Crafting, Camping & Caring – Oh My!
If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is more valuable than time spent with loved ones. Spring is here and summer is fast approaching, and with the promise of warmer weather and a gradual return to normalcy, we know parents and grandparents will be looking for ways to connect with their littlest family members. To help you make the most of your time together, we’ve compiled a helpful list of activities and outings that promise excitement and engagement without compromising safety. Whether you’re looking for something to do as a family or activities to keep the kids occupied while you take a much-needed breather, all you need and more is available right here in the city, with options suitable for any budget. All activities mentioned are complying with pandemic restrictions. Most require registration in advance. Please visit their websites, call or email in advance for more details and to register.
Crafting & Activities
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Imagination and creativity are the centerpieces of Ogden Museum’s wide range of spring and summer programs.
Sculpture, painting, collage – you name it, and you’ll find it in the Fine Arts FUNdamentals Virtual Summer Camp (June 7-11; June 14-18). Young artists entering grades 2-5 will learn about influential Southern artists through exciting hands-on activities. At the end of camp, they can show off their achievements to friends and family with a virtual exhibition.
The In-Person Fine Arts FUNdamentals Summer Camp (June 21-25; June 28-July 2; August 2-6) offers three separate sessions focused on painting and drawing, sculpture and paper arts.
For the young fashionistas in the family, the In-Person Fashion Camp (July 6-16) will introduce campers entering grades 5-8 to the principles of design, figure drawing and construction as they create their own couture piece.
Campers entering grades 6-12 can refine their digital photography skills with the Virtual Photography Camp (June 14-18; June 21-25), where portrait photographer Aubrey Edwards will help students build their own portfolio through a series of interactive lessons and activities.
While the museum’s camps are for kids only, families who want to discover the magic of art and imagination together can purchase an Ogden Museum Art Box, including four hands-on art projects, supplies and access to online instructional videos.
The Shard Shop
At the Shard Shop, your family (ages 6+) can create dynamic pieces of art in a safe and colorful setting. Using kid-safe pieces of tumbled glass and resin, guests can either freestyle their own patterns and designs or sign up for the popular “Pimp Your Mirror” class, which teaches you how to turn ordinary mirrors into stunning pieces of art. This spring, Shard Shop will also offer low-cost mini camps for kids aged 7-12.
Group sizes are regulated to ensure the comfort and safety of all guests, and face coverings are required. The Shard Shop will provide goggles, gloves and sanitizers for use during your class. On days where the weather permits, you’re even invited to bring your art projects into the shop’s backyard to find natural inspiration for your next masterpiece.
All supplies and instructions are supplied by the shop – just bring your own creativity!
3950 Magazine St., 504-571-5342, ShardShop.com/NOLA
Day Camps & Classes
For those days when you’re looking for a break from the heat, take a dip in an indoor saltwater pool with one of Love Swimming’s interactive classes.
Choose between small group lessons, semi-private lessons and private lessons based on your child’s level of comfort and experience. For ages 6 months to 30 months, parents and grandparents participate in helping little swimmers grow confidence in the pool. Older learners will be taught by an experienced instructor while guardians stay dry. Adults can even sign up for private lessons, and Love Swimming is proud to offer classes for special needs students of all ages.
Schedules are currently regulated to ensure a 15-minute break between classes and to reduce the amount of contact with other groups. All guests must wear a mask while in the building, but face coverings are not required in the water. Find full details and register online.
New Orleans Ballet Association Center for Dance
For the 29th year running, New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) is helping students of all ages discover healthier lifestyles and valuable avenues of self-expression with their tuition-free dance classes.
Summer youth programs include Twilight Classes (ages 3-18, June 7-July 1), which will be held in the evenings at various locations throughout Orleans Parish and feature instruction on jazz, ballet, modern and other dance forms. Adventures in Dance Camp (ages 8-11, June 7-25) will be hosted at the Lyons Rec Center and will not only introduce campers to dance, but also to various aspects of health, nutrition, literacy and more along the way, to end with a fully-costumed performance.
If you can’t make a camp or want to get the whole family involved, NOBA offers virtual classes for kids of all ages, seniors, veterans and adults living with Parkinson’s. Open enrollment and registration occur on a rolling basis.
Audubon Zoo Summer Camp
Missed the zoo? It missed you, too!
“We can’t wait to welcome our campers back this summer,” says Audubon’s Director of Education, Llewellyn Everage. “Campers will explore nature and science as we play in the zoo and meet amazing animals. It’s going to be a wild and wonderful summer!”
This year, weekly summer camps begin May 31 and run through August 2, with sessions tailored to three different age groups. Swamp Romp (ages 4-6) will take place at the zoo’s Swamp and will introduce youngsters to the wildlife that call the Louisiana wetlands home. Savanna Safari (ages 6-8) is held at the zoo’s African Savanna and combines exciting adventures with education on various animals, habitats and ecosystem preservation. Jungle Journey (ages 8-10) will guide campers through the zoo’s Jaguar Jungle, where they’ll learn about the rainforest and its vibrant inhabitants.
Groups will be reduced in size this year to keep all campers safe, and while face coverings will be required throughout the day, strategic mask breaks will take place outdoors and in socially distanced settings.
Lolo’s Studio for Youth Yoga, Fitness + Art
This youth empowerment studio helps kids and teens work toward calm, strength and flexibility through the practices of yoga and art. While after-school classes and summer camps are for kids only (age groups include 5-7, 8+ and 11+), Lolo’s is happy to conduct private family lessons or parties upon request.
Virtual yoga lessons are available for kids and teens, while virtual art lessons are appropriate for ages 5-95. Sign up in advance and begin your family’s journey to self-discovery and mindfulness from the comfort of your own home.
Second Harvest Food Bank
There is no better balm for the spirit than helping communities and families in need. Vanessa Cave-Herazo, Community Outreach Supervisor at Second Harvest Food Bank, says that one in five Louisiana households is at risk of hunger, with many of them asking for assistance for the first time during the pandemic. If you want to join the fight against hunger, Second Harvest offers two volunteer options for varying age groups.
Help sort food donations into different categories using a conveyor belt and pack the sorted products into boxes. (Ages 9-13 with a parent or guardian and 13+ as individuals. Through May: Tuesdays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-noon; 1-3:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 8-11 a.m.; 11:30-2:30 p.m. June-August: Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-noon; 1-3:30 p.m.)
Assist with various tasks in the Community Kitchen such as plating, prepping and packaging meals and snacks for seniors and at-risk youth in after-school programs. (Ages 15+. Double service hours are offered for students. Shifts may change, but regular hours are: Mondays-Thursdays, 8:30-11 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.-2 p.m.; Fridays, 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.)
700 Edwards Ave., 504-734-1322, no-hunger.org/volunteer