On a cold, dreary February day, summer might seem like it's a long way off.
But the fifth annual Summer Camp Expo makes it the perfect time for families to begin planning their warm-weather activities.
This year's event, presented by Grandview Heights Schools, the Grandview Parks and Recreation Department and Kidslinked, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27 in the gym at Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School, 1240 Oakland Ave.
Kidslinked is a Columbus company that offers parents "one-stop shopping" by listing family events, classes and activities planned throughout the central Ohio region, said Jamie Lusher, Grandview Schools' chief academic officer.
"With their participation, we're going to be able to offer families information about a lot more summertime programs at our expo," she said.
"We're trying to make it a more fun event this year," Lusher said. "We'll have games, miniature golf and face painting -- things that will keep children occupied while their parents talk with the vendors and get more information about the summer programs they offer."
The first 50 families to arrive will receive passes for Caddy's Delight/Miner 49'er indoor miniature golf on West Third Avenue, and Bravo Cucina Italiana will give away $10 gift cards to the first 100 families, she said.
Families from the Tri-Village area, including Upper Arlington, are invited to attend the expo and get the lowdown on upcoming summer programs, Lusher said.
"Families don't always know all that's out there during the summertime," she said. "We're trying to help them find fun and affordable programs for them and their children."
Summer programs and activities help keep children sharp during their break from school, Lusher said.
"All the research indicates that students will regress if they don't stay involved in activities during the summer, and it might take a month or two for them to catch back up once school starts again," Lusher said.
Grandview's parks department has participated in past expos as a vendor, but is helping to coordinate this year's event.
"We especially want to get the word out about our expanded list of summer camps we'll be holding this year," said Taylor Lindsey, youth recreation supervisor with the parks department.
"We offering more camps this year with a larger capacity so more students of different ages can get involved," she said.
The camps are open to students who have completed kindergarten up through grade 6, Lindsey said.
Full-day camps held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays will include Blast Off to Summer, May 26-29; Gladiator Training Academy, July 6-10; Olympics Training Week, July 13-17; Silly Sloppy Camp, July 20-24; and H2WOAH, July 27-31. Each full-day camp costs $145.
During the second half of June and into early July, two half-day camps will be held each week: Sports Mania, 9 a.m. to noon, and Dash and Splash, 1 to 4 p.m. June 15-19; Dash and Splash, 9 a.m. to noon, and Action and Adventure, 1 to 4 p.m. June 22-26; and Stars and Stripes, 9 a.m. to noon, and Art and Action, 1 to 4 p.m. June 29 through July 3.
The half-day camps cost $60.
Registration for the camps began Feb. 4, and within the first few days, many of the camps were already filled up, Lindsey said.
As of Feb. 7, slots still were available for the Gladiator Training, H2WOAH, Silly Sloppy and Olympics Training Week camps, she said.
Families may register for the camps at the parks and recreation office, 1515 Goodale Blvd., or at grandviewheights. org.
The parks department's spring program brochure also is available now; registration for spring programs also began Feb. 4.
In the spring, the parks department and the Columbus Blue Jackets will team up to offer Street Jackets, a hockey skills and drills course that will be offered for students in grades 4-8 from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, April 1 through May 6.
Youngsters will be able to participate each week in drills covering stick handling, passing, shooting, coordination and movement with game play following the drills, Lindsey said. Hockey sticks will be provided but participants can use their own equipment.
Students will be picked up at their school and taken to Upper Arlington's street-hockey court, where the program will be held. Parents will be able to pick up their children at 6 p.m. at the Grandview Center, 1515 Goodale Blvd.
The fee is $65.