Academics After-School Activities Creative Arts Dance Language Music Online Learning Science/Technology Uncategorized

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


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


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


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

Camps Creative Arts Dance Featured Posts Music Performing Arts Play/Outdoor Science/Technology Sports

Bay Area Summer Camp Guide for Kids and Teens

This summer camp guide will help you find camps that fit your kids interests and provide some tips on how to make it easier to plan your summer with the greatest ease. 

Adventure Camps | Best Bay Area Summer Camps at Activity Hero

Bay Area kids benefit from a large variety of summer camps — sports, art, coding, outdoor and specialty camps! Many parents describe the camp planning process as a jigsaw puzzle as they try to fit together multiple kids, friends, and camp schedules. 

At ActivityHero, our mission is to make finding and booking summer camps easier for parents. We’ve put together this summer camp guide to provide an overview of all the top camp categories.

Sports Camps

Sports camps are popular with kids of all ages. Summer is a great time for kids to further explore a sport that they love or try something new. Besides keeping kids active, sports camps help kids learn teamwork and perseverance. Sports camps also tend to be less expensive than other camps. 

Boys and girls love soccer camps, and even in the summer, it’s not too hot in the Bay Area to be on the soccer field. The youngest campers have fun playing games and running off all that extra summer energy. Experienced players benefit from extra instruction during the off season.

Family favorites:
Coach Ken Soccer Camps: “Great staff and great experience for my son and daughter! This was our first year and my daughter who is 6 was interested in playing sports like her 8 year old brother. They both had a great time, learned a lot, and it was a great learning environment for the kids. Can’t wait to go back!”

Basketball camps are great for coordination, exercise and team-building. Campers learn the fundamentals of basketball through games and fun drills. Coaches group children by age and skill level, making it a suitable choice for beginner or advanced basketball players.

Family favorites:
Legarza Sports “My son loved his week at Basketball camp. Good instructors who care about the kids. Drop off and pick up were very easy. He’s excited to return next year.

Dance camps are a great way for artistic children to explore their creativity through a variety of different dance disciplines such as modern, jazz, ballet, hip hop, salsa or even aerial dance.

Family favorites:
Grrrl Brigade “A terrific empowering experience that exposes and teaches your child a wide range of dances, music, positive approaches to thinking and expressing themselves. The “show” at the end of the week is very inspiring and the staff is thoughtful, patient and kind in leading the girls through an impressive array of choreography.”

Multi-sport camps are a good way to give kids a variety of several different sports and outdoor games. Bald Eagle Sports Camp proudly says their multi-sport camp is “known for getting even the laziest kids up and moving…and loving it!” 

Family favorites:
Growfit “The staff at GrowFit are simply amazing. I sent both my kids here during the school break and they had an awesome time. The staff went above and beyond when my son was being called names. I really can’t say enough good things about them.”

Coding, Science, and Robotics Camps

Parents know how kids can consume technology for hours at a time on video games, YouTube videos, and social media. So it’s not a surprise that many parents are interested in directing this interest into creating video games, making movies, or coding the next social media app like TikTok. 

Summer is a great time to explore coding for kids because most schools don’t offer coding during the school year. Many coding camps use video camps as the subject matter for teaching kids how to use Scratch or Python to create their own game or learn Minecraft or Roblox mods. Teens may choose Java programming camps to prepare for high school computer science courses or App development camps to explore new app ideas. 

Science camps and STEM camps are popular for girls and boys who are naturally inquisitive. Camps that focus on science, technology, engineering and math challenges are engaging for curious children who like to explore the how and why. For middle and high school students, STEM camps can showcase a wide variety of potential career opportunities.

Family favorites:
Camp Galileo
Destination Science introduces new kid-oriented themes each year, like animals, space, or amusement parks. 

Robot summer camps are like coding camps with an extra element of competition. TV shows like BattleBots have introduced more families to the thrill of designing and battling robots. Many introductory robotics summer camps use LEGO Mindstorms, which is also used by the First Lego League in nationwide competitions for kids. 

Family favorites:

Art, LEGO, and Maker Camps

Creative kids can grow their skills and express themselves in any number of art camps and maker camps. From learning to draw to learning to build, art and other maker camps can bring out the creator in every kid.

At a LEGO camp, kids build LEGO animals, spacecraft, and other creations. 

Family favorites:
Brainvyne LEGO Camps 

For budding master chefs, a cooking camp like Sprouts Cooking Club or Culinary Dude offers hands-on cooking experience and a daily menu. On-demand activities include recipes and video walkthroughs for meals and desserts.

Kids and teens who want to learn to sew will find some creative sewing camps such as Camp Couture in San Mateo, owned by Project Runway finalist Alexandria von Brommson. Sewing camps like this let kids design their own fashions, accessories, and even soft toys. 

Woodworking camp is very popular, even in the high-tech age, but harder to find due to the specialized equipment and instructors. Maker Nexus in Sunnyvale has sewing camps as well as woodworking and industrial arts for kids and adults. You’ll also find woodworking at Tinkering School in San Francisco and Young Builders in Palo Alto. 

Outdoor and Nature Camps

For both boys and girls, outdoor camps are a top interest with kids ages 5-13. This is great news for parents who want their kids to spend less time with screens and more time connecting with nature and playing outside.

The Bay Area is the perfect place for kids to enjoy both water sports and mountain adventures. Kids can take a hike along creeks or try rock climbing, mountain biking, or canoeing. 

Family favorites:
Camp Galileo
Avid4 Adventure

Also popular in the Bay Area

Academic camps are a top interest for kids ages 7-10 who would like to explore a subject beyond the typical classroom curriculum in an exciting and engaging way.

Family favorites:
“My daughter loves math circle. She tells me that she’s not doing math like at school, rather she says she’s doing puzzles and games and that it’s really fun. I love that she’s having fun learning and that math circle helps her develop a positive attitude about math.”

Girls-only camps are a chance for girls to connect with other girls and get a unique perspective on topics such as leadership, teamwork and goal setting. A single gender camp can boost confidence and help girls find their voice while making friends.

Summer Planning Made Easy

Are you juggling a summer camp schedule with multiple children? Or, are you trying to coordinate camps and carpool with friends? ActivityHero has launched a new tool to make inviting friends and teammates even easier. You can now add your favorite summer camps to a saved list, invite friends and share as a group. Parents are able to RSVP that they are interested, registered or unavailable for that camp all in one convenient location. Save time and plan the ultimate summer experience with your child’s classmates, teammates, neighbors and more!

How many camps should my child attend?

It really depends on your child. Some kids can be single-minded and want to enjoy one camp for the summer and focus on their favorite activity, other kids want to take several classes in different areas throughout the season.

You can find these Bay Area summer camps and many more camps near you on ActivityHero or download our iPhone app for faster and easier searching!

Ballet Ballroom Belly Dance Bollywood Breakdance Contemporary Dance Hip Hop Indian Classical Irish Jazz Latin Lyrical Modern Pointe Tap

9 Movies, Books, Apps & Shows for Kids Who Love to Dance

Every dance tells a story. And everything reviewed here — books, shows, movies, and apps alike — shares a story about dance for boys and girls.

By the Kids’ Media Experts at SmartFeed

One thing is certain: Dancing and media are ingrained in our culture. In the ’70s, everybody learned to disco, thanks to Saturday Night Fever. The movie Animal House reintroduced the dance-floor classic “Shout.” Music videos from Michael Jackson taught Gen Xers to break dance and moon walk. And today, kids learn dances from their favorite music videos such as “Watch me Whip (Nae Nae)” or from TV shows like “Dancing with the Stars.”

When your kids are in the mood for some dance-related media, here are some ideas for your playlist.  These tales range from an animated dancing mouse to real-life dance competitions and the challenging journeys some dancers have taken in pursuit of their dreams.

Books for Kids Who Love to Dance

Tallulah’s Tap Shoes
Ages 4+
Tallulah is really good at ballet. When she tries tap in summer camp, she’s insecure about being a beginner. Patience when trying new things is a great message in this story.




Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina
Ages 12+
At times sad, scary, and hopeful, this amazing story of an African orphan becoming a ballerina in New York is always inspiring. Her young life started in a war zone, so there are details not meant for younger or more sensitive readers.




An App for Kids Who Love to Dance

Toca Dance
Ages 5+
Creativity and activity come together nicely in this app. Choose your dancers, costumes, and music, and then make everyone move to the beat.


Find after school dance programs >>

Movies for Kids Who Love to Dance

Mad Hot Ballroom
Ages 8+
Fifth-grade New York students prepare to compete in a ballroom dancing competition in this terrific documentary. We see their confidence and self-respect grow as they learn.



First Position
Ages 9+
Boys and girls compete in this documentary that stars hard work and great desire.




A Ballerina’s Tale
Ages 9+
As a role model for young dancers, you can’t get much better than Misty Copeland. Her perseverance and hard work paid off, and she is an inspiration. This movie showcases her rise in the American ballet world, and it also offers a look behind the scenes of a major ballet company.




Billy Elliot
Ages 13+
A young boy discovers ballet in 1980s England. He is teased and told to stop, but the drive and desire to dance won’t go away. Be aware that there is strong language throughout this movie.





TV Shows for Kids Who Love to Dance

Yo Gabba Gabba!
Ages 2+
Life lessons are taught with a musical beat in this colorful show. Dancing and singing along with the characters promotes movement, as well as sharing, friendship, and good decision-making for the preschool crowd.


Angelina Ballerina: The Nutcracker Sweet
Ages 4+
A collection of episodes from the popular series, this title encourages friendship, all under the umbrella of ballet class and the friends made there.



Find after school dance programs >>

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 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

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!


Video Roundup: Dance Is for Boys, Too

Ever think “dance class is just for girls?” We beg to differ! Here, amazing, inspirational videos from young guys whose dance skills wow us.

By Jillian Chamberlain

Thanks to “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Step It Up,” and plenty of YouTube videos, the boys-in-dance movement is in full swing! Some perks for guys who are getting in step: Dance builds strength and improves coordination, making it a great workout for boys. It can also be the perfect option if your son isn’t big into playing sports or hitting the gym.

Dance classes also give guys an edge if they want to perform in musical theatre, onstage with a rock band, or in a talent show, or simply hit the dance floor with confidence on prom night.

But we digress: These male-dominated YouTube dance videos make the case for boys-in-dance all on their own.

tWitch (aka Stephen Boss) from “So You Think You Can Dance” with 6-Year-Old Tanner Edwards

In addition to being known for his moves on Season 3 & 4 “SYTYCD”, tWitch has gone on to secure roles in major motion pictures and a resident DJ gig on Ellen Degeneres’s talk show. Here he is in 2010 dancing with 6-year-old Tanner Edwards!

Derek Hough from “Dancing with the Stars”

Derek has won five Mirror Ball trophies on the popular ABC dance competition. He has also won 2 Emmy Awards for his choreography on the show. His most recent Emmy was won for the choreography in this routine.

Find Dance Classes for Boys (and Girls!) Near You >>

Segway routine to Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?”

In this one, young guys taking gliding across the dance floor to a whole new level. They perform the entire routine on Segways!

Watch Me (Whip It/ Nae Nae) – Silento

There’s always a new dance craze — The Whip It/Nae Nae — is from a 17-year-old rapper in Atlanta, Georgia, who goes by the name Silento. The video is a compilation of the following dance moves: Stanky Leg, Break Your Legs, Bop, Yule, Superman, Duff … and of course the signature moves Whip It and the Nae Nae. Now you may be asking yourself, “What is the difference between ‘Stanky Leg’ and ‘Break Your Legs’?” Well … you’ll just have to watch the video and see!

Whether your son is into hip-hop, jazz, or ballet, we have a list of dance class providers in your area where they can get their moves on! It’s hard to keep up with ALL of the latest trends — if any of you know a dance studio that offers hip-hop classes on Segways, please let us know — we’d like to get them on our roster!


Clever Crafts to Showcase Old Pointe Shoes

If you were once a ballerina, maybe it’s time to see if your kids want to follow in your footsteps — and dance steps. Get them interested by digging out your old costumes and shoes and letting them play dress-up … or sort through your piles of retired pointe shoes and work together on one of these simple-yet-clever craft projects. Have a daughter with her own worn-out toe shoes? Use these ideas to preserve them — and her memories of favorite performances.

By Katie Femia

Clever Crafts for Old Pointe Shoes
Once upon a time you may have just tossed those old pointe shoes into a closet or storage box, but many dancers today are finding ways to turn their toe shoes into works of art. Crafting with your old pointe shoes is not only a great way to repurpose these items (because as you know, they weren’t cheap!) but also a wonderful way to start a conversation with your kids about your own dancing days.

If you have some pointe shoes in your closet — or perhaps your child has a few pairs of outgrown or worn-out pointe shoes of her own — take a look at this roundup of ways to showcase them. Whether you are looking for something to decorate your child’s room or add some charm to your home, you are sure to find an idea that appeals to you. Oh and don’t worry: You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to do these projects. In most cases all you need is a quick trip to the craft store and a little time at your “crafting table.” So let’s get started!

How to Tidy Up Your Pointe Shoes Before Crafting

You may want to spot-treat your pointe shoes to help remove stains or grime prior to crafting. Use a soft cloth and a gentle cleaner such as Dawn dishwashing liquid to work on any unsightly spots. If frayed ribbons are a concern, you may want to recut them with a sharp fabric shears and then apply nail polish or glue to the new ends to prevent future fraying. Some people have been known to use a lighter, gently running the frayed area over the flame to burn off the loose strings and form a seal.
Now that your pointe shoes are in better shape, you can start crafting with them. Here are our picks for some pretty projects:

1. Fill Them with Flowers

fill-them-with-flowersHere is a simple and elegant way to create an homage to dance recitals gone by. Tie the ribbons of your pointe shoes together and hang them from a hook. (An over-the-door hook works, if you don’t want to mar the woodwork.) You can then arrange some faux blooms directly into the toe of each shoe. Or, should you wish for fresher flowers, make use of floral foam to prolong their life. First, tuck a piece of plastic wrap or a small plastic container into the toe of each shoe (to prevent the shoe from becoming soaked). Next, cut a piece of floral foam to fit inside the plastic, and set both foam blocks in a container of water for a few minutes to soak up moisture. Last, insert the foam into the “prepared” toes, then add a few of your favorite fresh blossoms.

Think beyond just decorating your ballerina’s bedroom with this craft. It would be a beautiful addition to a wedding or graduation party where a ballerina is being of honored.

Compare Dance Class Options Near You Now >>

2. Turn Them into 3-D Art

frame-pointe-shoesThis super-easy project makes a creative addition to a powder room, guest room, or the college dorm of a dancer. To make it, purchase an antique or vintage-inspired frame at a local thrift shop, garage sale, or craft-supply store. Remove the glass insert, if there is one, as you will need only the frame itself. Paint the frame the color of your liking, or gently rub a few spots with sandpaper for a distressed look. Tie the ribbons of the shoes together and hang them from a nail or hook, then hang the frame atop it.

For a real pop of color, try framing multiple pairs of shoes in a variety of frames and arranging them into a wall collage. You can also spray-paint or dye the shoes prior to hanging so that they match the color scheme of the room.

3. Embellish Them By Hand

embellish-pointe-shoesThere are many ways to paint your pointe shoes. You can use henna paint, fabric paint, water colors, even permanent markers. Make some abstract art, add some inspiring quotes, or even have your favorite ballerinas sign them. This is an easy way to give the pointe shoes a pop of personality.

Want to make this craft even more fun? Don’t forget the inside of the pointe shoe as well! Consider painting the inner sole of the slipper, which is sure to catch the eye. Or line the interior with a pretty piece of patterned fabric, cut to fit and attached with glue.

4. Decoupage Them with Memories

decoupage-shoesGrab some Mod Podge and pick your favorite sheet music to embellish your pointe shoes. Cut or tear the music into smaller pieces and strips, and dip them into a shallow dish of the Mod Podge mixture. Apply to the slippers, following package directions, and taking care to smooth your fingers over the paper to remove air bubbles or excess solution.Tie a piece of tulle (perhaps from an old tutu) or the ribbon from a recital bouquet to the shoes to add fluff … and memories. To make this craft even more personal, use the sheet music from a recent performance.

5. Turn Them into a Knickknack

turn-them-into-knickknacksFind a large Mason jar with lid (available at most craft supply stores) and fill it with memorabilia such as dance programs, production tickets, dried flowers, and bun decorations. Tuck these tinier items around the edges, and slide the pointe shoes into the center for the finishing touch. Top the lid with a bit of lace or another favorite fabric scrap, perhaps from an old costume, then label the jar with the dancer’s name or a favorite dance quote.

This would be a wonderful gift to offer a dancer at the end of a recital or a special performance.

Are you inspired yet? If so, head to the craft store, then dig out those old pointe shoes. Making these DIY projects sure beats storing them in a box. And pointe shoe crafts are an excellent way to highlight and remember the many pirouettes performed in them!

Is Your Child’s Interest in Dance Piqued by These Pointe Shoe Crafts?

Check ActivityHero for dance classes near you for all ages and abilities and in styles that include ballet, hip hop, jazz, tap and more. It also might be time for Mom to look for a dance class for herself! You deserve some me-time, too, and many studios offer adult classes as well as ones for kids and teens.


The Dance Class Dilemma: Should I Drop My Kid Off … or Stay and Watch?

Do kids do better with their parents in the wings, on the sidelines, or on the other side of the observation window? A former childhood ballerina tackles this tough question by taking a good look at her past — and how it relates to her own ballerina-daughter’s experience today.

By Katie Femia

Every time you take your kid to class, you’ve got a big choice to make: Should I stay or should I go? The Dance Moms show serves as a cautionary tale for some moms, but others want to see every fan kick. So the question is, which mom are you? Do you fear leaving your child for safety reasons? Or perhaps you just want to see everything she is working on. Are you more comfortable sitting out in the hall? Or maybe you know your child can learn better if you aren’t watching. When your child is a dancer, soccer player, singer, or even a Java programmer, you will have to figure out which sort of mom you are. And while no decision is better or worse than the other, my recent run as a dance mom has given me the chance to ask myself this very question: Should I stay or should I go? And if I did stay, how much should I watch? Before I could answer these questions, I had to rewind to my own childhood.

The Ghost of Dance Class Past and Present

At the age of 6, I began lessons in classical ballet — a passion I pursued for the following 15 years. In that time, the studio always operated on a closed-door policy. Parents were not permitted to watch classes, and instead they were encouraged to watch their child’s progress at the yearly recital and predetermined observation days. As a young dancer, I was always pleased with these guidelines. After all, I was a preteen still getting comfortable with myself and my body, so the idea of practicing my dance moves in my leotard and tights in front other parents wasn’t exactly appealing to me. The closed-door policy allowed me to focus on my craft and the instructor … rather than worry about eyes watching me. I was able to focus, and that was important.

Twenty-five years later, I am now a mother and raising my own ballerina. The studio where she dances implements the same closed-door policy as mine once did. For the comfort of all of the dancers, parents are asked to wait in a common area until class is over. For as much as I would love to watch my child’s class, I know that I would only serve as a distraction to her, and my presence might intimidate other students. That would never be my intention, as I know how important this rehearsal time is … as well as how important it is for the dancers to be comfortable.

One might ask if I feel any safety concerns with not being allowed into the room. My answer is no. The door to the studio remains unlocked during rehearsal, and there is window on the door that makes the room viewable at all times. Should my child need me, I am just a few yards away. Should I have an urge to quickly peek in, the door window allows me to do that without drawing too much attention to myself.


Perhaps a More Important Question…

For me, I think this is an issue that comes down to trust. Do you trust the instructor and staff that has been put in charge of the care and training of your child? If so, respecting their studio and the other students who use it is important. One of the best ways you can do this is to step outside of the studio and allow them to do their job without the distraction of your presence. And while most parents would insist that they wouldn’t be a distraction, you would be surprised. In a wide-open studio where every sound echoes, your smallest movement is amplified. Even if you should manage to sit perfectly still like a statue, you can’t be guaranteed that another student won’t feel uncomfortable with you watching her in training.

If you can’t answer yes to this question of trust, you might want to find a studio and instructors that you do trust. That sort of relationship is vital whenever anyone is teaching your child a physical activity, and your child can best learn when all adults — you and her instructors — are working cohesively as a team. The instructors you pick to train your child are the professionals, and just as you wouldn’t want them to come to your job and observe and intervene, they respectfully wish the same from you.

Waiting in the Wings Lets Kids Find Their Wings

Dancing is a very personal craft, and one that requires the participant to feel their movements deeply and put heart and soul into their steps. A dancer can only indulge in this way when they feel comfortable with their surroundings and the instructor is allowed to teach without distraction. Waiting in a nearby hallway or common area is a great way to still be available during the rehearsal without being intrusive. In the case of emergency, you are available … yet at the same time you are still allowing space for your dancer, as well as privacy to other students.

I am lucky in the sense that my daughter’s dance studio has made this decision for the parents. But I would have to say that even if the choice was my own, I would still choose the same way. It truly is a wonderful experience to watch my child dance on observation days and during performances, when she is ready to perform and has perfected her steps. She never ceases to surprise and inspire me.

So when rehearsal is about to begin and you are faced with the question of should you stay or should you go, think about yourself at that age. How comfortable would you be rehearsing in front of peering eyes? Sometimes, it is best to let the professionals do what they are trained to do, while you stay in the wings and dream about the beautiful performances to come.

Let Us Find the Perfect Dance “Partner” for Your Kids!

ActivityHero connects you with a variety of local dance studios and workshops right in your own backyard. Check out our providers’ offerings in classical ballet, hip-hop, Irish folk dance, and other unique forms of dance expression.

Calling All Dance Moms (and Dads): Do YOU Stay or Drop Off … and WHY?

Is there a reason you love to watch your child’s dance class, in spite of what our author says? (Maybe it helps you learn key dance terms so you can “talk dance” with your child?) Or do you have a different reason to drop off and go run errands? Maybe you’re in a studio where everyone’s parents watch. What do you do if you’re the only parent not watching? We want to hear from you in the comments below!


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Indian Dance Class: Q&A With An Expert

What can your child expect when taking Indian dance classes? We talked to one San Francisco Bay Area expert to find out.

Bidisha Odissi

Indraadhanush Center for Excellence may have a long name, but it’s also carries a long list of achievements in the world of Indian dance. From Bollywood to classical dance forms, Bidisha Mohanty conducts workshops and lecture series, as well as regularly passing on her vision to her students that go on to perform in many events and competitions. Summer camp season is a great time of year to try out a new pastime, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, this dance center is well-equipped to welcome the beginner.

Bidisha recently provided with some answers to common questions parents may have when it comes to enrolling their kids in dance classes.

Q: Tell us more about your class philosophy.

A: Impart the appreciation of dance in our lives. Learning a dance routine brings about collaboration in spirit, discipline, respect, confidence.

Q: What surprises/delights the kids most about your class?

A: Kids always find my class very entertaining. They get to learn something new every time & in a fun way.

Q: What’s your happiest/ proudest moment as a teacher?

A: When I hear from my students and their parents about how they appear more confident and lively in their social lives. I have had this pleasure many, many times but I want to keep them coming.

Q: Which student milestone do you look forward to?

A: For a new student, it will be the first performance on a stage with an audience full of strangers. People start to stammer to speak a few words when asked to talk before an unknown audience, but these kids will dance for 5-8 minutes, which is pretty tough. For experienced students, in a particular dance discipline, it would be attainment of certifications to signify their proficiency at a certain level.

Q: What is one important question that parents should ask you before joining this kind of class?

A: They need to know that if the kids are taught in a fun way, it will encourage them to continue the dance form in the future. If the aim is to perform in upcoming performances or competitions; they need to ask about the involvement level of classes and rehearsals.

Q: Any tips or tricks for parents and students?

A: Have a light snack at least 45 mins before the class starts and keep yourself hydrated during the class. Practice your dance steps 2-3 times/week.
If your kids are interested in learning a form of dance that will teach them confidence, discipline and beauty, consider enrolling them at Indraadhanush Center for Excellence. With years of experience under her belt, Bidisha and her staff will happily cultivate your son or daughter into an accomplished dancer. Today it may be a simple summer camp session –- tomorrow perhaps a Bollywood audition!

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