THE SOURCE // Fun with the little ones

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July 4, 2011
By: Raya Zimmerman
Raya Zimmerman

Family Activities // There is no reason for any child to be bored during the summer months in Journal land. Here’s a guide for family-friendly activities to keep the little ones busy and off the couch.

Go back in time and imagine yourself as part of the city’s logging and milling industry while playing at the North Loop Kids Park, the first Downtown children’s park. Inspired by the history of the city, the nearly finished park is built on the site of a former mill, featuring a water pump, large rocks for climbing and navigating, a curved slide and a picnic area for larger gatherings. Located at the intersection of River Road and 4th Avenue North, it includes an area for 2–5 year olds and one for 5–12 year olds.

Kids can sharpen and enhance their acting skills at the Guthrie Theater. Weeklong summer camps run 9 a.m.–4 p.m. in separate groups for youth aged 7–10, 11–13 and 14–17.

    Children aged 7–10 learn basic skills in acting, voice and movement using fairytales, myths and legends in Storymaking, beginning Aug. 15.

    The first session of one of the two camps for 11–13 year olds starts the week of July 11. Aspiring actors create their own stories, turn them into plays and receive instructions on acting, singing and dance by Guthrie teaching artists.

One of three camps offered for 14–17 year olds, Camp Shakespeare starts July 11, immersing teens in Shakespearean scenes and sonnets for training in acting, voice and movement.

    Camps for 7–10 year olds are $475 per session. The cost for other age groups is $495 per session.


The Minnesota Center for Book Arts offers workshops throughout the summer at The Loft Literary Center, including a weeklong training on the elements of comic books from July 18–22. Youth ages 12–14 will learn how to conceptualize characters in their own stories and to construct sketchbooks, portfolios and their own mini-comics. The workshop is $255 ($229.50 for MCBA of Loft members) and is located at 1011 Washington Ave. S.


For kindergarteners on up, the Minneapolis Central Library will showcase a reptile and amphibian zoo with frogs, lizards, snakes and turtles 11 a.m. July 16 in the Children’s Library. Children in grades 2–5 can learn about the lives of Japanese samurai through the details found in authentic samurai armor from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts 2–3 p.m. July 21 (registration is required).


Solve riddles and search for hidden clues on the Riverfront Quest Family Tour at the Mill City Museum beginning at 1 p.m. July 16, Aug. 20 and Sept. 11. The tour runs along the Minneapolis riverfront outside of the museum and is geared toward 6–11 year olds. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for kids ages 6–17. Reservations are required


Engage in the musical arts through one of several summer camps offered by MacPhail Center for Music, including a piano camp for 7–10 year olds running 9 a.m.–noon July 11–15 and Aug. 1–5. Children work in small ensembles, create their own music and perform in a final concert for family and friends on the last day of camp.


Stop in at the Walker Art Center on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month for Arty Pants: Your Tuesday Playmate for art projects, films, gallery activities and story time for adults and youngsters aged 3–5. Then check out the 11-acre Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, open 6 a.m.–midnight, featuring the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry, several sculptures that kids are allowed to climb on and the Cowles Conservatory with displays of native, seasonal and tropical plants.


Ride a trolley through the quaint St. Anthony Falls Historic District, stopping by sites such as the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the Guthrie Theater and the Mill City Museum. You will also cross over the Stone Arch Bridge, the oldest mainline railroad bridge in the Northwest. Reservations are required for tours through Twin City Trolleys and tickets are $24.00.


Indulge in your love for fresh food at the Minneapolis Farmers Markets where you can find fresh vegetables, meats, fruit, herbs and Minnesota-grown wild rice. The main market is located on 312 East Lyndale Ave. N. and is open 6 a.m.–1 p.m. every day with Wednesdays and weekends boasting the largest displays. A smaller market is found on Nicollet Mall 6 a.m.–6 p.m. every Thursday.


Dickman Park in NE has a Summer Kids Program. Children can play games, do arts and crafts, fish, bowl and more. The program runs Tuesday–Thursday, noon–6 p.m., at Dickman Park, 7th & 2nd Street NE stawno.org


Baseball fans can check out Minnesota Twins games at the new Target Field stadium, which also offers training camps for children and teens ages 8–18. Youth receive major-league instruction from Twins personnel and experienced college and high school coaches. A two-day camp is offered July 12–13 in Red Wing for $200, and one-day camps at Target Field are scheduled for July 7 and 11 and cost $150.