3 things to do with the kids in Harford County in September

For The Baltimore Sun

With summer coming to an end, it can be difficult to find things to do that provide a break from the hustle and bustle of school-year schedules. Here are three things in Harford County that can entertain the kids and provide them an opportunity to learn, give back or just have fun.

1. Kids for Hope Obstacle Course

Sand, mud, water, ropes, tunnels and bridges help to make a fundraiser just for kids and teens in Bel Air a true workout.

The Kids for Hope Mud Run and Obstacle Course raises money to support Cancer LifeNet, which offers free-of-charge supportive care services to all residents of Harford and Cecil counties regardless of where they receive their cancer treatment.

The Arena Club in Bel Air partners with the Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation to put on the race, which is modeled after mud runs and obstacle courses for adults that have gained popularity over the past few years.

“It just so great to see the kids have fun, get muddy and support a great cause at the same time,” says Sarah Karantonis, director of advancement with the Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation. “Through this event kids are getting excited to be a part of something that helps others, and that’s truly what matters.”

The obstacle course takes place at the Arena Club, 2304 Churchville Road, Bel Air on Sept. 9 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. $30. Register at givetoday.uchfoundation.org.

2. IronBirds kids’ zone

As the school year ramps up, get one last taste of summer with a night out at the ballgame. The Aberdeen IronBirds, a Class A short-season affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, has Ryan Ripken, the son of Cal Ripken, Jr., playing on first base, plus plenty of activities for rambunctious kids who won’t sit through the game.

The Ferrous & Friends Kids Zone, named after the IronBirds mascot, offers inflatable rides, a batting cage, a pitching cage and more, located on the third base line at the end of the concourse. The area is presented by the nonprofit Race Against the Abuse of Children Everywhere, which is dedicated to eliminating child sex abuse before it happens.

“Everything that we do here is about families and children coming to the ballpark together for an affordable night, out and our kids zone helps make it exciting for kids and is also organized for a great cause,” says Matt Slatus, general manager of the Aberdeen IronBirds.

The Aberdeen IronBirds take on the Staten Island Yankees Sept. 3 at 5:35 p.m., Sept. 4 at 1:05 p.m. and Sept. 5 at 7:05 p.m. Tickets start at $5. The Aberdeen IronBirds play at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, 873 Long Drive, Aberdeen. ironbirdsbaseball.com.

3. Children’s Arts and Crafts Festival

Children can let their creative sides go wild at an arts event just for them.

The Havre de Grace Arts Commission sponsors the Children’s Arts and Crafts Festival in Havre de Grace on Sept. 9, featuring eight craft tables and scarecrow-making stations.

“With a lot of the crafts this year, kids are able to have a base of materials and a general theme, but then they’re encouraged to take that and use their creativity to create whatever they’d like,” says Dena Cardwell, member of the Havre de Grace Arts Commission.

Features at the festival include face painting, a petting zoo, sand art, a pine cone animal craft, a maker-your-own slime table and more.

Cardwell says that the best part is that it doesn’t cost parents a dime and it’s held at Tydings Park in Havre de Grace.

“The other thing is that we let them get messy,” she says. I think it’s really important to let kids go and have them not be afraid to get their hands dirty.”

The Children’s Arts and Crafts Festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tydings Park, 908 S. Washington St., Havre de Grace on Sept. 9. Free. explorehavredegrace.com.

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