Wacky Wednesdays a Coon Rapids senior center tradition

It has been a Coon Rapids Senior Center tradition for some 20 years.

Watched by her grandmother Carol Voelker, Ella Voelker, 5, plays a computer game puzzle involving animals.

Watched by her grandmother Carol Voelker, Ella Voelker, 5, plays a computer game puzzle involving animals.

Each summer, Coon Rapids Senior Services hosts Wacky Wednesdays, a series of programs for grandparents and their grandchildren.

Special activities have been scheduled on four Wednesday mornings this summer at the senior center.

This intergenerational program created by Kris Niebler, Coon Rapids Senior Services program specialist, is designed for children ages 4 through 14 and their grandparents.

There were about 30 children and 14 grandparents at the In The Jungle program July 24.

“We had games with a jungle theme, so was the snack,” said Cindy Olson, Coon Rapids Senior Services assistant.

The numbers were consistent with those attending the first two Wacky Wednesdays programs this summer – bingo on June 19 and “Minute to Win It,” patterned after the TV show, July 10, according to Olson.

Five stations of activities were set up for the jungle theme for participants to rotate through followed by a group game, Olson said.

One station had a puzzle game on a computer, one puzzle for younger children and a harder puzzle for older children.

At another station, five animals raced against each other on a board with the children throwing dice to move the animals.

Other games involved children matching jungle animals, finding animals when they blended into a camouflage background and feeding an elephant.

The children also created their own snacks by making a palm tree that was filled with fruit.

The event drew some first-timers to Wacky Wednesdays as well as grandparents and grandchildren who are regulars.

Cleone Hanneman has been bringing her granddaughters, Laynie and Lexie, to the Wacky Wednesdays program since they were 4 years old.

Laynie is now 12 and Lexie 14.

“They really enjoy it,” Hanneman said.

Twins Zoe and Ilsa Hoaglund, now 10 years old, have also been coming to Wacky Wednesdays with their grandmother Nancy Semler since they were 4 years old.

“It is something they enjoy very much,” Semler said. “Wacky Wednesdays is a wonderful way to spend time with my grandchildren, and I don’t have to plan anything.”

According to Semler, following Wacky Wednesdays, she will often take Zoe and Ilsa out to lunch and then a movie.

Carol Voelker brought her granddaughter Ella Voelker, 5, to her first Wacky Wednesday event.

“Now Ella is old enough to enjoy it,” said Voelker, who is a regular visitor to the senior center with her husband.

Olson is hoping for similar if not greater participation in the final Wacky Wednesdays presentation for 2013, “an end of the summer blast.”

That’s Wednesday, Aug. 14, 10:30 a.m., when Mad Science of Minnesota will present a program called “Fantastic Flyers,” which will be all about aircraft and the four forces that affect flight.

Children will learn how to make paper airplanes, as well as build a rotor kite and glider.

Registration is required and must be made at least two days in advance of the program by calling 763-767-6473. Space is limited.

The cost is $3 for each child and no charge for grandparents.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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