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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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After-School Activities Camps School Breaks Uncategorized

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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After-School Activities Camps School Breaks Uncategorized

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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Horseback Riding Programs in The San Francisco Bay Area






You may be knee deep in all things winter right now, but before you know it, summer will be here, the kids will be out of school, and you will be responsible for filling their endless days. Can you think of a better way for you kid to spend the day than learning how to not only ride, but also take care of 600-pound animal, while also bonding with other like-minded children and learning their way around a barn? The Bay area offers multiple opportunities, both camps and training programs, that will inspire your child and help them flourish within the sport of horseback riding.

Woodside

Tayside Sport Horses: There are a number of barns located in Woodside that offer comprehensive and fun programs for kids of all ages. Tayside Sport Horses has an extensive training program supporting a variety of disciplines: Eventing, Jumping, and Dressage. In addition, they teach horsemanship, grooming, and conditioning techniques to the riders at their facilities.  This is a terrific environment for your children to start riding at. Although they do not have a summer camp, their lesson program is extensive, and they can be contacted for further information. New clients receive their first 4 lessons for $80 each, and there are schoolmasters, which are expertly trained horses, available for lessons. In addition, they have both half and full leasing programs that students can graduate to once they feel ready.

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Emerald Hills Training: Similarly, Emerald Hills does not have a camp promoted on their site, but they have a great program set up. With a classical training style, Emerald Hills Training is focused on the Hunter/Jumper disciplines. In addition to offering a full training program, which includes 5 days a week of training, they offer a lesson program to fit everyone’s needs. From 45-minute privates lessons to 1-hour group lessons, both $85, the program allows riders to build their own schedule.

JP Training at Portola Farm: As a full service Hunter/Jumper barn, JP Training offers a comprehensive training program, clinic program, and Summer Horsemanship Camp. The Horsemanship Camp is for children ages 7 and up and teaches children the proper technique, position, fitness, and care of horses. In addition to teaching the basics of riding, this camp program features lectures from vets, farriers, grooms, and more, giving students a well rounded riding education. There are 8 riders per session, and it is offered on select weeks in July and August. The cost per session is $550 for students on horses provided, $400 for students ½ leasing a horse, and $300 for students involved in a full lease or own their own horse.  Beyond camp, JP training offers private and semi-private lessons ranging from $80 to $85.

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B.O.K Ranch: If you are looking for a therapeutic riding program for your child, B.O.K Ranch may be exactly what you are looking for. PATH certified, B.O.K takes the times to build lesson programs for each of their riders individually. Lessons are filled with creative games and sport activities, in addition to the typical horse care, grooming, and equipment use training.

Portola Valley

Seven Oaks Farm: Although Seven Oaks does not have a camp displayed on their website, they have a wonderful dressage training program. With school horses available, including horses, ponies, and schoolmasters, their training program offers children and adults of all ages an opportunity to learn and perfect dressage. In addition to individual lessons, they offer partial and full training programs when the next step is needed. The lessons vary in price from $35-$85 and consist of private, semi-private, and group lessons.

Webb Ranch: As a multi-discipline barn, serving English and Western riders, Webb Ranch offers programs for beginner and intermediate riders in dressage, western riding, hunt seat, and even trail riding. Lessons, which include group, semi-private, and private options, range in price from $58-$78. An amazing feature of this farm is that they hold camps during Holiday and Spring Break periods, in addition to summertime. The summer sessions are limited to 24 students and they split them up into groups of 8.

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 Spring Down: With over 50 show quality horses available, Spring Down is a great place for your kid to begin their riding. In addition to basic riding instruction, students are able to pursue Jumping, Dressage, Horsemanship, and Western here. They offer spring, winter, and summer camps for children ages 6 and up. Their camp program not only teaches the basics, but also provides kids with live demos for further, real-life education. The winter camp costs $425, and the intermediate summer camp costs $395. In March, the farm even offers a $125 mini-camp for interested students.

Isola Stables: Offering Show Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing, Isola Stables has everything a rider could want. From private and small group lessons, to shows, to trail rides, every rider’s needs are addressed in this program. To get started, camp sessions are offered for 6 weeks throughout the summer. Riders ages 6-14 are welcome to attend the camp, which includes a minimum of 1 hour of riding, horsemanship activities, and arts and crafts. The cost for a session is $550 per camper.

 Menlo Park

California Riding Academy: California Riding Academy offers a comprehensive program for all levels of students, from beginners to advanced riders. They have well school horses and ponies available for riders to advance and grow on. They offer private, semi-private, and group lessons ranging from $75-$100 in price. Additionally, they offer both ½ day and full day Summer Horsemanship Camp options. There are beginner, intermediate, and even some advanced classes available. Children ages 5-15 are welcome. In addition to riding, kids are taught horse management skills, given horse breed knowledge, and participate in games and crafts. ½ day of camp cost $589 and a full day is $825, each for one week. They also offer Spring Break camps!

 Palo Alto

Page Mill Pastures: At Page Mill Pastures, riders will learn the basic techniques on lesson horses available at the barn. Both English and Western lessons are taught and private and group lessons are provided.  A private lesson costs $60 for 1 hour of riding and a group lesson for 3 or more kids for 1 hour costs $45. They also offer partial and full leases for students to take over when they are looking for more consistency in their training program.

Riding during a camp is a great way for your kid to spend the summer and finding a farm that has a good training program to continue your child’s training is key.  These are just a few options available in the Bay Area, so check them out and see if any of them fit what you are looking for. You can also ask around for referrals from friends and family to find your perfect fit, in addition to doing further internet research.

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Sports

A Guide to Horseback Riding for Beginners






Do horses keep coming up in conversation with your kids? When you’re in the car, when you’re making dinner, when you’re on the way to school…the questioning is relentless. Your kid has riding on the mind and probably won’t stop asking about it until they are able to try it. Horseback riding is really one of those sports that everyone should at least try once in their lifetime, no matter what age, even if its just a fun trail ride because it such a unique experience building a bond with an animal that you can’t really get from any other sport. Before you let your mind get carried away with costs and other worries, let me help you get started.

Horseback Riding Camp

Start by choosing a day camp or a horseback riding camp. Camps are an amazing opportunity to be introduced into everything from barn work, to horse prep to riding with other like-minded kids. It’s important to look for a camp program that will give your child this type of experience because it will not only be more interactive, but it will make them a better rider and more responsible in the long run. Year after year, I see kids’ confidences and passions flourish over just a few weeks of camp, and they really start taking pride in all of the work they are doing, whether it be the stall they cleaned or the trot they perfected. Riding at camp will leave your child with a memorable experience. If your kid leaves camp wanting more or you are more interested in a solo starting experience for them, private lessons are another great starting point.

Find horseback riding camps near me>>

Private Horseback Riding Lessons

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Training programs will vary by barn and by trainer, so there are a few things to consider when looking for both of these things. If you are in completely unfamiliar territory, don’t panic. Start by asking around to friends and family to see if any of them know of farms in the area with good reviews or trainers that teach introductory lessons. Not every farm has lesson horses, so it’s just a matter of asking questions once you find them. Another great way to get information is by going into your local tack shop. Often times, the people that work there are riders themselves and know of contacts in the area. They also have bulletin boards with trainers and information about their riding programs. If you prefer to work online, you can also do a search for barns and trainers in your area and then check out their websites to find your best match. You can also do a search for local associations based on the type of riding you are pursuing, ie Dressage Associations, Hunter Jumper Associations, Western Associations etc, and find barns and trainers advertising on there.

Once you’ve found a barn and a trainer, you can decide on a program. I recommend starting with private lessons, at least for a few months. Like I mentioned before, every barn has a different way they set up with lesson programs. So when you’re making your decision of where to start, compare every program. It’s ideal for kids to be able to build a relationship with their trainer and build up their confidence on a horse in a one on one environment without being overwhelmed. Then once they are solid in the saddle and trust their trainer you can add in group lessons, which are a great way to start integrating your kid into the barn group. They will get to know the other kids, learn with them, and have fun. Private lessons are a great way to teach and refine, and then they can hone those skills in a group setting where they are really asked to focus despite the added distractions. Together, private and group lessons create a solid training program.

Dressing the Part

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Hopefully, you feel more comfortable about how to get your kid started in the world of horses. The next challenge is to get them physically ready. There are so many things that your kid could use, but when they are first starting out, just go with the basics and get what they absolutely need because otherwise it adds up too quickly. So what are the basics? The most important items to focus on are the helmet and boots. It’s essential for these to fit properly for the safety of your child and horse.

Always buy a helmet new. You will probably see some that are on consignment, but it isn’t safe because you don’t know if any falls occurred in them or other problems. Stop by your local tack shop to try on different styles and get the perfect fit. You can also measure on your own and order online, but know that every style will fit differently so it may take a few tries before finding the best one. For beginners, the IRH Equi-Lite Helmet is a great choice and it comes in a variety of colors and sizes. Remember though, helmets are not one brand fits all. If you are not familiar with fitting helmets, definitely go into a store and ask for help. Just so you know what they are looking for, the rule of thumb for fitting a helmet is finding one that provides even pressure all around your head. It should lie about 1 inch above your child’s eyebrows and not wobble around when they move their head or shake. The nice part is that many helmets come with adjustable pads that will help you perfect the fit, once you find the model that works best.

After you have found the helmet, you want to make sure they have a pair of good paddock boots, also known as short boots, which are perfect for beginners. You can look for a nice pair on consignment or purchase them new. My personal favorite brand for paddock boots is Ariat. Lastly, get your kid a pair of gloves and riding breeches and they will be set to go! It’s always a safe bet to start with less and then add to the wardrobe once they get more involved in the sport.

However you choose to get you kid started in the saddle, the most important part is that they like the barn and the trainer. Everything from there will fall into place and they will quickly fall in love with the sport.

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Horseback Riding Sports

Should You Buy or Lease a Horse?






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So your kid loves horseback riding lessons and now they want a horse of their very own, right? Should you buy or lease a horse? In this article, I’m going to help you with that decision by giving you some pros and cons. It’s a big move I know. Go ahead and take a moment to digest it. To be honest, the answer is different for every family and is dependent on where your child wants to go with their riding. Are they on the path to competing, have they physically outgrown the pony they are on, or are they just looking to have the responsibility of their own horse? Before jumping on the horse owner train, let me give you some tips from someone who has been there before…a few times.

Leasing A Horse

Going from taking weekly lessons to owning your own horse is a huge step. Instead of throwing yourself into something before you and your child are completely ready, why not consider leasing. I’ve been in this sport for 14 years now, and I’ve watched more people go through horses than you can imagine because they rushed into buying something before finding the right match. If you aren’t completely ready for the commitment of buying a horse, talk to your trainer about starting a leasing program. This gives you the opportunity to find a horse that your child is compatible with and can grow with. Leasing gives your child the responsibility and consistency they are looking for but keeps some of the pressures and financial burdens off of your plate. In addition, leasing doesn’t have to be a permanent decision. When your child wants to move up to higher levels or is looking for a new experience, you can start a new lease with a new horse. Once you and your child have the experience of temporary ownership that leasing allows, you might feel ready to own your own horse; maybe even purchase the horse that you are leasing.

Owning A Horse

Having a horse of your own is a very large responsibility, but it’s also an amazing experience. It’s completely different from taking lessons or even leasing because you now have full decision-making capabilities. With that though comes vet bills, boarding, shoeing, tack, etc. which can get overwhelming very quickly. If that is something you are ready to take on, then absolutely go for it. Now is the time for you to sit down with the trainer and go over what everyone thinks is the best plan. I recommend not only looking for a horse that your child likes, but also one that they can grow with, in size and performance. You will be spending a lot of money, so it’s a smarter investment to get a horse that will be able to advance with your child, instead of one that will need to be sold within a year or so. If your childs horse skills increase, you could even sell the horse at an even higher value than you purchased it. I’m getting ahead of myself here but the point is, look beyond just the present when you are making your purchase. If you make a plan and organize your finances, it will not be as extreme of a change like picking any old horse would be.. Also, make sure you do a thorough vet check so you are fully aware of your horses health. People are not always upfront and truthful with problems their horse may have, so make sure your trainer and vet are involved in all steps of this process. Once everything passes, it’s time to have fun!

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Affordable Ways to Horseback Ride

If you and your child are not in the financial position to pay for a lease or purchase a horse, have your child start offering their riding services to other boarders in the barn, when they themselves can’t come up and ride their own horses. Sometimes this can even be done for money. It may not give them the consistency of riding the same horse all of the time, but it will make them a very good rider. Being able to adjust to different horses on the spot is a very unique skill to have, and believe me, not everyone can do it. Only the best riders know how to use their skills across the barn, not just on their own horse. It’s a great way to learn and advance, without having the financial pressures of owning.

Whether you’re leasing or buying a horse for the first time, my biggest piece of advice is just being patient and taking your time. It’s a big move and commitment, so it has to feel right. Work with your child’s trainer, have your child try a lot of different horses, and do a full check-up before finalizing anything. And have fun with it!

Check out some of these horseback riding camps!

Neophyte Farms Horseback Riding – Simi Valley, CA

Almaden Equestrian Center – San Jose, CA

Redwood Ranch Stables – Oakland, CA