What I Learned at Summer Camp: Camp Arbor
Minnesotans often complain about summer being too short, but try telling that to a parent with toddlers.
“Yeah the summer can definitely get long, especially if you have a couple different ages to contend with,” said Ashley Biorn, a mother from Maple Grove.
Biorn and her two young daughters are always on the lookout for things to do that are close to home and inexpensive, and several times this summer, they’ve joined several hundred other families at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes for “Camp Arbor.”
“I really enjoy the fact that there’s something hands-on that allows them to get creative and play together and meet some other kids,” Biorn said. “And every week it seems like we run into other people that we know from other places in the community.”
Every Tuesday morning for the past month, the Maple Grove shopping center has offered a new activity for parents and their kids.
This week’s activity involved coloring rocks with acrylic paint. The Shoppes partnered with the Maple Grove Arts Center to make it happen.
“It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s intuitive,” said Lise Spence-Parsons, president of the Maple Grove Arts Center.
It’s also a fun and easy way to expose kids to the arts at a young age.
“They just gave us the rocks. We came in and figured it out and that’s part of the fun,” Biorn said.
Throw a few stickers that look like eyes into the mix, and it gets the kids’ creative juices flowing.
A Free Event
“And it’s nice that we can keep it free,” Spence-Parsons said. “I mean, it helps a lot. Parents don’t always have the money to do everything they want to do, so to have a free event in Maple Grove is fantastic.”
It’s a free event that’s now in its 13th year of helping to get families out of the house for fun and games.
“It’s been very successful,” said Jennie Zafft, marketing director at The Shoppes. “We see a lot of repeat faces and new faces. And we’re lucky that our tenants help us to be able to keep it as a free program, so we really like to be able to offer that.”
It’s also not a huge time commitment, which is why people like Biorn keep coming back week after week.
“I think it’s an amazing thing,” she said.
Camp Arbor happens every Tuesday from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. through July 23.