confidence in how her mind can grasp and understand more challenging academic areas. I am also very encouraged that she sees areas where she could work in jobs in science, medicine and technology.”

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Making real friends Those aren’t the only benefits participating girls have realized as part of EXITE, however. New friendships are at the top of the list, too. “My daughter made her first real friend ever,” said one mom. “My daughter made friends, which was a huge accomplishment for her,” said another. “The opportunity to be with girls her own age who also have disabilities made her feel less singled out than at school.” For some of the girls, joining a new group isn’t easy. One of the girls who attended offered advice for those who are worried about fitting in: “You shouldn’t be afraid to go,” she said. “Because it’s a lot of fun and you learn a lot about STEM.” Her mom agreed: “This was an amazing experience for my daughter. What an incredible resource!” PACER’s EXploring Interests in Technology and Engineering (EXITE) Camp is for middle school girls with disabilities who are entering grades 6 to 9 in the fall. Girls learn the magic of science and technology at this FREE five-day camp designed to foster creativity, build self-esteem and encourage young girls to pursue interests in STEM. Visit stc/exite/camp.asp to learn more and apply. Enrollment is limited. Minnetonka Public Schools MNP 0317 S3.indd 1

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Search and find By Sarah Jackson

Not all reading time must be filled with traditional, narrative stories. Each of these books tells its own kind of tale, ideal for parents and kids who like a challenge and time spent poring over beautiful printed pages.

The Lost House This is one of the hardest search-and-find books we’ve ever seen! Even after you’ve found everything hidden in its jam-packed, neon-colored pages, it can still be a challenge to go back through to do it all again. In other words, it’s a keeper. And the story that frames it all — a treasure hunt through Grandad’s disorderly house (to help him find everything he needs for a trip to the park) — is equally precious. (We recommend this one for ages 5 and older.)

In his shiny red kitchen, there are shelves full of dishes, a salt shaker,

and a tin full of sugar. But where are Grandad’s shoes?

Ages 3–7 • $18.99

ABC: The Alphabet from the Sky Created as a result of the successful Aerial Bold Kickstarter campaign, this unique, 64-pager is filled with aerial photography from around the U.S., featuring all the letters of the alphabet hidden in various landscapes. It includes an answer key, plus four extra pages of even more letters created by buildings, roads, rivers and other natural elements. The two MIT guys behind this glossy book used the data they derived from their project to create the first professional typefaces based on planet Earth’s topology. Ages 3–5 • $18.99


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Labyrinth This large-format (1-foot-square) hardcover includes 14 mazes that start out easy and progress to difficult. Each two-page spread is a work of art and also includes search-and-find challenges. Note: They’re too pretty to draw on, so your kid will have to use a finger, not a pencil. Ages 7–10 • $19.99 • March 2017




February 2017 •

Photo by Chungah Rhee / Damn Delicious

BAKED ASPARAGUS FRIES INGREDIENTS 1 cup panko bread crumbs 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 pound asparagus, trimmed 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 large eggs, beaten

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray. Combine panko and Parmesan in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside. Dredge asparagus in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in Panko mixture, pressing to coat. Place asparagus in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately.

Source: This recipe was adapted from Chungah Rhee’s blog, Her cookbook, Damn Delicious: 100 Super Easy, Super Fast Recipes, is available now. • March 2017


Aleigha Ausman signs a guest book at Pioneer Park, a day camp that immerses kids in pioneer life. Photos by Abbie Burgess


March 2017 •

Little Day Camp on the Prairie Local history camps bring the old days to life for kids, who mysteriously learn to enjoy chores and the rustic nature of pioneer life — at least for a day STORY AND PHOTOS BY ABBIE BURGESS


or my best friend and me, growing up in the ’90s, it wasn’t enough for us to just read about Kirsten Larson, the American Girl, and Little House on the Prairie books. We wanted to live it! So, in the summers, we dressed up in calico dresses and checkered sunbonnets sewn by our mothers and headed to camp at Minnesota Pioneer Park, a living history village in Annandale, about an hour northwest of Minneapolis. We wrote on slates in the one-room schoolhouse, played in a sod house, churned butter and sewed quilt squares in a real log cabin. Even now, more than 20 years later, the smell of bacon frying in a cast iron skillet still sparks happy memories for me as I think of the cabin’s wood stove, crackling in the heat of July. Today a new generation is busy building memories at Pioneer Park’s day camps, held on select summer Wednesdays. F • March 2017


Little Day Camp on the Prairie Volunteer camp coordinator Cheryl Antl has been guiding children ages 6 to 13 through authentic pioneer experiences for more than a decade. I visited Pioneer Park last summer and witnessed her in action with a group of day campers. First, she finished up a lesson in the camp’s one-room schoolhouse. Then, after letting the kids race each other once around the schoolhouse, she rounded them up to head back to the camp’s log cabin for lunch. The absence of air conditioning on a sunny, 88-degree July afternoon was even more oppressive than I’d remembered it, but it didn’t deter the day’s six campers who were eager for an authentic historical experience.

A pioneer education Antl runs the day camp for groups of up to 10 children with the help of one or two teenage helpers, usually former campers themselves. “In the pioneer days, they had conversation at mealtimes. So let’s have a discussion,” Antl instructed while passing plates of baking powder biscuits, handchurned butter, sliced ham, strawberries and carrots around the table. An innocent conversation about the children’s pets turned into a count of how many wild animals their dogs and cats had caught. Maybe, I thought, the tough realities of life aren’t so different, after all, for pioneer kids and kids of today? The children were surprisingly wellbehaved. They seemed to grasp the responsibility of the demands of pioneer


March 2017 •

Cheryl Antl shares a midday meal with campers at Pioneer Park day camp, geared toward ages 6 to 13.

life. In fact, parents might be surprised by one of the pioneer experiences the campers joyfully embraced: Chores! “Most of these kids have never washed a dish by hand,” Antl said. “These are really simple things, but they love doing it.” Indeed, not a whisper of complaint escaped any of the kids when it came time to wipe down the table or, later, carry heavy buckets of water. “I think that looks good,” said 9-year-old Nora Ausman, as she swept a wood floor, having redone a spot she’d missed in her initial rush to complete the job.

With chores completed, the campers gathered around a metal washtub in the yard to try out cleaning clothes on a washboard. After that, they were ready to take a tour of the re-created main street of Pioneer Park, which includes many of park’s 24 buildings furnished with artifacts to showcase life in the 1800s. Donated antiques add authenticity at every turn, including vintage seed packets in the General Store and blue-and-white checked voting booth curtains in the City Hall.

The absence of air conditioning on a sunny, 88-degree July afternoon was even more oppressive than I remembered it, but it didn’t deter the day’s six campers who were eager for the authentic historical experience. the way to go for Stacy Engel’s kids, too. She brought her daughters, Josie and Elizabeth, who are homeschooled, and her two nieces. Engel said the authentic schoolhouse was one of her daughters’ favorite buildings in the park, along with the Finnish church and the 1902 farmhouse.

Living history A smell, that can be described only as “old,” emanates from the buildings, mingling with the fresh country air, pouring in from open windows and doors. The campers were most excited to see the jail cells, and argued over who would get to play the sheriff. Nora was eager to take on the role, and pointed out that — in pioneer days — women unfairly didn’t get to be sheriffs, and they also couldn’t vote. Nora attended the day camp with her sisters, Aleigha, 11, and Kaitlyn, 6. Making pioneer camp a family affair was

Pioneer Park was created in 1972 as a nonprofit educational museum, with historical buildings that date back as far as 1884. Furnishings include pioneer-style dishes on the shelves and animal pelts hanging from the walls. It’s all very realistic — and quite rustic. And attendees of day camp are plunged into this lifestyle, with limited access to the camp’s lone modern building. Parents can get in on the fun, too, with a self-guided tour — or, more likely, a child-led tour — when it’s time for pickup after camp. F • March 2017


Little Day Camp on the Prairie In the barn, Ivan, 12, and his sister, Reece, 7, demonstrated how to use a hand-operated corn-sheller machine. “That was fun: I want to do more!” he said, adding that he wished he could have such a machine at home. His mother, Laura Hartkopf of Maple Lake, is also interested in history. So when she found the day camp listed in a community-ed bulletin, she knew it would be a natural fit. In fact, it was such a good fit that 2016 marked her son’s fourth year of attending the camp. Now in seventh grade, Ivan’s one of the oldest campers. “I like the hands-on experience,” he said.

Other history camps Pioneer Park isn’t the only historical day camp for Minnesota kids. Closer to the Twin Cities, Fort Snelling and Gibbs Farm, both in St. Paul and The Landing, in Shakopee, all offer immersive historical experiences, including some for kids as young as 4. Claire Davis once attended a variety of historical day camp programs at the Gibbs Farm in St. Paul. Now 16 and a junior in high school, she dons a long dress and apron again as an intern at Gibbs Farm, helping young campers make corn-husk dolls, perform skits and try on the schoolhouse dunce cap. “Dressing up is the best part,” said Davis, whose favorite camp theme is

Victorian Days. “A lot of the campers dress up, too, and it’s so cute.” Davis began expressing interest in history after reading the Little House and American Girl book series. Her mom found the Gibbs Farm for her daughters to

HISTORY CAMPS Historical re-enactment camps immerse kids in a different era, allowing them to see it firsthand — not sketched out in the pages of a history book or school text. And, remember: History camp fees may even be tax deductible because of their educational nature. (See our Grows on Trees column of Page 22 of this issue for details.) Help your kids find their own Little Day Camp on the Prairie experiences at these Minnesota sites:


Little House in the Big Fort Day Camp — inspired by the Little House series — caters to ages 7–11. Day camps run for four days from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Dates not sold out at press time included July 11–14, July 25–28 and Aug. 8–11. Cost is $250 per camper. Learn more about other Minnesota Historical Society sites at


Summer day-camp programs for ages 4–13 are offered through the Ramsey County Historical Society. Choose from Pioneer PeeWees for ages 4–5, Pioneer Kid for ages 6–10, Gibbs Girl for girls ages 6–10 and Digging History for ages 11–13. All camps run from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays and cost $99, except for Pioneer PeeWees, held from 9:30– 11:30 a.m. on select Wednesdays at a cost of $19.


Many day camps with a historical focus are offered through the Three Rivers Park District, including Little House on the River Camp for kids ages 6–12, Civil War Camp for ages 10–15, Adventures of Tom Sawyer Camp for ages 6–12 and Advanced Little House on the River Camp for ages 10–15. Camps, which cost $160, are held from 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.


One-day camps for ages 6–13 give kids a chance to experience the daily life of a pioneer farm child. Offered from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. on select summer Wednesdays — June 21, 28; July 5, 12, 19; August 2, 9, 16) — camps cost $43 per child and includes two snacks, water and lunch.

Kaitlyn Ausman, 6, hangs the wash on the line at Pioneer Park day camp.

attend when Claire was 7 and her sister, Emma, was 4. After Claire graduated from camper eligibility in sixth grade, she still returned each year to serve as an intern. She enjoys the authentic farm setting, complete with garden crops and animals. “It’s a place where you’re in the middle of prairie grasses and you forget you’re in St. Paul,” she said. Davis’ mother, Cara Bailey of St. Paul, pointed out that Gibbs Farm incorporates learning about the Dakota people and their language, not just the European settlers. “The value,” she said, “is in giving them a chance to participate in living history in the place where they live.” Davis said the kids learn by doing. “It’s real; it’s not like school,” she said. “History is fun.” The day-camp experience has made such an impact on Davis that she hopes to minor in history when she goes to college. Her plans also include returning to Gibbs Farm to volunteer in the summers, helping a new generation of children build memories of wood smoke (and, perhaps, frying bacon) that will last for decades to come. Abbie Burgess is a Twin Cities freelance writer and lifestyle blogger at

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Outdoor activities — such as fort building and sports games — are an important part of YMCA Day Camp Manitou, a 12-acre camp that features trails, open prairies and access to Lake Bertram and Long Lake in Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park. Photos courtesy of YMCA Day Camp Manitou


March 2017 •


TRIP! The YMCA’s newly updated Day Camp Manitou offers everything parents remember about summer camp, plus a new heated pool, splash pad and high-ropes course



t’s a ’60s party from a ’60s movie!” yelled a group of YMCA Day Camp Manitou counselors. “See the surfers on their surfboards? Da-na-na-na-nana-na-na, da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na!” Hundreds of day campers — from the “wee backpackers” at age 4 to high schoolers volunteering as junior counselors — echoed back the tune, mimicking a surfing stance, arms outstretched and knees bobbing as they rode imaginary waves. Soon their voices filled the giant outdoor amphitheater with the kind of joyous, discordant harmony only boisterous, large groups seem capable of creating. Their reverberations echoed off the wooden benches and even the lush greenery of the woods at the YMCA’s newly revamped Day Camp Manitou.

What’s new? In 2016, this Monticello-area camp moved to a new, private location within Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park. Though all of the traditional features of the camp are still in place — swimming, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, F • March 2017



TRIP! cookouts, archery, arts and crafts, and even singalongs — the camps newest features are decidedly modern: Manitou’s new facilities include a large, heated, outdoor pool with a slide and splash pad, plus a new space for arts and crafts, two archery ranges, gaga pits and 9-square courts. There’s also a new high-ropes village, featuring a two-level ropes course, a zip line, climbing walls and more. And, the good news is, families don’t have to live near Monticello to take advantage of the new venue. More than 20 YMCA bus stop locations in the west-metro area bring kids here. And parents who need all-day activities for their kids in summer can add beforeand-after-care options as well. In fact, Manitou is one of many YMCA day camps serving the Twin Cities that offer traditional camp programming for children as young as 4, but without the stress of sleeping overnight. However, kids at Day Camp Manitou aren’t just passing their days away while their parents work. It’s a special experience, said Devin Hanson, the day camp’s and outreach program director. “We’re not daycare,” she said. “We’re day camp. The kids don’t get to do this all summer, every day. So we want them to have a great time, just playing and having fun.”

General or specialty

The YMCA’s newly updated Day Camp Manitou now features a new heated pool with a slide and splash pad.


March 2017 •

Located four miles west of Monticello, the 12-acre camp features trails, open prairies and access to Lake Bertram and Long Lake. Despite the new heated pool, most water activities still occur in the clear, clean waters of Lake Bertram, which boasts and a

50-foot stretch of sandy beach. While there are common denominators for every YMCA camp — such as opening and closing ceremonies and traditional activities offered to all campers — specialty programs at Day Camp Manitou allow campers to create more personalized experiences. Kids can sign up for overview camps or they can choose camps that offer extra time (about two hours each day) for focusing on specific activities such as water safety, climbing/ropes, stand-up paddle boarding, science, fishing, arts,

photography, Spanish (new) or leadership. Other options include themes such as pirates, super heroes and princesses/fairies/dragons. Teen specialty camps, meanwhile, help kids develop leadership qualities through a variety of service projects, hands-on activities and team-building exercises. Adventure camps — for kids going into middle school — tackle hiking, outdoor cooking, campfires and swimming with three-day field trips to destinations such as Minnesota state parks and the North Shore. F

䴀愀欀攀 礀漀甀爀 漀眀渀 最攀愀爀℀ 倀氀愀礀 氀椀瘀攀 愀挀琀椀漀渀 最愀洀攀猀℀

We’re not daycare. We’re day camp. The kids don’t get to do this all summer, every day. So we want them to have a great time, just playing and having fun. — Devin Hanson, day camp and outreach program director for Day Camp Manitou, Monticello • March 2017

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All campers come together for at least one camp cookout. Everyone pitches in an ingredient for the campfire-roasted meal, and rare is the person who leaves without munching on Day Camp Manitou’s signature s’mores — peanut

butter, chocolate chips and bananas, all snuggled up in a tortilla wrap.

Home-grown values Caring, honesty, respect and responsibility are four

YMCA DAY CAMP MANITOU In 2016, this camp moved to a new, private location within Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park. Campers here engage in traditional overnight camp experiences — such as canoeing, crafts, cookouts and more — without having to stay the night. New features include a large, heated, outdoor pool (with a slide and splash pad), plus two archery ranges, gaga pits and 9-square courts. Day Camp Manitou also has a new high-ropes village, featuring a two-level ropes course, a zip line, climbing walls, a giant’s ladder and a pamper pole. Campers must sign up for specialty climbing camps to try out the course.

Gleason’s Gymnastic School Strengthening Children in Mind and Body Through Successful Gymnastics Experiences for Over 50 Years

Ages: 4–14

Dates: Monday through Friday, June 12–Aug. 25

Maple Grove 763.493.2526 9778 85th Avenue N

Hours: Day camp goes from 9:15 a.m.–3:45 p.m. with before/after care provided for $35 per week at the New Hope and Elk River YMCAs (and at Day Camp Manitou on select weeks).

Eagan 651.454.6203 2015 Silver Bell Road

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Location: Four miles west of Monticello, which is about 40 miles northwest of downtown Minneapolis, with busing available from more than 20 west-metro locations Weekly cost: Traditional day camps cost $215–$240. Teen specialty camps start at $250. Adventure camps with field trips start at $375. Info:

YMCA Day Camp Manitou near Monticello offers a variety of activities, including (left to right) gaga ball, outdoor sports and a new high-ropes village for campers who want to specialize in climbing.

words that make up the core values of every YMCA program, including Day Camp Manitou. Forgot sunscreen? Campers learn how to share to help someone else. Left your lunch for the day at home? Staff will gladly provide food, and then they’ll talk about how campers can think ahead and work on self-care skills. While these values may seem weighty, the campers appear to soak them in effortlessly as they strap on plastic blue helmets for the rope course, help clean up during arts and crafts or race into the water during beach time. Along the way, campers often discover self-reliance, a love of nature and even leadership skills. “My favorite part is getting to know the kids, seeing them grow year after year, becoming better people,” Hanson said. “The YMCA can be an extended home for them.” Lianna Matt is a Twin Cities journalist who loves traveling and meeting people on the job — even if she is a bit directionally challenged. • March 2017


The Works, an engineering and design-focused children’s museum in Bloomington, offers a variety of summer camps, including multiple LEGO Engineering options, geared toward ages 6 to 12, plus pre-K camps such as Make It Super Powered! for ages 4 and 5. Photos courtesy of The Works


March 2017 •


WORK Science and engineering camps at The Works encourage learning through play, experimentation



hen it comes to engaging kids in STEM concepts, ping pong balls — flying through the air at unpredictable speeds — can be an excellent place

to start. That appears to be the case, at least, at The Works Museum in Bloomington, which offers a diverse array of educational summer day camps for ages 4 to 12. Here engineering and design concepts aren’t so much taught as they are discovered through projects that encourage imagination, discovery and, when needed, the copious use of airborne ping pong balls.

Trial and error This coming summer’s pre-K half-day camp offerings include Make It Float, Make It Sink!, Make It Go!, and Make It Super Powered! During the latter camp last summer, preschoolers created their own catapults and sling shots to shoot ping pong balls across the room. F • March 2017





Supplies included pieces of wood, plastic spools, cardboard tubes, rubber bands and tape. Instruction included a talk about fulcrums and levers. Kids, scattered around the room and reaching varying degrees of success, released shouts of “Boom!” “Whoa!” and “Mine really works!” Instructor Suzanne Bailey walked around the room to check on the kids, but made sure not to say anything was wrong with the students’ projects. Instead she reminded them of all the supplies they had at their disposal and offered openended suggestions such as trying different sizes of rubber bands. “We’re not done,” Bailey said. “We’re just starting to test.” One 5-year-old camper named Nicholas was crouched on the ground, trying to wrangle a rubber band around a piece of wood and a plastic fulcrum. It was the birth of what he would later call his very own “turning sling shot,” due to his invention’s wind-up action just before launch. “It’s very fun making stuff,” Nicholas said.

Open-ended learning Make It Super Powered! campers weren’t exactly doing calculations or drawing blue prints, but they were using trial and error to discover what made their ping pong balls fly different distances. “Flying” was just one of many super powers campers explored during the half-day camp, which tackled the mechanical concepts of cranes, levers, wheels, axles and more. Campers learned by creating and


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building, but also by playing. At one point, the Make It Super Powered! campers played a game in which instructors launched ping pong balls from a large catapult and then had the kids try to “catch” them with hula hoops, which resulted in laughter and shouts of glee. Kit Wilhite, the museum’s senior director of learning experiences, said instructors don’t tell the kids how to solve design problems at The Works. “It’s very open ended,” she said. “They’ll experience something, and then we’ll talk about it.”

Coding, construction and beyond It’s not just preschoolers who can get in on the fun of summer camp at The Works. Camps that cater to ages 6 to 8 include construction, carpentry, LEGO engineering, toy design, computer coding and robotics, to name a few. Ball Runs and Crazy Contraptions — which encourages kids to create roller coasters inspired by a K’Nex ball machine — is geared toward ages 6 to 8. Slingshots and Hydroli-bots caters to ages 9 to 12 and involves air cannons and waterpowered robots. Special camps just for girls include one called Rosie Revere, Engineer, inspired by the female inventors featured in Andrea Beaty’s best-selling book. Another, Robocoding for Girls, includes the use of WeDo 2.0 robotics pieces from LEGO. For the 9-to-12 set, many of the camps are built around computer-coding activities, including Code Camp 1 and Code Camp Level Up for more experienced coders, plus Code Camp 1 For Girls.

Code Camp for Girls day campers get to explore coding, sequencing and logic by using Python coding language to program content (known as mods) for the video game Minecraft.

Last summer, an 11-year-old girl named Cassidy worked on coding her own bridge in the videogame Minecraft using coding software known as RaspberryPi. “When I first learned coding, it was really hard and confusing,” she said, reflecting on her first two days in the class. On her third day, she was feeling better: “As you keep going, it makes more sense.” The Works offers camps with artistic elements, too, with titles such as Origami Engineering and Architecture: Houses. Last summer, for a camp called Artistry in Motion, campers created their own spin-art machines.

Process, not theory Since 1995, The Works’ official mission has been to raise the next generation of creative problem solvers, whether the problems they face are in the STEM field, in the design industry or in something far different. “Some parents say, ‘My child doesn’t like engineering,’” said Sarah Curtis, The

Works’ director of marketing and communications. “But their kids do. They just don’t understand that building, inventing, designing and creating are all part of engineering.” Instructors at The Works don’t emphasize theory, but rather the process of learning. With backgrounds in fields such as electrical engineering, early childhood education, science education and art, they carry forward the museum’s view of what engineering is — the process of learning how to overcome failure to make the world work better. Bailey — while debriefing the Make It Super Powered! preschoolers on a project last summer — drove home that philosophy: “If it doesn’t work, what are you going to do?” And the voices of 12 eager preschoolers yelled back, “Fix it!” Lianna Matt is a Twin Cities journalist who loves traveling and meeting people on the job — even if she is a bit directionally challenged.

THE WORKS Kids learn about engineering and design through hands-on projects and challenges using building materials, construction toys, robotics components and computers at this interactive children’s museum. Ages: 4–12. (Preschoolers must be going into kindergarten or High Five in fall 2017 to attend camp). Dates: June 12–Aug. 31. Camps run Monday–Thursday with Friday Fun Days available as optional add-on days for ages 6 and older. Hours: Morning and afternoon camps can be combined for ages 6 and older for a full day of camp (with supervised lunch). Drop-off begins at

8:30 a.m. for morning camps. Pick up ends at 4:15 p.m. for afternoon camps. Aftercare is available until 5 p.m. for $7 a day. Location: Bloomington Weekly cost: $160–$185 per four-day week of camp; Friday Fun Days cost $80 each. Info: • March 2017

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Set Sail for Summer Lake Calhoun Sailing School lets kids explore the open water right in the middle of Minneapolis



Sailing students who are age 7 to 11 start out by using small, easy-to-handle 8-foot dinghies known as optis, short for optimists, in summer classes with Lake Calhoun Sailing School. Photos courtesy of Lake Calhoun Sailing School

ailing instructor Madison Hobbs had a clear view of all her beginning sailors, working in teams of three to balance and maneuver their 8-foot training vessels, powered only by the steady winds coming off Lake Calhoun. In one boat, kids chatted excitedly, working to angle their sail just right, trying not to tip over. In another, two boys excitedly and repeatedly yelled, “Look at our seaweed collection!” Hobbs — keeping an eye on the rest of her would-be rookie regatta racers — grinned at the boys, who were proudly holding up lake plants with their bare hands. Hobbs continued resetting buoys the students had inadvertently knocked over when they drifted off course or failed in their early attempts at turning. Not far off sat 8-year-old Ryan, keeping a strong grip on both sides of his sailboat and watching, wide-eyed, as his mates attempted to control their dinghy, which began to shoot across the water in straight line, its sails suddenly full of wind. F • March 2017


Set Sail for Summer Students age 12 to 18 learn to sail using 420 boats at Lake Calhoun Sailing School. Larger than the optis used for younger kids, 420 boats mimic features of sailboats many times larger.

It was Ryan’s third day of sailing lessons at the Lake Calhoun Sailing School in Minneapolis, so he was still gaining the confidence needed to become a fearless sailor. Later in the boathouse, Ryan’s apprehension had disappeared as he excitedly told his fellow sailors just how fast he’d gone, like a storybook hero, regaling his comrades with tales of adventure. Although sailing has a reputation for being a hobby reserved for wealthy yacht owners or eccentric sailboat enthusiasts, that’s not the case. Anyone can learn sailing with Lake Calhoun Sailing School, one of the largest sailing schools in the Midwest. (Although the classes cost less with a sailing school membership, membership isn’t required.) A full-day, two-week beginning sailing course for ages 7 to 11 costs $480, for example, which is equal to or less than the cost of two weeks at many specialty day camps in the Twin Cities.


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Getting started One of the keys to learning sailing is to start with a small boat. At Lake Calhoun Sailing School, the beginner craft of choice is an easyhandling 8-foot sailboat known as an “opti” — short for “optimist.” These small sailing dinghies can be used to train ages 7 to 15 and can hold up to three kids for lessons. The school’s Beginning Optimist class serves as an introduction to sailing course, with a structured curriculum that starts with demonstrations on land followed by near-shore boating with instructors in motorized safety boats close by. Students — who must be able to swim and tread water in life jackets to sign up — go out on the water on their first day of class. During the first week, kids work on boat-handling skills, safety, sailing upwind and downwind and basic sailing maneuvers. As they build confidence, students —

depending on wind conditions — gradually move farther from shore where they practice their skills and participate in drills and games. Students also learn about rigging, knot tying and water safety. They get to paddle the boats around without sails and also learn how to right a boat when it tips over. Higher-level courses allow students to move into racing, including rules, strategies and tactics. All Lake Calhoun Sailing School classes are held Mondays through Thursdays. On Fridays throughout the summer, sailing students at all levels are encouraged to participate in the popular Twin Cities Youth Sailing regatta series, with coaching provided by the sailing school. Other sailing clubs involved in the series include the Lake Minnetonka Sailing School, Wayzata Community Sailing Center, Lake Harriet Yacht Club, Saint Croix Sailing School and White Bear Sailing School.

‘It’s like driving a car’ Harnessing the wind can be incredibly fun, but it isn’t necessarily intuitive at first. Turning involves not a steering wheel, but instead a smooth shift of the sail’s boom from one side of the boat to the other. And that involves remembering to duck, said 10-year-old Corinne, a second-year student at the sailing school, who took the Beginning Optimist class last summer. When she first started out, that part of the process was a challenge. Today her calm demeanor around the opti makes it seem doubtful that she could be caught off guard by anything. F • March 2017


Set Sail for Summer “It’s like driving a car across the water,” Corinne said of the smooth feel of the boat in motion. However, sometimes that car might seem like it’s going a little too fast or the ride might feel a little too rough. One group in Corinne’s class had a bit of trouble when their opti got off balance and took on some water. “We’re going to sink!” the two students exclaimed as they tried to splash water out of their boat. With the help of their instructor — and the laws of physics — they didn’t sink, and soon, their boat was cruising once again, the students quickly forgetting the trouble they’d had. Hobbs, like most instructors here, learned how to sail through Lake Calhoun Sailing School, so she understood what the kids were feeling. “Learning it — sometimes it was scary,” Hobbs recalled. “That’s the point: You think you can’t do it. But the instructors are watching you, and they’ve got you.” Even though the biggest threat is usually nothing more than getting wet, there’s just something inherently

nerve-wracking about falling unintentionally into a lake, even if you’re wearing a lifejacket, which all students are required to do. Kids who sail learn to manage their emotions in an environment that feels perilous, but is actually quite safe, Hobbs said. Safety is the No. 1 one priority for the school, and the instructors are wellversed in best practices and protocols. Because of the mix of experience levels among the kids, instructors always group students so that each opti has at least one relatively experienced sailor. The students, although they get to control the optis, are always under constant supervision, including extra-close monitoring on windier days.

A lifelong love Members of the Calhoun Yacht Club established the Lake Calhoun Sailing School in 1989 so their kids would have a formal place to learn sailing. Today the school now boasts a fleet of almost 50 optis, dozens of other sailing

Lake Calhoun Sailing School instructors closely monitor students by following them around in motorized safety boats.

boats, a racing program and more than 800 students per year. School director Ted Salzman said the school is working to change the perception that sailing is expensive or unattainable for average folks by offering scholarships and working to strengthen community ties. Learning sailing has been life-changing for many of the school’s instructors, and now

LAKE CALHOUN SAILING SCHOOL This Minneapolis-based sailing school gets kids out on the water on Day 1, gradually moving farther from shore when the kids are ready and conditions are right. Kids are encouraged to develop leadership and teamwork skills as they learn to navigate Lake Calhoun. Ages allowed: 7–18. Evening adult and parent/ child classes for ages 4–6 also are available, as well as classes for adults and groups.

Hours: Half-day Beginning Optimist classes run from 9 a.m.–noon and 1–4 p.m. and can be combined with a supervised lunch to create a full day of activities.

Dates: Classes typically run on two-week cycles from June 19 through Aug. 24.

Location: 3010 E. Calhoun Pkwy., Minneapolis

Cost: Fees are $480 for a two-week Beginning Optimist session (eight full-day classes); a half-day option costs $260. Beginning 420 classes, which are geared toward ages 12 to 18 and use 14-foot boats, cost $445 for two weeks (eight full-day classes).

Parent-child classes cost $175 for four two-hour classes. Info:

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they want to pass that passion on to others, Salzman said. (Indeed, some of the students Salzman taught in 2002 have already come back as instructors.) While many of the instructors cite racing as one of the biggest lures of sailing, Salzman said the joy goes far beyond that. He likes the peaceful feeling he gets when he and friends or family are on a boat, drifting on a glass lake, with the sunset going down in the Twin Cities. Sailing provides a different perspective on the nature world, he said. But it also offers a serenity — and a thrill — for those who understand how the water and the wind work to move a sailboat. “For those that like it, it becomes a part of who they are — who they define themselves as,” Salzman said. “It’s not just something they do.” Lianna Matt is a Twin Cities journalist who loves traveling and meeting people on the job — even if she is a bit directionally challenged. • March 2017


Teens taking park in the Mpls Photo Center’s camps learn the fundamentals of professional photography — such as composition and lighting — as well as instruction in digital printing and Adobe’s Lightroom software.


March 2017 •


KIDS Teens can learn the art of photography, photo editing and even digital printing as part of the Mpls Photo Center’s summer camp programming



ou don’t have to play the guitar, you know,” the photographer said to 15-year-old Donovan Mack. Sitting on a tall white box, Mack dangled his feet idly as he plucked notes from the instrument. “I like to,” he said, and the soft melody continued as Will Swanson, also 15, moved around him, snapping his camera, trying to capture different shadows and angles. Just a few minutes ago, Mack had been hamming it up for the camera, playing with an empty picture frame, as part of their challenge to take portraits indoors. In another part of the studio, two teenage girls were goofing around with their own photo shoot, giggling and quipping, “cha-ching!” as they snapped portraits. Nearby, another pair of girls were discussing how they wanted to use the studio’s props for their pictures. It was all part of a fun-filled morning at the Mpls Photo Center’s summer photography camp for teens. On this particular day, all the campers were rotating through five different stations to experiment F • March 2017




with different lighting set ups. And that’s actually kind of a big deal: In the smartphone age — in which nearly anyone can attempt art photography and photo editing right on their mobile devices — learning the fundamentals of professional photography (with “real” cameras, which are required here) has become a special thing indeed.

Beyond snapshots Kids in the center’s half-day, weeklong photography camps first learn how to use their cameras and settings, then they move on to composition, angles, light and even motion, all with a goal of capturing seemingly ordinary things in quite extraordinary ways. Then they move onto editing and printing, including instruction in Adobe’s Lightroom software, one of the gold standards of professional portrait photographers. And it all ends with a showcase, featuring students’ work — including self-portraits, motion shots and landscapes — for friends and family to see. During a camp last summer, props were

scattered throughout the center’s spacious warehouse — including professional studio equipment, a sofa and a giant fan one pair used give a windswept look to their portraits, to name a few. Campers set a soundtrack by DJing with their favorite musical genres, including pop, country and instrumental. Richard Guttmann, the instructor of the camp, made the rounds as pairs of students tried out different equipment, giving suggestions on lighting, angles, lenses and composition. “If you want it to look like a tall angle,” he advised one camper, “I would shoot from below for that extreme perspective play off.”

Finding their vision The different scenarios — plus the campers’ imaginations — created vastly different portraits and self-portraits in the end. There was a shot of a teen boy, jumping up from a couch, pushed onto the set as a prop; a close-up of a pensive teen girl; yet another girl, looking out from underneath an umbrella, its stem dividing her face perfectly in half between light and shadow.

You take a photo and get a captured feeling. It’s a moment, an experience, that you can re-experience. — Rosie Letofsky, a camper learning photography at the Mpls Photo Center

“They all come up with their own concepts,” Guttmann said. “I always tell them: It’s all about your vision. Nothing is really wrong.” One of the guitar photos of Mack was Swanson’s favorite of the day — a black and white close-up of the guitar with the fretboard fading away like a road in the distance. Swanson would get to show off the image, along with his other favorites, during the last day of summer camp in the concluding exhibition.

TEEN PHOTOGRAPHY CAMP In these weeklong, half-day camps, ages 12 to 16 learn — from professional photographer Richard Guttmann — how to control camera functions and capture photos in a fun, hands-on way. They also receive instruction in Adobe’s Lightroom software and digital printing, all culminating in a showcase featuring students’ work for friends and family to see. Ages: 12–16 Dates: Five-day camps are offered the weeks of June 12, 19, 26; July 10, 24; and Aug. 8. Participants can choose from morning

or afternoon sessions. Previous photography experience isn’t required. Students must bring their own digital single-lens reflex (DSLR), mirrorless or compact digital cameras.

Camera rentals are available. Hours: 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. or 1:30–5 p.m.

Location: Mpls Photo Center, 2400 N. Second St., Minneapolis Cost: $295 per week Info:


Pe r pi c h S um m e r Ar t Camp s

Dance • Literary Arts • Media Arts Music • Theater • Visual Arts CLASSES FOR GRADES 8-12

June 12–16 & June 19–23

Editing, printing, discovery Although the Mpls Photo Center boasts both Apple computers and Epson printers as well as one of the only public darkrooms left in Minnesota, its summer Artistry MNP 0317 12.indd camps are less about the technical process and more about the creative journey and the tools photographers can use to bring ideas to life. “Before [digital] there was so much emphasis on the technical, the equipment and the processing.” said Jeff Harrington, the director of the center. “Now that time and energy and effort to go into creativity.” At camp, only about 15 minutes of each half-day is reserved for lecturing and examples. The rest — at least 75 percent — is devoted to taking photos, followed by a half-hour or so reserved for uploading and editing images. (The only exception is the last day when the campers take more time to do their final edits, printing and set up for their exhibitions.) With 10 kids attending this particular camp session, it was easy to find many different photography styles and viewpoints. But the campers all agreed photography allowed them see the world in different ways. “The biggest thing,” said 15-year-old camper Rosie Letofsky, “is you take a photo and get a captured feeling. It’s a moment, an experience, that you can re-experience.”

See schedule & register at perpichsummercamp QUESTIONS? Call 763-279-4195


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Lianna Matt is a Twin Cities journalist who loves traveling and meeting people on the job — even if she is a bit directionally challenged. • March 2017


Kids at Eagan Art House can take half-day, full-day or weeklong camps, depending on the week.


March 2017 •

R A t H O U S E


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The Eagan Art House cultivates kids’ creativity with camps that teach drawing, painting, sculpting, mixed media and more BY LIANNA MATT


ometimes art is all about the hype. Seven-year-old Cameron seemed to agree as he half-jokingly said, “I’m so scared, I’m so scared,” as he prepared to roll up a flat slab of clay to complete the main structure of his fairy house. After the two edges made contact, he beamed a relieved, triumphant smile. “I did it!” he exclaimed. His 4-inch-tall fairy house stood up, featuring a low window with open shutters and a front door, left open to welcome any magical visitors who might wander by, of course. All he needed to do next was make the roof. It was all part last summer’s Ceramics & Sculpture Camp at the Eagan Art House, where kids kept busy making turtles with artfully coiled shells, pinch pots, cupcake sculptures and much more. Each project — chosen to teach at least one art principle, technique or element of art history — gave the kids creative freedom to make their projects their own. F • March 2017




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Think rows of fairy houses with each one looking a little different or pages of pastel flowers, offering enough biodiversity to please a botanist.

Art for all While some children get pegged in school as the “artsy” ones right away, camp

instructor Amy Rhone was quick to remind her students that it’s OK to do art a little differently than everyone else. She encouraged students to find their own creative paths. “Everyone has a talent in art,” Rhone said. “Art is a stepping stone for being in school, for learning, for creativity — for trying something new.” Her students filled her classroom with the sounds of excited chatter, oohs, aahs and occasional fits of delight involving jumping up and down. Art can actually help kids — and adults — relax and recharge, Rhone said. “It’s soothing,” she said. “You can forget about everything else that’s worrying you. And you can hang it up on a wall.” Art projects can also offer enriching sensory experiences for kids. Melina, a 5-year-old in an Eagan Art House camp, worked with colorful shaving cream to create her art project, a

Colorful spaces and many types of materials help kids create art at Eagan Art House day camps, which will be offered from June 12 to Aug. 31. Photo by Sue Olson

light blue background accented with red around the edges. “Art camp is the best! I get to make lots of stuff and my mom said I was an artist!” she said, glowing and adding another huge dollop of shaving cream to her paper.

A place to hang out The Eagan Art House came into being about 20 years ago when a house was donated to the city of Eagan. Today the garage is a clay studio, the living room is the main art studio and a relatively new addition is home to three kilns. Located at the edge of Patrick Eagan Park, the community arts center offers an ideal camp location for kids, who can run around outside on fair summer days when they need to burn off energy. Inside the art house, visual arts instructors work to create an environment that encourages friendship and free expression, said Eagan Art House supervisor Julie Andersen. “It’s a community gathering space,” Andersen said of the venue, which serves 5,000 people per

EAGAN ART HOUSE This community art center, established 20 years ago in a renovated house next to Patrick Eagan Park, offers classes and exhibits year-round for all ages, including summer day camps in which kids can learn drawing, painting, sculpting, mixed media and more. Ages: 4–14 Dates: June 12–Aug. 31 Hours: Morning and afternoon half-day camps, offered on select Mondays

and Wednesdays can be bundled to create full days of camp. This year, look for a new full-day camp during the last week of June (Monday through Thursday). Camp Creative

one-day camps will be offered on select Fridays. Location: 3981 Lexington Ave. S., about a mile northwest of Eagan High School

Cost: $32–$295 Info: or

Junior Achievement Summer Camp Young entrepreneurs will learn how to run a successful business through a variety of fun, interactive activities. Held at JA BizTown, our unique kid-sized city.

apply for a job • learn to manage finances run a business • earn a paycheck explore STEM careers $185 per session; $350 for both

June 19–22

year and more than 400 children in summer. “Some people just want to be around art. Some people want to learn how to do it.”


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(STEM Camp)

July 24–27

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Making discoveries At all of the camps, talking ebbs and flows depending on what the campers are doing. Downtime, like waiting for supplies to be set up or stopping for snack time, is an invitation for the kids to talk and get to know each other. During camp last summer, the kids talked about their ages, games they wanted to play and even their personal experiences with zombies — anything that came to their minds, excitement making their words come out fast. When the campers began working on a particularly important part of an art project, though, the noise died down as they focused. When Isaiah, a 7-year-old in one of the Eagan Art House’s camps, explained the yarn-covered journal he’d made on the first day, he was nothing if not a proud artist with a curator’s eye. “I like art because it’s beautiful,” he said. Pointing to a rich pink he described as burgundy, he said, “This color is my mom’s favorite color.” Swirls of mottled blue, he said, represent his favorite hues. “And here are the leaves,” he said, touching a large area covered in oval rings made of yarn. “They are every color.”

Year Round Riding Lessons Available for All Ages Horse Camp · Birthday Parties Rosemount, MN

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Lianna Matt is a Twin Cities journalist who loves traveling and meeting people on the job — even if she is a bit directionally challenged.

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Kids taking part in Camp Connections with West Metro Learning Centers in Excelsior take field trips to museums, aquatic centers, parks, theaters and more. Additional programming options include Friday Excellent Adventures (six-hour outings to Valleyfair, Wild Mountain and the Minnesota State Fair) and monthly sleepover events.


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Camp Connections helps kids with social-skills challenges enjoy traditional summer activities while learning how to interact and form friendships BY LIANNA MATT


ocial skills can be hard to master for anyone, and the unwritten rules that prescribe them in our fast-paced culture can be all too easy to miss for some children. Where should I sit in the cafeteria? What do I do when I get into a fight with one of my friends? What happens when no one seems to be interested in the same things I am? Those are tough questions — even for kids blessed with exceptionally strong social skills. Now imagine navigating those murky waters as a kid with special needs.

Making connections Through West Metro Learning Connections’ year-round social skills classes — and its summer program, Camp Connections (for ages 4 and up) — children dealing with social skills challenges or who are on the autism spectrum can make friends, learn better communication skills and experience the fun of summer camp. Unlike West Metro’s year-round classes, the day F • March 2017




camps — offered at West Metro’s Excelsior location — don’t involve formal lessons in everyday social skills. Instead, the staff work to facilitate and foster an environment of positive reinforcement, peer support and social interaction. One out of every 68 children is on the autism spectrum, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children on the autism spectrum are more likely to have social and communication challenges, such as understanding and conveying emotions or finding the right words to express their thoughts.

Beyond autism Social skill difficulties aren’t exclusive to kids on the autism spectrum, however. Take, for example, 9-year-old Elliott, an energetic and empathetic kid. The social skills challenges he faces at home and in school are harder to explain. For example, he once started selfsabotaging his strategy during a family game night. His dad was having a rough streak in the board game Blokus. So Elliot started taking turns that made no sense — solely because he was worried his dad would be sad with how poorly he was doing. Elliott started attending West Metro when he was in preschool, and when he became old enough for summer camp, his mom, Dena Larson, signed him up without hesitation because, “Everyone deserves to go to summer camp.” And not only has her son learned how to process social situations better, he’s enjoyed camp experiences both academic and recreational.


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Attentive counselors At Camp Connections, every kid goes through a full intake process, which includes a review of medical history and conversations between the camp’s director of educational placement and anyone who’s prominent in the child’s life, such as teachers and parents. The goal, camp director Carl Weber said, is to understand why kids are doing what they’re doing and to help them improve, whether the focus is transitions, arguing, self-advocacy or something else. At the end of each day, staff fill out progress-report forms to update parents and to let them know how they can help their kids work on skills at home, too. Many of West Metro’s staff members are trained in special education, and the camp maintains a minimum 1-to-3 counselor-tocamper is ratio. And because Camp

My kid deserves to go to summer camp and not realize everything’s different, but I also want him to have the support he needs. — Dena Larson, a parent with a child at Camp Connections

Connections attendees usually sign up for most of the summer, a rapport often builds between the staff and campers. “It’s clearly a well-chosen and cultivated group of people,” Larson said of

CAMP CONNECTIONS West Metro Learning Connections offers summer day camps, combining social skills development with therapeutic recreation and field trips for children on the autism spectrum and those with other social, emotional and behavioral needs with activities designed to help kids “fit in and shine.” Additional programming options include Friday Excellent Adventures (six-hour outings to Valleyfair, Wild Mountain, the Minnesota State Fair and more), plus monthly sleepovers. Some families use a combination of a social skills therapy group and day camp. Ages: 4–18 Dates: June 12–Aug. 24 Hours: Full-day camps go from 9–4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, but they can be split into half days or combined with social skills classes. Drop-off begins at 8 a.m., and late pick-up goes until 5 p.m. Location: 355 Second St., Excelsior,

with a shuttle available from West Metro Learning Connection’s center in Edina Cost: $145 for a full day of camp ($580 for four full days of camp), $65 per day for half-day camps, and $15 per hour for before and after care Info: See or contact Mary Wyatt at 952-474-0227 Ext. 204 or

Camp Connections allows kids of different ages to attend camp together to encourage mentoring and friendships.

in Minnesota,” he joked. That may be true, but trips to places such as the Crayola Experience at the Mall of America and local bowling allies rank pretty high, too.

A la carte the counselors and staff. “They come across as teachers who happen to be camp counselors.” Larson said she appreciated how every camp counselor, staff member and administrative staff made an effort to get to know her son during camp. When she would pick him up, they would tell her the details of his bad days, his good days, funny stories and everything in between. “They know what sorts of things would be particular milestones for him,” she said. “There’s a personal pride with the children’s accomplishments.” Weber said: “My favorite part is the transformation — from students coming to see me and the staff — to students coming to see their friends.”

Taking trips, making strides West Metro has helped Elliott control the intensity of his emotional reactions to certain situations. He’s learned to understand that, just like him, other kids have good and bad days, too. The program has helped him realize that if someone doesn’t want to play Star Wars with him one day, then he can be flexible enough to decide whether he wants to find someone else or if playing with this particular person matters more. Before, Larson said, he might have

imploded because the ideal picture in his head wasn’t matching up to how real life was playing out. While he may have learned many of these skills from the year-round curriculum of West Metro’s skills classes, at camp he was able to practice them, day in and day out, with gentle guidance from counselors. Some summer camps separate groups by age, but Camp Connections does not. “[The campers] fit well together,” said Mollie Van Arsdale, the social skills coordinator and marketing specialist. “All the kids are very understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.” Larson said the mix of ages allows campers to be role models while also seeing role models among their peers. Staff make sure to choose activities — which are built around a single theme each week — that appeal to campers of all ages. Last summer’s camp was full of visits from experts and field trips to exhibits and other destinations. That included a visit from a veterinarian (who brought along animals and equipment) and a trip to the University of Minnesota’s astrophysics department. Weber said the camp tries to balance the outings to be 50 percent academic and 50 percent therapeutic recreation. The result? “I think we’ve visited every water park

One thing that makes West Metro especially accommodating is that parents can choose specific days and excursions completely a la carte. Their children could go to Camp Connections a half-day once in a while or go all day, Monday through Thursday for all three summer months. Summer camp, Larson said, provides a way for families to see if year-round social skills support therapy could be helpful for their children, but without losing the freedom to explore other camps and opportunities that suit their schedules. When Larson asked her son what he would want people to know about West Metro, he started listing all the places he visited over the summer: “We go on field trips! We go to water parks! We go to museums. We go to the beach!” “You could put down hundreds of items down for a description of West Metro before he mentions teachers helping him with hard situations with his friends,” Larson said. “That’s exactly what I want camp to be. My kid deserves to go to summer camp and not realize everything’s different, but I also want him to have the support he needs.” Lianna Matt is a Twin Cities journalist who loves traveling and meeting people on the job — even if she is a bit directionally challenged. • March 2017



YMCA SUMMER RALLY DAYS Thursday, March 2 – Tuesday, March 7

SAVE $50 on registration fee

SAVE $15 per session fee

SAVE $50 on registration fee




Grades K – 5

Grades 1 – 6

Grades 6 – 8

Summer Power is your answer to quality care and exciting adventures. We offer flexible 3-, 4-, and 5-day options. No two weeks are alike! Weekly themes and weekly field trips.

Youth will have the opportunity to learn new skills, practice and play new sports. Y Summer Sports is a safe, fun, non-competitive sports program designed to build teamwork, leadership skills and self-esteem.

Uproar provides an exciting combination of spirited adventure and growth. Teens get their first taste of leadership as they help to plan their summer activities and participate in weekly field trips.

Thursday, March 2 – Tuesday, March 7

Register Online Membership not required. Financial assistance available. Need more information? Attend the

YMCA SUMMER PROGRAMS FAIR Saturday, March 4 9:30 a.m. – Noon

Thursday, March 2 – Tuesday, March 7

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Thursday, March 2 – Tuesday, March 7

Summer Preschool SP Kindergarten Summer Power Summer Sports Summer Uproar Specialty Programs 17-SP05




Christmas Tree DayCroix @ Camp St. Croix Guy Robinson Heritage

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All Ages. Located on the edge of the BWCA on Burntside Lake, Camp du Nord offers a totally unique week-long camping experience for families. Cozy woodland cabins with kitchens range from rustic to upscale. Tent camping sites, full/partial food service also available. Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, swimming, nature and arts programs are offered as family activities and for children’s age groups. Relax at days end with an authentic Finnish sauna.

CAMP WIDJIWAGAN Ages 11-18. Located on Burntside Lake near Ely, MN, Widji offers high-quality canoe and backpacking adventures in the BWCA and throughout North America. Widji wilderness trips are focused on respect and values that build skills for life and a relationship with the environment that is unparalleled.

YMCA DAY CAMP AGES 4 - 14 YMCA Day Camp provides a week full of exciting camp activities like canoeing, archery, fishing, camp crafts, cookouts, swimming and more! Day camps facilitate a great introduction to camping in a safe environment. Kids are home each night. Bus transportation is available at most locations.

YMCA DAY CAMPS: SPECIALTY CAMPS Develop a greater passion for the things you love, or try out something new at one of our YMCA specialty camps! Campers spend approximately 2 hours each day in their specialized activity. The remainder of the day is spent enjoying traditional camp activities. ges 4-5 )

Ages 7-16. Camp Warren, located in the north woods on Half Moon Lake near Eveleth, MN, offers girls-only sessions the first part of the summer and boys-only sessions later in the summer. Camp Warren has a strong tradition of progressive activities including sailing, archery, tennis, photography and horseback riding.

Ages 12-18. Camp Menogyn is located on the Gunflint Trail 30 miles north of Grand Marais, MN. There are no roads leading to Menogyn, so all campers cross West Bearskin Lake by boat to arrive at this beautiful, intimate wilderness setting. Our focus is on the small group, compassionate guided wilderness canoeing, backpacking and rock climbing trips that are safe, fun and enriching.

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For more information:



Ages 7-17. Located on Lake Independence just 22 miles west of Minneapolis, MN, Ihduhapi offers youth a traditional experience or sailing and horseback riding specialty camps. Three-day, one-week or two-week sessions. Leadership development programs for grades 8-11.


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per session March 2 - March 7


Ages 7-17. Located on Lake Wapogasset near Amery, WI. Icaghowan offers traditional camp and a variety of unique specialty camps focused on activities such as horseback riding, river canoeing and skateboard camp. Three-day, one-week or two-week sessions.

SAVE $25





Ages 7-17. Located on the St. Croix River, two miles south of Hudson, WI. Campers participate in a wide variety of traditional camp activities or select a specialty camp such as horseback riding, rock climbing, sailing and canoeing. Three-day, one-week or two-week sessions.



SAVE $15

per session March 2 – March 7

DAY CAMPS Camp Christmas Tree 6365 Game Farm Rd., Minnetrista, MN 55364, 952-544-7708. Located on 45 acres at Dutch Lake near Mound, MN. YMCA Camp St. Croix – DayCroix 532 County Rd. F, Hudson, WI, 612-465-0560. Located on 400 acre site overlooking the St. Croix River. Camp Guy Robinson 3100 217th Ave NW, Oak Grove, MN, 763-785-7882. Located at Lake George Regional Park. Camp Heritage 7732 Main Street, Lino Lakes, MN; located across from Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes. YMCA Day Camp Ihduhapi 3425 Ihduhapi Rd., Loretto, MN 55357, 763-479-1146. Located on Lake Independence. Day Camp Ihduhapi offers the beautiful, north woods feel of camp. Camp Kici Yapi 13220 Pike Lake Trail NE, Prior Lake, MN 55372, 952-835-2567. Located on 80 acre site in Prior Lake. Camp Kumalya 1515 Keats Ave. N., Lake Elmo, MN, 651-731-9507. Located at Lake Elmo Park Reserve in Lake Elmo. Camp Manitou 763-535-4800. Attraction-packed new location at Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park. Camp Spring Lake 13690 Pine Bend Trail, Rosemount, MN 55068, 651-456-9622. Located at Dakota County Spring Lake Park Reserve in Rosemount. Camp Streefland 11490 Klamath Trail, Lakeville, MN 55044, 952-898-9622. Located on Lake Kingsley in Lakeville.

Ihduhapi Kici Yapi Kumalya Manitou Spring Lake Streefland

Membership not required. Financial assistance available.



Bell Museum Science Discovery Day Camps Unearth unforgettable STEAM experiences in our week-long camps, including outdoor adventure, space exploration, science labs, creative play, and field trips to meet U of M scientists! June 12–September 1, pre-K–6. Sustainability, paleontology, art, engineering and more! Minneapolis 612-626-9660

Brain Balance Centers Brain Balance is a holistic approach to helping kids who struggle with any type of academic, behavioral, or social skills deficits. Brain Balance combines sensory motor exercises with cognitive skill training and healthy nutrition to balance both hemispheres of the brain. Brain Balance Achievement Center of Minnetonka 4745 County Rd 101 Minnetonka 952-356-0517 Brain Balance Achievement Center of Woodbury 783 Radio Dr Woodbury 651-731-6163


March 2017 •

Camp Invention

GoSolar! Kidz (GSK)

Imaginations get their rocket fuel at Camp Invention! This summer’s allnew curriculum allows children in kindergarten through 6th grade to transform a distant exoplanet, blast rockets, wire circuits, and take risks as future entrepreneurs. Local educators lead a week of hands-on activities that fuel children’s 21st century skills. Early registration discounts are available.

GoSolar! Kidz is the #1 green energy educator for youth. GoSolar! Kidz taught more youth about green energy than any other organization in the world. GSK offers afterschool classes, summer camps, and in-school workshop on renewable energy and gardening.

Over 20 locations throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area! 800-698-4332

Engineering For Kids® Fun, hands-on STEM camps for ages 4–14. 300+ classes offering the most comprehensive engineering curriculum including MinecraftEdu®, Kodu, MakeyMakey®, EV3 Robotics, Aerospace, Electronic Game Design, Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, Chemical, Environmental, Marine, Industrial and more. Inspiring the next generation of engineers! Minneapolis, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Lakeville, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Osseo, Plymouth, Shakopee, St. Louis Park, St. Paul, Wayzata 763-473-0362

10800 Lyndale Ave S #144 Bloomington 1-800-SOLAR-01

Groves Academy Summer Programs Groves Academy offers summer programs for students entering grades 2–11 from the community with learning and attention challenges. Taught by Groves teachers, our small class sizes and customized instruction build success and confidence. Both academic and enrichment programs are available. 3200 Hwy 100 S St. Louis Park 952-920-6377

Hamline Mock Trial Camp This week-long, overnight camp is for students of any skill level, entering grades 9–12 to learn from collegiate mockers, attorneys, judges, and experts on developing teamwork, critical thinking, and presentation skills while getting a glimpse into college life. Hamline University St. Paul 612-987-6451

ICC Summer Engineering Camp Explore the world of engineering through hands-on project work, industry tours, and engineering design challenges; live and work at Wenger Engineering Center; enjoy campus life and recreational activities while learning about a great career field. Sr. High Camp: grades 10–12, July 10–15; Jr. High Camp: grades 7–9, July 19– 22. Contact Kim Damiani. Itasca Community College Grand Rapids 218-322-2370

iD Tech Camps Code, game, and create at the #1 summer technology camp! Students ages 7–17 will learn to code apps, design video games, mod Minecraft, engineer robots, discover cyber security, and more. Join 275,000+ alumni and learn from top instructors. Held at Macalester & 150+ Locations Nationwide 408-871-3742

Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest Students in grades 4–8 will learn how to run a successful business through a variety of fun, interactive activities. Held at JA BizTown, our unique kidsized city. June session explores STEM careers; July session will appeal to the young entrepreneur. 1800 White Bear Ave N Maplewood 651-255-0055

Snapology Explore the world of STEM with Snapology by using LEGO® bricks and similar building tools to learn about video game design, animation, robotics, programming, engineering, and physics through a handson approach that promotes playful learning. Numerous locations around Minneapolis 612-440-7627

Spring Break & Summer at Blake Love of learning and courage are central to Blake’s mission. Summer academic course offerings are open to pre-K–12 students throughout the Twin Cities. Students will investigate and delve deeply into topics while practicing positive risk-taking and learning new skills. No grades, just growth. Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463

The Works Museum Engineering & design camps for kids in pre-K–grade 6. Coding, LEGO engineering, girls design, robotics, architecture, and more! Half- and fullday options, June–August 2017. The Works Museum: inspiring the next generation of innovators, engineers, and creative problem solvers. 9740 Grand Ave S Bloomington 952-888-4262

Zoo Camp Minnesota Zoo offers half-day to week-long adventures for toddlers to 12th graders (and adults!) to meet animals, make new friends, and have fun learning about the natural world. Check out our popular Horse Camps and our new Build a Canoe with the Zoo camp for 7th-9th graders! Register at 13000 Zoo Blvd Apple Valley 952-431-9320


Adventures in Cardboard Mythic Play in Summer Wildlands! Be initiated into an esteemed House of The Realm and jump into live-action adventure gaming! Build your own armor, create castles to defend your land, battle on trails, fields and shorelines! Swords, bows, catapults, magic and monsters! Full days spent in beautiful parks across the metro region. Days, Monday–Friday, ages 8– 15 and several TEEN ONLY weeks! 22 sessions in 10 Regional Parks, June 12–August 25. 3448 16th Ave S Minneapolis

708 N 1st St Minneapolis 612-376-0381

Articulture Art Camps Articulture art camps encourage kids to explore a variety of media and emphasize personal creativity—fun and educational! Themes range from animation to food as art. Runs June 12–September 1 for ages 4 and up. Full- and half-day options. $124–$275. 2613 E Franklin Ave Minneapolis 612-729-5151

Artistry Over 50 week-long visual and performing arts camps for grades 1–9! Artistry campers will explore art forms including pottery, puppetry, fused glass, design, theater arts, drawing, painting, sculpture, bookmaking, printmaking, and more! $110–$150/halfday. Combine for fullday experience. Scholarships available. Bloomington Center for the Arts 1800 W Old Shakopee Rd Bloomington 952-563-8575

ArtStart From Gabon to Senegal and from Tanzania to South Africa! Learn about the many unique art forms of African culture through music, art, dance, and drama taught by professional artists. Explore these regions in an all-day or half-day interdisciplinary arts camp for ages 4– 12. July 10–21. Mount Zion 1300 Summit Ave St. Paul 651-698-2787

The Art Academy

Edina Art Center

Give your child the opportunity to explore their creative side and develop their skills by illustrating their own children’s book and learn the principles of drawing and painting at the Art Academy’s Summer Camp program. Classes and camps, with exceptional student/teacher ratios, are available for students ages 5–18.

Since 1977, the Edina Art Center has been your home for art and culture in Edina, specializing in fine art education including pottery, drawing and painting, jewelry, and 83 children’s summer art camps. Edina — Every Day I Need Art.

651 Snelling Ave S St. Paul 651-699-1573

Art Camps at Studio Seven One week painting and drawing camps for students ages 7–18. Compositional elements will be explored through landscape and figure studies. Students will paint and draw both in the studio and outside. Trips to galleries and museums included. Camps are Monday– Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. $550 per week, all materials are included.

4701 W 64th St Edina 952-903-5780

Hamline Young Writers Workshop This creative writing day camp is a chance for high school students, ages 15–18, who are passionate about creative writing to explore the craft, connect with other young writers, and work closely with Hamline’s Creative Writing faculty and published authors. Hamline University St. Paul 651-523-2479 • March 2017


CAMP RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS Kidcreate Studio Kidcreate’s award winning summer camps are designed to inspire and educate young artists, ages 3 to 12, in an environment where giggles and grins are encouraged. Camps combine art education with an atmosphere full of fun. This summer’s camps include: Artrageous, Beginning Drawing, Beyond Pokémon, Bling It On!, Glow Art, LEGO® Star Wars, Little Mess Makers, Masters in Clay, Masters on Canvas, Mess to the Max!, Ooey Gooey Clay, Paper Mache, Sparkle Love, Superheroes, The Best- Ever Art Camp and many more. Making a mess is the best at Kidcreate! Eden Prairie: 7918 Mitchell Rd 952-974-3438 Woodbury: 1785 Radio Dr, Ste F 651-735-0880

The Loft’s Young Writers’ Program The Loft’s Young Writers’ Program offers numerous classes throughout the summer that foster creativity, enrich talents, and create friendships. Classes run for ages 6–17 at all skill levels. Open Book 1011 Washington Ave S Minneapolis 612-215-2575

Minneapolis College of Art & Design Join us at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for a series of innovative, hands-on, and engaging visual art and design camps and classes for kids and teens ages 6–18! Weeklong and multi-week options. Scholarships available. 2501 Stevens Ave Minneapolis 612-874-3765

Perpich Arts High School We are a two-year, public, residential arts school open to all Minnesota students. Our summer arts camps are a great way to dip your toe in the Perpich pond and see how great our programs and teachers really are! 6125 Olson Memorial Hwy Golden Valley 763-279-4195

The Phipps Summer Art Camp Partial-day and full-day classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media, pottery, art & nature, fiber arts, stained glass, jewelry, and more, as well as theater productions and dance. For ages 4 through teens. Taught by experienced art educators. June 19– August 11.


March 2017 •

The Phipps Center for the Arts 109 Locust St Hudson, WI 715-386-2305

Shell Lake Arts Center With programs in jazz, rock band, show choir, art, theater, film, and more, the Shell Lake Arts Center is like nowhere else! Just two hours northeast of the Twin Cities in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin. Come join us for the experience of a lifetime! 802 1st St Shell Lake, WI 715-468-2414

Spring Break & Summer at Blake Blake’s visual and performing arts program challenges students to creatively express themselves in an array of disciplines and materials from the kiln to the stage! These pre-K–12 programs are open to students  throughout the greater Twin Cities area. Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463

Textile Center Small classes with skilled artists―campers dye fabric to make a tent, create a wizard spell-book from handmade paper, weave customized fabric on a loom, or become a fashion designer and machine sew a distinctive garment! Ages 6 and up. Halfand full-day options. 3000 University Ave SE Minneapolis 612-436-0464

Dance/Music/ Performance

Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs Day Camp For Elementary & Middle School boys & girls who love to SING! Join us for a week in July for singing, music games & making friends. Singers will explore their vocal potential & increase their confidence. Grades 2–5 & 6–9. Only $75. See website for dates and times. Bloomington Center for the Arts 1800 W Old Shakopee Rd Bloomington 952-563-8572

The Center for Irish Music (CIM) All ages and abilities will explore and grow musically within the context of the Irish tradition. CIM offers half-day camps, private and group lessons on whistle, song, fiddle, harp, and drumming as well as children and teen programs at the Minnesota Irish Music Weekend, June 12–14. 836 Prior Ave N St. Paul 651-815-0083

Chan DT Musical Theatre Camp Chanhassen Dinner Theatres offers summertime theater camps for kids and teens ages 5–18. It’s a fantastic week of full and half-day sessions focusing on musical theater fundamentals taught by Chanhassen professionals throughout the summer. Sessions begin June 12. Register now! PO Box 100 Chanhassen 952-934-1525

Circus Juventas Travel the globe without ever leaving our Big Top! Our full-day, week-long camps explore a vast array of circus arts from Morocco to Mongolia, China to Russia. Reserve your spot now to be a part of one of the most talkedabout and unique summer camps anywhere. 1270 Montreal Ave St. Paul

Sing Minnesota

Twin Cities Trapeze Center Circus Camp

August 7–11, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sing Minnesota is a weeklong day camp for girls and boys ages 8–12, sponsored by the Minnesota Boychoir. While focusing on choral singing, campers also participate in other creative arts: drama and movement, visual arts, and outdoor fun and games! $350, scholarships available.

Circus camp! Students enrolled in our weeklong, half-day camps will experience a variety of circus disciplines (including Trampoline, Static Trapeze, Acrobatics, Circus Bike, and of course Flying Trapeze!), then showcase their new skills in a  performance on Friday afternoon!

Concordia University Buetow Music Center 300 Hamline Ave N St. Paul 651-292-3219

CREO Arts & Dance Conservatory

Stages Theatre Company

Wholesome, creative, joyful dancing for all ages & stages. June 14–August 19. Our noncompetitive dance studio provides expert instruction in ballet, jazz, contemporary, and hip-hop. Summer classes include: Girl’s Power, Frozen Ballet, Faith Based Dance, Ballet/Jazz/Modern Intensives.

Summer Theater Workshops: June 19– August 11. Calling all actors, singers, and dancers: Have fun learning about theater from some of the area’s finest teaching artists. Stages Theatre Company offers a variety of age appropriate workshops for students ranging from ages 4–16.

Wayzata Home Center 1250 Wayata Blvd E 612-636-6893

1111 Mainstreet Hopkins 952-979-1111, option 4

Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) Summer Programs

SteppingStone Theatre Camps & Classes

Two engaging summer programs in Minneapolis and St. Paul provide fun and challenging orchestral experiences for string, woodwind, brass, and percussion students of all abilities, ages 8–18. No auditions required. Need-based scholarships available. Details and registration at

SteppingStone Theatre explores creativity year-round with youth grades pre-K– high school. Check out our summer camps as a unique way for students to build confidence, theater skills, and community! Have fun this summer at SteppingStone Theatre! Scholarship/ Membership pricing available.

408 St. Peter St, Ste 300 St. Paul 651-602-6800

O’Shea Irish Dance Classes Director Cormac O’Se, original member of Riverdance. Professional Irish Dance training for preschoolers through adults; for competition, for fun, and for fitness! Weekly Classes: Mondays–Saturdays. Beginners Classes registering now! Summer camps June, July, August. The Celtic Junction 836 Prior Ave N St. Paul 612-722-7000

School of Rock 5-Day Music Camps. Curious first graders to bored teens rock out in camps led by degree’d music instructors. Limited to SMALL groups so campers have BIG fun. Fun AND educational. Each camp has age and/or experience criteria. 6585 Edenvale Blvd, Ste 100b Eden Prairie 952-934-7625

55 Victoria St N St. Paul 651-225-9265

Summer at Blake Blake’s performing arts engage and challenge students to express themselves creatively. From jazz to improv, Blake offers experiences for novice to accomplished performers. Blake’s pre-K–12 programs are open to students throughout the Twin Cities.  Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463

Theatre Arts Training at Children’s Theatre Company June 12–August 13, ages 4–18. Theatre Arts Training offers camps for all levels in acting, musical theater, improv, and more, making it easy to find the perfect fit for the young actor in your life. Be Curious. Be Creative. Be Confident. Registration now open. 2400 3rd Ave S Minneapolis 612-874-0400

719 E Minnehaha Ave St. Paul 651-262-9477

University of Northwestern (UNW) – St. Paul, Academy of Music Whatever the age or musical ability of your child, UNW Academy of Music has a summer camp to excite and challenge them on their musical journey. Brio Music Camp: Intro Music for ages 4–8. Show Choir for ages 9– 16, Piano Institute for ages 10–18. Music Recording Camp for ages 13 and up. Northwestern Campus 3003 Snelling Ave N 651-631-5108

Youth Performance Company (YPC) Full- and half-day theatre workshops for grades K–12. Opportunities for beginning and advanced students. Topics include acting, musical theatre, improv and more! We also offer a residential theatre camp at Bay Lake Camp. Get your groove on at YPC! 3338 University Ave SE Minneapolis 612-623-9180 x102

Zenon Dance Company & School Summer Camps Weeklong dance camps for ages 6– 14. Each day includes technique and choreography. Participants will perform for family and friends on the last day! Hip Hop Camps: June 19–23, July 24–28, August 7–11. Youth Dance Sampler Camps: June 26–30, July 17– 21, August 14–18. Adult & Teen Dance Sampler Camp: July 10–14. Minneapolis & Edina 612-338-1101


3 Weeks of Vacation Bible School 1–3 week Vacation Bible School fun with half- and full-day options with afternoon field trips. June 26–30 & July 5–7 in Minneapolis and July 10– 13 in Minnetonka. Age 4–High School. Register online. Minneapolis, Minnetonka 612-312-3400 • March 2017



Concordia Academy

Minnehaha Academy Summer Programs

Have fun exploring a different Swedish or Nordic theme each week including Pippi Longstocking, Vikings, or Cooking & Culture through movement, studio arts, music, imaginative play, and outdoor games. Perfect for kids entering grades 1–5!  Thursdays, July 20–August 17. 9 a.m.– 3 p.m. $50 per session member/$60 non-member per session.

Concordia Academy offers over two dozen sports, arts, and STEM camps for students entering Grades 3–12, including volleyball, acting, CSI, basketball, dance, auto shop, youth worship team, art, 3D printing, photography, softball, football, soccer, laser fabrication, and weightlifting.

Jump into summer fun with more than 60 half- and full-day athletic, enrichment and academic camps for grades Pre-K through 12.

2600 Park Ave S Minneapolis 612-871-4907

Animal Humane Society Animal-themed summer day camp for students entering grades 3–10 at Animal Humane Society. This fun and educational camp features special guests, service projects, interactions with animals, crafts, games and more! Register online today. Buffalo, Coon Rapids, Golden Valley, St. Paul & Woodbury 763-489-2220

Camp Fire Minnesota Explore 103 acres along Lake Minnewashta with local and international counselors. Enjoy water and nature activities, archery, adventure course and more! New this year: Team Building Challenge Course and Tanadoona Tree House. Open Houses: March 4 & April 29. 3300 Tanadoona Dr Excelsior 612-235-7284

Camp Montessori - Cathedral Hill Montessori School Montessori Summer Camp for ages 6– 9. Engage your child’s mind, body and creativity with outings, projects, and performances. Choose weekly sessions that most interest your child: Arts & Crafts, Performing Arts, etc. - or join for the full 12week program! 325 Dayton Ave St. Paul 651-222-1555

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Awarded “Best Day Camp” by Nickelodeon’s Parent’s Picks. Camp Como enhances your child’s appreciation for the natural world with enthusiastic instructors, zookeepers and gardeners, and behindthe-scene adventures. Campers will get closer to plants and animals than ever before. Preschool through 8th grade. 1225 Estabrook Dr St. Paul 651-487-8201


March 2017 •

2400 N Dale St Roseville 651-484-8429

Gibbs Farm Day Camps We’ve created the perfect mix of day camps for your kids! Family-friendly pricing, fun for kids ages 4–13. Choose Pioneer PeeWees, ages 4–5; or one of our three-day camps, ages 6–10, including Pioneer Kid, Gibbs Girl or Dakota Day Camp. Digging History, our archaeology day camp, is for ages 11–13. Camps offered June 20–August 31. Pioneer Kid, Gibbs Girl, Dakota Day Camp, Digging History: $99/week. Pioneer Peewees: $19/week. 2097 W Larpenteur Ave Falcon Heights 651-646-8629

4200 W River Pkwy Minneapolis 612-728-7745 summerprograms

Minnesota Historical Society Sign up for the best camps in history! Ignite your child’s sense of fun and adventure with a day camp at Historic Fort Snelling or two other cool sites. Designed for kids ages 7–14. 1-844-MNSTORY

Minnesota Waldorf School Summer Day Camp Old fashioned summer fun on our 8 acre campus! A relaxed schedule of crafts, nature play, games, music, gardening, and more. Ages 3.5– entering 6th grade. Flexible scheduling from June 12–August 18. 70 E County Rd B St. Paul 651-487-6700 x202

Gibbs Girl

Northern Star Council Base Camp

Three days, three experiences! For girls 6–10. This craft-rich camp explores the lives of girls in Minnesota during the 1800s: Life as a Pioneer girl, Dakota girl and Victorian girl. Tuesdays–Thursdays, July 25–27 and August 1–3, 8–10, 15–17 and 22–24, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. each day. $99/week.

Get ready for 5 days of adventure at Discovery Day Camp! Activities include swimming, archery, climbing, hiking, crafts and more! Our program is open to grades K-8 and is offered at 3 different locations across the metro.

2097 W Larpenteur Ave Falcon Heights 651-646-8629

The International School of Minnesota Summer Adventure Camp at The International School of MN welcomes the community to participate in camp June 12–August 11. Swimming, crafts, canoeing, nature hikes, beach days! Daily language classes & cultural exploration in Spanish or American  sign language! Ages 3.5 to grade 8. 6385 Beach Rd Eden Prairie 952-918-1800

Kids R.O.C.K. Kids will have non-stop fun including games, swimming in indoor water park, theme weeks, field trips and more! Make it a summer your child will never forget! Pay for only the weeks you come! 8055 Barbara Ave Inver Grove Heights 651-450-2585

Phillippo Scout Camp 30654 32nd Ave Way Cannon Falls Stearns Scout Camp 3303 Co Rd 44 South Haven Base Camp 201 Bloomington Rd Fort Snelling 651-254-9153

Playworks Summer Camp 2017 Sign up now for Summer Camp Xtreme: full of Xtreme Learning, Xtreme Adventure, Xtreme Fun! June 12–September 1. Open to those in grades 1–6. Children learn through hands-on experiences, outdoor play, field trips, Atrium play, and educational programs. Daily meals included. Part-time and full-time options available. 2200 Trail of Dreams Prior Lake 952-445-PLAY (7529)

Saint Thomas Academy Saint Thomas Academy offers a variety of academic and athletic camps to help youth expand their artistic capabilities and sports skills. Camps include LEGO Robotics, stop motion animation, marksmanship, basketball, competitive speech, ceramics, tennis, drones, swimming, filmmaking and football. 949 Mendota Heights Rd Mendota Heights 651-454-4570

School Chess Association Summer Day Chess Camp All levels of chess instruction, professional educators tailored to the student’s individual needs. Fun activities include swimming, water slides, field ball, Magic the Gathering, soccer, tennis, roller skating, bowling, fishing, sign language, and roleplaying games. Programs: June 26– 29, July 10–13, July 17–20, July 24–27, July 31–August 3, August 7–10 and 14–17. St. Louis Park Recreation Center 3700 Monterey Dr St. Louis Park 763-593-1168

School of Rock St. Paul

Summer at Blake Looking for adventure, sports, arts and friendships? Blake’s Acoma camp has gathered children from the Twin Cities for over 50 years. Campers develop curiosity, creativity and positive risk-taking skills. Unique themes provide opportunities for physical, social and intellectual skills in a friendly, safe environment. Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463

University of Minnesota Summer Transportation Camp Students in grades 7–9 will explore transportation, engineering, science, and technology in this free day camp at the University of Minnesota from July 17–28. Activities include field trips, lab activities, and presentations designed to help students learn more about all aspects of transportation. 511 Washington Ave SE Minneapolis 612-625-5608

Horseback Riding Golden Ridge Stables

Horse Mania @ Golden Ridge Stables is an amazing summer day camp; daily riding lesson and “hands-on” horsey fun! Year round lessons on wellmannered school horses available. Conveniently located via Cedar Ave or I-35 South in Lakeville. Visit our website for details! 8315 190th St W Lakeville 952-469-4640

Lost Creek Ranch Lost Creek Ranch Camp Confidence is the best overnight camp for horse crazy kids! Campers get their “own” horse. Ride a minimum of four hours every day! Individual attention. Make new friends and begin a lifelong passion for horses. Less than one hour from the Twin Cities. N6842 570th St Beldenville, WI 715-273-6070

Performance based music school where kids learn to play their instruments in a live band setting. Weekly private lessons and group rehearsals make School of Rock the ultimate destination to learn guitar, bass, drums, keys and vocals. 417 Broadway St. Paul 651-292-1917

SCL Academic and Sports Camps Art, basketball, beginning band, bowling, computer science, football, language & culture, science, soccer, volleyball, and wrestling camps led by SCL faculty, varsity coaches, and players. Space is limited. Register early. June 12–August 11 (dates vary). $50–$175/week. St. Croix Lutheran Grades 6-12 1200 Oakdale Ave West St. Paul 651-455-1521

St. David’s Center’s Summer Early Childhood Education The Reggio Emilia-inspired summer program at St. David’s Center for children ages 16 months to 8 years includes field trips and outdoor activities; science, music, language and art enrichment experiences; and exploration of the 2.5 acres of our School Forest. 3395 Plymouth Rd Minnetonka 952-548-8700 • March 2017


CAMP RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS Regent Arabians: Developing Equestrians for Life LESSONS, DAY CAMP, TRAIL RIDING, BIRTHDAY PARTIES. Handle, groom, & ride beautiful, intelligent & experienced horses. We educate & ride year round. Students improve their physical & mental fitness, selfesteem, respect & focus while pursuing their dream with horses! 26125 Tucker Rd Rogers 763-428-4975

Sunnyside Stables Horsemanship Summer Camp Sunnyside’s camp is a place to discover horses and new friends. Each day includes riding—rain or shine, as we have an indoor and outdoor arena as well as scenic trails. You will discover the basics of grooming, saddling, body language, posture, contact, and balance to develop independent riding skills. 15400 Emery Ave E Rosemount 651-226-2027


Berlitz Kids® Summer Language Camp Berlitz provides engaging programs yearround for children and teens designed to excite and motivate them to learn a new language. Expect all the educational advantages Berlitz is famous for: Summer Camps, After School programs, and Private and Group Tutoring available. Berlitz Minneapolis Learning Center 6800 France Ave S, Ste 180

Edina 952-920-4100

Concordia Language Villages We are the premier language and cultural immersion program in the U.S. Since 1961, we have provided an authentic experience with programs for all ages offered in 15 different languages. Day camps, residential  youth camps and family camps offered. 8659 Thorsonveien Rd NE Bemidji 1-800-222-4750

Summer at Blake Join The Blake School for Latin, Greek, Spanish and programming camps! Spanning grades 1–12, offerings are open to students throughout the Twin Cities area. Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463


Camp Victory A Christian camp in southeastern Minnesota providing overnight, day and wilderness camps. Get active, connected and inspired to follow Jesus Christ! Nine Specialty Camps added this year including Survivor Camp, Spy Academy and Culinary Camp. Enter to win a week of camp at Zumbro Falls 507-843-2329

Nit Pickerz We are certified and trained lice professionals. We specialize in identifying and eliminating lice using our non-toxic method of strand-bystrand lice removal. 1714 Cope Ave E Maplewood 651-236-8528

Summer Faith Camps Offering Vacation Bible School for ages 3–grade 5 (June 5–9 and June 12–16), Summer Music Camp for grades 2–5 (July 24–28) and family camps for all ages— great opportunities to get to know God, grow in faith and give back! See website for dates, costs and registration details. Calvary Lutheran Church 7520 Golden Valley Rd Golden Valley 763-545-5659

Wolf Camp at the Wildlife Science Center Live wolves, bears, raptors, and other Minnesota wildlife are the focus of Wolf Camp at the Wildlife Science Center. Program topics include predator/prey ecology, animal behavior, radio telemetry, creating souvenir track casts and archery.  Overnight and Day Camps available. Wildlife Science Center 5463 W Broadway Forest Lake 651-464-3993


Audubon Center of the North Woods Youth summer camps with a focus on wildlife, nature, challenge and outdoor skills. Rocks, Ropes & Rafts (entering grades 6–8); Outdoor  Explorations (entering grades 5–7); Ways of Wildlife (entering grades 5–7) June–July. 54165 Audubon Dr Sandstone 888-404-7743 org/summer-camps

Camp Birchwood for Boys Hike, bike, fish, canoe, kayak, or rockclimb, it’s up to you. Campers choose their own adventures and activities. Between adventures campers choose from archery, riflery, waterpark, crafts, tubing, fishing, and more. Boundary Waters Canoe Area 218-252-2641

Camp Birchwood for Girls At Camp Birchwood the experience is about lifelong skills, friendships, and memories.


March 2017 • We provide campers with opportunities for making their own choices, encourage them to challenge themselves and to discover who they are through a long list of available activities. Northern Minnesota 800-451-5270

Camp Bovey A summer youth program of East Side Neighborhood Services. We provide a safe place for youth to have fun while  participating in outdoor activities. Campers gain confidence in outdoor living skills. Our Visual and Performing Arts sessions are extremely popular. Northwestern Wisconsin 612-787-4030

Camp Chippewa for Boys We develop character, through adventure, inspired by over 80 years of tradition. Your son will receive individual attention as he learns life skills and makes lifelong friends in our wilderness environment. He will return  more confident, self-aware and resilient. 22767 Cap Endres Rd SE Cass Lake 218-335-8807

Camp Fire Minnesota Explore 103 acres along Lake Minnewashta with local and international counselors. Sleep in a rustic cabin and enjoy water and nature activities, archery, adventure/ team building challenge courses, night hikes and more! Mini- Resident, Resident, Leadership Development and Northwoods Adventure programs. 3300 Tanadoona Dr Excelsior 612-235-7284

Camp Foley Grow Grit. Investigate Independence. At Camp Foley, kids from all over the world put aside their phones to work on face to face social skills all the while trying new activities and taking risks in a safe, kid focused environment. 9303 Father Foley Dr Pine River 218-543-6161

Camp Minnesota Experiencing Christ, Creation, and  Community… where children and youth will learn teamwork, gain independence, try new things, enjoy the outdoors and explore God in a new way. Northern Pines-Park Rapids Kowakan-Ely Koronis Ministries-Paynesville


Camp Nathanael Where adventure meets faith. A Christian camp for boys. We offer one-week sessions for boys entering grades 3–12, plus half-week Father/ Son sessions for boys entering Kindergarten through 7th grades. Activities include canoeing, fishing, swimming, rappelling, archery, riflery, geocaching, and more! 39564 Wilbur Way Hinkley 888-869-4334

Camp Olson YMCA Since 1954, Camp Olson has been providing unforgettable and life-changing experiences for youth and young leaders through quality  camping programs. Traditional summer camp available as well as specialty programs in sailing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and leadership development. 4160 Little Boy Rd NE Longville 218-363-2207

Camp WeHaKee Have fun, build friendships, be yourself! More than 40 activities that each girl chooses. Campers from around the world. Exceptional staff! At the heart of WeHaKee is relationship. Just three hours from Minneapolis in Northern Wisconsin! N8104 Barker Lake Rd Winter, WI 800-582-2267

Star Lake Wilderness Camp Star Lake Wilderness Camp provides life changing experiences for 3rd–12th grades. Campers sleep in tents; swim in lakes; hike; canoe; cook on fires; and live in guided small groups. Some weeks have Christian programing. Pay only what you can afford. 10992 Star Lake Camp Dr Pequot Lakes 651-263-0578

Tamahay Camp for Girls Tamahay Camp for Girls is an overnight camp for girls ages 7–16. Two and four week sessions available. Tamahay is a unique camp where skills are learned, friendships are made, and a sense of responsibility is gained. Our small sessions enable campers to get to know everyone at camp. Come ride horses, swim, sail, and much more at Tamahay! 21566 County 84 Akeley 218-652-3033

Wolf Ridge Summer Camp Kids grades 2–12 will find outdoor adventures to match their curiosity at Wolf Ridge. Share nature up-close every day with lifelong friends at our 2000-acre campus near Lake Superior and the BWCA. Learning is the greatest adventure there is! Choose yours at Finland 218-353-7414


Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM): Social Skills AuSM Social Skills summer classes for youth and adults with autism focus on special interests including filmmaking, the great outdoors, community outings, zoos, art, drama, improv, music, and more. E-mail for more info. Register today! 2380 Wycliff St, Ste 102 St. Paul 651-647-1083 • March 2017


CAMP RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS The Bakken Museum Summer Science Day Camps Students explore the exciting world of science through hands-on activities, magic tricks, team challenges, and more. Campers learn The Bakken invention process and build their own take-home creation. Spaces fill quickly... register early! 3537 Zenith Ave S Minneapolis 612-926-3878

Leonardo’s Basement Design and build at the oldest family  makerspace in the world. Work and play in 150 workshops for girls and boys ages 6–12, plus eclectic offerings for teens. Invention and 3D printing. Welding and woodcarving. Electronics and LEGO. Build a giant Trojan Horse or create an Adventure Playground! 150 W 60th St Minneapolis 612-824-4394

Camp Choson

Spring Break & Summer at Blake

Camp Choson is a dynamic, welcoming day and resident camp that offers youth ages 4–17 opportunities to explore Korean arts and culture. A camper’s experience includes Korean language and culture, traditional dance and drum, Taekwondo, music, selfrespect, archery, Korean arts, and outdoor play.

From robots to art projects and the  classroom to the athletic field, Blake  challenges students to creatively express themselves in an array of disciplines. Sports, academics, arts and day camp are open to pre-K– 12 students throughout the Twin Cities.

Camp Lakamaga

Camp Odayin For children with heart disease in grades K–11. Camp Odayin provides day and residential camping experiences where campers discover outdoor, athletic, and creative activities in a safe and medically supervised environment. Residential Camp: July 10–14 (grades 1–5/6), July 17–21 (grades 6/7–8), July 24–28 (grades 9–11); Day Camp: August 7– 11 (grades K–3). Crosslake & St. Paul 651-351-9185

Camp of Champs A special needs camp serving youth with ADHD, LD, on the autism spectrum, mental health concerns, among others. Featuring customized and individual objectives, aerial adventure and high ropes course, beautiful resort facility and handson character development and learning. 13218 Cty Rd 40 Park Rapids 218-760-8442

Green Earth Children’s Academy We provide magical, natural spaces for children (ages 3–8) to enjoy summer, creating their own spectacular play ideas and learning from myriads of art, nature, and environmental science projects. Children experience a diverse and authentic summerfun experience with a focus on nature and sustainable practices. 4115 26th Ave S Minneapolis 612-272-5466


March 2017 •

Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463

St. David’s Center’s Summer Adventure Adventure offers daily therapeutic recreation during summer break for teens and young adults with special needs. The program provides a wide variety of group activities in a structured environment at 3 different  locations. Monday–Friday, 8:30a.m.– 4:30p.m. June 19–August 25. Edgewood Education Center, Brooklyn Park Elliot Park, Minneapolis Sabes Jewish Community Center, St. Louis Park 952-548-8700 adventure-program/summer

Sports and Fitness Active Kids Association of Sport (AKASPORT)

AKASPORT’s mission is to keep kids and families well rounded through sports and fitness. The goal is to get kids more active through sport and exercise and provides multi-sports camps, clinics, school programs and charitable events. National Sports Center, Blaine Coon Rapids Ice Center, Coon Rapids 651-447-2454

Classic TaeKwonDo Studios Summer Camp Offered daily through the summer with the flexibility to pay only for days you need. Includes organic/natural lunch and snacks. We emphasize active outdoor play during the day with trips to beaches, pools, and climbing parks. In addition, we go to museums and historical landmarks. Kids are also encouraged to embrace imaginative

play with forts, costumes, and crafts. The day ends with one hour of taekwondo. 5159 Bloomington Ave S Minneapolis 612-810-2051

Flying Colors Trapeze Camp Experience the thrill, artistry and  empowerment of Flying Trapeze & Circus! Great exercise that connects mind and body. No experience necessary, our highly trained staff will teach to each individual, in a supportive and safe environment. Ages 8–18. 18180 Olinda Tr N Marine On Saint Croix 612-354-4921

Gleason’s Gymnastic School What better way to spend summer than learning something new at Gleason’s Gymnastic School? Our fun facility and our professional instructors combine to make Gleason’s classes a tremendous learning experience for children of all ages and experience levels. 2015 Silver Bell Rd Eagan 651-454-6203 9775 85th Ave N, Ste 500 Maple Grove 763-493-2526

JOTP Soccer Day Camp Innovative, fun, and unique, each JOTP themed camp focuses on different soccer skills. Designed to attend multiple camps. Morning training and afternoon free play soccer with Splash Court and Inflatable Fields. Lunch and snack provided. Weekly fee of $100–$129. Now in two locations: St Paul and Edina/St Louis Park! Joy of the People Soccer Center 890 Cromwell Ave St. Paul 651-252-1775

Legacy Gymnastics Summer Camps We offer kids age 4–17 a great way to stay active over summer vacation. Kids gain confidence and fitness while having fun learning gymnastics skills. Summer Camps are offered June, July and August. Legacy Gymnastics 14785 Martin Dr 952-746-8183

Loppet Foundation Adventure Camp Loppet Adventures offers week-long day camps at Theodore Wirth Park for kids ages 9–13. Explore outdoor adventure with mountain biking, canoeing, roller skiing orienteering, swimming, capture the flag, ultimate frisbee, nature activities

and more! Scholarships available. Weeklong sessions run June–August. 1301 Theodore Wirth Pkwy Minneapolis 612-604-5330

Mini-Hops Gymnastics Established in 1976 as a nonprofit 501 (c)3 organization, Mini-Hops provides a fun, safe, and friendly environment for youths from 12 months to 18 years. We provide gymnastics, dance, karate and much more for families in the Western suburbs of Minneapolis. 2600 Campus Dr Plymouth 952-933-2452

Nike Tennis Camps Come join the fun and get better this summer at the University of Minnesota Nike Tennis Camp. Overnight and day camp options for boys and girls, ages 6–18 of all ability levels. Special Tournament Training component offered during the second and third session. University of Minnesota Minneapolis 800-645-3226

PLA-IT: Revolutionary Sports

TAGS Gymnastics Camps

We offer instructional classes, day camps, and after-school programs for players as young as age two. Coaches combine active sport instruction with child development best practices to create a fun and positive learning environment. The challenging but noncompetitive approach helps foster teamwork and leadership skills.

Fun, fitness, friends! Gymnastics camps for boys and girls ages 3–17 in June, July, and August. Kids will learn fun, new skills while developing strength, flexibility, and coordination in a safe, positive atmosphere!

Over 50 facility partners across Twin Cities, including multiple Minneapolis Park and Rec sites Vadnais Sports Center: 1490 Co Rd E, St. Paul AirMaxx Fun Center: 7000 Washintgon Ave S, Eden Prairie 612-234-7782

Spring Break & Summer at Blake Blake sports camps offer opportunities to try new activities, enhance skills and deepen physical fitness. Campers are guided by Blake’s award-winning coaches and championship athletes. These programs, spanning pre-K–12, are open to students throughout the Twin Cities.

TAGS Apple Valley: 5880 149th St W Apple Valley 952-431-6445 TAGS Eden Prairie: 10300 W 70th St Eden Prairie 952-920-5342

Twin Cities Youth Rowing Club Are you turning 12–18 this year and want to try rowing? Join us at our Jr/Sr High Summer Rowing Camps! Bryant Lake Park 6800 Rowland Rd Eden Prairie 612-760-0575

Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463 • March 2017


Out & About


The Sneetches: The Musical ⊲ This world-premiere adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ book presents a powerful parable about courage and friendship for all ages. On Sneetch Beach, there’s a line in the sand — Star Bellies on one side, Plain Bellies on the other. That’s the way it is, was and will be — at least until the sneaky and greedy Sylvester Monkey McBean comes to town with his Star On machine. Suddenly, the difference between the haves and the have nots — those with stars and those without — isn’t so clear. What will the Sneetches do now? When: Through March 26 Cost: Tickets start at $15.

Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Info:


Tropical Beach Party

The Amazing Castle

⊲ Hit the beach — in the tropical exhibit space at the zoo — as part of this annual event, featuring two giant indoor sandboxes (expanded this year to accommodate more kids)! Bring your own pail or favorite sand toy and play in the sand, surrounded by palm trees, exotic animals and special activities.

⊲ Travel back in time to a fanciful medieval village filled with opportunitiesfor problem-solving, storytelling and imaginative play as part of the Minnesota Children’s Museum’s pop-up location at the MOA. Design and build your own chair, cook a delicious meal using garden vegetables or create a puppet show to entertain the royals. Inside the castle, kids can don costumes and role-play as lords, ladies and castle villagers; craft a miniature community using stone blocks; or sound the trumpets to wake Herald, the sleeping dragon. When: Through April 16. MCM at MOA hours are 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday–Saturday and 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Sundays. Where: Mall of America, Bloomington Cost: $7.95 for ages 1 and older and free for museum members Info:


March 2017 •

When: Through March 13 Where: Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley Cost: Free with zoo admission of $12 for ages 3–12 and 65 and older, $18 for ages 13–64 Info:


Disney on Ice: Dream Big ⊲ Join eight Disney princesses — Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana, Jasmine, Aurora and Snow White — as

Photo by Dan Norman

they embark on incredible adventures, determined to make their dreams come true. Witness artistic skating, choreography and acrobatics, plus special effects and stunning set designs. When: March 1–5, including matinee and evening performances Where: Target Center, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets for all ages start at $16.50. Info:


Steps of Hope ⊲ This Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) fund-raiser supports the local autism community by funding AuSM programs. Festivities for spectators will include children’s activities, live music, face painting, balloon animals, free snacks and beverages — and Minnesota’s largest autism resource fair.

When: 8:30–11 a.m. March 5. New this year is an AuSM Flash Dash from 9 to 9:15 a.m. Where: Southdale Center, Edina Cost: FREE Info:

Music Under Glass ⊲ This final music series installment will put the spotlight on Jelloslave, a new quartet, featuring two cellos, tablas and drums. Beer, wine, soda and light snacks will be available for purchase. When: 4:30–6:30 p.m. March 5. Where: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info:


Nature After Dinner ⊲ Families are invited to learn and explore during the enchantment of

Where: The Cowles Center, Minneapolis Cost: $25–$35 Info: or ClassicalConnections

the sunset hour, including a featured topic geared toward ages 3 to 8. All ages are welcome. All children must be accompanied by at least one adult. When: 6:30–7:30 p.m. Thursdays March 9, April 6, May 11, June 8, July 6 and Aug. 10 Where: Dodge Nature Center, West St. Paul Cost: $7 per child; pre-registration is required. Info:

MARCH 10–11

Classical Connections ⊲ Enjoy an all-ages evening of approachable works performed by Twin Cities Ballet dancers, drawing connections to classical music, literature, Americana and iconic ballets, including themes such as Tutus & Toe Shoes, Gothic Romance, Cowboys and Classical Ballet.

MARCH 10–26

The Velveteen Rabbit ⊲ This cherished tale about the transformational magic of love tells the story a stuffed rabbit and his desire to become real. Original music and dance come together in this world premiere collaboration with Escalate Dance, the company behind Stages’ Owl Moon, Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Snow Queen.

When: 7:30 p.m. March 10–11

When: March 10–26 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: $12–$16; lap passes are $5 for ages 3–4 and free for ages 2 and younger. Info:



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Out & About MARCH 11

Discovery Days at The Bakken Museum ⊲⊲This family-focused event — celebrating women in science as part of Women’s History Month in March — will feature interactive learning stations, make-andtake activities and experts from STEM fields in Minnesota, who will share their experiences and insight as women in science. When: 10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. March 11 Where: The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis Cost: $5–12 Info:


Urban Expedition ⊲⊲Experience cultures from around the world — including music, dance, live animals, crafts and more — at the Landmark Center’s international event series, returning for its 13th season. When: 1 p.m. March 12 (Colombia). Other events will be April 9 (Togo) and April 23 (Burma). Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: FREE. Food representative of the featured countries will be available for purchase. Info:


Ballet Tuesdays ⊲⊲Take in a ballet performance on the second Tuesday of each month, courtesy of Saint Paul Ballet students and company members, offering excerpts from the company’s diverse repertoire. Children are invited to wear their dance shoes and tutus and to practice techniques demonstrated by the dancers. Bring a lunch to eat during the show or stop by Anita’s Café.


March 2017 •

When: Noon March 14. Other events will be April 11 and May 9. The ballet will also perform at the Mall of America at 10 and 11 a.m. April 25. Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: or


Nature Play Dates ⊲⊲Naturalists make spending time outdoors interesting for preschoolers by providing new themes and sensory experiences each month. Ages 2 and younger are also welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult. When: 10–11:15 a.m. Fridays March 17, April 14, May 12, June 16, July 21 and Aug. 4

Where: Dodge Nature Center, West St. Paul Cost: $7 per child; pre-registration is required. Info:


Sundays at Landmark ⊲⊲This annual series of cultural and arts events is designed to entertain, enrich and educate all ages. When: 11 a.m. March 19 (Day of Dance, $6); 11 a.m. April 1 (Scottish Ramble, $6); 3 p.m. May 7 (Rose Ensemble); 1 p.m. May 14 (Saint Paul Civic Symphony Mother’s Day Concert). Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: Various Info:

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Cows Can Dream ⊲⊲This family gallery exhibit — based on a book of the same title — features a threedimension installation and immersive play environment that explores the story of Sam, a “girl cow” who wanders through Sweden’s Wanas Konst sculpture park. Swedish visual artist Maria Bajt created the exhibit’s lively, colorful illustrations on site at the American Swedish Institute. Jason Diakite, a Swedish Grammy-winning rapper also known as Timbuktu wrote the text for Cows Can Dream, which is part of a series featuring images by contemporary artists and texts by influential writers. When: Through Oct. 31 Where: American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis Info:

Cost: Regular museum admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for ages 6–18 and free for ages 5 and younger.

Farm Babies ⊲⊲Meet animal babies of all kinds — chicks, piglets, lambs, calves, goat kids and bunnies — at the Wells Fargo Family Farm at the zoo with special activities on select days. When: March 25–April 30 Where: Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley Info:

Cost: Free with zoo admission of $12 for ages 3–12 and 65 and older, $18 for ages 13–64

Coming up APRIL 9

Rock the Cradle ⊲⊲This free annual event will feature perennial favorites such as a kids’ disco party, story time with hosts from The Current radio station, live music and more. Check online for the full lineup. When: April 9 Where: Minneapolis Institute of Art and Children’s Theatre Company campus, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info:


Egg Dyeing ⊲⊲Ages 6 and older are invited to learn about environmentally friendly, natural dyes and the Ukrainian method for making beautiful, keepsake eggs. Create patterns on eggs, play egg games and join a scavenger hunt. (Easter Sunday is April 16.)

When: 6:30–8:30 p.m. April 13 Where: Harriet Alexander Nature Center, Roseville Cost: $7 per dyer; each dyer should bring four hard-boiled eggs and two raw eggs, an egg carton for drying and transporting eggs and old clothing (because the dyes used are permanent). Info:


Harlem Globetrotters ⊲⊲The world’s most famous basketball stars will bring their unrivaled family show to town to celebrate 90 years of smiles, sportsmanship and service to millions worldwide. When: 7 p.m. April 15 Where: Target Center, Minneapolis Cost: $26–$131 Info: • March 2017

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Out & About


Cost: Tickets start at $15. Info:

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures


Stone Soup


A Year With Frog and Toad

⊲ In this classic folktale, war-weary foreigners arrive in a village and inadvertently inspire fear and suspicion — that is until they begin making soup, miraculously out of a stone. It isn’t long before the locals find they can’t help but contribute to the outsider’s ever-growing, increasingly communal meal.

⊲ Waking from hibernation in the spring, the perky Frog and the worrywart Toad plant gardens, swim, rake leaves, go sledding and learn life lessons through four, fun-filled seasons in this musical adaptation — based on Arnold Lobel’s Newbery-winning and Caldecotthonored books — nominated for three Tony Awards including Best Musical.

When: April 21–May 21 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: $12–$16; lap passes are $5 for ages 3–4 and free for ages 2 and younger. Info:

When: April 18–June 18 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis

⊲ A super-hero squirrel, Ulysses, and a self-proclaimed cynic, Flora Belle Buckman, take the stage in this eccentric, endearing, world-premiere adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s 2014 Newbery Medal-winning book. When: April 28–May 20 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: $12–$16; lap passes are $5 for ages 3–4 and free for ages 2 and younger. Info: Visit for more upcoming events.



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Now offering infant child care in Hopkins!

Call 952-935-5588 and schedule a tour!

Locations in Hopkins, Minnetonka, and St. Paul

sing. play. learn. ~

MNP 0317 Classifieds.indd 1


March 2017 •

Mis Amigos MNP 0116 2cx2.2.indd 1

Bring Growing With Music to your child care program or playgroup!

2/16/17 1:52 PM 12/4/15 Growing 1:56 PMWith Music MNP 0616 3cx2.2.indd 1

5/9/16 2:00 PM

CHILDCARE/EDUCATION Learning Center & Day Care|6 Wks - School Age

Page 14

January 2017






Rainbow Montessori


“I will not eat the cat food” and other toddler resolutions


Family Owned, Family Run Since 1985



Get Minnesota Parent delivered to your home

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log on now to

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Questions? Call 612.825.9205

Flynn, 1, St. Paul

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8736 Nicollet Ave S, Bloomington


Rainbow Montessori MNP 0816 2cx1.indd 2

MNP 0117.indd 1

12/20/16 5:41 PM

ONLY $12.00 for one year (12 issues)

7/18/16 Subscriptions 3:18 PM MNP 2017 3cx1 filler.indd 1

2/16/17 1:51 PM

Color Me Mine Party!

Great times for all ages at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

The Cool Place to

Week-long camps June–August Behind-the-scenes experiences • Meet zookeepers and gardeners •

Year Round Riding Lessons Available for All Ages Horse Camp · Birthday Parties

• 7 themes to choose from • For children ages 1+


Rosemount, MN

Sunnyside Stables MNP 0216 2cx2.2.indd 1

Reserve your fun! 651.487.8272 or visit

You bring the kids, we’ll do

1/21/16 1:32 Me Mine MNP 0516 2cx2.2.indd 1 ComoPM Zoo MNP 0117 1cx2.indd 1 12/15/16 Color 4:07 PM

Theme shows for ALL AGES and BUDGETS!

the rest!

3/25/16 10:22 AM

MN Music Hall of Fame! Nationally awarded & recognized by child development experts!


FAMILY FUN that puts the MOVE in MUSIC!!

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You pick the location, Wendy’s Wiggle, Jiggle and Jam! provides the fun. Inspiring children to move, create & listen! WWW.WIGGLEJIGGLEJAM.COM 651-454-6519

7/21/16 1:17 PM

Supporting organizations that provide all aspects of support, resources, opportunities and outreach programs to children and families. 95% of all proceeds go to charities we support Go online to donate

MNP 0317 Classifieds.indd 2 Wendy's Wiggle Jiggle MNP 0716 2cx2.2.indd 2

2/16/17 1:53 PM

6/17/16 12:37 Jim & PM Jude MNP 2012 Filler 1cx2.2.indd 10/18/12 2:42 1 PM • March 2017



Boys club

↑↑Dominic, 3, Damon, 2, Devin, 8 months, of Dayton

↑↑Atticus, 1, of Bloomington

What have these local little fellas been up to? The answer appears to be waiting out winter by swaggering down the street, cheering on the ill-fated Vikings and just getting silly!

↑↑Calvin, 17 months, Blaine

↑↑Sawyer, 20 months, of Woodbury

↑↑Oliver, 3 months, of New Hope

Want to see your kid on this page? Send photos with your child’s first name, age and city to


March 2017 •

March 2017  
March 2017