Kent for Kids classes provide fun education

Jessica Renner

Jianghua Le, Kent for Kids summer youth program participant, makes candy jewelry in her Wearable Art class Monday morning. TRACY TUCHOLSKI | SUMMER KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

The ordinary bustle of college students in Prentice Hall has been replaced for the summer. Dozens of children scrambled in every direction in the main lobby.

The building has been taken over by Kent for Kids, a program put on by the College of Continuing Studies that has been in place for 32 years.

“It’s about that time,” Tim Radden, director of Kent for Kids, said over the commotion.

Two children set down their books, three others folded their game of Twister into its box and others merely stopped running around.

Suddenly, volunteers and staff started shouting, each bringing their students to the appropriate place to meet before class began.




These children have picked four classes to attend daily for a two-week session. There are four sessions total this summer. The sessions began June 9 and go through Aug. 1.

A group of 10 children ages 6 and 7 sat around a table.

“What are we making?” A boy said as he chewed on his shirt collar and widened his eyes with anticipation.

“OK guys, today is going to be pretty messy – we are making play dough,” volunteer Graysen Petersen-Fitts said. A collective explosion of excitement erupted from the students of this class, called “Crazy Chemistry.”

Not only did the students make play dough – they made edible play dough. Petersen-Fitts squished peanut butter, honey and dehydrated milk into a bowl.

Andrew Boos, another volunteer at Kent for Kids, handed out latex gloves to each student. The students struggled to put the oversized gloves on and eventually began blowing them up like balloons.

Petersen-Fitts and Boos reminded the students to leave their gloves on and be patient so they could play with the “experiment.”

“I don’t like peanut butter,” said one persistent boy who would have no part of the experiment.

“Dude, I want to eat that,” another boy said to his friend.

The only girl of the group was alarmed that some of the gooey mixture was falling out of the bowl.

“What would crazy chemistry be without spilling stuff?” Petersen-Fitts asked the girl.

Moments later, the entire group kneaded its way to making the concoction into play dough.

One student decided he would rather have it all as a snack. Jung-Sungh Choi licked his finger and extended it outward to share.

“Taste it,” he said. “It tastes so good.”

As the younger students were eating their chemistry projects, Zach Shannon, a 13-year-old camper, was fencing in the Gym Annex. Radden, who is also a fencer, said Shannon was introduced to fencing at Kent for Kids and continues to thrive in the sport.

“I know one day soon I will be in a tournament with him,” Radden said.

In another area of Prentice hall, 10 students ages 11 and 12 were writing the Kent for Kids Chronicle, a newspaper that prepares them to become young journalists.

With chemistry, fencing, writing for newspapers or one of the other 43 classes offered at Kent for Kids this summer, each child is bound to find something he or she is interested in. Radden said that the program helps the children have fun, learn and grow into who they want to be.

Kimberly Macon has been bringing her son, Kyle, to Kent for Kids for the past few summers.

“It is a good program,” Macon said. “There are ways to spend your summer, but playing and learning are invaluable.”

Contact social services reporter Jessica Renner at [email protected].