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Looking for a Hands-on April Vacation Program? Here Are a Few Suggestions

There's plenty to keep young artists, builders, gardeners and outdoorsy types busy all week - which will help you keep your cool.

Note: For this week's Great Escape we're turning the format on its head, offering ideas that will help moms maintain sanity during the upcoming April break... call it the 'Great Inverted Escape'.

Somerville and nearby organizations are offering affordable, creative and down-to-earth programs during your child's April vacation.   

For artists and builders

The Parts and Crafts Collective has organized a week of arts, science and engineering projects called “Making Things and Making Things Happen!” for children aged 7 to 12 at the Clarendon Hill Church, in West Somerville. From Monday through Friday, students will take apart machines, bake bread, make cardboard sculptures and do whatever else they and staff come up with, according to the Web site.   

The organization plans to collaborate with the Public Laboratory and the Somerville Community Growing Center so that students can use infrared photography to study plant health.  The organization tested the technology during February vacation week, and TK.

Parents pay between $50 and $300 for the program, according to what they can afford. The program generally goes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but parents can pay an extra $25 to drop off their children at 8 a.m., and another $50 to pick them up at 5:30 p.m.

Instead of going the whole week, children can attend daily programs for $70 per day. However, the program encourages parents to send their children for at least three days so that they become familiar with the staff and other children and become engaged in their projects.

For growers and outdoorsy types

Groundwork Somerville will hold a program called “Spring into Action!” for second and third grade students at the Somerville Community Growing Center. Students will play outside, learn about the environment and cook a healthy lunch every day. They will also visit Gaining Ground’s vegetable farm in Concord, Mass. The program runs Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and costs $100, although parents can pay on a sliding scale.

The organization is also looking for volunteers who like to work with children, be outside and garden to assist with the program. E-mail Tai Dinnan at tai@groundworksomerville.org to sign up.

The conservation organization Mass Audubon has scheduled educational programs Tuesday through Friday for students aged 5 to 9 and 10 to 12 at the Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, in Belmont. Younger students will explore the habitat and surrounding conservation land and learn about the birds living there. Older students will also explore the area, as well as learn outdoor skills and work in teams. The programs run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. They cost $65 per day for members and $80 per day for non-members.

Parents: Please check with the individual programs for details on the availability of meals, etc.

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