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After-School Activities Camps School Breaks

17 Last-Minute SF Bay Area Summer Camps

Itching to get out and active this summer? In-person camps are back and ready for a summer of outdoors and indoors activities. Camps all over the San Francisco Bay Area will open with small group sizes for week-long morning or afternoon camps. Here are some kid-approved favorites!

Coach Ken Soccer Camps

(Ages 4-13) Learn new and exciting soccer skills with Coach Ken. Coach Ken’s Soccer Academy has years of experience helping kids achieve their full potential as soccer players. Their coaches are knowledgeable and passionate about the game. Lessons are age-appropriate, challenging, and fun. All levels are welcome. Camps are available this summer at Cubberley Grass Field and Heritage Oaks Park.  

Mountain Biking Summer Camp

(Ages 8-14) Enjoy 5 days mountain biking and exploring trails. This is for those who want to learn mountain biking skills and is designed to teach basic riding skills, mechanics and very beginning racing skills in a fun, relaxed, and comfortable environment. 

Kids Dojo has enthusiastic, experienced instructors for our unique program dedicated exclusively to mountain biking. Your child will have the opportunity to be challenged, while they grow as a rider and we make sure they laugh and learn. Whatever their level, they will improve their cycling and self-confidence in a safe, fun environment. 

Pottery Wheel Class: Play with Clay

(Ages 7+) Whether you want to create a mug, teapot, or vase; you can make it all! Join “Play with Clay,” where you can learn how to throw on a wheel. All levels are welcome, and 

Materials will be covered, including the use of a pottery wheel, clay, ceramic paint, as well as an in-house kiln to fire your masterpieces!

Way To Go Summer Camp

(Gr K – Gr 8) Our core program, Way to Go, began in the summer of 2001, offering our trademark twice-a-week field trips and swim days in addition to the variety of classes and activities. 

The Way to Go Summer Program is designed to meet the needs of children entering Grades K-10th. Our goal is to provide your child with mentally and physically challenging activities designed to help him/her build character and develop an innovator mind. Way to Go is committed to providing a safe, fun, and HEALTHY environment where children feel a sense of belonging, renewed enthusiasm, and the freedom to share their thoughts and ideas.

Cooking & Baking Camp!

(Ages 6-12) This summer enjoy the fun of how to cook and bake different recipes and eaaaat them!  Gain knowledge and confidence in the lifelong skill of cooking and baking.

Cooking Round the World summer camp immerses a child in cooking and cultural exploration. Each Cooking Round the World camp day we cook and eat 2-3 recipes, read a folktale, play an international/national game, observe a cooking demonstration, and learn to think critically about the foods we just cooked. In the afternoon learn through a slide presentation, play a trivia game, and bake desserts. Fun and yum! 

Books & Boogie

(Pre K – Gr K) Join us this summer for a fun-filled time exploring stories, emotions, and creative expression through movement. Kids will dig into stories that incorporate motion, explore emotions and emotion recognition, experiment with creative and interpretive dance, and build skills in communication and emotional awareness. From oral traditions to improv, kids will learn to express and interpret emotions and their impact in their lives through words, sound, and movement. Get ready to dance and wiggle this week in Books & Boogie! 

Bald Eagle Multi Sports Summer Camp

(Ages 4-11) Join Bald Eagle for a fun and active summer! This “non-traditional” Multi-Sports Camp offers unique games mixed with traditional favorites, all in an atmosphere of inclusion and teamwork.  These activities are engaging for any level of athleticism! 

Bald Eagle Sports Camp believes that everyone can have a passion for an active life. Programming design influenced by our Founders Special Ed & PE degrees makes for a culture that fits EVERY child. With a dynamic and diverse variety of movement activities, campers will finish the week saying “more Bald Eagle!”

Python Programming Camps

(Ages 9-17) Python is a great programming language for programmers of all experience levels. It is well-known and widely used in the software industry for its English-like syntax and elegant simplicity. Developers use Python to design websites, analyze data, and build applications.

Python is a general-purpose, versatile and popular programming language. It’s great as a first language because it is concise and easy to read, and it is also a good language to have in any programmer’s stack as it can be used for everything from web development to software development and scientific applications.

Camps courses are designed in a progressive curriculum, and students can advance from week to week.

Build-A-City In-person LEGO Summer Camps

(Ages 6-8) Would you like to leverage the love of your LEGOs to learn real-life skills and strategies, while building your own LEGO city?

During excitement-packed days, kids are immersed in a highly experiential and collaborative process of building, managing and governing their own LEGO cities. The program leverages your child’s love of LEGOs to help them learn important 21st-century skills and leadership strategies, all while having tons of fun creating civilizations from the ground up. 

Spanish Immersion Summer Camp

(Ages 2-6) Welcome to an exciting cultural adventure camp! All in Spanish! All camps are a sensory experience, designed for the age of the camper and to enhance and strengthen your child’s interest in the world of science, art and nature. 

The natural world is abundant with possibilities for children to explore, discover and investigate, and summertime is a perfect opportunity to explore the outdoors!

Tennis Summer Camp

(Ages 6-14) Boredom is the enemy of summer, so introduce your child to something new this year with an exciting day camp experience. At Euro School of Tennis, we’ll help make your child’s summer action packed on the tennis court. This is a chance to learn about tennis from personalized instructors who can help your child attain new skills in a fun, safe environment. It’s an experience your child will love throughout the summer. 

Full day sessions include swimming and games in the afternoon. Half day morning or afternoon is also available. 

Robot Coding: Lego Robotics and more!

(Gr 3 – Gr 5) Practice coding, building robots, and more with Lego Robotics! Applied Computing Foundation offers a comprehensive programming curriculum for kids from 8 to 18. Beginners can learn programming concepts through hands-on projects. Get ready for the future and connect to the real world through competition experience, product development, and fun robotics projects.

Basketball Camp

(Gr 2 – Gr 5) Learn the fundamentals of shooting, passing, and dribbling at this KidzToPros Sports Camp!

Whether the camper is a first-timer or experienced player, they’ll learn skills that will carry them on to the next level. They’ll end each day engaged, passionate, and motivated for the next day of basketball camp! 

Physics Flyers

(Ages 5-11) Physics Flyers is an Aviation Camp for Grades K-5. Investigate the science of flight with model aircrafts, participate in hands-on experiments in aerodynamics, and simulate real flights. Your child will have opportunities to explore real airplanes and helicopters at the museum. 

Summer Sports Camp

(Ages 4 -12) Make friends and stay active at a fun and inclusive sports camp! GrowFit camp is a safe place for kids to discover new athletic passions. At GrowFit, campers spend 0% of their time on screens and 100% of their time playing sports and having fun. Games and activities are meant for children of all ability levels and interests!

Summer Horse Riding Camp

(Ages 6-14) Learn about horse care: grooming, feeding, bathing and even horse first aid! Saddle a horse, learn about tack, and even explore different styles of riding! You’ll find out interesting facts about the history, evolution and anatomy of the horse while caring for and riding the horse you’ll have throughout the camp session. 

When not riding, you’ll get to play games, make new friends and get crafty! Enjoy other farm activities: Want to help our garden grow? Look for fresh eggs in the chicken coop? Try a fresh tomato off the vine? Chaparral will give you a taste of the country life!

Garden Camp

(Ages 5-11) Explore San Francisco’s botanical garden and all it has to offer in this nature camp! This all-outdoors day camp is designed for children entering 1st through 4th grades. Children will connect to plants through a combination of structured, themed activities and open-ended time to develop curiosity, initiative, imagination and creativity. Themes include gardening, art, wellness, and ecology. Kids have a great time playing outdoors and learning all about the plants and ecosystem.

Find more camps and classes for your kids at ActivityHero >>

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15 Last Minute Summer Activities

Summer can be hectic and hard to plan. If you need to fill a day or just an hour, here are some activities with open registration! All of these activities are available to sign up for just a single day or take on the go to fill any free time in your schedule.

Live Online Activities

Sign up for a weeklong camp or just join the class for a day. These activities run throughout the summer and are the perfect options to sign up for only one day at a time. Try out a class before committing to a week of camp, or schedule one day of camp to fill your time at the last minute.

  1. Coding Camp for Preteens

Get creative with coding! In this 5 day camp, students will learn to code their own games and build a website. Even if you’re not free for the whole week, you can sign up for just a single day! Join the class to work on the topic of the day.

These classes are available in the morning or the afternoon.

2. Storybook Adventures (Ages 4-6)

Calling all storybook lovers! Join us for an interactive storytime offering a variety of diverse characters and zany adventures. 

In this interactive 25 minute class, students will start the session by playing Drama Games that boost self-confidence and build public speaking skills. Following our games, kids are encouraged to share what they see in the story as well as act out different parts of the book. Every storybook adventure ends with a short Fairytale Dance Party! 

3. Virtual Art Camp (Ages 5-17)

Join CD’s Art Studio for a virtual art camp that’s perfect for busy kids! Join for just a day, and choose either morning, afternoon, or a full day of camp. 

The Morning Camp will teach acrylic painting every day. Each day is a different project with new techniques and topics.

Online afternoon camp will teach different art media every day and the material will vary depending on the day, and the media projects will be announced on our website.

4. Cosmo Art Camp (Ages 5-12)

Creative kids love Cosmo’s Art Camp! From Art Projects to Slime Making to Fashion Design , we’ll lead you through the steps to create something new each day. At Camp Cosmo, you’ll get to do the kind of art you love, while you make new artistic friends from across the country. (Parents, you’ll be happy to know that at Camp Cosmo, kids also get a fun exercise challenge every day.)

Join for a full week or any day throughout the week to create wonderful art pieces together.

5. Performing & Creative Arts Camp (Ages 6-12)

This  dance camp meets for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. Flexible online camp sessions allow your camper to take camp on the go and log in from anywhere. 

In this weekly dance camp, students will enjoy a variety of activities from hip hop, acting, crafts, virtual field trips, yoga, and more!

6. Martial Arts & Life Lessons (Ages 5-11)

Family Karate provides fun, fitness, karate, and life skills.  Now your child can enjoy our unique blend of martial arts and character building in our live online classes with a Master Instructor.

They’re here to help your child become even more engaged, strong and optimistic during this unique time.  Grit, resilience and laughter have never been more important than right now.

7. Scratch Coding Intro Class (Gr 2 – Gr 3)

There are many time slots available for this class! Choose the schedule that best fits you. 

In this class, learn the basics of how to use the Scratch coding interface, enjoy programs built by other students, and work together to build a fun game of your own (for many this is the very first program they have ever built. 

Your child will not learn from a machine or video, but will interact with an experienced CS teacher in a small class. Try these free intro classes if you have the time!

8. Science of our Earth (Ages 5-9)

The Art in Science is a unique program developed by a scientist and artist to enrich children’s learning of various scientific concepts. In this program, kids learn science topics with fun and artistic hands-on activities.

In Science of Our Earth, we will learn about our home planet: deep down erupting volcanos up to the atmosphere and everything in between. Interesting, meaningful (and sometimes yummy) hands-on activities will complete every lesson.

9. Intro to Drawing and Painting (Ages 5-8)

For children who are brand new to the art, this is a fun exploratory class perfect for those who are curious and show a keen interest in the visual arts. In a full class course, students will work first on preliminary drawing exercises before moving on to painting. Learn color mixing & painting applications and pick up fun tips the professionals use. 

This class is suitable for complete beginners or for those who have taken a few classes and want more. Try just a single day of class and discover what you can do with art!

10. Cooking and Baking Classes (Ages 5-18)

Chef Meenu has been teaching cooking and baking classes to children and adults for over a decade! From pizza and pasta to chocolate and banana bread, you can learn to do it all.

With eight weeks of virtual summer cooking and baking camps and single day summer weekend classes, you can be sure to find a day to join her classes. 

Summer camps are an hour in duration, with one sweet or savory recipe using Zoom. The children will be cooking as Chef Meenu guides them, observes,  and answers questions.

On-Demand Activities

The on-demand activities can be done at any point of the day! Once you register, you can watch a video or use print outs to do activities from anywhere. These are perfect for families who are on the go and need an activity that they can do any time, any day.

  1. Draw Anna from Frozen

Get instant access to this fun art instruction video taught by a professional artist from the YoungArt studio. Take this easy activity anywhere you want to fill time for an hour!

The lesson will begin with basic shape recognition as we break down Elsa in the sketching phase. The class will then move on to coloring and learn basic shading techniques.

2. Red Panda Painting

Learn how to draw a red panda up close with step-by-step video guidance! This 60 minute video is sure to engage your kids at any point in the day! The class will begin with basic shape recognition during the sketching phase and will then move on to coloring and basic shading techniques.

3. The Joy of Scientific Research

Take the role of a scientist by conducting research to solve a problem! It can be as simple or as complex as you want. In this video activity, learn to set up experiments to answer the questions you’re curious about. 

Look At The Stars offers more on-demand activities to fill your time, including Constellations, Building a Star Finder, Survival on the Moon, and more. 

4. Fashion Drawing Club

Learn how to draw your own fashion figures while learning about history, designers, and fashion trends! Use videos and printables whenever you want with these on-demand activities. Sketch a basic fashion figure or learn to draw facial details in engaging videos.

5. Biome Blitz: Exploring Jellyfish

Dive into Earth’s oceans to explore one of the most fascinating creatures who has been here for over 650 million years! These beautiful invertebrates come in varying shapes, sizes and colors while some even have the ability to glow in the dark. Follow along with this on-demand video to learn about jellyfish and create art! 

Create a craft from Biome Blitz: Oceans Club, where we learn about the Ocean’s Zones and the type of animals that live in each of these zones. Create a submarine porthole, where you’ll be able to see your crafted jellyfish drifting along with the ocean’s current.

Find more camps and classes for your kids at ActivityHero >>

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17 Last Minute In-Person Summer Camps in SoCal

Itching to get out and active this summer? In-person camps are back and ready for a summer of outdoors and indoors activities. Camps all over the LA area will open with small group sizes for week-long morning or afternoon camps. Here are some kid-approved favorites!

Beginner’s Film Writing Class 

(Ages 7 – 18) Script School educates students in skills needed to write and develop professional written material, through one-to-one mentorship or group sessions with other like-minded individuals, arming them with the tools needed to take their stories to the next level.

This 6-hour, one day activity gives students the chance to learn the basics of screenplay writing.  Work through narratives, genres, storytelling, characters and plot points, giving each writer the chance to develop their ideas and write a first draft of their screenplay! 

Girls Leadership & Soccer Camps

(Ages 5 – 13) Girls-only leadership and soccer summer camps are an opportunity for girls of all playing levels! Refine and develop new soccer skills, make friends, and gain exposure to new experiences including dance, artistic expression, and leadership training. Practice soccer in a safe and empowering environment this summer. 

TechKidz: Stop Motion Animation

(Ages 6 – 12) Have a blast with Stop Motion Animation using clay, Legos, whiteboards, cutouts and more! Storyboard ideas, develop plots, and create unique characters as you bring inanimate objects to life! Create a stop motion video and collaborate to tell stories. Each student receives a copy of the collaborative class work at the end of the session.

Spartan Allstars Sports Camp

(Gr K – Gr 1) Stay active this summer with soccer, basketball, swimming, tennis, yoga, and more! Spartan Allstars introduces campers to a broad range of sports and activities, teaches children the value of cooperative team sports and sportsmanship, and encourages individual excellence in an atmosphere of healthy competition. Expert staff modify activities to enhance the individual skill level of both the novice and experienced campers. Special activities are speckled throughout camp to add variety and lasting memories.

Improv Comedy

(Gr 2 – Gr 5) Get the creativity and improvisation skills flowing in KidzToPros popular performing arts camp: Improv Comedy!Campers will practice thinking on their feet, creating artful characters, and telling amazing stories.  KidzToPros offers two weeklong Improv Comedy camps: Character Development Camp and Scene Work Camp. Cooperate with scene partners and tell stories through performances.

STEAMLab: Virtual Reality

(Ages 6-12) Experience a new way of learning through Virtual Reality! Students will build in 3D with kid-friendly creation tools, add interactions with block based coding, and then see their creations come to life in amazing Virtual Reality! With VR, teachers and students are no longer limited by the space of the classroom. Students’ creativity and imagination will be inspired as they explore history, science, the arts, and technology!

Millenium Starship Explorers Camp

(Ages 5-11) Join the DS Jedi Training Academy! Build your own Millennium Starship ready to complete galactic challenges, learn about stars and planets and earn a light-powered science saber. Use Jedi gloves, experiment with your own programmable Bot and explore science sensors! Launch sky-high flying rockets towards Mars to assist Perseverance Rover in it’s 2021 mission. Imagine, invent and use your ‘Ingenuity’ to explore our universe and beyond!

Your summer 2021 Destination Science in person camp experience will have all of the science fun and social friendship your kids have come to expect from summers past, within the guidelines of our COVID-19 safety plan. 

Broadway Camps For Kids

(Ages 3-10) Enjoy these in-person, socially-distanced one-week long musical theatre camps where your child will sing, dance, and learn their own lines. Included is a virtual performance for family and friends at the end of the camp.

Camp themes include The Little Mermaid, Shrek the Musical, Alice in Wonderland, Oliver, and more!

Olympic Games: Science, Art & Outdoor Camp

(Ages 5-10) This camp combines art, science and outdoor challenges that build creative confidence, nurture social development and deliver the big summer fun they crave.

Get fired up to create mixed-media torches or glittering medals to light up the games. Celebrate the Olympic spirit with a range of winning outdoor games.

Tailored by age group, each of our whimsical weeklong themes features engaging hands-on projects, irresistible outdoor games and an immersive environment crafted to capture the imagination.

Robotics – Olympics

(Ages 7-12) Come on back to the studio with anin-person robotics building summer camp. Build robots using LEGO EV3 to compete in our Robotics Olympics. Program your bot to play soccer, solve mazes, climb over hurdles, use sensors to automatically act, amongst other things. As a special bonus, there will be a day-long drone event where your child will learn to program and fly drones in different “Olympic” competitions! Then compete in games against other campers, robot against robot! Which bot will win the gold?

Kids Baking Camps

(Ages 7-14) Come join in the fun and enjoy delicious desserts and baked goods loved by us all.  Learn to create breads, tarts, cookies, cakes, soufflés, and more! Chef Eric and his team will guide your kids through baking all the pastries they can imagine. This camp is the perfect hands-on and interactive baking camp for kids. 

Storytelling and Moviemaking in Minecraft

(Ages 7-14) At Code Ninjas Los Alamitos, kids will gain an understanding of digital modeling processes and storytelling as they build scenes in their own Minecraft® world. They will also be introduced to video recording, editing, and mixing audio as they produce their final stories as short movies. Using Minecraft® as a creative medium, ninjas will have fun expressing themselves and sharing their stories with friends.

Modding in Minecraft

(Ages 9-14) Students learn AP computer science as they dig deep into Minecraft’s source code and program their own modification (mod) using the Java programming language. Students will create powerful teleporting swords, humorous blocks, cool mobs, bows that shoot arrows that summon ender dragons, entire worlds, and other insane items, all through the power of Java programming! 

Perfect for both the beginning coder and the intermediate Java modding aficionado, Code Rev’s modding classes differentiate instruction based on your student’s level of familiarity and provide a mind-blowing curriculum perfect for even the experienced modder.

Funky Divas & Dudes Rockstar Beach Camp

(Ages 4-11) Get funky this summer with our Rockstar Beach Camp! 

FD&D allows kids to express themselves through music and movement, while building self-esteem. Our beach camp is designed to keep kids active, healthy and happy. 

Learn dance routines to your favorite pop tunes, go on silly scavenger hunts, build sandcastles, play in the ocean, make art projects, dress up for theme days, and even take a walk to the Aquarium! 

Got Game Summer Camp

(Ages 4-12) Got Game provides a day camp experience unlike any other by allowing each camper to personally customize their day based on their interests! Activity rotations consist of a variety of options ranging from sports, games, and creative activities such as arts and sciences, theatre, and more!

We have created many “camp-favorites” over the years that our campers love, and we purposefully develop our curriculum with different sets of options and activities, creating randomness to each week – that keeps our campers super engaged! Whether you sign up for one week or all summer long, each week is a new experience!

Fun in the Sun Soccer Camp

(Ages 5-10) Ensure your young soccer star enjoys active fun in the fresh air all summer long with our Fun in the Sun Camp.  Join in on outdoor soccer fun through skill-building games and activities.

Our In-Person soccer camps follow all local and CDC guidelines for safe play. Safety is paramount to our team, and we take our responsibility as your child’s holiday and summer activity provider seriously. Please note that all locations where classes will be held are approved under local guidelines, and each facility or field specifically approved by our executive team to ensure high health standards are met and upheld.

Upstander Kids Anti-Bullying Camp

(Ages 5-13) The Upstanders Evolution Anti-Bullying Camp teaches kids to be their own superheroes! It is an immersive socially aware empowerment program that boosts kids’ self esteem by helping them to discover their inner strengths through a wide variety of different activities. 

Whether it’s team games, meditation, arts & crafts, or self-defense, kids will learn respect for personal space and self-empowerment. 

Prepare kids for the conflicts that may arise with peers or schoolmates. Bystanders empowered by empathy, self-esteem, resilience, and self-defense make the most effective & most efficient Upstanders!

Find more camps and classes for your kids at ActivityHero >>

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The 10 Best Spring Break Camps

Curated by ActivityHero families in your community, here are the most popular go-to online and in-person programs in support of your child’s learning (and your sanity) while school’s out. It’s also just a great opportunity to open their minds to new interests and build skills outside of the traditional classroom walls.

Top 5 In-Person Camps

  1. Horseback Riding 

Learn about horses. From grooming and feeding to bathing and even horse first aid! You’ll find out interesting facts about the history, evolution and anatomy of the horse while picking up some horse lingo, caring for and riding the horse you’ll have throughout the session at Horse Camp.

  1. Outdoor Adventure 

Imagine a camp that gets away from the brick and mortar limits and gives your child a 

world of possibilities. Coyote Kids Adventure Camp encourages outdoor and nature play. With incredibly small ratios and the best caregivers, they treat campers more like family than just standard childcare. 

  1. Wilderness Exploration

Get ready to discover the magical high desert landscape of Sedona and a Secret Mountain Wilderness Adventure! Spend your nights backpacking in stunning red rock canyons, kayak the Verde River, hike to incredible caves, and cool off in spring fed swimming holes. 

  1. All Day Soccer Play

This full-day program is filled with developmental practices, games, competitions and challenges. Challenger Sports’ soccer camp is more advanced and geared toward players looking for a more competitive training environment. 

  1. Aviation Camp

The Hiller Aviation Museum hosts a collection of some 50 different historic aircraft.  

Public and private museum admission, and programs for BSA Scouts and Girl Scouts, are offered periodically throughout the year.  

Top 5 Online Programs

  1. Crafting 

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein’s words are the backbone of every 

Camp Cosmo class, whether its focus is academic, artistic, physical, or social. This program is designed to inspire critical thinking, creative thought and social connections through play.

  1. Performing Arts

Choreography by Rae was founded as a way to help people of all ages amplify their voice through movement. Their motto is anyone can dance, even if you have two left feet. This supportive and inclusive environment provides students with an opportunity to develop a foundation in: Acting, Art History, Culture, Dance (Ballet, Hip Hop, Latin, Jazz), Storytelling, Singing, and more!

  1. Coding

Computer Kids Club is a computer science & academic program of typing, coding, design, math and engineering. Your child will be engaged in activities all while learning the importance of the computer and how it will help them through their school years ahead and eventually in a computer science related field. 

  1. Music

The LA School of Music offers fun and engaging music lessons and classes on piano, voice, and guitar to name a few. All music teachers are professionals with at least a Bachelor of Music. Most have a Master of Music degree. This is a special group of teachers who have been vetted through a competitive interview process for expertise, as well as creativity and fun personality.

  1. Art

Young Art believes in passion, creativity, and the power of education. Their team is committed to inspiring the next generation of young inventors, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs to be bold innovators by providing creative and enriching experiences through hands-on learning. Families are able to select from a variety of classes with modalities including clay sculpture, digital animation, acrylic painting and pencil sketching.

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Camp Trends 2021 White Paper

Introduction

Summer planning during a pandemic has incorporated many more considerations than in years past. As parents and their kids start to determine what to do when school is out in the next few months, here are some key factors ActivityHero has observed in our community of 4 million+ families that may help others start thinking about their plans now.

“This year, families are registering for camps a bit later than usual, but the earliest camp registrations show that families are eager to have kids get outside and be active. We’ve seen a big increase in demand for outdoor specialty camps.”

Peggy Chang
CEO & Co-Founder ActivityHero
Camp Trends Report Based on Q1 2021 data by ActivityHero. 45% of all searched activities are outdoor. Horseback riding and biking classes are filling quickly.

01. 45% of All Searched Activities are Outdoor

Parents want their kids outside. Many continue to struggle with balancing the “new normal” distance learning paired with increased screen time. Outdoor Activities and Non-Contact Sports have much more interest this year, contributing to most of the search inquiries happening on our platform. Horseback Riding and Biking classes, in particular, have been enrolled to capacity with long waitlists. Outdoor Petting Zoos and Outdoor Science Camps also support socially distant learning and have large upticks in popularity too.

Camp Trends Report Based on Q1 2021 data by ActivityHero. Many camps are held at public schools or temporary spaced and these locations are taking longer to confirm this year.

02. Locations

Many camps are held at public schools or temporary spaces and these locations are taking longer to confirm this year. You may see a “TBD address” more frequently, which means that the camp is still working on confirming the exact location.

COVID-Safety: Camps have adjusted many of their programs support their communities and their staff to follow public health guidelines.

03. COVID-Safety

Camps have adjusted many of their programs to support the families in their communities and their staff to follow public health guidelines You may even notice that many have dedicated pages on their websites addressing all the efforts to be taken to best ensure everyone’s safety. Face masks and daily screenings are regularly appearing as requirements with frequent hand washing and sanitizing reminders too

Camp Prices: Camp Trends Report based on Q1 2021 data by ActivityHero

04. Average Session Prices Increased 108%

Average camp session purchase prices have increased from $425 to $888 this year due to longer sessions that have become more common in some areas such as the San Francisco Bay Area. Camp sessions are required to be 3 weeks this summer to support more stable cohorts for COVID-safety. As a result, registrations for 3-week camps have increased by 5,000%, compared to last year.

On the plus side, attending a camp for multiple weeks helps kids make more friends and be more comfortable. 

It also gives them more time to master new skills such as art or coding.

Some camps have the same prices per week in 2021, including:

Camp Trends Report Based on Q1 2021 data by ActivityHero.

05. Updated Cancellation and Refund Policies

Many providers learned from their experiences last year to better apply more manageable and flexible policies this year. Some camps offer credit toward another registration and don’t offer cash refunds. There’s a wide variation of what’s available.

06. More Options for Deposits or Payment Plans

After last year’s unprecedented cancellation of camp, many have adjusted payment policies this year. More flexibility is now being offered as alternatives to only requiring full upfront payments. Families may only have to pay a small deposit to hold their spots. 

This year, 28% of registrations are using a payment plan.

Camp Trends Report Based on Q1 2021 data by ActivityHero.

07. Fewer Add-on Options

Extended care availability may also be limited for the same reasons. Based on ActivityHero’s community, we see a 25% reduction of this offering compared to last year.

Some camps offering extended care in 2021, include:


About ActivityHero

ActivityHero is the leading online marketplace for kids camps, activities, and after-school classes. Families book activities with one easy registration. Activity providers can claim and customize their listing and use online tools to get new customers.

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Boredom Busters: Interesting New Classes To Try Next Week

Extra curricular activities open kids’ minds to new interests. They help build skills outside of the classroom. They provide a productive break from study. And they open new social opportunities to grow a community. Here are editor’s picks for interesting new classes to try:

Foreign Language

The many cognitive benefits of learning languages are undeniable. People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills.*

Theater Games in Spanish – Beginners

by Rogue Artists Ensemble

Learn Spanish through theatre games and music! We naturally learn language through trial and error and through play. In Theatre Games in Spanish, students learn to communicate in Spanish by playing games and having fun. We strive to joyfully instill a love of language through embodied learning and play.

Grades K – 5

$17/day starting Feb 22

German for Beginners: Singing & Speaking

by Musical Learning

In this fun and musical class, learners explore German greetings, keywords, introduction vocabulary and pronunciation – through music! Learning a language is fun and easy with Ms. Kelsey – let’s sing, dance and color! 

Ms. Kelsey is a professional opera singer and language teacher, and she started Musical Learning in 2016. She has taught German, French, English and ‘Musical Science’ for the past 10 years both online and in person. 

Ages 3 – 7

$100/ 8 session series that meets twice a week starting Feb 22


STEM

Skills attained through STEM education include problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making, leadership, entrepreneurship, acceptance of failure and more.*

Explorations in Quantum Physics

by Electivity Kids

In the first 4 weeks of the session, students learn about the electromagnetic nature of matter and energy, including: Magnetism, Magnetic Induction Electricity, Photons, Solar Energy. In the second half of the session, students are introduced to atoms, subatomic particles and the Periodic Table of Elements (Hydrogen to Xenon). They learn how atoms form molecules, and also learn about the structure of the Periodic Table.  Class content is taught through engaging visual aids, physical demonstrations and thought-provoking discussion.

Grades 5 – 12

$230/ full series, ongoing until March 22

Python Programming 1: Live Online Class

by Kodeclik Online Academy

Python is one of the most feature-packed coding languages ever and today underlies the foundation of many websites, applications, and games.

This fast moving course assumes no prior experience with Python programming but rapidly takes you to high levels of functionality illustrating how you can write your own programs in Python!

Ages 11 – 18

$399 / 16-session series beginning Feb 19

Ancient Greece to Quantum Realms

by Digivations Institute

With An Emphasis on the Homeric epics of The Iliad and the Odyssey, the Milesian School of Thought yielding Thales, Pre-Socratics highlighting Democritus and the Socratic Period illustrative of Socrates Philosophy in the Context of Innovation Ranging from The Theory of Everything to Einstein’s Unified Theory and Quantum Realms.

Digivations Institute has NASA award-winning curriculum and is an ActivityHero Best of 2020.

ages 12 & up

$49/day ongoing until May 25

Curiosity Club S.T.E.A.M. Lab – science & art fun

by Active Art & Science

Join us online for S.T.E.A.M powered fun where you will explore the curious worlds of science, technology, engineering, art and math. Conduct experiments, create art, build, take things apart and enjoy learning how art, science, engineering and technology are connected.

Ages 5 – 10

$96/ 6-session series beginning Feb 22


Homeschooling

Homeschool offers academic flexibility. During these ever-changing COVID times, many families have turned to this option. Try these classes for academic homeschooling and enrichment education!

Martial Arts & Life Lessons

by Family Karate

Family Karate provides fun, fitness, karate, and life skills.  Now your child can enjoy our unique blend of martial arts and character building in our live online classes with a Master Instructor.

In each class we’ll ask you to set a self leadership goal for your children, and in the next class we’ll follow up progress on those goals.

Ages 5 – 11 but fun for the whole family! Try it as a stress reliever!

$10/day trial classes or $20/day regular price ongoing throughout spring

First Grade Curriculum! Homeschooling 101!

by Homeschool Academy

This is a great introductory trial for parents thinking about homeschooling their kids.

In this curriculum which follows the Common Core State Standards, we dive into EVERYTHING your child should learn in First Grade WOW! See below for a snapshot of some of the covered content. In previous classes on different platforms– parents would RAVE how their child would not be able to read at all prior to Mrs. Hendricks Academy and by the end of the curriculum- they were reading whole sentences, creative writing on their own and excelling. 

Ages 4 – 8

$7/class. Special discount available $145/month

Princess Story Time Ballet Dance Camp

by Lovely Leaps

Each week we will have a different princess joining the class. After the princess arrives the children will perform their dance while the princess sings, Then they will sit with their favorite toy while the princess reads a fun book! After story time the children will have a chance to each personally interact with the princess! It’s not everyday your child will get to have a virtual Disneyland experience! 

Ages 3 – 6

$17/day starting March 4


Tired of online classes? Try a fun Lego® course:
Amusement Park LEGO® Engineering

by SNAPOLOGY OF LOS GATOS

We bet your child loves going to amusement parks to experience the variety of fast, dropping, and spinning rides, but have they ever thought about the science that goes into building those rides and the people who are responsible for designing them? In Snapology’s Amusement Park Engineering class, students will become engineers building their own amusement park rides like roller coasters, Ferris wheel , Bumper Car and other awesome rides!! 

Snapology of Los Gatos serves Almaden, Camden, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Cupertino.

Ages 5 – 12

$150/ 4-session series starting Feb 24

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After-School Activities Parenting Resources Sports

Using Flexible Spending Accounts & Tax Credits for Summer Camps and After School Activities

Flexible spending accounts (FSA) can be a great way to reduce your taxes while you spend on child care. You can use money from your FSA to pay for summer camps and after-school activities. Certain after-school activities and care expenses are covered as well. If your company doesn’t offer an FSA, you can also cover some of the costs of camp and child care with the child care tax credit.

There are a few stipulations to consider, one being that only kids under 13 years old are covered. Only day camps are covered, not overnight camps, and both parents must be working or attending school full-time. Also, the same expenses cannot be covered by FSA and the child care tax credit. The child care tax credit covers only a percentage of child care costs and varies between 20-35% depending on your household income. If your adjusted gross income is over $43,000, your child care tax credit is limited to 20%. 

Other key points you should know about the tax credit:

  • Expenses are deductible only if the main purpose is the “person’s well-being and protection.” Summer school, private school tuition, tutoring and overnight camps don’t qualify.
  • Day care centers or after-school care qualifies if only if the center complies with all state and local regulations.
  • There is a maximum yearly dollar amount of $3000 for one child, or $6000 for two or more children.

Are online classes and camps eligible for FSA or tax credit?

In 2020 and 2021, many more families enrolled their kids in an online course or virtual camp. Unfortunately, some FSA’s are not approving online courses as an eligible dependent care expense because the parents were at home during the course and thus providing child care.

IRS publication 503 says “Expenses are for the care of a qualifying person only if their main purpose is the person’s well-being and protection.” One FSA administrator states in a recent notice that an online platform with audio and visual functions satisfies the requirement. But some FSA plans state that if the parents are at home, then the parents are providing care for the child. 

If I paid for a camp in 2020, but we attended in 2021, what year is my expense tax deductible?

If you paid for camp in one year, but your kids did not attend until the next year, you would count expenses in the year your kids attended. 

How can I get the EIN number for the camp or class provider?

When you register on ActivityHero.com, your registration confirmation email will include the EIN and other information you need to claim your tax credit or use your FSA funds. 

Please keep in mind that we know a fair bit about summer camps and kids activities, but we are NOT tax experts. There are additional restrictions to this tax credit, so read IRS publication 503 carefully or consult your tax advisor before claiming the tax dependent care credit.

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After-School Activities Cartooning Cooking Crafts Crafts Creative Arts Drawing and Painting Featured Posts Holiday Break Camps On-Demand

Best Free On-Demand Activities: Printables and DIY for Kids

On-demand classes and activities for your child are a great option when you need an activity at any time of day. ActivityHero provides a wide variety of on-demand content that can be used at any time, free of any cost! Here are our favorite free, on-demand options.

See All Free On-Demand Classes, including art, science, coding, music, and more >>

On-Demand Art - Learn to draw funny llamas!

Pixar in a Box: The Computer Science Behind Movies

What’s your favorite movie – Cars, Frozen, or maybe The Avengers? Did you know that computer technology is behind the making of all of your favorite movies? This video shows children exciting state-of-the-art technologies and how they are applied in the real world!

On-Demand Art Classes for Kids - Learn to Draw a Great White Shark with watercolor and colored pencils on ActivityHero

Nutrition: Let’s Make a Stir Fry

This class will focus on (1) a review of the basics of nutrition, and (2) how to use the five food groups to create a healthy, well rounded, delicious meal. Some of the student activities will include (1) preparing their own individual menu for a stir-fry (2) watching Dr. Mary cook a nutritious stir-fry, and (3) several choices of posters to create.

Draw your own home alone battle plan. Free on-demand from Stanford Library Map Collections

How to Make a Solar Oven

Have fun baking a dessert with your kids and learn some science at the same time with this DIY Solar Oven by Beau Coffron, in partnership with Home Depot. All you need is an old pizza box and a handful of tools and materials. In just a few easy steps, you’ll have created an innovative solar oven!

On-Demand Art Class with Young Rembrandts

Hour of Code – Learn JavaScript

Learn how to code with Javascript in Classroom Antics’ easy-to-use web interface and self-guided lessons. Progress through fun online coding activities at your own pace. Complete up to 9 lessons (one hour each). Lessons feature fun projects such as creating an facetracker, eclipse simulation, greeting card, snapchat filter, community map and more!

Learn inkscape by drawing a winter holiday card. On-demand art classes for kids.

Free French Class for Kids!

Join Madame Barbara from Springs French Music Lingua for a fun introductory class and learn the Itsy Bitsy Spider in French.  This is a 22-minute previously recorded live online class.  Download the coloring page for additional reinforcement of the French vocabulary.

Peter Max Art with Young Rembrandts

Music Reading Tutorial with KidzKeys!

Ms. Emily will show students how to read the musical staff and place colorful stickers on your piano or keyboard (Printable Download Included!).

Peter Max Art with Young Rembrandts

Making the Perfect Pie Shell

In this FREE video you’ll learn how to make the perfect pie shell.  You’ll learn how to create pie dough and then how best to roll out out and form it into a pie pan.  This lesson is for a pie shell for sweet pies.  The method can be used for quiche and tart shells by changing just a few ingredients.

Learn Inkscape By Making a Winter Holiday Card

In this on-demand class you will learn the basics of Inkscape while creating your very own winter theme card.  We’ll learn how to create a basic winter scene, including how to make some basic evergreen trees, snow flakes, and form a snow man. You can print and use the card you create as a holiday card, or a card to bring in some winter time cheer.

Draw your own home alone battle plan. Free on-demand from Stanford Library Map Collections

Free Winter Coloring and Sudoku Sheets

Choose from a collection of free Winter and Holiday themed coloring sheets and Sudoku printables! These are great for long car rides or for the whole family to enjoy.

See All Free On-Demand Activities >>

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After-School Activities On-Demand Online Learning School Breaks

5 Fun Alternatives to Family Movie Night

Have you watched every family-friendly movie on Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus? Memorized every scene of Trolls World Tour? Eaten your body weight in popcorn? No judgement here – it’s been a long year! 

Here are five alternatives to Family Movie Night at home that are just as fun!

Take an Art Class together:

There is something therapeutic about drawing or painting after a long week of work or school, even if you aren’t really an artist! On-demand art classes fit into your schedule and are fun for the whole family.

See All On-Demand Art Classes >>

Bake up a sweet treat

What’s better than a weekend night decorating cookies or cupcakes? Not only is it super fun, but you get a tasty reward at the end. Make it even more entertaining by creating a theme or game to your decorating – whether it’s Disney characters or seasonal holiday themes. On-demand cooking or baking classes are a good way to learn new skills together in the kitchen, too.

See All On-Demand Cooking & Baking Classes >>

Experiment with Science

Learn weather science with Engineering for Kids of Kern

Change the perspective that science is all academic and boring. Getting hands-on with STEM projects at home with your kids can be fun for all ages. Instead of learning about weather science in a book, create clouds in a jar and queue the “wow, that’s so cool”. On-demand STEM activities are available for most ages and can be enjoyed as a family.

See All On-Demand STEM Activities >>

Build something together

Roll up your sleeves and spend some quality time building something together. Working on a project as a family is a great way to connect and have conversations with your kids in a low-pressure environment. The best part is you will have a tangible item to remind you of the time you spent together. 

Free DIY Birdhouse Activity with Home Depot

Get Crafty

On-Demand Girl Scouts Workshop: Pumpkin Crafts with Discover Science Center

If you have movie fatigue, break out the craft supplies. Instead of watching your kids favorite characters sing on-screen for the 2,536th time this year, create puppet versions of Poppy and Branch and have your kids put on a show! Or, use the time together to decorate for any seasonal holiday or make special gifts for family.

See All On-Demand Craft Activities >>

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Academics After-School Activities Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Sports Super Activities for Super Kids Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

5 Organizing Hacks Perfect for Back to School






Prepping for back-to-school means juggling after-school activities and loads more stuff. These 5 organization hacks will keep your family organized and ready for anything.

By Jillian Chamberlain

happy girl with organized folders

Where are my shin guards? Did you sign that permission slip? I can’t find my sheet music!  When you’re trying to get kids out the door and to their after school activities, time is at a premium. Taking a few minutes now to modify your organization process can help streamline things when you’re in a rush. Here are some of our favorite ideas from parents and caregivers who’ve been there, organized that.

1. “Stuff Station” — The One Place to Keep Everything

Photo Credit: IAmNotTheBabysitter.com

There’s so much to keep track of during back-to-school season, it gets overwhelming. When school is back in session, so are all of those music lessons, soccer practices, and martial arts classes. As parents of active children, you are guaranteed to be dealing with more STUFF. How do you keep it all straight and teach your children to be responsible for their things on any given day? Keep it all in one place, and color-code it! Your kids’ activity station can come in many different shapes and forms, but here is one ‘stuff station’ idea we thought was appealing to the eye and highly functional. Check out this and more organization hacks from IAmNotTheBabysitter.com

2. There’s a Bag for That

Source: Momtastic.com

Once you create a ‘stuff station’ for homework, permission slips and projects are sure to add a hook for an after-school activity drawstring bag. If you have a child with a lot of various interests, consider making an individual drawstring bag that is designated as the one place to keep any and all equipment for each sport or lesson. On Mondays and Wednesdays, your child knows to grab the yellow drawstring bag with their shin guards and cleats for soccer. On Thursday the red bag is ready at the door for martial arts. Momtastic.com has a great DIY tutorial for customizable drawstring bags. So simple!

3. Car Homework Station

Homework happens. If there’s one thing to dread with the start of the new school year, it’s the renewed battle over nightly homework assignments. Convincing kids to sit down and do their work is one of the hardest parts of a parent’s job. One way to get them excited about homework is a comfortable and creative space dedicated to them…even if that is in the car. Consider creating a homework station in the car so that your little ones can knock out some homework while you’re on the road.

4. After-School Snacks on the Go

Kids start school relatively early in the morning each day. That means a big gap between lunchtime and after-school snack time. Kids need to refuel, and every parent knows how difficult it can be dealing with cranky, “hangry” youngsters. StuffedSuitcase.com has made it easy to steer clear of junk foods and other unhealthy quick fixes by gathering some easy-to-assemble snacks to keep ready in the car. After-school snacks can be healthy, fun and mobile!

5. Organize Your After-School Schedule, Too!

Searching ActivityHero on a phoneActivityHero can help you find local activities that work with your child’s calendar — and nurture his or her interests! Whether your child likes to dance, sports, outdoor recreation, music, or computers, ActivityHero makes browsing and registering easy.

Getting organized is about clearing the space and time for your family members to meet their needs and find focus, in whatever way works for you!

Search for after-school classes near you >>

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After-School Activities Classic Guitar Drums Flute Guitar Music Music Theory Piano Rock Saxophone String Trumpet Violin Voice Wind

7 Ways Music Lessons Help Kids Excel






Looking to avoid summer brain drain? A music-loving mom shares her personal research into 7 impressive benefits associated with music lessons. Drumroll, please!

By Katie Femia

One, two, three, four … With all of the counting and time signatures, it makes sense that learning a musical instrument can help strengthen a child’s ability to do mathematics and problem-solve. Years of research have borne that out. But what about socially? Emotionally? Physically? Personally? It turns out that music lessons can be an effective way to help children grow in all of these areas, too.

My own daughter began playing the piano at the age of nine. It was something she had asked us to sign her up for after she received a keyboard for Christmas the year prior. She was at the age where we expected more responsibility from her, and we were also looking for an effective way for her to channel her feelings. Music lessons have helped her in both of those areas. Being able to use her hands to create something beautiful is a therapeutic experience for her. Working with her instructor and practicing at home means she has developed more discipline and motivation to excel. As her lessons continue I am seeing growth in other areas of her life as well.

Here’s a medley of the amazing benefits that can come when children take up an instrument.

1. Improved Memory

Whether your child is memorizing the alphabet, multiplication tables, or Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, they will need to be able to focus on the information and store it in a retrievable manner. Music reinforces memory in the sense that it requires the child to memorize notes along with hand/mouth movement, turning the information into a tune. Using this part of the brain often to store and recite information is important, and music lessons continue to put memorization skills into practice.

2. Stress Relief or Prevention

Artforms are a wonderful way for children to express themselves while relieving tension at the same time, and music is no exception. The hands-on experience, the practice of manipulating the instruments, and the sound of the music that is created can all help put children at ease–especially after a long day at school.My child’s music school even has a school outreach program where kids with special needs are given musical instruments to play as a form of therapy.

3. Better Focus

Traditional classroom learning typically involves long periods of sitting still and concentrating, which can be a challenge for children. Music lessons can help children improve their focus, as their concentration and attention to detail is important when learning a tune. Improved attention leads to mastery of the tune and progress on to the next one. The positive feelings that result from this accomplishment strengthen their desire and ability to focus on goals related to the classroom.

piano-lessons-for-kids

4. Fine Motor Skill Development

Fine motor skills–for example, tasks that are done with the fingers–typically require hand and eye coordination. Learning to play a musical instrument can help strengthen a child’s fine motor skills, which can come in handy in the classroom when the child writes (in print or cursive), paints, cuts, measures, glues, and so on.

5. Enhanced Self-Esteem

When a child becomes familiar with playing a musical instrument, they can feel a great sense of pride in their accomplishment. As they realize that they can entertain others and even evoke emotions through their performances, their confidence may grow even more. Every child wants to feel like they are good at or successful at something, and music lessons give them the chance to do that … and then treat others with their talent. The resulting self-esteem follows that child throughout their school day and throughout their life.

6. Lessons in Accountability

My daughter’s piano lessons are an intense 30 minutes in length, so it is important she is ready with her music sheets, notebook, and a sharpened pencil in hand when the lesson begins. She knows that stopping to find any of these items during the lesson would take away from valuable class time. The “homework” assigned by music instructors can also help create accountability in kids. At home, kids learn to make decisions on how to allocate their time to prepare for the next lesson. Children who take music lessons can carry this skill of accountability over to their classroom life, where deadlines for homework and classwork need to be met.

7. A Sense of Responsibility

Whether you decide to rent or own your child’s instrument, you will find it does not come cheap. Caring for the instrument properly is essential to protect your investment. Music lessons teach your child to be responsible for cleaning, caring for, and storing their instrument properly. The habits kids learn in music lessons can translate into increased responsibility for their school supplies, homework, and even their actions.

Consider music as a summer enrichment activity which can prepare your child to succeed in the classroom when the next school year rolls around. There are options for every budget and level of experience, so do some exploring and what might interest your child! Find summer music camps near you at ActivityHero.

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After-School Activities Parenting Resources Sports Super Activities for Super Kids

Fun Columbus Day Camps in the San Francisco Bay Area






Columbus Day & Indigenous People’s Day is coming up and you know what that means… kids have a long weekend and are looking for something to do! Skip the TV and the mall this year and give them a new and exciting experience. From sports to coding, there are many school holiday camps for your kids in the San Francisco area.

Does your school has the whole week off? You can find week-long October break camps too.

Adventure Camps

In San Francisco: Adventure Camps is a unique mobile day camp for children for kids 4 years and older. For over 45 years, the Adventure Camp staff takes kids on a different adventure each day to create a fun, learning experience. View Adventure Camp Columbus Day schedule for more information and pickup spots.

Camp Bladium

In Alameda: Bladium, the sports complex in Alameda, offers a day camp and specialty sports camps for Columbus Day and other school holidays. Children can experience a wide variety of games and activities: Rock Climbing, Basketball, Dodgeball, Karaoke, Kickball, Arts and Crafts, Laser Tag, Cheerleading, Soccer, Lego®. Ages 5-14. See schedule for Columbus Day camps.

AYSO Soccer Camps

In San Mateo, Foster City and other locations: AYSO Soccer Camps have full day and half day camps to keep kids active and practice soccer skills. Different programs for different ages and soccer abilities. See locations and Columbus Day camp schedule. Also full week camps.

Tech Rocks

In San Francisco and San Mateo: Tech Rocks reinforces kids’ technology skills and extends their digital knowledge in a full-day format. Kids learn multimedia, game design, web development and app development as well as basic computing skills. See the schedule for October school holidays camps.

CD’s Kids Art Studio

In San Jose: Kids use different art mediums to express their unique creativity. Paper mache’ animals, glass mosaic stepping stones, fused glass art, woodwork, and painting are some of the kids’ favorite projects. Open for San Jose school breaks and holidays.

<< See all October school holiday camps for Columbus Day, October Break and Indigenous Peoples Day.

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After-School Activities Guest Posts

Moving Your Family to a New Town? Don’t Forget To…






Moving your family to a new town? Here’s a simple tip to help your kids transition smoothly and make connections in your new community.

Guest Post by Jaime Hollander

moving
Photo by AJ Brustein

You know the reasons activities, teams and other extracurriculars are good for your kids. From getting healthy to boosting creativity to encouraging teamwork, there are countless perks to integrating structured activities into your children’s lives. But, when you’re moving your family — especially from the city to suburbia — hands-on activities become even more important to their short- and long-term happiness and success. Even before your move, you can sign up your child up for a club, encourage him to join a team, or enroll her in a fun class to help ease the transition — and, above all, help your child make meaningful connections in their new community. Here’s why your moving checklist should include an activity sign up (or two…):

See a List of Camps & Classes Near You >>

#1. They’ll make friends fast

This one’s a no-brainer. Kids who participate in activities, clubs and teams tend to have an easier time making friends and connecting with their peers. Post-move your child is likely feeling unsure — there’s a new home, a new street and possibly a new school. Integrating him into an activity he’s excited about will help his personality shine through and enable him to make fast friends with other local kids. And the quicker his schedule is filled with playdates, birthday parties and his go-to activities, the happier he’ll be — and the happier you’ll be!

#2. Activities foster independence

Many preschool- and elementary-aged kids get a little extra clingy post-move — and it’s easy to see why. Everything feels different, especially if you’re moving from the city to the suburbs. Enrolling in an activity will help your child regain her independence by encouraging risk-taking, bolstering confidence and, simply, separating her from Mom and Dad, if only just for an hour or so. As she starts to feel more and more comfortable in her post-move universe, she’ll start easing into other aspects of your new neighborhood and be an all-around happier, spunkier kid!

#3. They may be feeling stressed post-move
Your move was, no doubt, stressful for you — but, chances are, it was also stressful for your children. Older kids may stress about making new friends or starting in a new school. If kids are younger, though, their stresses may be off your radar. Something as simple as sleeping in their own room or feeling overwhelmed in a big backyard can cause a preschooler or kindergartener serious stress, even though these may be the very reasons you moved in the first place. Getting your kids into an activity ASAP can help them work out their worries while boosting their self-esteem and self-confidence.

#4. Activities support academic success

Many families make a big move during the preschool years, and that means “real school” — AKA kindergarten — is right around the corner. While this is a major change for every family, kids who are new to a community may feel added stress or pressure. Creative and physical activities — art classes, music lessons, sports teams — have been shown to increase academic and intellectual pursuits, even in the youngest learners. By helping kids deal with challenges and teaching them to think outside the box, activities can have a major impact on your child’s in-school success. Especially on the heels of a move — and especially if your child is feeling unsure about that all-important first day of school — these activities can be the boost he needs to have an A+ year.

#5. You’ll get a taste for the town

Another perk to activities and classes? They let you and your kids get a feel for a community before you make the move. Many centers, studios and gyms offer a free trial class or low-cost drop-in option for first-timers — use that to your advantage! Drop in to a few different classes or activities and let your child get the lay of the land while you use that time to chat with fellow parents and learn more about the town and the people who live there. And, who knows? Your child could wind up loving the activity and you could wind up loving the town!

If you’re making a move or, even, just considering a community, be sure to add “activities sign up” to your moving to-do list. The faster you get your kids into activities, clubs and teams the better your family’s transition — and your kids’ happiness and well-being — will be, and the quicker you’ll be able to dig into the community’s goings-on. Happy moving!

See a List of Camps & Classes Near You >>

Jaime Hollander works for The Suburban Jungle Realty Group helping city families in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and more, create their unique path to suburbia. This innovative no-cost advisory focuses on finding the perfect suburb for their clients based on personality and lifestyle, not just real estate. If you’re ready to get started — or are even just exploring! — check out their questionnaire designed to help streamline your suburban search.

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After-School Activities Ballet Contemporary Dance Hip Hop Indian Classical Jazz Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Modern Pointe Tap

Dancing for Kids: Should Your Child Be in Dance Class?






Do your kids know all the latest moves? Want to train in ballet? Yearn to be in musical theatre? Dance classes may be on point. Here, some must-know info.

By Sarah Antrim

See All Dance Classes & Camps>>

modern danceIt’s not too difficult to tell if a child likes to dance. You’ll see them wiggling and swaying to TV theme songs as toddlers. They’ll tap their toes to pop songs on TV — or go into full-out routines in the living room. In fact, it’s probably true to say that most kids will shake their groove thing when they’re little. The question is, “Are dance classes the logical next step?”

If you’re looking for an after-school activity for your child, dance offers plenty of benefits. According to the London-based Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), this activity is perfect for kids who aren’t necessarily drawn to other team sports, but it’s also perfectly wonderful for those who seem to be good at all things athletic. In fact, it can improve flexibility and strength, which may help those kids improve at another sport. Read on to learn more about the perks of enrolling your child in dance classes or a dance camp — and to see the answers to some commonly asked questions from parents.

What are the benefits of dance classes?

According to Berkeley Wellness, dance offers myriad benefits far beyond what you might first imagine. “Dancing provides physical, psychological, and social benefits galore,” says their online article entitled “The Many Health Benefits of Dancing.”

Dance is a fun activity for kids that exercises both the body and mind. In addition to increasing fitness levels, dance classes for kids also help with better posture, creativity, and cultural understanding. It helps improve balance and flexibility. Studies have found that dancing can reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. It can bolster self-esteem. It can help kids achieve and maintain a healthy weight. It provides both cardiovascular activity and weight-bearing activity, so it’s good for kids’ hearts and bones.

It can also open doors to a variety of careers, including more obvious options such as dance teacher, professional dancer, and dance movement therapist (using dance and movement to support physical and emotional health). It also can lead to other careers that support the arts in general or dance specifically, such as a publicist, producer, costume designer, or promoter.
Dancer on Pointe

How do I know if dance is a good activity for my child?

First, consider your child’s personality and interests. Have they enjoyed dancing in the past? Do they ask for lessons? Do they like to watch other people dance? If so, it’s worth trying a dance class or a summer dance camp. A one- or two-week dance camp is a great way for kids (and parents) to figure out if regular dance lessons will be a welcome addition to your regular routine. It can also allow you to check out different studios to find an instructor and location that is a good fit for your kids and your budget.

Many studios allow parents to be present during class or view from a window in the lobby of the studio. If they take an introductory class or participate in a dance camp, watch your child and make sure they are smiling and having fun during class. Dance class can be hard work at times, but it should first be enjoyable.

How do I know if my child is ready to start dance classes?

Some studios will enroll toddlers as young as 3 years old. These may be called Pre-K or pre-ballet classes, or the like. Kids younger than this often lack the attention span and physical strength needed for basic dance lessons. Perhaps your child has friends who are already enrolled in classes or who are planning on signing up. Different studios offer different programs, and they may do a quick assessment to see which class may be a good fit for your child. This decision is best made by talking to the dance school instructors or owners about your child’s personality and level of interest, as well as any concerns and expectations you may have.

What can I expect the costs to be for kids dance classes?

Of course, as with any activity, costs vary depending upon your geographic location and factors affecting the individual studio, such who the instructors are (and what their background and skill level are), as well as how long classes are. Enrolling kids in multiple classes or enrolling more than one family member may bring down your per-class cost.

That said, the website Howmuchisit.org reports that dance classes cost about $40 to $120 per month and are typically held weekly. So the per-class cost will likely be $10 to $30. Private lessons typically cost more than group sessions. The studio may also charge a registration or membership fee.

Also inquire about the dance gear and clothing you’re expected to provide. Some studios have very strict policies about what they expect students to wear. Ballet classes usually require tights and leotards (sometimes in specific colors), while some jazz and hip-hop teachers prefer dance pants, capris, or shorts paired with a tank top, dance top, or fitted T-shirt. You’ll also need to invest in some good dance shoes. Ballet and tap shoes often are available at discount stores, but other footwear like hip-hop and pointe shoes may need to be special-ordered at a dance boutique or online. Prepare to spend $45 to $175 on the outfit and $12 to $60 for a pair of shoes, reports Howmuchisit.org.

Also keep in mind that most studios put on a yearly recital in which you’ll have to purchase a costume, usually averaging around $50 to $75 depending on the studio.

If you’re on a tight budget, ask the school if scholarships are available or if they might be offering a special deal or coupon, such as one that waives the registration fee. You can also look into purchasing dance gear and shoes online or from gently-used children’s clothing stores. Often once you get to know the families at your dance studio, those with kids in larger sizes will offer hand-me-downs to younger children.

What questions should I ask the dance teacher?

Many times the dance studio’s website will list each instructor’s bio, so you might want to check there first. You can also ask to set up a time to talk to the instructor. (They may have very little or no time between classes, so it’s best to arrange an appointment when they’re truly free.)

When you’re face-to-face, ask what the teacher’s background is, including where they studied and what they like to teach. Also find out if their emphasis is on classically training kids in proper technique or if they’re more focused on fun and physical movement. Many places offer a blend of both, but if they know you’d like a class that is heavy on serious technique, they may recommend some specific dance classes for your child.

Also, see what other dance activities the instructor is involved in; some teachers also run a dance camp over the summer or teach at different studios. Or maybe they perform locally. If so, you may want to take your child to a performance to show them what their teacher can do on stage.

Which type of dance is best for my child?

Kids usually get their interest in dancing by seeing it somewhere first. Many girls start out their dance experience with ballet simply because they dream of someday becoming a ballerina. Boys may express an interest in hip-hop or tap initially. Or if your child is seriously pursuing musical theatre opportunities, maybe their directors have suggested specific types of classes to help them pick up choreography for a show.

A good place to start is by showing your child as many different types of dance as possible then observe which appeals to them the most. Take your child to a dance recital or performance in your area and see which numbers hold their attention or pique their curiosity.

If they are still unsure, see if a local studio will allow your child to drop in on a few different classes and decide which is most enjoyable to them. Many studios also offer combo classes such as tap, jazz, and ballet all in one, with the recital numbers utilizing parts of the same outfit in each. For instance, a leotard may come with a ballet tutu, a fringe tap skirt, and jazz pants. This is less expensive than buying three entire outfits. If you enroll your child in a combo class, you might want to ask about recital outfit requirements and costs, especially if budget is a factor.

What other options are there besides studio classes for dancers?

For kids who have found their passion in dance and want a bit more flexibility than an organized class offers, a dance camp might be a good option. Dance camps expose kids to a variety of different dance styles and are also a great way to help shy kids break out of their shell before enrolling in weekly dance classes.

Looking for great dance classes? Check out the top-rated dance classes and dance summer camps on ActivityHero!

Categories
After-School Activities

The After School Bully: What to Do, When to Leave






By Katie Femia

kids-activities
Dealing with a bully can be a stressful and even frightening situation, and it’s one that’s not limited to the school yard. It may not be common, but it’s possible for kids to encounter bullies in after school programs, too.

While all bullying situations are different, approaching them with reason as well as a sense of urgency can help calm and diffuse them, allowing your child to better focus on the tasks at hand. Here are some tips that I have adapted from the anti-bullying protocol that was followed at school during the 10 years I served as a teacher. They are designed not only to help you solve the bullying issue for your child, but also to give your child the inner resources and information they need so they can solve future bullying situations on their own.

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1. Gather plenty of background information

The first step in dealing with bullying is to find out who is involved. You should know the names of the perpetrators as well as all of the children being bullied. You might find out that your child is not the only victim. It is also important to know where the bullying is taking place, such as in a restroom, locker room, hallway, or classroom. This information will be helpful when you talk to the supervisor of the program. So how do you find this out? Encourage your child to talk to you about what is happening. Wait until you are in a space where they feel safe, such as their own home or a favorite restaurant. Gently encourage them to tell you what is happening, who is involved, and how they would like to see the situation resolved.

Also ask what your child has done to solve the issue so far. For example, ask which adults they have spoken to and what actions they have already taken. This can help you best decide where to start when approaching the issue with the after school program’s supervisor. Be sure you take notes as you speak with your child so no detail is missed or overlooked.

2. Give your child options

Even before you are able to discuss the issue with the adult who oversees the program, it is good to give your child some options to use when dealing with bullies. Let your child know that they deserve to feel safe, to be safe, and to enjoy the program — just like the rest of the students. Encourage them to find friends they feel comfortable with and secure with, so they are never alone. (Being alone gives bullies a chance to move in on them.) Make sure your child reports any physical confrontations to an adult staffer immediately and continues to report other bullying behavior as well.

If the bullying is more of the verbal kind, let them know it is okay to walk away. Tell your child that they don’t have to tolerate the behavior. Also work with your child to build their self-esteem: Encourage them to tell you what they love or enjoy about themselves; kids with self-confidence are harder targets for bullies.

3. Meet with the program director

Take the information you now have and meet with the director of the after school program as soon as possible. The staff needs to be made aware of the situation and how it is interfering with your child’s experience in the program. Ask what other complaints about the child have been brought to their attention at this point, and what the director has done to deal with such complaints. Once the information is provided to the director, arrange for a follow-up meeting so you can discuss the progress. This lets the director know you are serious about remedying the situation, and that you wish for there to be not only accountability but also a resolution to the bullying.

4. Observe the after school program

If your child is telling you they are being bullied, it is sometimes wise to spend time observing them at the program. This lets both the staff and the bullies know that you are keeping an eye on the situation. It also gives you a chance to see how the program is operating and how your child is operating within it. Observing can also help you identify children that your child may consider a friend or ally, which you can then encourage a friendship with.

5. Be sure to follow up

Decide when you think a sufficient amount of time has passed after your meeting with the supervisor, then follow up on the situation. First and foremost, meet with your child to see how they feel things are going. Ask if they notice any changes in the bully’s behavior, if they feel more comfortable in the program, and if the bullying has lessened or stopped. Now is also the time to talk to the directors of the program and see what changes have been made to ensure the safety of all of the children in the program.

Hopefully, you will see changes that you are pleased with and your child will decide to continue on in the program. If the bullying is not resolved and the after school provider does not seem to be invested in remedying it, you may want to find another program for your child. If this is the case, it is important to let the staff know the reason for your decision. If they are made aware that people are leaving the program as a result of bullying, they may finally realize how serious the issue is and, at last, take more serious steps to address the problem.

When It’s Time to Leave

Kids find new after school activities for all sorts of reasons. Maybe they don’t mesh well with the group, perhaps they’ve outgrown the program in age or ability, or sometimes they just want to try something new. Whenever you find yourself at this kind of after school crossroads, be sure to let >ActivityHero help you check out the hundreds of options in your area!