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Summertime education and activities abound for youth

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On the last day of school, kids emerge from the classroom halls wild eyed and ranting “school's out for summer,” day dreaming about all the adventures they are going to embark upon. Before you know it, they are complaining about how they’re bored and veggin’ out in front of the ole boob tube. If you’re looking for some fun opportunities for the kiddos to fill their summer with some memories, magic and education, have no fear. There are loads of summer camp styled courses for the littles in your life, from toddler to teen.
The Tacoma Art Museum hosts Summer Art Camps for elementary aged to middle school students. There are several classes to choose from. Whether they are exploring the connection of art and the natural world, creating prints powered by the sun or using Chihuly as inspiration as they fuse, paint and blow glass, your kids will leave TAM’s summer art camp feeling inspired. Find class information and register at Tacomaartmuseum.org.
Children’s Museum of Tacoma is a great locale to spend some time summer loving all on its own, but they also host themed summer camps. Check out classes like Steam Science, Adventure, Cooking and Storytelling all geared toward the 3- to 6-year-old age bracket. Each course provides an opportunity for your mini to immerse themselves in hands on activities that will hone their passion as a little scientist, grand adventurer, wee chef and storyteller. Register and check out details at Playtacoma.org.
MetroParks hosts summer camps of all sorts all summer, from art, dance and culinary to traditional day camp. Youth can also work with LEGOs, robotics and computer coding at one of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) camps or hone their sportsmanship and skill with a number of sports camps available. Learn more at metroparkstacoma.org.
The Tacoma Nature Center, also a part of the MetroParks family, has day camps for those of all ages. Eco Explorers, Wildlife Biologists Camp, Gardens Galore and Bugs & Slugs all utilize the 71-acre nature preserve where serene wetlands and forest surround Snake Lake as a classroom. Visit tacomanaturecenter.org for more.
The following two are venues you might be visiting already. The Point Defiance Zoo isn’t just a rad locale teeming with fun facts about the animals that call it home; they also host themed camps for the animal lover in your life. Children can explore everything from what foods the critters nosh upon to animal exploration and even photography. See more information and details at pdza.org.
The Tacoma and Pierce County Library system has all sorts of fun. You can take the minis to enjoy special storytelling time or take advantage of a variety of programs throughout the year. Check tacomalibrary.org or piercecountylibrary.org to see what a branch near you has to offer.
Summer Jobs 253 gives high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to gain credit for graduation and a foot in the door to secure employment. The journey includes 96 hours of paid work experience, up to two academic credits and resume and interview skills that will carry them to the adulthood workforce with more confidence than ever before. Visit Summerjobs253.com.
For the thespian and filmmakers in your life there are several options. The Tacoma Youth Theatre host theater camp with real live stage performances serving as the finale. Each production is geared toward an age group from 9 to 16 years old and includes “Peter Pan,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Moby Dick.” Register by contacting Performances Artistic Director Maggie Knott at (253) 677-0531. See the schedule at Tacomayouththeatre.org.
Tacoma Musical Playhouse hosts Summer Youth Musical Theater Camp, though recommends early registration. These two-week camps include courses for the budding thespian in kindergarten to the more advanced lover of the stage life in high school. tmp.org.
And last but not least, Tacoma’s favorite indie movie theater, Grand Cinema, hosts a film camp. The course includes hands-on training: the film experience from start to finish with screenwriting, filming, post production and editing. The beginner courses are already full (registration opened in February) but if your student has attended film camp in the past, the advanced course (open to all ages) still has space. Visit Grandcinema.com for more details.

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