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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Keep ‘em Busy

Still plenty to do before school starts

By Colin Anderson

Summer is a blast for kids. As we move into August it can start to weigh on parents who might be running out of ideas on how to keep the little ones active while still getting some work done. While TV and video games are easy babysitters, kids need continued physical play as well as mental stimulation each day. Luckily, there are still many opportunities to help keep them active and keep you sane!

PenMet Parks | Register at

While much of the STEM and athletic camps filled up quickly (as they always do), there are several opportunities during August for kids of all ages. Weekly trail running is offered by USA Track & Field certified coach Susan Larson from Great+Full Running. The goal of the class is to promote physical fitness through trail running in a supportive, empowering environment. Susan focuses on gratitude and teamwork while teaching efficient running techniques and building strength and speed. Group mentors will cheer you on as you reach your goals. There are separate boys (Trail Stompers) and girls (Trail Divas) sessions available. Both experienced and novice runners are welcome to join.

Middle and high school ages can learn the lifelong game of tennis with weekly afternoon camps going from 1 to 4pm. Players meet up at Rosedale Park and are split into age groups. In the 12- to 13-year-old group, players build athletic fundamentals by learning proper footwork and racquet mechanics. At this level, players will be able to use a full-sized court and net. Instructors focus on teaching the basics of rallying, serving and keeping score. Ages 14 through 18 will continue to work on fundamentals but also positioning and tactics used during both singles and doubles play. An added bonus is that Tennis Camp is part of the Pierce County “Kids Need to Play!” program. This means 70 percent off registration fees, which is automatically applied at registration.

There are a couple of upcoming fun family oriented events as well. On August 20, you can lay out your favorite picnic blanket or lawn chairs as well as snacks and drinks and watch Jurassic Park with other eager outdoor movie-goers. A big screen will be set up at Sehmel Homestead Park, and the show gets going at 7:30pm.

You can also enjoy part of your Labor Day weekend finding out who the best putter in the family is as the Kiwanis Club and PenMet Parks are excited for the return of the Mini Golf Classic. Cost is $50 to register your foursome, and all ages welcome. The 18-hole family friendly course is located conveniently next to Highway 16 at the PenMet Community Recreation Center. Proceeds from the event will go to the Kiwanis Club service fund to support children in need specifically and our community in general.

To register for any of these events or if you have additional questions, visit or call 253.858.3400.

YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties |

Nothing says summer like a YMCA camp—day or overnight. There are just a few spots left in the late August day and overnight camps, so register now!

Day Camp is held at Lake Helena in Port Orchard. Kids will spend the day outside playing camp games, learning to paddle kayaks and canoes, honing in on their archery skills and making crafts. Bonding with other kids their age is always a fun experience and is also great preparation for the upcoming school year.

For an even more in-depth experience, kids can do overnight camp at Camp Seymour. Many of the same activities will take place, but kids get the added experience of nights away from home. There are expanded outdoor adventure and water sports, as well as fun evening and nighttime activities. Performing arts are also included during their time.

For more information or help registering, call the YMCA at 253.884.3392.

If you are still struggling to find openings, perhaps summer camp can be held in your own backyard. Gather your children’s friends and neighbors and, as the work day closes, the fun can begin. There are thousands of easy-to-follow DIY craft projects available online after a simple search. Set up a table or two and start creating! Have the kids plan an outside dinner and, depending on age and experience, why not let them set up, cook and clean for Mom and Dad. As a reward, you can set up the tent in the backyard for a campout at night. Check with your local fire district, but if small backyard cooking fires are still allowed, bust out the chocolate bars, marshmallows and graham crackers for the kids’ favorite summertime treat.

If you missed out on registering for summer activities, don’t let the same thing happen for the upcoming fall and winter sports, classes and camps. Check far ahead and make a note of when registration opens so you can be sure to reserve your spot. Best of luck with the waning weeks of summer, and here’s to school starting soon!

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