Keeping Chilliwack’s kids’ brains and bodies engaged

This summer doesn't have to be a bore, or expensive, with these summer fun activities

Rylar Lawrence

Rylar Lawrence

Eight minutes a day.

That’s how long Canadian children are now spending outside each day, on average, according to David Suzuki. Too much of their time goes to sitting in front of a screen, playing with tablets, computers and tvs, the environmentalist and science advocate told a conference this week. And the time has come to urge them to get outdoors and to “see, hear and smell the world around you,” he stressed.

Thankfully, getting kids active outside and engaged in the community is going to be easy this summer in Chilliwack, with the help of several organizations. As a bonus, plenty of them have some built-in learning opportunities.

The Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve has a full calendar this summer, offering free events, an open house and speciality camps.

In July they will be starting up summer camps: Explorer’s Camp and Wilderness Art Camp. Explorer’s Camp is sure to entertain, and kids will be playing outdoors in nature, making crafts, exploring the heron reserve and learning about nature in a fun environment. At their Wildlife Art Camp, kids will learn sketching and painting techniques from their resident artist John LeFlock. They’ll go outside and explore in search of inspiration for their paintings.  These camps both run twice for a full week in July.

This year they also are introducing a new camp called Afternoon Adventures. Kids in that camp will be exploring, crafting, and playing outside. There are camps for all ages, and even camps designed for the whole family.

While camps have registration fees (, the site also is hosting several free events this summer, including a Family Pond Prowl (July 16), a Twilight Walk (Aug. 20) and an open house (Aug. 15) are all in the works.

The Family Pond Prowl will be sure to be a blast for the whole family as you discover first-hand all the different creatures found in the water. The Twilight Walk is hosted by a local naturalist and it takes you out on the Heron Reserve as the sun sets, the daytime wildlife settles, and the nocturnal animals come out.  The Open House event is a great time to come out and see a variety of different nature programs and enjoy presentations by different organizations from around the Fraser Valley.

For more information visit, email or call 604-823-6603.


Reading Club

“The library is the last free place on Earth,” enthuses Chilliwack’s community librarian Smitty Miller. Plus, they’ve got summer covered for families all across Chilliwack, with contests, clubs and some great, free programming.

Their wildly popular Summer Reading Club is proof that keeping up your literacy skills doesn’t have to be a drag. Thousands of readers, from early readers to teens to adults, join up each summer. The reading club got started this week, and those wanting to join can simply walk into any Chilliwack area library and pick up a passport. This year’s theme “Bill Dit” has a bit of a steam punk feel, thanks to this year’s artist, New Westminster-based Shayne Letain.

In addition to being encouraged to read, with weekly prizes and a grand prize at the end of the summer, kids are invited to check out some fun summer time building projects at

It all adds up to a fun summer, and keeps kids from losing their literacy skills over the nine-week break.

There are also a number of free community events, starting with a visit from Norden the Magician at the Yarrow library on July 2. He will be at the Chilliwack location on July 13, and the Sardis Library on July 14.

Storytime in the Park runs at the Yarrow location on July 7, and the Pet Parade (for stuffed animals) is at the Chilliwack library on July 8.

The Mobile Dairy Classroom Experience will bring farming to life for kids, at the Yarrow library on July 15 and the Sardis library on July 8. Science World visits the Sardis library on July 20, and the Yarrow library on July 23.

Ventriloquist Kellie Haines visits all three libraries this summer, stopping in Chilliwack and Yarrow on July 30, and Sardis on Aug. 10.

Finally, Music with Marnie runs on Aug. 17 in Sardis, and Aug. 19 in Yarrow and Chilliwack


Fair fun

The Chilliwack Fair provides a great opportunity for kids of all ages to get creative. The exhibition portion of the fair is open to anyone to enter, provided their craft, artistic endeavors or gardening project have a fit within the categories.

Whether your child is a Lego expert, a young photographer, or has a cactus collection, they could be in for some prize money and ribbons. To see deadlines and categories, visit


Community Schools

There are community schools all around the Chilliwack area, including Chilliwack Central, Rosedale Traditional, and Cultus Lake, Greendale, Yarrow and Promontory elementary schools. Each one provides various summer programs for children of all ages. Check out each school’s website for a full listing, or pick up a Chilliwack Leisure Guide from the Chilliwack Progress.


Fit for free

This summer, all teens ages 13 to 18 get free access to the YMCA.

The free pass gives access to the pool area and hot tub, work out areas and gym, fitness classes like yoga, Pilates, bootcamp and more.

The Active Teen Summer Pass is available beginning July 1 and is valid until Aug. 31 at all Greater Vancouver YMCA locations, including Chilliwack’s Family YMCA. Parents need to visit the YMCA to sign their teens up.

For more information, phone 604-792-3371.


Think Fun

UFV’s Think Fun Camps are hands-on, activity-based camps for curious and creative kids. In each camp, children play games, explore, and engage in fun projects that encourage them to inquire, think, and problem-solve together. The camps are both educational and fun for campers from age six to 11.

The UFV Faculty of Science offers Science Rocks! summer camps every year throughout July and August. Designed especially for young people in Grades 4, 5, and 6 (campers going into Grade 4 or 7 are eligible). Over the course of a given week, campers can expect to experience activites from Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Computer Science. Many of the weeks will also include activities from Geography and Kinesiology.

Pricing, dates and locations available at


Chiefs camps

There are several summer camps at Prospera Centre throughout the summer, including lessons on and off the ice.

They are running multi-sport camps that teach kids the basics of a variety of sports, including ball hockey, lacrosse, basketball, Frisbee, soccer, volleyball and water relays.

They also have Ultimate Summer Camps, an Around the World Camp, outdoor activities camp, hockey fundamentals, goaltending camps, puck control and power skating.

Weeklong camps are also available for elite and high level players, focusing on developing skills.

For more information, visit