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Sherri Richards, Published August 05 2012

Plenty of events for kids to squeeze in more fun in summer’s final days

FARGO – The final stretch of summer is upon us, and the back-to-school countdown is on.

Fargo and West Fargo schools start Aug. 23. Classes begin Sept. 4 in Moorhead and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.

While the calendar pages may be flying too fast for some kids, many parents see weeks’ worth of summer days in need of structure.

A lot of organized activities such as baseball, golf and swimming lessons wind down at the end of July. The good book has closed on vacation Bible school for the season. Final laps are imminent at many area pools.

So how do you keep the kids busy during the month of August? Here are a few ideas:

Park appeal

The Fargo Park District tapers down its schedule near the end of July largely because many seasonal employees are college-bound, says Clay Whittlesey, director of recreation. Attendance drops sharply in August as well, he says, as people get into that end-of-summer state of mind.

While most of the city’s pools close Aug. 12, the remaining lifeguard staff is shifted to Island Park Pool, which will remain open until Aug. 23, Whittlesey says.

The district still has many individual events on its calendar, Whittlesey says, including today’s Phil Hansen Sportsmanship Kamp for Kids, Movie Night on Aug. 13 in Island Park, and a Community Play Day on Aug. 16 at Rheault Farm, like the one pictured at left from 2009. A youth flag football league begins today, and fall soccer starts Aug. 15. More events can be found at www.fargoparks.com.

Plus, Whittlesey says, there are plenty of unstructured play opportunities found in area parks, incuding disc golf, horseshoes and fishing at the dike or Woodhaven Pond.

Camping continued

The YMCA of Cass-Clay still has camps for kids ages 3 to 15 through Aug. 17, says marketing director Alison Monke. Parents can still register their kids for remaining sessions of the preschool Busy Beaver Camp, Camp Koda for ages 6 to 11, and mini or full-week camps at Camp Cormorant, its resident camp for ages 7 to 15 on Big Cormorant Lake.

Another session of Y’s Guys and Gals, a daylong program for middle school students, will be held Aug. 13-24.

There’s also plenty of open gym and open swim times on the calendar, Monke says. Kids age 8 and up don’t need to be accompanied by an adult, she adds.

“If they are 8 and older they can check the schedule and do different things, like swimming, the Xerzone, basketball,” she says.

For more information, visit www.ymcacassclay.org.

Drop-in timeout

Consider utilizing one of the drop-in child care centers in town to give the kiddos a break from the heat. Fargo has three drop-in facilities, all on the south end:

• Tons of Fun, 4101 13th Ave. S.

• Time 2 Play, 3051 25th St. S.

• Kids Kingdom, 1336 25th Ave. S.

“We get busy in August,” says Terry Graalum, owner of Kids Kingdom. “I can tell the activities are done.

“Or, they’ve been home so many days in a row, they’ve got to get them out. ‘Mom’s going to get something done and you can go play,’ ” she adds.

Cool school

Get into the swing of school a little early with these educational activities cleverly disguised as family-friendly fun.

History: Bonanzaville has Family Days, featuring free admission for kids 12 and under, every Wednesday until Aug. 22. Its 54th annual Pioneer Days celebration is Aug. 18-19. Visit www.bonanzaville.org for a list of events.

Reading: The local libraries have stocked their August calendars with storytimes, movie showings and craft projects. Fargo’s Barnes & Noble also has regular storytimes, including some classic school stories at 10 a.m. Aug. 22.

Science: The Minnesota State University Moorhead Planetarium’s summer children’s program, for ages 4 to 10, continues with “Pieces of Another World” at 11 a.m. Thursday. “Red River Skies” will be shown at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Aug. 16 and 23. Visit www.facebook.com/msumplanetarium.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556