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3 Back to School Pain Points with Solutions

(Pandemic Edition)

As we all continue to adjust to an ever-evolving new normal, surviving a back to school season in the time of a pandemic, remains challenging.

From experiencing unexpected school quarantines (e.g. a student in your kid’s class tests positive for COVID-19) to being waitlisted for after school extended care and all the driving around for drop-offs and pickups, here’s how three moms at ActivityHero are managing the chaos.

1. Hacking (Unexpected) School Closures

Meet Kathrine: Mom to a Kindergartener (Los Angeles)

We were so excited to go in-person to the ‘big’ school this year. Just a few days in, school communicated that a child in my Kindergartener’s class tested positive for COVID-19, so the classroom was going to shut down for 10 days. My daughter was sent home with a computer for virtual instruction along with packets of information and materials for next two week’s instruction.

Solution: Register for last-minute online camps with classmates to squeeze in some virtual play dates.  

Distance learning was scheduled for 9-11 am daily. With half the day still remaining, we found online classes to help with the afternoon so she wasn’t parked in front of the TV for all of that time. She really enjoys Minecraft and Roblox so finding social clubs or easy 45~min classes to support her favorite interests was easy. To help support some physical activity, we did also add an online Ballet class.

2. Mind the After School Gap

Meet Tabetha: Mom to a 3rd Grader (San Francisco)

After months of distance and hybrid learning, having school for a 6 hour block of time has been an amazing improvement. We were hopeful at first, then officially waitlisted for after school extended care to get us through to 6pm. As a household with two full-time working parents the 3pm pickup is challenging. With the luxury of school facilitated enrichment programs like Chess and Basketball (and this coveted time for when homework could be done with an on-site tutor) missing this year, panic-mode started to settle in. And then we chatted with some of my son’s friends and realized we could do online classes.

Solution: Find online extracurriculars for your kids so you can attend a meeting and make dinner. It’s a win, win situation for everyone.

Fun classes where learning looks like play is our usual approach for extracurricular activities so our son’s hobbies helped with the selection process. LEGO and Pokemon are his current favorites. Even better, the themed classes we found are actually great for problem solving, building and creativity. Dancing to burn off energy is also a must. Different than last year, only having a small window of online classes has been much more manageable. 

3. Less Driving = More Learning

Meet Kristen: Mom to a 7th Grader & 11th Grader (Sacramento)

We couldn’t wait for in-person school to start this year. For my 7th grader, this meant going to a new school. With two kids at two different schools and two different sets of activities, we didn’t realize all the added back and forth driving until it was happening. 
Beyond the everyday drive to and from school, I now have to make a 3rd and 4th trip, 4 days a week for sports. This is in addition to the same daily drop off to and from school at a separate campus and several evening practices for club sports at least an hour each way. Today, we spent over 4 hours in the car driving back and forth and didn’t get home until after 9pm. The boys had to do their homework in the car and I won’t even mention what they had for dinner.

Solution: Fuel kids’ brains with fun online classes to minimize time spent in the car.

We never thought we’d say this, but we were missing online classes and virtual sports. (We saved so much time and gas last year!) To help offset the in-person activities, we decided to go back and add online classes into our weekend schedule. Online Drawing and Art classes have become our time together to connect as a family. The kids are also now signed up for virtual Martial Arts and Coding classes. All of which can happen in the comfort of our home.  

Find your back to school solution! Create an account and profile for your kid to find even more personalized classes and camps at ActivityHero.

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Summer Olympics Inspired Sports

Whether it’s gymnastics, soccer, or skateboarding, there’s something for everyone when it comes to the summer Olympics. Dive into a world of international sports, from table tennis to basketball. Feeling inspired by your favorite athletes competing on the world stage? Here are some beginner sports camps and classes for kids who are captivated by Olympic sports this year.

Online Classes

Pintsize Soccer: Backyard Edition (PreK – Gr 8)

Soccer skills and fun games that kids can do from the safety of their own backyard, garage or patio.  Your child will practice their individual gross motor skills, focus and agility to keep them sharp and ready for when the season begins! 

With fun challenges they can practice at home, your child will gain new skills and develop their passion for new challenges.

Martial Arts and 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.

Beginning Judo Class (Ages 3-12)

Hajime Judo (Beginning Judo) teaches judo technique, culture, and character. As kids learn basic judo techniques, they work on developing balance, coordination and confidence. Every class finishes with games that develop motor skills and ends with laughter and fun. This is an amazing place to get your kids active and introduce them to martial arts. 

LEGO Creativity Camp: Sports (Ages 5-12)

What is your favorite sport?  Make it come to life during this week-long camp! 

Explore and enhance your LEGO building skills making stadiums, gyms, courts, obstacle courses and fields.  Learn how to make a round ball, a football, goals, or any other item you might use in your sport.  

Kids Fitness and Gymnastics (Ages 3-6) 

Join Fun & Fit TumbleBus for virtual gymnastics style fitness videos! They’re just created a NEW workout video. Get 2 warm up song videos,  1 gymnastics style workout, and free bonus videos!

Virtual TumbleBus videos are intended to promote a love of fitness in preschool and young elementary school age children. Videos work on children’s motor skills, listening & following directions, basic gymnastics, and balance, coordination & strength needed for all sports!

Challenger Sports Soccer Videos (Ages 3-8)

Access these on-demand videos with all sorts of soccer exercises and games! Go around the world with Mr. Matt, play soccer games with Smelli Elli, or go international with soccer in Spain or France. These videos can be viewed on your own time and are perfect for kids to try out soccer in the comfort of their own backyard.

In-Person Camps (SF Bay Area)

Tennis Summer Camp (Ages 6-14)

Follow in the footsteps of Naomi Osaka with a tennis summer camp! Introduce your child to something new this year with an exciting day camp experience. Euro School of Tennis will 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. Full day sessions include swimming and games in the afternoon. Half day morning or afternoon is also available. 

Kids Novice Tennis Classes (Ages 6-8)

No Tennis Experience? No Worries. Beginner Kids Tennis Lessons are Here!

The perfect time to help your child learn more about tennis is right now with our beginning kids tennis lessons. Dubbed the Mini Aces program, this class is designed for kids 6 – 8. This intergrade tennis program is the ideal option for first through third grade kids who haven’t had any real exposure to the game. Every clinic is a great way to keep your child active while helping them understand the basics. From learning more about game play to serve and return skills, we’ll help your child learn what to do in a match while having a great time.

Coach Ken Soccer Camps (Ages 4-12)

What a summer for soccer! Learn new and exciting soccer skills with Coach Ken. Coach Ken’s Soccer Camps have a proven record of helping kids achieve their full potential as soccer players. The coaches are knowledgeable and passionate about the game. All lessons are age-appropriate, challenging, and fun. All levels are welcome.

SPeeD Academy Golf Camp (Ages 5-17)

Try out the newly-reinstated Olympic sport: golf! All SPeeD Academy classes are taught by golf professional Roy Day, PGA. Roy has been named US Kids Top 50 Junior Instructors (2006-2008) and US Kids Master Junior Instructors (2009 to present). In addition to being extremely knowledgeable about golf, Roy makes learning FUN!!

Intro to Fencing (Ages 6-10)

This year, fencing consists of three separate events at the Olympics. Join in the fencing fun with this introduction fencing class. Learn to fence and have fun with peers in a safe way at Maximum Fencing Club. All equipment is provided. 

Legarza Basketball Camp (Ages 5-14)

Take after US flag bearer Sue Bird with basketball! At this camp, campers work hard and feel good about themselves in a safe, disciplined, highly structured and motivating environment. Players will learn to work together in a team setting while playing games and tournaments.

Camps are divided up by age and experience, keeping groups separated for the best overall camp experience. The equipment and curriculum for each age group is very different and age appropriate.

Little Twisters Gymnastics Camp (Ages 3-5)

Join Little Twisters this summer for days full of Gymnastics, Games, Free Play, Dance, Snack Times, and an End of the Week Performance. The facility is the cleanest and kid friendly facility in Santa Clara County and our instructors are top-notch. Sign up for this camp for a week of fun and gymnastics that your children will love.

Summer Ping Pong Camp (Ages 5-16)

Beginners with no previous table tennis experience will engage in learning exercises designed to energize, entertain and build a strong table tennis foundation.  Intermediate and advanced players, (competitive table tennis athletes who aim to take their game to the next level), will engage in rigorous training sessions that focus on technique, game strategies, skill reinforcement and physical conditioning. Players of all skills can join to try out ping pong and have fun practicing together. 

Skateboarding Camps (Ages 5-14)

New to the Olympics, skateboarding has swept the world as a fun and high-energy event. Try out skateboarding with Golden Gate Skateboarding. Start camp with an introduction to skateboarding specific stretching/yoga routines that improve performance and reduce injury probabilities. Cover beginner level skills all the way up to more advanced skills like Ollies, kickflips, 50-50 grinds, frontside 180’s and many more tricks. All skill levels are welcome!

In-Person Camps (Los Angeles)

Basketball Camp (Gr 2 – Gr 5)

Learn the fundamentals of shooting, passing, and dribbling. Understand the strategy of playing basketball. Have fun in one of KidzToPros’ most popular sports camps! 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! 

Girls Leadership & Soccer Camps (Ages 5-13)

This girls-only leadership and soccer summer camp is an opportunity for girls of all playing levels to refine and develop new soccer skills. Along the way, make friends and gain exposure to new experiences including dance, artistic expression, and leadership training.

Super Soccer Stars Camp (Ages 5-10)

When school is out, soccer is in! Super Soccer Stars and Soccer Stars United are kicking into this season with summer, holiday, and day-off soccer camps. Coaches work with 4-8 children to build skills and create a team atmosphere. Have fun with the FUNdamentals of soccer! Kids across the country can have a blast in a safe, high-energy soccer camp that will keep them active and allow them to socialize with friends. 

Wrestling Club (Ages 6-12)

The Devil’s Gate Wrestling Club is a youth wrestling club chartered by USA Wrestling in 2014 with the goal of introducing the local community to the sport of wrestling. Their coaching philosophy seeks to teach wrestlers how to motivate and challenge themselves. The Devil’s Gate Wrestling Club strives to implement and teach our youth wrestlers core values like hard work, dedication, goal-setting, and discipline. 

Tiny Tees Golf Camp (Ages 3 – 13)

Tiny Tees Golf Summer Camp is open to players of all skill levels from beginner to advanced, ages 3-13. Children will work on individual golf skills: full swing, putting, pitching, chipping, bunker play, golf course etiquette, and course play.  Introduce your kids to golf through this fun camp designed for young beginners!

Karate Class (Ages 7+)

These classes teach Shorin-Ryu Karate, a traditional Okinawan martial art, and the complete system of self-defense. Beginning classes will teach basic blocks, strikes, and kicks, and the first form. Advance through these martial arts lessons with Wilmington Karate Club this summer. 

Olympic Games: Science, Art, and Outdoor Camp (Grades K-8 at Different Locations)

Go for the gold in a triumphant Olympic journey. This camp combines art, science and outdoor challenges that build creative confidence, nurture social development and deliver the big summer fun they crave—all in small groups that put safety first. 75% of time is spent outdoors!

Get fired up to create mixed-media torches or glittering medals to light up the games. Master the mechanics of athletes and their equipment by designing high-flying archery bows, judo robots or a go-kart you can race in (a Galileo Olympic event only). Celebrate the Olympic spirit with a range of outdoor games!

Surf & Swimming Camp (Ages 5-15)

This camp is focused on surfing, swimming, and playing at the beach. All surfboards and bodyboards are provided at camp. Experienced instructors will lead kids in swimming, basic surf techniques, and surfing etiquette. Learn about ocean safety and conservation while having safe play time in and out of the water! This is a great opportunity to spend time getting more familiar with our beautiful coast, and the power and fun of the ocean.

 

For more sports camps and classes near you, check out ActivityHero.com.

 

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Want to Coach Kids? 4 Tips to Make It Work for Your Family






Before you pick up the coach’s whistle, you might want to consider these issues that parent-coaches and their children might face throughout the season.

By ActivityHero Staff

Mom Coaching Basketball

Parents love to be involved in their kids’ lives and coach their kids’ sports. It’s rewarding to watch your son or daughter become a “pro” thanks to your excellent know-how of their favorite game. It’s also great to have shared experiences and interests with your kids, which can spur dinnertime conversations and strengthen your family bonds.

Are you considering taking on the role of parent-coach? We talked to some parents who have coached their kids to find out what they suggest you consider before signing up. Here, the top questions they recommend you answer.

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1. Does Your Child Want You to Coach?

Before you decide whether coaching the annual Y-Ball team fits your schedule, see if it fits theirs. Sit down with your son or daughter and ask them if they feel comfortable with you playing the role of coach. Some will be happy with the idea, but others may be worried about being judged by other players or not living up to your expectations. Before the season begins, sit down and make a list of pros and cons so you can see what your child is truly worried (or pleased) about. Also, it may be worthwhile to evaluate your intentions. Will you be more focused on winning or creating learning opportunities? Will a coach role help or hurt the current relationship with your child? These answers are not to be overlooked.

2. How Will You Handle Other Parents’ Critiques?

There is nothing worse than watching your son’s or daughter’s basketball game only to see them in for a total of 5 minutes. This is why parent-coaches always try and distribute playing time equally. The most obvious line of favoritism is having your child in the game for most of the game. It will be up to you to judge, based on their skills and the age level of play, whether or not the most skilled players should receive the most playing time. Always keep in mind the parents came to see their kid in the game.

However, another risk of parent-coaching is underplaying your child. Doug Skinner, a parent from Los Altos, Calif., coached his two boys in soccer, baseball, and basketball until they reached high school. When asked why he decided to coach he replied, “I did not want an overbearing, hot-headed dad yelling at his kids like I had seen in the years before.” We then asked him what he thought of the experience and if there is anything he might have changed. He replied, “I wish I would have played my kids more. I was always worried about parents getting mad at me for over playing my sons. My kids always tended to slip to the back of my mind because I was worried other parents were not happy with the amount of playing time their child received.”

If you do decide to coach, be sure to create a system that allows you to be fair to your kids as well as the others on the team.

3. Can You Leave Practice on the Field (or Court)?

If your child couldn’t make a shot at practice, you might be tempted to go into “after hours” with them to work on some technique. This is not a bad thing, but chances are if they had a bad day at practice, they are already discouraged. If you weren’t front-and-center for their slip-up, you would probably let them go about their evening unimpeded.

Bottom line: Make sure you can turn off the “coach” role as soon as you get home so you can provide an environment where your kids can tell you how they are feeling and you can be there for them. If you do want to work in some extra skill-building, don’t push extending practice in the driveway before you even head in the house. Instead, have a little discussion and see if you can’t get them to ask for some pointers, or to play a friendly game of horse.

4. Will Your Child Still Get Your Attention?

Parent-coaches tend to get very excited when they see the other members of the team improving throughout the season. All too often they forget to monitor their own child’s progress. Make sure you track every player’s improvements and give EVERY PLAYER praise for working hard to learn the game. Not only does on-court praise increase the trust and bond between you and that child, it is also when the true joy of coaching becomes a healthy addiction. So be sure to share some positive words with your kids in front of the team, as well as at home.

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