Youth Programs and Activities


The Merriam Parks and Recreation Department has something for everyone. Explore this section and enroll in one of our youth programs or classes.

All classes are held at the Merriam Community Center, 6040 Slater Street, unless noted otherwise. 

Aquatics Programs for Infants and Toddlers

Aqua Toddler Swim Time + Sensory Hour

Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays  ▶  10:30 - Noon  
Ages 0–4 with adult present 
$50 for 10 punches or $90 for 20 punches

1 punch visit = 1 parent and 1 child 
Free for members!

Time specific for families with children sensitive to loud noises or big splashes of water.  During this time, all fountains, slides and water features are turned off.  Children can explore the zero depth, shallow water and therapy pool without fear of big kids splashing.  This isn't a swim lesson and won't be instructor led.  Parents must be in the water with their children.  

Infant Aquatic Survival Swim – Non-Walkers

This 6-week program teaches infants to roll over from a face down or submerged position onto their backs to relax and breath. Lessons are 15 minutes, one-on-one, four days a week.

Monday–Thursday  ▶  November - December ▶ Register

Monday–Thursday  ▶  January ▶ Register 

Monday–Thursday  ▶  February ▶ Register  

Monday–Thursday  ▶  April ▶ Register  

Infant Aquatic Survival Swim – Walkers

This 8-week program teaches toddlers the swim-float-swim sequence. Children will learn to swim a short distance with their face fully submerged, roll onto their back, float and rest whenever they need to breathe, and to flip back onto their tummy to continue to swim to safety while fully clothed. Lessons are 15 minutes, one-on-one, four days a week.

Monday–Thursday ▶  November - December ▶ Register

Monday–Thursday ▶  January ▶ Register  

Monday–Thursday ▶  March ▶ Register 

Infant Aquatic Survival Swim  - Advanced

This program is a continuation of the Infant Survival Swim Program and teaches the swim-float-swim sequence.  Lessons are 30 minutes long, twice a week (Monday - Thursday) or once a week on Saturdays.   Limit 5 per class. 

Monday–Thursday  ▶  November - December ▶ Register

Saturdays  ▶  Monthly ▶ Register

Monday & Wednesday  ▶  Monthly ▶ Register 

Tuesday–Thursday  ▶  Monthly ▶ Register 

Aquatic Programs-Youth

Junior Dolphins

This program is designed for students who want to be on the Dolphins swim team.  The ideal student has gone through several rounds of swim lessons and is looking for more of a challenge. Students learn starts, flip turns, and swim team workouts.

Saturdays ▶ 12 - 1 p.m. ▶ Register 

KU Sensory Enhanced Aquatics

Children with autism spectrum disorders are taught traditional learn-to-swim methods combined with sensory strategies matched to their unique needs. University of Kansas Medical Center health professionals teach the swim lessons. Individual and small-group lessons are available.

Thursdays ▶ Register 

MJ's Kids

Mary Jo Keller works with children specifically focusing on strokes and stroke development.  These classes meet twice a week for 30 minutes at a time.  The instructor and guardian will determine times and days that work best for them.


Punch Pass Program ▶ Register at Merriam Community Center Welcome Desk 

MJ's Spring Swim Clinic

This swim clinic is designed to prepare your child for the summer swim season. This class meets once a week and had three times to choose from.

Sundays ▶  Register  


This class is for advanced swimmers ages 5–8 years old. Kids will learn correct freestyle breathing, streamlines, backstroke, and other swim techniques. They will spend 45 minutes on instruction and 15 minutes playing games. Choose two days per week Monday - Thursday or Saturday. 

Monthly ▶ Register 

Craft Workshop

Build-a-Plush Workshop

Join us during out Build-a-Plush Workshop where you'll create your own huggable, loveable, stuffed animal to take home! Each kit includes an animal of your choice, a wishing star to go inside your plush, stuffing, a birth certificate, and a bag to take your new friend home in. Fun for all ages! Register and choose your animal by Jan.17.  Instructor: Nagle

Saturday, Feb 12 ▶  1-3 p.m.  ▶   Register  

Kids DIY: Earth Day Upcycled Crafts

Make everyday Earth Day! Drop your kids off for this earth-friendly upcycling craft session. Kids will make several functional art projects using recycled materials. All supplies provided. Instructor: Berg

Saturday, April 23  ▶  9:30-11a.m. ▶  Register  

Dance Classes

Toddler & MeTippi Toes Logo

Toddlers will learn gross motor and fine motor skills through the art of dance.  Music, movement, balance and basic dance steps are introduced in a fun, friendly, and positive manner.  Teachers will keep the music and curriculum moving along while parents take an active role in encouraging, supporting and keeping the little dancer on track.  Instructor: Tippi Toes

Wednesday  ▶  Jan 5 - Mar 30   ▶ 9 - 9:45 a.m.  ▶ 18 months - 3 years    ▶   Register   Contact

Elementary BalletTippi Toes Logo

This is a great class for the growing dancer who's ready for a bit of challenge while still enjoying a fun and supportive atmosphere. Time is spent on technique development and barre exercises in our high-energy, encouraging, and no-pressure class environment. No previous dance experience required, and all skill sets are welcome.  Instructor: Tippi Toes

 Wednesdays  ▶  Jan 5 - Mar 30   ▶ 10 - 10:45 a.m.  ▶ 5 - 12 years    ▶   Register   ▶ Contact

Preschool Ballet / Tap / JazzTippi Toes Logo

This dance class incorporates dance styles such as ballet, tap, and jazz techniques while also encouraging self-expression and creativity.  High-energy music is used throughout the class to get dancers moving, using their imagination and having fun!  Instructor: Tippie Toes

Wednesdays  ▶ Jan 5 - Mar 30   ▶ 11 - 11:45 a.m.  ▶ 3.5 - 6 years    ▶   Register   ▶ Contact


Calling all gamers! Whether you're a noob or a pro, you can join leagues with friends and compete in your favorite games, including but not limited to Mario Kart, Rocket League, and Super Smash Brothers.  We'll crown one local esports champ and give away cool prizes!

 Interested? Here are the details:

  1. Download the free app and join Merriam Parks and Recreation to follow our esports program
  2. Register for open leagues in your favorite games, suggest new ones, and invite your friends!
  3. Chat and compete with league mates, view your schedule, and check standings each season
  4. Registration closes on Dec 20. 
  5. Leagues begin the first week of January.

$10 for each league

 After you download the app…

  • Create your profile
  • Join an organization (Search for Merriam Parks and Rec)
  • Register for a league(s) in a game you own and play!
  • Invite your friends!

 Each week, you should…

  • Check the app for your next matchup (“View Matchup!”)
  • Chat with your league members (League Lobby) or your opponent (“View Matchup!”)
  • Reschedule your game if necessary (“Postpone”)

On game day…

  • Go online/meet up for your game at your scheduled time
  • Play your game on your console or PC
  • Afterwards, submit your score in the app (“Add Score”)
  • Start practicing for your next game!

If you want us to create a specific league for you and your friends (min of 4 people).  

Contact Renee Nagle 913-322-5550



Fitness and Sports

Aiki Kids Child/Parent Fundamentals

This class is designed to strengthen bodies and relationships through sweat, smiles, and laughter. Your child will learn basic ki-aikido self-defense and ki-meditation techniques. Parent participation is encouraged but not required. Instructor: Patchen (1st degree) 

Tuesdays   ▶   4:30–5:20 p.m.   ▶   Register 

Jump-Start Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a fun and safe way for children to begin developing confidence and coordination. Lesson plans are specifically designed to introduce new tumbling skills in each class, focusing on improving balance and flexibility. Recommended for kids ages 5 to 10. Instructor: Wills, USASF Certified

Tuesdays   ▶    6:15 - 7 p.m.   ▶   Register

Kawaii Kids Martial Arts

Kawaii is a popular Japanese term meaning cute.  While it's kawaii to view kids in uniforms, it's also rewarding to see them learn practical street smarts.  Kids will learn how to become more aware of their surroundings in this fun, proven  method for children of all ages.  Children 4 years old must be accompanied by a guardian.  Instructors: Chambers (6th degree) / Durán (2nd degree)


Saturdays   ▶   11 a.m. - Noon.   ▶   Register 

Kids/Teen Swordsmanship & Weapons

Learn martial arts based on universal weapons, focusing on combat fighting using sticks, staffs, swords, etc. Students will also learn unarmed combat techniques. All weapons are padded, and protective gear is provided. Instructor: Miller

Monday and Wednesday   ▶   5 - 6:30 p.m.   ▶   Register 

Move With Me

Enjoy a special time with your child as you guide them through stretching, tumbling, balance, coordination circuits and so much more with Coach Wills.  You'll look forward to seeing new friends each week! Instructor: Wills, USASF certified

Tuesdays  ▶  5 -5:30 p.m.  ▶   Register 

Tumbling for Tots

Gymnastics is a fun and safe way for children to begin developing confidence and coordination. Lesson plans are specifically designed to introduce new tumbling skills in each class, focusing on improving balance and flexibility. Recommended for kids ages 3 to 4. Instructor: Wills, USASF Certified

Tuesdays  ▶ 5:30 - 6:15 p.m.   ▶   Register 

Soccer Shots

Mini: 2 - 3 years oldSoccer Shots Logo

Soccer Shots Mini is a high-energy program introducing children to fundamental soccer principles such as using their feet, Dribbling and basic game rules.  Through fun games, songs, and positive reinforcement, children begin to experience the joy  of playing soccer and being active.  

Saturdays   ▶   Jan 8-Feb 26   ▶   10-11:30 a.m. ▶  Register   Contact

Sundays  ▶   Jan 9-Feb 27   ▶  12-12:30 p.m. ▶  Register   ▶ Contact 

Wednesdays   ▶   Jan 12-Mar 2   ▶   6-6:30 p.m. ▶  Register   ▶ Contact 

Classic: 3 - 5 years oldSoccer Shots Logo

Soccer Shots Classic utilizes creative and imaginative games to focus on basic soccer skills like dribbling, passing, and shooting.  It also highlights a positive character trait each session such as respect, teamwork, and appreciation.  

Saturdays   ▶   Jan 8-Feb 26   ▶   11 - 11:45 a.m. ▶  Register   ▶ Contact  

Sundays  ▶   Jan 9-Feb 27   ▶   6:05 - 6:50 p.m. ▶  Register   ▶ Contact 

Wednesdays   ▶   Jan 12-Mar 2  ▶   6:05 - 6:50 p.m. ▶  Register   ▶ Contact 

premier: 5 - 8 years oldSoccer Shots Logo

Soccer Shots Premier focuses on individual skill, fitness and sportsmanship, providing an opportunity for children to be challenged through fun games and team interaction.  Children are also introduced to competition in a developmentally appropriate manner.  

Saturdays   ▶  Jan 8-Feb 26   ▶   12 - 12:45 p.m. ▶  Register   ▶ Contact 

Sundays  ▶   Jan 9-Feb 27  ▶   7 - 7:45 p.m. ▶  Register   ▶ Contact 

Wednesdays  ▶   Jan 12-Mar 2   ▶   7 - 7:45 p.m. ▶  Register   ▶ Contact

Youth Martial Arts

Learn traditional martial arts techniques in a family-friendly environment with an emphasis on awareness-based self-defense and anti-bullying. Improve discipline, focus, and self-confidence while strengthening the body and mind. Instructor: Wood

Monday, Wednesday ▶ 4:30 - 5:20 p.m. & Saturdays ▶ 12:30-1:30 p.m.   ▶   Register


Preschool Indoor Playground

Too cold to play in the park? Ride and slide with us during Preschool Indoor Playground! Drive, pull, or push your favorite Little Tykes vehicles. Parents must supervise their children during playground time.

Tuesdays   ▶   9:30–11:30 a.m.  
$2/child   ▶   Punch cards available: $10 for 10 visits

Swim Lessons

Swim lessons are all-inclusive and specific for each child’s skill set and include lifesaving and safety techniques. Register your child based on age. For preschool and youth lessons, class levels are used to ensure your child is successful. Children are evaluated at the beginning of each session and placed in the appropriate class level. Children should be able to work with an instructor and participate in swim lessons independently and willingly.

Parent/Child: 6 months–2 years

This lesson is designed as an introduction for parents and children alike. Learn safety tips while your child becomes familiar in the water and picks up basic water movement taught through songs, dances, and other fun forms of teaching. This class takes place in the indoor therapy pool. Parents must be in the water with their children.

Saturdays   January ▶   Register 

Saturdays   March ▶   Register 

March classes ▶   Register 

April classes ▶   Register 

May classes ▶   Register  

Preschool: 3–5 years old

Your child will learn basic water safety skills while also growing more comfortable in the water. Students will learn how to safely enter and exit the water, blow bubbles underwater, float, kick, and work on arm movements. 

Saturdays   January ▶   Register

Saturdays  March ▶   Register  

January classes ▶   Register 

February classes ▶   Register 

March classes  ▶   Register  

April classes ▶   Register 

May classes  ▶   Register 

Youth 1: 6–8 years old

Beginning swimmers are introduced to basic stroke movement and will learn how to be more comfortable in the water. More advanced swimmers are instructed in stroke technique, endurance, and safety skills. 

Saturdays   January ▶   Register 

Saturdays  March ▶   Register  

January classes ▶   Register 

February classes ▶   Register

March classes ▶   Register

April classes ▶   Register 

May classes ▶   Register 

Youth 2: 9–12 years old

More advanced swimmers are instructed in stroke technique, endurance, and safety skills. 

Saturdays   January ▶   Register

Saturdays  March ▶   Register   

January classes ▶   Register 

February classes ▶   Register 

March classes ▶   Register 

April classes ▶   Register  

May classes ▶   Register    

Adult: 13+ 

Adult lessons are designed to help each participant reach personal goals. Whether you want to be a proficient lap swimmer, learn to float, or acquire water safety skills, instructors will work to ensure your success!  

January classes ▶   Register

February classes ▶   Register 

Private and Semi-Private Lessons

Get four, 30-minute lessons tailored just for you. Available for ages 3+ . $90 for private lessons, $80 for semi-private. Call 913-322-5550 for more information.