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Fun Family Activities to Keep Your Kids Engaged All Summer Long

The East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation is proud to support our EGRPS teachers and staff, who have done an amazing job of adapting to a changing educational environment. We’ve all recently seen that learning can take many forms, and educational opportunities are where you find them.

As kids’ summer vacation begins, the Foundation put together a list of fun, at least partly educational activities to keep students’ minds sharp until school restarts in the fall. 

Here’s our top ten:

  1. Kent District Library’s Summer Wonder program. This year, KDL is partnering with Kent County Parks to offer new elements and activities for the whole family, including park exploration and outdoor scavenger hunts, in addition to summer reading incentives.
  2. Bird Watching around Reeds Lake. While you’re at the library signing up for Summer Wonder, check out the library’s bird watching kits. The backpack includes binoculars and birding books that include many of the species you might spot around Reeds Lake. You can also take pictures and share them in the East Grand Rapids Bird Watchers Facebook group if you need help identifying what they are.
  3. Parks and Recreation Department summer programs. One phrase we’re all used to is “tentatively scheduled.” That’s definitely true of summer programs for kids. To keep up with what’s available, check the Parks and Recreation department’s updated online summer programs guide on the city’s website.
  4. Hodenpyl Woods Nature Trail. This mile-long trail accessed from Reeds Lake Boulevard near Remington Park has numbered markers to help you identify different trees and plants.
  5. Fishing on Reeds Lake. Right here in town, we have one of the best fisheries in west Michigan. Largemouth bass, bluegill, and pike can be caught by even the youngest anglers from the shore or the fishing dock off the Reeds Lake Trail. Kids can learn about the lake’s ecosystem while trying to figure out where the fish are and what they eat.
  6. The East Grand Rapids History Room. There are a lot of treasures in the East Grand Rapids History Room, but its director, Mary Dersch, might be the greatest of all. Our town has a fascinating history--is the bottom of Reeds Lake really covered with player pianos?--and the history room at the library is a great place for kids to discover it.
  7. Exploring Manhattan Park. You might know the soccer and softball fields, the volleyball courts, pavilion and sledding hills, but if you haven’t explored the trails through the woods at Manhattan Park, you’re missing out. In summer, the mature trees provide a great place to get lost in nature, if only for a while.
  8. Summer Concert Series in John Collins Park. Sponsored by The Brouwers Agency, Auto Owners Insurance, and Consumers Credit Union, the Summer Concert Series brings live bands to the shore of Reeds Lake on Monday nights in June and July. This year’s concerts are on June 14, 21, and 28 and July 12, 19, and 26.
  9. Reeds Lake Trailblazer Run. Looking for a fun family physical education activity? The Trailblazer Run on July 4th is a great way for all ages to get some exercise before eating hot dogs and ice cream on the 4th. The 5K run/walk is sponsored by Spectrum Health.
  10. Movies in the Park. Just like the Summer Concert Series, The Brouwers Agency, Auto Owners Insurance, and Consumers Credit Union bring Friday night family-friendly movies to a big inflatable screen in John Collins Park on July 9 and 16 and August 20 and 27. This year’s movie lineup can be found on the city’s website at

That’s our list. There are lots more family activities you can add to it. Have a great summer and thank you for supporting the East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation!