Just in time for the end of the school year and the beginning of summer, Friends of Hudson Parks' activities are moving into high gear. Children and adults alike can find plenty to do while enjoying Hudson's parks, including Geocaching Adventure, Playground Palooza, summer education programs, new kayak and paddle board classes, and the Story Walks at Veterans Way Park and Bicentennial Woods.

Playground Palooza

A favorite for the age 2 through 12 crowd is Playground Palooza, now in its third year. The event runs from June 3 to Aug. 6. This year the first 100 participants (ages 2 through 12) who visit seven Hudson park playgrounds will receive a free water bottle. The seven playgrounds included in the contest are located at Barlow Farm, Cascade, Colony, Hudson Springs, Middleton, Oak Grove and Veterans Way Parks.

No preregistration is required. Simply download the event PASSPORT from the Friends website at http://www.friendsofhudsonparks.org/. The PASSPORT includes a list of playground locations and instructions. Players will complete their PASSPORT by finding each playground's symbol post and "rubbing" the playground symbol into the PASSPORT with a crayon or pencil. Playground Palooza is sponsored by Hudson Preschool Parents, Acme Fresh Market and Hudson Parks.

Children's Summer Education Program

The Friends' Summer Education Program features outdoor nature classes that seem more like fun than learning. These classes are so popular that many are already filling up. The curriculum is intended for children from ages 4 through 12, and children must be accompanied by an adult. Teacher and Friends board member Alyssa Moyer designs and leads the classes which last about 90 minutes.

Upcoming classes will explore natural topics such as the Chinese Mantis and Other Insects, Animal Tracks and Scat, and the Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle. Preregistration is required for these free classes, and class size is limited to 20 children. The Summer Education Program runs from June 6 through Aug. 25. To see a complete schedule and descriptions of the classes, go to the Friends website at http://www.friendsofhudsonparks.org/ and select 2017 Summer Program Registration from the menu at the top.

Kayak and Paddle Board Classes

New this year are entry level kayak and paddle board classes that will be offered at Hudson Springs Park. Friends of Hudson Parks is pleased to partner with Kent State Crooked River Adventures to be able to offer these exciting new courses. Experienced boarders and kayakers will also benefit. Safety training, instruction and equipment will be provided by Crooked River Adventures.

Four classes and times are available:

July 8: 1 p.m. 4 p.m. Kayak class July 15: 1 p.m. 4 p.m. Paddle board class July 22: 1 p.m. 4 p.m. Kayak class July 29: 1 p.m. 4 p.m. Paddle board class

Use the following links to register for a class.

For kayaking - https://fareharbor.com/crookedriveradventures/items/48927/

For paddle boarding - https://fareharbor.com/crookedriveradventures/items/50952/ Participants must be age 14 or older. Cost is $40 per person (plus taxes and fees). Space is limited, so anyone interested should register soon. Geocaching Adventure

Veteran geocachers are very familiar with the Friends' Geocaching Adventure, now in its sixth year. Once again, local geocaching experts Bill and Sue Holman--also known by their caching name, the Muddy Dawgs--have taken the lead in designing and hiding creative new caches at the following six parks: Hudson Springs, Colony, Darrow Road, Maple Grove, Wildlife Woods and Barlow Farm.

The first 100 participants who find all seven caches and turn in a completed entry form by November 30, 2017 will receive an original 2017 Friends of Hudson Parks pathtag (collectable coin). They also will be entered into a drawing to receive a $100 gift certificate from Appalachian Outfitters. Participants can find additional information and a link to download the entry form from the Friends website under Current Programs.

For a list of active Friends of Hudson Parks (FOHP) caches, participants should visit www.geocaching.com and search for the user name "FriendsOfHudsonParks." Users must register to create a free account on geocaching.com. The site also has lots of useful information and tips for those new to the sport. In addition to the 2017 Geocaching Adventure, FOHP caches from previous years are also active.

Story Walks

Park visitors also can look forward to seeing new books in the Story Walks at Veterans Way and Bicentennial Woods, cosponsored by Hudson Community Education & Recreation (HCER) and Friends of Hudson Parks. "We've had so many positive comments about the Story Walks in Hudson," says Meredith Zaffrann of HCER. "We are also happy to see so many children and parents enjoying this combination of a recreational and educational activity. During the summer months, children can enjoy a summer-themed story in both of the Story Walks, at Veterans Way and Bicentennial Woods."