Teddy, Set, Go

Sun 9/7
This weekend, make tracks and make a difference. In recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Build-A-Bear Workshop, the interactive stuffed animal store, is inviting kids in 10 cities to join in the Nikki's Bear Walk-A-Thon for Children's Cancer. Valley families step up to the plate Sunday, September 7, at Chandler Fashion Center, 3111 West Chandler Boulevard.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with the first 200 walkers receiving a special Build-A-Bear surprise bag. Participants strut their stuff(ing) from 10 to 11 a.m., and then enjoy activities courtesy of the Arizona Museum for Youth. Entry is $10 per person, $25 for a family of four or more, and proceeds support cancer research and treatment programs at children's hospitals across the U.S.

Can't make it to the mall? Take part in the Nikki's Bear Virtual Walk-A-Thon; see www.buildabear.com/AboutUs/Nikki/ToolKit/walk.cfm for details. - Jill Koch

Acting Up

Kids learn stage skills

How does a jellyfish move? This is the type of dilemma tackled by participants in Phoenix Theatre's Kids Creative Company, a six-week theater course that not only encourages the imagination, but builds improv, acting and performance skills in kids ages 4 to 8. "It's designed to tap into a child's imagination, into what they automatically do well," says Andrea Parker-Swenson, director of education and outreach. "They create characters, make up stories -- they do this naturally. We try to channel that into something that becomes a play-building exercise."

The plays that are created will be performed for parents and friends. Classes begin Saturday, September 6, and continue every Saturday through October 11. A second session begins November 1 and runs through December 13. Cost is $115 per student, with family discounts available. Call 602-889-5287 or e-mail [email protected]. - Quetta Carpenter

Kick Starts

Throw your feet in the air

Hi, karate. The Laurita Jiu-Jitsu and Karate Academy wants to introduce your kids to the benefits of martial arts. Master instructor Jerry Laurita is so convinced that martial arts instill leadership skills and help the community that he's offering a month of free karate lessons to the first one million kids who sign up.

"The ultimate self-defense is to have a positive mental attitude and self-discipline," Laurita observes. (And if young ones pick up a "wax-on/wax-off" work ethic in the process, that ain't bad, either.)

Beginners' classes start at 10 a.m. every Saturday at the academy, on the northeast corner of 19th Avenue and Union Hills. Call 623-582-3153 for more information. - Kim Toms

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Quetta Carpenter
Jill Koch
Contact: Jill Koch
Kim Toms