Kids' Summer Programs in Grand Rapids, Michigan

by Amy Sutton

When kids get out of school for the summer, parents are often left wondering what they're going to do to keep them entertained with all of that free time. Parents in Grand Rapids will find a wide variety of summer programs for their kids to participate in, ranging from overnight and day camps to dance and sports programs. Grand Rapids is nestled along the Grand River near Lake Michigan and is home to more than 188,000 people, as of the 2010 U.S. census.

Sports Programs

The City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department offers an assortment of sports programs and camps during the summer, like soccer camp, where your 5- to 14-year-old can practice dribbling, ball work, passing, shooting and control through competitions, drills and games. At the summer fencing camp, kids 7 to 17 can learn the rules and fundamentals of fencing and compete with other participants. MVP Sports Clubs offers summer sports programs as well, like Mini Camp for 3- to 6-year-olds and Kids Sports Camp for 6- to 11-year-olds. Each camp features a weekly theme, like Mad Lab, Carnival, Superhero and Beach Week and includes activities like swimming, games, sports, arts and crafts.

Day Camps

At the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, your children can attend one of the day camps, such as Traditional Day Camp for kids 6 to 11 with rock climbing, swimming and crafts or the half day Kinder Day Camp for kids 4 to 5. The John Ball Zoo offers a summer day camp for kids 3 to 14, with weekly themes and activities like zoo tours, games, animal encounters and role-playing. Kids 4 to 15 can attend summer day camp at the Blandford Nature Center to learn about animals, tracks and nature.

Overnight Camps

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids also offers a variety of overnight summer camps for kids. An Overnight Horse Camp is available for kids 8 to 15 and teaches them how to feed and care for horses along with daily riding lessons. Kids 13 to 15 can go to the Teen Overnight Camp with activities that include a high ropes course, zip-lining and water activities. Traditional Overnight Camp is for kids 7 to 12 and features rock climbing, cooking, biking, sports and water activities.

Other Programs

The Grand Rapids Public Library branches offer a summer reading challenge with exciting activities throughout the summer, including a Rock Garden Party, Dinosaur Encounters, Construction Truck Petting Zoo and a puppet show. Your kids can participate in swimming lessons or diving classes through the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department. Or, you can sign your kids up for one of the other youth activities through the recreation department, like Hip Hop Dance Workshop for kids 12 to 16, Princess Ballet for kids 3 to 6 or the Ballet Workshop for ages 8 to 12.

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