Park & Play: Providing Free Summertime Fun!

Looking for free children’s activities to kick those the summertime blues?

The Park & Play program provides free activities, sports, crafts and bounce houses guaranteed to deliver a positive and enjoyable experience for your kids.

The Park & Play crew brings a mobile recreation vehicle and leads children in fun, engaging outdoor activities aimed to increase activity, creativity, and build social skills.

The daily schedule consists of a game, sport or contest, a creative art project and time in the bounce house. The bounce house is monitored closely by staff and administers a time limit to guarantee that everyone gets a chance to bounce safely.


Park & Play visits eight Medford parks Monday through Thursday, stopping at two parks each day for two hours; 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.

The schedule allows Park & Play to visit a park in each Medford once a week to assure that all residents have access to the program. Park & Play runs for eight weeks beginning in June.

Movie Night at Lewis Park




 The program is also available at the Rogue Credit Union Movies in the Park series providing free pre-show movie themed activities Saturday evenings from June through August at several city parks.

Go to or call 541-774-2400 for more information.


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Free Summer Meals Program for Kids & Teens

Summer Meals -Nourishing Oregon’s Kids.

There are over 800 summer meal sites in Oregon with free meals for kids and teens ages 1-18.

   Summer meal programs may serve a combination of lunch, breakfast, supper and morning or afternoon snacks. Some programs also offer learning activities for kids before or after meals.

     Click on  the map below to find a site near you.


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In an average winter, Crater Lake National Park receives 43 feet of snow! Ranger-led snowshoe hikes are a fun way to explore this winter wonderland while learning how plants, animals, and people survive the harsh conditions.

Every Saturday and Sunday (and some holidays) Crater Lake National Park offers free guided snowshoe walks. Ranger-led snowshoe walks are a fun way to explore this winter wonderland and learn how plants and animals survive the snowy months. Walks are offered to visitors ages 8+ on weekends  December through April, with additional weekday hikes in late December and early January.

The two-hour walks start at 1:00 p.m. and cover one mile of moderately strenuous terrain. Walks are off-trail explorations through the forests and meadows at the rim of Crater Lake. No previous snowshoeing experience is necessary. Snowshoes are provided free of charge, but advance registration is required. Space is limited on walks. For more information and to sign up, call the park’s visitor center at 541-594-3100 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants should be at least 8 years old and come prepared with warm clothing and water-resistant footwear.

The weather that gives us spectacular winter recreation also presents people with challenging road conditions. Throughout the fall, winter, and spring, visitors should come prepared for snowy, icy roads, and limited visibility. Before you leave home, ensure that your vehicle is equipped for winter conditions and that you are comfortable driving on snowy roads. Visitors must have traction tires on their vehicles or carry chains, and know how to use them. Drive for the conditions; the posted speed limit is not always a safe speed. Visitors may encounter heavy snow removal equipment on park roads. Please drive slowly and give plows and other heavy equipment plenty of space.

Crater Lake National Park is open 365 days a year. The Steel Visitor Center is open every day except December 25, and food and gifts are available in the Rim Café and Gift Shop year-round except on Thanksgiving Day and December 25. For independent explorations, snowshoes are available for rent at the Rim Café and Gift Shop. Lodging and gasoline are not available in the park from mid-October to late-May.
For more information on winter conditions, services, and programs in Crater Lake National Park, visit our website at


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Free BrittKids Koncerts: Cultivating the Next Generation of Artist

Britt Festival has always made a commitment to include a family-friendly orchestra performance in programming choices, nevertheless, it has been a while since any programs were offered specifically for the musical cultivation of young children. When Kay Hilton was appointed to direct Britt’s education and engagement programs in 2015, she decided to commission two free performances for children in Britt’s Performance Garden. In that first year, audience attendance at the mid-morning concerts completely filled the garden venue, confirming that local families were interested in concerts for young children.

Since then, with the support of Southern Oregon Subaru’s exclusive sponsorship, Britt
Education has commissioned eight original BrittKids Koncerts for children ages 0 to 10, created the free BrittKids Klub, and increased the number of free performances each year.

Last summer, over 2,500 people attended the series. This year, local and regional performers, including musicians from the Britt Orchestra, were invited to submit program ideas to further diversify the programming. As part of our new partnership with Medford Parks & Recreation, we will present our first BrittKids Koncert at Bear Creek Park on Aug. 18. Britt Education will offer other free events throughout the summer in Ashland in partnership with the OSF Green Show and Ashland Parks & Recreation.

We hope to continue to offer these free events for years to come and look forward to seeing everyone at this year’s BrittKids Koncert series, this July and August!

All BrittKids Koncerts begin at 10:15 AM | Gates open at 9:45 AM
All performances are at the Britt Performance Garden, with the exception of the August 18 concert.

Jul 17 | “Traditional Folk Dances of Mexico” by Ballet Folklorico Ritmo Alegre
Jul 23 | “Corps of Discovery” by The Meriwethers
Jul 29 | “Iggy’s String Theory” by Ignace Jang & Mark Bergman
Jul 30 | “Flora and the Search for the Groove” by Gabriel Globus-Hoenich & Members of the Britt
Aug 5 | “Got Melody?” by 16 Strings
Aug 6 | “Kid’s Drums Unlimited” by Gabriel Globus-Hoenich & Friends
Aug 7 | “Flora and the Search for the Groove” by Gabriel Globus-Hoenich & Members of the Britt
Aug 18 | “Corps of Discovery” by The Meriwethers at BEAR CREEK PARK, MEDFORD PARKS
Aug 20 | “Traditional Folk Dances of Mexico” by Ballet Folklorico Ritmo Alegre
Aug 25 | “Don’t Laugh at Me” by Steve Seskin

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Railroad Park Opens for the Season

City of Medford Railroad Park Opens for the Season
Opening day for Medford Railroad Park is Sunday, April 8th, 2018! Dozens of volunteers have been working hard to bring you an even more special park! Ride diesel trains and a motor car, view unique model railroad layouts and the Hogwarts Express, ride Thomas and Percy, tour historical railroad equipment and more. Bring the whole family, pack a lunch or eat at the Park. It’s fun for all ages.
Medford Garden Railroaders. See a G-scale logging railroad, trolley barn and lines, and seaport areas, including five water features! A separate Thomas and Friends garden railway will especially please the youngest railroad lovers, and the Hogwarts layout, added for Harry Potter fans, is designed so that tweens can run the Hogwarts Express train by remote control. New this year “Butterfly Garden” with over 150 plants designed to attract butterflies, bats & Osprey.


Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club. Ten HO scale trains, engines whining and horns blaring, operate across hundreds of scale miles of track, through working signals and crossing gates at the Highway 99 railroad crossing, between Medford and Klamath Falls, on the Pacific and Eastern Railroad, including the heavily forested climb out of Keno along the Klamath River. Children can help operate trains on a special HO layout.
The Southern Oregon Live Steamers. 2018 is their 37th year of offering free train rides to the public. Pulled by a variety of locomotives on almost two miles of track, each exciting train ride takes about nine minutes to go over and through all the tunnels, bridges and hills. The park favorite for the very young is the Thomas and Friends loop encircling the large Garden Railroad layout, with Thomas and Percy leading special trains built for small kids only.
The Southern Oregon Railway Historical Society. Tour restored 1910 and 1942 cabooses and a 1959 flanger (a type of snowplow), and view restoration work under way on Medco 4 ─ a local 1925 steam locomotive. Ride the motor car, visit the Museum, and the “Learning Caboose.”
The Railroad Park is open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Sundays of each month from April through October. The park is operated by volunteers, and admission and parking are free. No tax monies are used in the operation of this park. All four clubs rely on the generosity of the public for donations to help offset the various costs involved in maintaining and expanding this one-of-a-kind Northwest attraction. This popular attraction is a unique collaboration between the City of Medford Parks and Recreation Department, the Medford Fire Department, and the four volunteer-based clubs.
The Railroad Park is located adjacent to Fire Station No. 4 at the intersection of Table Rock Road and Berrydale Avenue in Medford, just a few blocks north of the Rogue Valley Mall.
Note: Parking is limited. We encourage visitors to carpool or use public transport when possible.
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Kids Day at Crater Rock Museum

Kids Day at Crater Rock Museum in Central Point  is the second Saturday of every month. This is a special day that the museum sets aside to teach and expose children to the world of earth sciences, fossils, dinosaurs, and other really cool things we know they would like.
There are free 20 minute classes that start on the half hour beginning at 10:30 am and continue with the last class at 2:30 pm. Afterwards, the whole family can explore the museum and all its wonderful displays. Take a stroll through the rock yard outside the workshop. If you find a rock on the ground, it’s only 25 cents a pound for everyone on Kids Day. In the bins, it’s $1.00. On days other than Kids Day, it’s 25 cents a pound for kids and $1.00 for adults. If you have any questions, please call 541-664-6081 during business hours.
Admission – 17 years or younger – FREE (because it’s Kids Day!)
Adults – $7.00
Seniors – $5.00
 Note: If you are a Crater Rock Museum or Roxy Ann Gem & Mineral Society (RAGMS) member – museum admission is free!

For more information please visit

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Library Storytimes


Attending storytime at one of the branches in Southern Oregon is a wonderful, fun  way to introduce your children to the library as well as helping them learn early literacy and social skills which prepare them for reading and kindergarten. Preschool storytimes are for children ages three and up.

Also offered are programs inJacksonCountyfor pre-walking babies and wobblers (children who are walking but not yet ready for preschool storytime).

For Jackson County Library  Storytimes


For Josephine County Community Library Storytimes

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BABY RHYME TIME is at 11:00am on Thursdays!

Baby Rhyme Time a socialization group for new parents with very young children (newborn up to 24 months). The group meets weekly at the Grants Pass branch of Josephine Community Library.
The one-hour group provides opportunities for new parents and their babies to meet other families and to learn through sharing ideas and play. We start out singing nursery rhymes with the babies and toddlers for about 20 minutes. Singing nursery rhymes and reading to infants and toddlers enhances their early literacy skills and supports the growing bond between parent and child. The remainder of the hour is spent playing and socializing.
Baby Rhyme Time was designed to give new mothers a place to get together on a regular basis for socialization and support. One in four new mothers suffer from depression, anxiety or panic disorders before or after their pregnancy.  Symptoms may include trouble sleeping, crying, irritability or nervousness, changes in appetite, feeling fearful and lack of interest in the baby, family or friends. Many new mothers are socially isolated in the first few months after their baby is born, which can contribute to postpartum symptoms. Getting together with other mothers is a great way to alleviate social isolation. Dads and grandparents are welcome to come too. The group is free and meets every week.
Please NOTE:  Baby Rhyme Time meets prior to the opening of the library to the public. Participants must enter through the back door of the library (on the West side) and follow the signs to the children’s library.
Find us on Facebook at Baby Rhyme Time – Grants Pass.
For more information contact:
Kelly Carter, LPC of SOESD/Early Childhood Services, (541)956-2059 x 4726
Bo Alderton from the Family Support & Connections program, (541) 474-3101 x232.

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Boot Camp for New Dads

Free Basic Training for First Time Fathers


How did you first learn to change a diaper, burp an infant, console it, or pack a diaper bag? I’m the eldest of five children, so in my case, it was tending siblings during the rare times my parents went on “date-night.” And I did a fair amount of childcare for other families to earn spending money.

It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that today, women have fewer children, they have those children later in life, and according to most data, 41% of those children are going to be raised by a single parent. Often that single parent will juggle both a low-wage job and childrearing. So it won’t surprise you that locally, 85% of children and youth qualify for free or reduced school lunch. 70% of youth in custody did not grow up with both parents. Generally, raising kids falls disproportionately to women. They are, traditionally, culturally, and arguably biologically, the better-suited caregivers. 72.5% of those accused of shaken baby syndrome crimes are men. Yet with more women going to college and graduating from college, women are now often the primary breadwinner. Add these findings together, and there is a need to teach men how to raise children.

Father At Home With Newborn Baby Daughter

As a teacher, I see the effects of kids raised in poverty daily. Many crave even negative attention from adults. They are often hungry, and often unsupervised at night, staying up to morning hours to play video games. 24% of our middle schoolers will miss 10% or more days of school in our state. Often, their reading and math skills and motor skills are behind grade level because from a young age, their caregivers are unable to afford certain toys, books, internet access, sports fees, etc. that wealthier families are.

We can either sigh and lament these statistics, or we can recognize that we are not preparing men well for two realities: 1) they will want to leave a relationship when they find out that they aren’t able to provide their family with the level of financial support that they would like to, and 2) by staying, they can provide their families with far more than financial support.

With a few weeks of my 2015 summer vacation left, I heard an NPR broadcast that taught gang members who never had fathers— how to _be_ fathers. A few phone calls later, I had financial support from AllCare to become a facilitator and establish a chapter of “Boot Camp for New Dads” in Grants Pass and Medford.

Boot Camp’s motto is: “A father for every child, no matter what.” The 3-hr. course uses “veteran dads” who have 2-12 month old babies— to teach “rookie dads”— those who are soon to deliver. It covers fears that fathers have, and how to form a parenting team; how to react when/if the female shuts out the dad as “not competent enough” to care for the child. Rookies change diapers of the veteran dad’s children; learn how to console— and they learn how to nurture their relationship with a newly hormonal, overtired mom. Changing diapers, consoling, taking the child to a park, and reading or singing to it will give her relief rest that she desperately needs.

It’s one thing to have the perfect class available at the perfect time. It’s quite another to have a gender that prides oneself on their independence— _sign up_ for the course. In Grants Pass, there are 25 distribution points where an expectant father would come across our brochures: Women’s Health Center,  Southern Oregon HeadStart, Options, Child Welfare Services, and Pregnancy Care Center, are just a few.

If you know of an expectant (i.e. “rookie”) father, please tell them to register via our website:

Enthusiastic, proud veteran fathers will be ready to impart their wisdom on the 2nd Saturday of every month, at the Women’s Health Center off Ramsey at 1075 Grandview Ave. in Grants Pass, 9-12 am and from 1-4pm at La Clinica Wellness Center, 730 Biddle Road in Medford.

By Bob Bath.

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