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Summer Activities for Kids from Local Biz

Springfield Avenue is turning into "kids row." But other options abound in other commercial districts. in Maplewood and beyond.

Didn't get it together and sign the kids up for camp this summer?

There are still plenty of options locally — and ones that are relatively inexpensive, flexible and near at hand.

First off, you may have noticed that Springfield Avenue of late has become a center of family-oriented activities and kids programming. It's not by accident.

“As redevelopment has enhanced the face of the streetscape and the commercial space on the Avenue, we’ve been able to attract new investors and entrepreneurs with creative ideas who also want to live in the community,” said Mayor Vic De Luca. “That synergy has helped Springfield Avenue fill an important niche as a destination for family friendly activities.”

The mayor ain't kidding (pun itended!). Here are some highlights of Springfield Avenue's children's activities:

(1860 Springfield Avenue) offers tea parties for kids including Princess, Mermaid, Glam and Hollywood themes, as well as popular Spa and Tropical Parties. Parteaz also hosts tea parties for adults, including a recent bridal shower.

Katie Clayton’s shares space with Parteaz and offers “hands-on” programs for children and adults. Classes include “It’s Sew Tee’s” (transforming T-shirts), “It’s Sew Funky” (simple crafts with a sewing machine), “It’s Sew Recycled” (recycling old clothes into something new) and "It’s Sew Much Fun" (teens learn to sew clothes and accessories).

(1914 Springfield Avenue) may be better known as a yarn shop, but this purveyor of fabulous fibers is offering summer knitting and crochet drop-in classes for ages 9 and up. The one-hour classes are group lessons that cost $25 each. Students are required to purchase their materials from Knitknack (free lesson for children with purchase of a Minnow Knits Beginner Kit!) and the drop-ins are for beginners only. Call 973-763-6066 for a schedule of drop-ins OR to schedule a private lesson if you have a more advanced student to sign up.

An art studio and art gallery offering programs for children and adults, Express Yourself Studios (1912 Springfield Avenue) presents Pizza and Pottery every 4th Thursday of the month where children ages 5-12 can participate in a fun pottery project, creating functional pieces of artwork and enjoying pizza and beverages!

(1677 Springfield Avenue) is host to music and other creative options for kids — as well as a great location for hosting parties.

For those crafty kids with unscheduled afternoons in July and August, Kari Capone at is offering a Fiber Arts Camp. Students who are entering grades 3-6 are eligible. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. each weekday of the camp, students will learn specialized, high-end crafts such as needle felting, amigurumi (crocheting freeform creatures), and spinning their own yarn. Intermediate and advanced knitting techniques will be taught each day. Snacks are included (gelato made onsite!) and there will be open crafting time. There are two 2-week sessions: one beginning July 11 and one beginning Aug 1. For brand-new knitters, Orientation sessions are available starting July 5 or July 25. Details are available in the brochure (attached).

(1874 Springfield Avenue) is offering dance camps from children ages 3-12, including Princesses on Parade, Pre-School Dance Camp, So You Think You Can Dance? and Street Dance and Video. Camps generally run one week at a time and are quite affordable. An add-on lunch session is an option for morning campers.

Other Springfield Avenue options to check out include programs at the (1688 Springfield Avenue), (1809 Springfield Avenue) and (1861 Springfield Avenue).

And Springfield Avenue isn't the only place around the towns with some last minute flexible programs for your kids. Check out these venues:

  • The Art Studio in Susan Harris' beautiful two-story carriage house on Summit Avenue — http://www.artstudionow.com
  • has a new location in Maplewood Village and convenient drop-in classes for children of all ages.
  • , also in Maplewood Village, can get your child ready to earn some coin with professional tips for voiceover, film, television and theater acting.
  • The still has some openings for craft and sports activities.
  • Check in with the Maplewood Department of Recreation to see what is still available.
  • Don't forget that the has some unique camp options in local parks and right at 13 Jefferson street. The daily Y-Not camp is fully subscribed but individual sports camps still have some openings.

For more information about businesses, programs and services on the Avenue, visit Springfield Avenue Partnership’s website, SpringfieldAvenue.com, or the Partnership’s Facebook page.

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