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Huntington Highlight: Gearing Up for Kids Summer Fun

Starting tomorrow, The Huntington will begin filling classes for its popular Explorers Day Camp for kids, which runs from July 18 to Aug. 5.

Now heading into its 11th year, ’s Explorers Day Camp program is a unique alternative to the standard summer day camp fare. The program features fun, educational classes for children ages 5 to 12, divided into four separate age groups over a three-week period starting July 18.

The word “class” might convey the wrong idea; these are more like guided adventures through the worlds of history, science and art. One day, your child might hear and act out stories from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; the next, cook up a delicious stir-fry after experiencing the wonders of the Chinese Garden. Each day offers something different to keep kids interested and engaged.

Classes will take place in both the morning and the afternoon. Parents can register children for either a full or a half day and for all three weeks or just one. While there may be some overlap among classes, the program is designed so kids who sign up for all three weeks won't have to repeat classes.

Many of the experienced teachers who lead these sessions have been involved with the day camp for years. “They are definitely experts in their field. Some of them are artists in their own right,” said Julianne Johnston, Youth and Family Programs Coordinator at The Huntington.

One of the teachers is Lisa Fontanesi of Kidding Around the Kitchen, who will be teaching a class for the 11- and 12-year-old group in Week Two, called “Culinary World Tour.” “We’ll look at the galleries and the gardens, and then cook foods from around the world,” she said. “One day might be breakfasts from around the world, another day might be about [afternoon] teas.”

Fontanesi said kids love the opportunity to get their own hands dirty while learning how to make easy—and tasty—meals. Her motto: “If they cook it, they will eat it.” She said, “Kids will eat a lot of things when, one, they’re given information on it, and two, they get to touch it.” As they play chef for a day, kids will learn important kitchen skills, such as chopping (with safety knives) and cleaning up (very important). They'll also learn about the cultures of the foods they’ll be making.

Other classes get kids to participate in plein air painting, sculpting and storytelling, with inspiration provided by the objects and landscapes of The Huntington.

An exciting new addition to the roster this year is a Shakespeare class for 11- and 12-year-olds, led by actors from the acclaimed Independent Shakespeare Company. Students will explore different areas of The Huntington as they search for insight into the Bard’s “Seven Ages of Man” before putting on a Shakespeare performance themselves.

A full schedule of classes is online, along with session prices. If you would like to register your child or children for Explorers Day Camp, visit the website, download the form and mail it in. Campers will be selected through a “lottery”-style system starting April 5 and will continue as long as space is available. Confirmations will be sent by mail. The Web site will be updated daily to reflect classes that have been filled, so check back regularly. For information, call (626) 405-2100.

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