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Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Mindfulness Parenting Resources Yoga

6 Ways to Lessen Stress

Manage back-to-school exhaustion and pandemic anxiety with grace.

Here are simple techniques to help us all get back on track using meditation from our friends at LoveHero.

Is it possible that we’ve all forgotten how tiring the first week of school or just visiting the office after being away for so long, really is? The 18-month long new normal’s transition back to the old and connecting with classmates and co-workers in real life has been much harder than expected for some of us. You are not alone.

1. Start with movement

For most young kids, attempting to sit in meditation without any exercise first will be a challenge. Kids understand energy. And, energy can be used as a vehicle to meditate. Start with 5-10 minutes of energetic exercises such as jumping jacks, scissor jumps or running in-place.

2. Use positive language

While exercising, maintain a positive attitude that will get kids thinking about their ability to monitor their emotions and tune into positive feelings. Affirmations such as “I am positive!” work great for this.

3. Use breathing to channel the energy

The next step is to start slowing down the intensity of the exercises and to start replacing them with breathing. Breathe with your belly holding the breath longer and making the inhales and exhales deeper each time.

4. Sit down, breathe and focus on the heart

The other thing that kids understand well is positive emotions. In a sitting position do a few more rounds of breathing, but this time, with the hands on the heart, imagine this energy you’ve built up turning into rays of green light that are shooting from the heart.

5. Become a hero

What good is love if you don’t share it? Kids love being heroes. Use the light shooting from your heart to send love to someone or something that might need it. It can be a group of people (frontline healthcare workers), a person you love, a pet or a plant. Become a hero using your heart to uplift others.

6. Sit in stillness

Finally, sit in silence and stillness for 30 seconds or longer if you can.  It helps to play soothing music at this point. Each child is different, so start small and build your way up.

To practice more yoga and mindfulness, find a live instructor in-person or online from home with LoveHero and other yoga options on ActivityHero today. 

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Online Learning Parenting Resources Schools Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

10 Tips To Make the Back to School Transition with Your Kids Easy

The seasonal change from summer to fall for you and your family can be overwhelming. Here are some quick tips to help make the transitional period more smooth (and even a little fun) for everyone.

1. Bike, walk, or scooter to school.

If you live nearby, beat the morning traffic by walking, biking, or scootering to school together. Start the morning with some exercise and burn some energy before getting to the classroom.

Quick Tip: Find neighbors and classmates to walk with to make it fun both before and after school! 

2. Keep a checklist on the door. 

Create a picture “checklist” on your kid’s door to review before school each morning: brush your teeth, make your bed, check your backpack, get your shoes on, feed the dog, etc. It’s really helpful in building personal responsibility and will minimize your having to say reminders like, “put your shoes on!” a hundred times.

Download our checklist >

3. Wear school clothes to bed. 

Here’s a hack not many people think of! For younger kids or kids who are especially slow in the morning, put on your school clothes the night before. As long as the clothes are comfortable to sleep in, your morning routine will be faster with one less step. Forget about pajama tops and have kids sleep in the t-shirt that they are going to wear to school.

Quick Tip: This works really well in pre-school and before kids could dress themselves.

4. Keep a common calendar.

Make sure everyone knows what’s happening each day. Keep a calendar or schedule somewhere where everyone can see it easily, like on the fridge or the front door. Plan out lunch schedules, after-school activities, and special school projects. Use post-it notes or a whiteboard calendar to easily make changes and add reminders.

Quick Tip: For older kids, have a family calendar on your phone that you can all update!

5. Separate pre-packed bags for after-school activities. 

Do your kids have a jam-packed after-school schedule? Save time by packing go-bags the night before and leaving them in a designated spot, whether that’s at the front door or in the car. If you have time in the mornings, you can add snacks to this go-bag and make the scramble of afternoon activities so much smoother. 

6. Let your kids choose their own school supplies. 

You may be tempted to shop alone and save yourself the trouble of searching for supplies with your kids there. However, bringing your kids along will help them organize their belongings independently and increase the chance that they’ll use all their supplies.

“They’ll be more excited about using the cool stuff they get to pick out.”

Marcella Moran, PhD, coauthor of Organizing the Disorganized Child 

7. Use a portable homework station.
Once you have your supplies sorted, make a caddy or use a wheeled cart to organize all your supplies at home. Easily bring all your supplies between rooms or on the go.

Quick Tip: For DIY options, use a muffin tray to organize small objects or arrange old tins and cups to hold your writing utensils. 

8. Have your kids make their own lunches. 

Let kids choose their own lunches, and they’ll be more likely to finish their meals every day. This is a great way to teach your kids how to be independent and start choosing their food for themselves. To make sure they’re still getting the right nutrients, have a designated food drawer or refrigerator section that you fill with the dairy, proteins, veggies, fruits, and grains that they need! Designate a space in your refrigerator or pantry for your kids to easily reach their snacks for self-service.

Quick Tip: Give your kids input on the weekly grocery list to better minimize food waste.

9. Start a file bin now.

Instead of waiting for the end of the year, start organizing finished projects and old handouts now! Decide which papers and projects are important to keep as they complete work during the school year. At the end of the year, the decluttering of old school supplies will be much easier. 

Quick Tip: Organize for easy access: separate between long-term storage, frequent use (like a times table), and short-term storage (like handouts for each unit).

10. Sign up for online after school classes. Online after school classes are a great option for busy students. Instead of being shuttled from activity to activity, kids can join live online classes from home. Get access to the best instructors and classes that are available nationwide and have fun working with friends in online groups. 

Create an account and profile for your kids to find personalized after school enrichment classes at ActivityHero.

Categories
Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Parenting Resources

Parenting Tips for Raising Self-Reliant Kids






Many parents understand the importance of always being there for their kids. But what about the flip side–learning to let go gracefully so kids can develop their own identity?

Julie Lythcott-Haims, a mother of two, former dean at Stanford University, and author of How to Raise an Adult, explains that parents can set their kids up for success by knowing when to step aside.

By Wendy Chou

Make “pitching in” an early habit

Kids age 4-7 often enjoy doing things for themselves and feeling helpful. Give them simple opportunities to contribute around the house by putting away toys, making a snack, and choosing clothes they’ll wear in the morning. (A side benefit: these things fall off your to-do list!) Practicing completing tasks now will prepare them well for more challenging expectations later in life.

Allow time for critical thinking

When a child talks about a problem she’s having, a normal parenting reaction is to quickly offer a solution. This might be efficient in the short run, but in the long-term the child won’t ever have the chance to problem-solve for herself. Also, allow kids moments to discuss current events or even a book or movie you just shared together to help them find their own voice.

Discover the pursuits that matter to your kids

Teach kids that hard work, grit, and dedication really pay off when it comes to excelling at sports, music, and other activities. But make sure you’re enabling their dreams, not yours. According to Lythcott-Haims, it’s best to offer lots of choices in activities, then step back and let kids lead with their own passions. Ask your kids what they love to do, and be supportive of those interests and hobbies.

Find Kids’ Activities Near You

Seek growth, not perfection

Making a mistake is a fundamental life experience that can lead to growth. Lythcott-Haims lists several milestones that we shouldn’t shield a child from, including “being blamed for something he didn’t do”, “coming in last at something”, and “regretting saying something she can’t take back”. These kinds of mistakes can be very painful, but also represent opportunities to become more resilient.

As parents we all wish for our children’s ultimate success. Over-managing children, however, is probably counter-productive to this goal. The best definition of successful parenting, according to Lythcott-Haims, is when our children develop into individuals who can look out for themselves, without us needing to hold their hands.

Reference: Julie Lythcott-Haims, How to Raise an Adult

Find Kids’ Activities Near You

ActivityHero is an online resource that helps parents find great camps and after-school activities for kids.

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Guest Posts Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Super Activities for Super Kids

Yoga for Kids: 10 Tips for Flexible Fun






Yoga for Kids

Yoga can be as relaxing and beneficial for our children as it is for us; and what’s better is it can be an activity you and your child do together.

Perhaps you’re wondering if your child will stay still, or even be able to remain quiet enough to allow themselves to relax. The good news is that there are specifically designed poses for children that you can easily teach them.

By following a few of the simple guidelines below, you and your child can prepare for a joyous and relaxing yoga experience together.

Yoga for Kids

1. There really is no age limit (beyond toddler) as to when to start yoga for kids, however, children under six can usually do exercises that last for about one minute, with their session ending by the 15 minute mark.

2. Children over 6 can handle exercises that last up to 1 ½ minutes, with sessions maxing out around 25 minutes.

3. Try not to push too hard for perfection. Remember that they are kids learning these poses for the first time. Encourage them to breathe correctly and follow the pose the best that they can.

4. Always try to demonstrate the exercise before having your child attempt it. They will grasp the pose with the visual demonstration much faster than just telling them what the pose is supposed to look like. Playing follow the leader is a great way to do this.

5. Offer your child lots of breaks. Adults need breaks after strenuous exercise, so be aware of the cues your child gives you to signal they have had enough.

6. No one should have tummies that are too full when attempting yoga poses. Perhaps offering the lesson before lunch could ensure they will feel their best while exercising.

7. Don’t compare children to each other or to yourself. They will hopefully do the best they can to learn the poses as accurately as possible, but if not, turning it into a competition will ultimately defeat the purpose of learning yoga for kids.

8. Use descriptive language; turning the lesson into a storyline that can be fun and interactive as they try to stretch and lean a certain way to progress through the jungle or forest.

9. Let your child show you how they are learning the yoga poses, offering them positive feedback so they will be encouraged to continue learning and practicing.

10. When teaching the poses to your child, pick some of the easier ones, give them a cute name, and demonstrate that pose to your child before asking them to do it themselves. Almost any pose can be simplified for a young child, enabling you to exercise together without frustration.

Yoga for Kids

There are some neat benefits of yoga for kids learning at an early age. It can help promote flexibility and a health, improve concentration and calmness, boost self-esteem, and help children deal with difficult emotions.

So roll out the mats and enjoy a stress-relieving exercise that you and your child can do together!

Yoga for Kids: 10 Tips for Flexible Fun

About the Author

Christina Stoltz is a fitness instructor and Owner of Philadelphia Pilates studio named Ploome. She is a frequent author and speaker on all things fitness.

Categories
Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Parenting Resources

Social Networking: Use It to Enrich Your Child’s Life






image from marlonsite.blogspot.com

Social networking is all around us and often replaces face-to-face interaction in many instances. Even small children need to live a practically isolated existence to not know what Facebook is. Rather than shield your children from internet socializing, you can use it to positively teach them about the world around them. The end result often involves a little one who properly understands the basics of internet safety, cultural awareness and proper regard for one another.

Basic Safety and Enrichment

Don’t forbid your child from using the internet. Likewise, do not give them free reign of it. Sound confusing? It can be if you are not prepared. Instead, share with your children basic internet safety protocols that can then translate into real life – don’t accept gifts from strangers, do not provide personal information to someone you don’t know (or even those you think you do), and respect the internet as a wealth of knowledge, information and fun – that does not need to be used 24/7.

image from youritkalamazoo.com

Spend computer time together with your child, allowing them to see pictures and comments from people on your Facebook account they know and love. Seeing cheerleading pictures of a favorite cousin or receiving a special message from grandma through your personal Facebook page may curb the curiosity and desire to venture into their own social networking world. And spending extra time with mom is usually a bonus too – especially with the younger kids.

Encourage Creativity

If you share space with a right-brained child, why not allow them to create videos to share in cyberspace? YouTube has a little-known guide available via their homepage on how to make an account safe for kids. If you don’t want to go through the trouble, then leave the uploading and comment moderating to the parents – kids can fulfill their music video aspirations through planning, practicing and filming – then you can reward them via uploading it and showing them encouraging comments from friends and family.

image from safetyweb.com

Artwork can also be created online. Whether you use MS Paint or Photoshop, your kids can learn to use these tools and then use a personal email account to send it to friends and family. Email for kids is usually safe – but make sure you have their password so you can check on what exactly is being sent, and to make sure they aren’t receiving any spam that is inappropriate in their inbox.

Stay Connected

If your child is old enough to have a Facebook or personal YouTube page, be sure to use it to further enrich your relationship. Comment on your kid’s wall or “like” their status. They won’t be nearly as embarrassed by you as you may foresee, and it can strengthen your bond when you’re willing to enter into their cyber world.

Sites that are Safe

Today’s world, if nothing else, is very small. Kids are able to communicate with others their age living across the globe – and they should. Having pen pals in China, Africa and England has never been simpler or more instant – and there are ways for your kids to connect and share activities with these youngsters without ever needing a Facebook account!

  • Fanlala – Set up almost exactly like Myspace (remember them?), your child can blog, share photos and participate in various virtual groups. Best of all, it requires parents to verify their identity with a credit card or phone call.
  • Edmodo – classes can connect with both classmates and other schools around the world. Teachers tout it as a Facebook for the classroom, and kids who are normally shy in class will speak up in written form. It’s a great way for your child to participate and grow academically.
  • Club Penguin – created by Disney, it is fun and enriching for kids, allowing them to play games and network socially with other young children around the world.

These are just a few of the great ways for kids to be enriched and grow alongside a world that depends upon technology to function and thrive.

 

Written by Tamara Warta

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After-School Activities Events Parenting Resources

10 Summer Activities that will Satisfy Bored Kids AND your Wallet






Summer: the ultimate free-for-all.

Instead of being entertained and engaged for 5 to 8 straight hours every day, kids are now looking to you with those big eyes that say “I’m bored.”

Here’s some fun and thrifty ideas to beat summer boredom that will keep both your kids and wallet happy.

Make a tire swing

A simple summer classic, tire swings can easily be put up and taken down as often as you’d like. On the days that the park is too crowded or it’s too hot to make the walk, hop on the tire swing and let the fun begin!

Simply hang a tire from a sturdy branch with strong rope and you’ve got yourself a swing.

10 Thrifty Summer Ideas Guaranteed to Beat Boredom, not your Wallet
Photo by Flickr user twred

Have a cooking day

For those days that the air conditioning is more comforting than the wicked heat, rally the troops into the kitchen and come up with some fun recipes to make as a family.

On those especially hot days where turning on the oven is a no-no, check out this list of no-bake desserts that are sure to beat the heat.

Cooking with Kids

Backyard obstacle course

Who is the greatest obstacle warrior of them all?

Have a competition in your backyard that will be sure to keep kids busy for hours. Make an obstacle course out of wading pools, tires, and ropes to test kids’ balance and agility. For some great obstacle course ideas visit here.

Scavenger hunt

Keep kids entertained and having fun by sending them on a scavenger hunt. Hide clues throughout the house and yard so that kids will have to follow clues to get to their final destination. Place clues underneath rocks, hide a message in a balloon, or even bury clues in the yard so kids will have to dig for them.

The final destination could be anything from a surprise ice cream cone to a special screening of their favorite movie.

geography for kids
photo by Flickr user artstreamstudios

Rainy day fort

What better place to set up camp than in the comfort of your own living room?

Grab some pillows and blankets and build a fort worth writing home about. Shut off all the lights and bring out the lanterns so kids feel like they’re really at camp. Kids can share ghost stories, eat s’mores, and play flashlight tag all just steps from their bedrooms.

Photo by Flickr user designerBrent
Photo by Flickr user designerBrent

Have a boat race

Toy boats can be made out of anything from wood to Tupperware—as long as it floats, it can be a boat!

Go to your local creek or simply fill up a pool in the backyard and let the races begin. Kids can use straws to set their ships sailing and see whose boat is the quickest. For some ideas on how to construct your own boat, check it out.

Photo by Flickr user Jon Olav Eikenes
Photo by Flickr user Jon Olav Eikenes

Tie dye

This is a great outdoor craft as it can get pretty messy!

Grab some white pieces of clothing such as socks, t-shirts, or dresses, and get ready to dye! Tie dye kits can be purchased at any craft store, or simple fabric dye will work just the same. Be sure to follow all the instructions provided to avoid too many stains.

Photo by Flickr user Karly Soldner
Photo by Flickr user Karly Soldner

Dress-up box

Kids love to pretend, and what better way to create a living story than with costumes.

Raid your closet for old bridesmaid dresses or bedazzled jean jackets that you knew would come in handy one day. Most thrift stores are a gold mine for dress-up boxes. Fancy hats, heels, and costume jewelry can be found at a fraction of their cost if you know where to look!

Photo by Flickr user mooshoo {littlepapoose}
Photo by Flickr user mooshoo {littlepapoose}

Backyard water wonderland

This is a great activity for those unbearably hot days. Drag out the inflatable pool, sprinkler, water guns, and even water balloons and have an all-out water blast–bored kids no more!

For an extra cool dip, float some ice cubes in the pool and call it the “cool off zone.” When kids get overheated from running around they’ll get a quick chill of relief.

Photo by Flickr user jennyhud
Photo by Flickr user jennyhud

Fly a kite

Check your local forecast and plan for the next windy day. If your kids have never flown a kite before, I recommend picking up a cheap starter kite. You can find them at any super store or even some dollar stores.

Keep in mind they probably won’t last long, but it will teach your kids the basics of kite flying. Once they’ve mastered it, consider purchasing a good kite that will last all summer.

Photo by Flickr user Vironevaeh
Photo by Flickr user Vironevaeh

Written by Sarah Antrim
Categories
Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged

Kids and Money: 10 Ways to Help Them Jive






1. Lead by Example

It’s a fact that most Americans are in debt. Sometimes it is not easy to avoid, especially once you have your own family. Set a good financial example by living within your means; if you can’t afford a new television don’t buy one. Your kids won’t care about shiny new toys and gadgets if they live in a happy, healthy home.

kids and money 1

2. Make Kids Earn Their Money

Instead of handing over an allowance to your child every week, make them earn it little by little. Simple things like brushing their teeth, picking up their room, and doing their homework on time will get them a full allowance. If they want more money, offer chores to be done around the house like washing dishes or dusting cabinets. Kids will be more likely to appreciate their hard earned money.

kids and money 2

3. Encourage Kids to Save

A savings account can help your child see a bigger picture, set goals, and plan for the future. If your kids aren’t too keen on saving their money, offer to put a small amount into their account each time they make a deposit. Don’t discourage your child from withdrawing money from their account or it may discourage their wanting to save altogether.

kids and money 3

4. Don’t Let Your Children See You Stress About Money

The number one reason that most couples argue is financial troubles. It’s hard to live in a happy, peaceful household when you’re constantly worried about how the bills will get paid. As hard as it may be, put on a happy face for your kids. Worrying or stressing will only make the situation worse.

kids and money 4

5. Set Financial Goals with Your Child

Does your child want something pricey like an Xbox or a new bike? To learn and appreciate how valuable big purchases like these are, sit down with your child and set a goal. Let’s say that your child’s allowance is $5 per week. If they save half of their allowance and put it in a savings account that pays interest, how long will it take to get what they want? If they are diligent with their saving, you could offer to match their savings to get to their goal quicker.

kids and money 5

6. Teach Kids to Be Smart Shoppers

The grocery store might seem like a bore to many kids, but it can be a lesson waiting to be learned. Let’s say your child’s favorite snack is $2.50. A similar product of a different brand is on sale for 2/$3. Show your child the difference in what being flexible can buy you. Would they rather have one box of their favorite granola bars or two boxes of a similar kind for almost the same price? Luckily most super markets make it easy and do the math for you and post the price per ounce on the sale tag. You could even create a “treat fund” for your child and see how wisely they spend their money. Give them a $5 allowance to get whatever snacks or treats they wish and see how far they can stretch it.

kids and money 6

7. Talk to Kids About Giving

It’s important to teach kids to appreciate the value of their money. While their allowance of $5 per week could buy them a bag of candy and a toy, a single dollar could feed a family in a starving country for a week. Check out charitynavigator.org where kids can choose a charity to donate to.

kids and money 7

8. Teach Kids About Investing

Stocks and bonds can be purchased online with a small fee. Encourage your child to pick a stock of their choosing and buy a share. They can watch as the stock grows or falls and learn the power of investment. It’s also never too early to start a 401K and saving for retirement.

kids and money 8

9. Communicate the Differences Between Needs, Wants, and Wishes

Allow your children to make their own spending decisions, but encourage them to think hard before they spend their money. If they want to spend their allowance on a toy, ask questions about the toy beforehand. Do they NEED this toy? How often will they play with it? What else could they buy with that money? Kids are quick to act on impulse so raising questions may just change their mind.

kids and money 9

10. Involve Kids in Spending Decisions

Holding your child’s hand through every financial decision or simply making them for them will never teach kids to be financially independent. Kids have to learn from their spending choices whether they are good or bad. They must learn the discipline and rewards of good decisions and consequences of poor decisions.

kids and money 10

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Events

Cinco De Mayo for Kids: Celebrations Around the Bay Area






There’s plenty Cinco de Mayo for kids in the Bay Area this week. And with sunshine continuing through the weekend, a lot more fun is sure to be had!

Check out the events below if you’re looking for something to do with your kiddos as spring fever continues to go strong.

Cinco de Mayo Street Party – Pleasanton, May 2

Peruse the various community booths and enjoy food, music and fun.

Friday Night Music Jiggle Jam – Carmel Blue, San Francisco, May 4

Preschoolers and toddlers learn to make music and engage in interactive circle time with their parents and other little ones.

Camp Open House – Roughing It Day Camp, Lafayette Reservoir, May 5

Come test drive some camp activities and enjoy an open house complete with site tours and snacks.

May Fete Parade and Fair – Palo Alto, May 5

It’s the 90th anniversary of this annual parade with plenty of fun fair games and vintage vehicles for dad.

Bay Area Children’s Theatre – The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs – Berkeley, through May 6

Kids will love this interactive theatrical production where THEY get to decide if the wolf really is guilty.

Spartans Sports Camp Basketball Clinic – Mountain View, May 6

Join up with other aspiring NBA stars at this completely free clinic on Sunday, May 6.

Kids Game and Puzzle Night – Jigsaw Java, Redwood City, May 5

Enjoy a night away from the kids as they enjoy pizza, popcorn, hot chocolate and game/puzzle time. Ages 5-12 only.

Sunnyside Springfest – San Francisco, May 6

Come support this local elementary school as you enjoy live bands, dance performances, games and a raffle & art show.

Finally, with summer just around the corner, there are plenty of parades and festivals happening all around the bay.

Vintage Vehicles and Family Festival – Palo Alto, May 5

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta – San Francisco, May 5

Fit & Fun Fair – Sunnyvale, May 5

Cinco de Mayo Festival – Sausalito, May 6

Art and Fort Mason – San Francisco, May 6

Norway Day Festival – San Francisco, May 5 & 6

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After-School Activities

Academic Director Diaries: Silver Creek Academy






As the winner of Bay Area Parent magazine’s Family Favorite award for two years in a row, Silver Creek Academy encourages children to think both critically and creatively. With academic courses geared toward small group focuses and teaching students to communicate effectively, Silver Creek produces confident, academically excellent children. Activity Hero recently spoke to Lori Jenkins of Silver Creek, and got some answers to essential questions parents may have.

Q: Tell us more about your class philosophy.

A: Milpitas provides individualized assistance in a small group setting which allows children to feel comfortable and safe while taking risks and learning new concepts, strategies and skills they might not otherwise be willing to learn while being graded.

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

A: We really ARE nice and do care about every single child that walks through the door.

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

A:  Receiving compliments and comments from gracious students and parents are my happiest moments.

Q: Is there something students are usually afraid of?

A: Students are timid to tell about their most embarrassing moment in the Public Speaking class.  Eventually they do and everyone has a great laugh!

Q: Which student milestone do you look forward to?

A: I love when the students begin to trust in me as the teacher and take risks.  They enjoy trying problems on their own first before asking for help.  It is so rewarding to see them work independently!  Thinking critically is a skill that has fallen through the cracks.

Q: How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

A: Committed, responsible, kind

Q: What have parents told you, about your class, as something they never expected?

A: A child with speech problems willingly gave a speech in an effort to run for student office after completing our Public Speaking course.

Q: What have parents told you, about your class, that you never expected to hear (it surprised you to hear it)?

A: The classes are “fun!”

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

A:  Parents should ask if their child may move to a class that is not in the child’s current grade level.  We strive to meet the needs of each child.  If the child is in fourth grade, but struggling in writing, it is OK to ask that the child be placed in a third grade class.  The same is true for students that are excelling.

Q: What is the one thing that kids can only do in your class and not anywhere else you know of?

A: Take risks and know that they won’t ‘fail’ for doing so.

Q: A tip or technique or any other useful bit information for students/parents?

A: Read to your child, they are never too old to be read to.

You can find out more about Silver Creek Academy by calling them and arranging a tour of either their San Jose or Milpitas campuses. They offer engaging and results-producing classes both during the school year and over the summer.

Categories
Events

Bay Area Moms: Things to do with your Kids this Weekend (April 6th- 8th)






Looking for something to do in the bay area this weekend? There are plenty of happening (or should we say “hop”pening?) events all around the bay with Easter just around the corner!

April 2-6

San Francisco

First Thursday Free Admission Day – come check out the Pez Museum in Burlingame, which includes plenty of oddities the older kids will love. When: April 5, 10am. Free.

Moonlight Hike – head on over to Oakland for a hike through the redwoods at twilight. Perfect for adults to experience with older children. When: 5pm at Chabot Space & Science Center.

East Bay

Hands-on Art – this drop in activity is ideal for kids aged 18 months and older. Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland – members are always free. When: Tues-Fri, 10am-3pm.

Zeum’s Lil Z Program – For kids 5 and under, your little ones will enjoy exploring music, stories and creativity-based activities in this one-hour educational play session. When: Fridays 10-11am.

South Bay

Friday Night Pajamarama Storytime – come in your favorite jammies and enjoy a storytime designed for kids of all ages. It takes place every Friday evening at the Eastridge Mall in San Jose. When: Fridays at 7pm. Call 408 270 9470 for details.

Baby StorytimeThe littlest ones of the family can enjoy a baby storytime just for them each week at the Campbell library. There are also special storytimes for toddlers, preschoolers and families. When: Times vary – see website or call 408 866-1991 for details.

Easter Weekend (April 7-8)

San Francisco

Union Street Spring Celebration & Easter Parade – local restaurants will roll out their best eats while kids enjoy everything from a climbing wall and bounce house to costumed characters and a petting zoo.  When: Sunday, April 8, 10-5. Free.

Beach Chalet Easter Concert & Egg Hunt – After a yoga session for the adults, stick around to meet the Easter bunny and enjoy an egg hunt. This is followed by the JamBand Family Festival. When: Sunday, April 8, 3-5:30pm. Hunt begins at 3:20.

North Bay

Belvedere Community Center Easter Bunny Brunch – music, face painting, games and of course an egg hunt. Take your own photos with the Easter Bunny. When: April 7, 10am-12pm. $15 per person, includes brunch. Infants are free.

San Anselmo Children’s Egg Hunt – Enjoy the hunt and then a modest fair and puppet show. It’s all happening at Memorial Park. When: April 7, 11am. For ages 7 and under only. Free.

Easter Bunny Breakfast – A $5 donation per person benefits Special Olympics Marin at this special breakfast
happening at the Cheesecake Factory. Children’s music and balloon animals will accompany the breakfast. When: April 7, 9-10am. $7 admission.  Reserved seating only – 415 924 8921

Strawberry Recreation District Spring Faire – designed for children aged 1-8, you can make your own Easter basket, enjoy carnival games and take your photo with the Easter bunny. When: April 7, 10a-12:30p. Children: $8.

East Bay

Children’s Fairyland Bunny Weekend – check out Tap Dancing Easter Bunnies and then meet plenty of other seasonal bunnies and storybook characters. Mother Goose will also be in attendance to show the kids around. When: April 7. Tap dancing at 11:30am. Meet bunnies 1pm, Arts & Crafts 12-3pm. $8 for all ages.

Eggster Hunt and Learning Festival– UC Berkeley is hosting their self-described “largest free egg hunt in Northern California” on the Valley Life Sciences Building lawn. Educational activity booths round out the day. When: 10am-3pm. Free.

South Bay

Los Altos Recreation Department Egg Hunt – find them at Hillview Soccer Field. Four different hunts are divided up by age groups and each include post-hunt activities.  Hunt at 10am, Activities run 9:30-11:30am. Ages 1-8 are free.

Gamble Garden Children’s Easter Party  – This Palo Alto event features arts & crafts, an egg hunt and even a mermaid-themed puppet show. When: April 7, 9:30am-1:30pm. Members: Adults $10, Kids $20. Non-members: Adults $15, Kids $25.

Annual Easter Egg Hunt in Santa Clara – located in Central Park, the hunt takes place in the softball field at 10am. The field is divided into 4 age divisions, and also features an area for those with special needs. Bring your own basket and stay for post-hunt events that run until 4pm. Call 408 615 2260 for details. Free. 

Categories
After-School Activities

Music Master Diaries: Ernest Kinsolving, Fiddle






Ernest Kinsolving is a pro at placing a different spin on the typical music lesson experience. With the San Francisco bay area swarming with aspiring performers, Ernest focuses upon refining skill and inspiring a love of music in a fun and relaxed environment. In addition to the traditional summer camp experience your child may be craving this year, consider some time with private music lessons. Playing something out-of-the-ordinary like the fiddle only adds to the fun and quirkiness of your child’s summer.

Q: Tell us more about your class philosophy.

A: When I was a kid studying music I was actually fired by my piano teacher for not practicing enough.  I don’t think that really

helps much.  Kids (and their parents) are busier than ever and sometimes the only chance a student has to practice is during a lesson. I start from wherever the student is when they walk through the door, even if they’re mostly asleep and forgot to bring their fiddle (it happens!).

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

A: I welcome and celebrate what makes them unique – from the student who chooses to never speak during lessons to the one who likes to end every lesson with a Rubik’s cube competition. I expect them all to be different, and I make plenty of room for their individuality.

 

Q: Which student milestone do you look forward to?

A: I love it when a student comes in and shows me something that they’ve worked out on their own; that’s when I know that they’re excited about what they’re learning.

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

A: It’s really a question they should ask themselves and their children: are you here to have fun and explore, or are you here to excel and conquer?  If you’re here to excel and conquer, then you should be looking for someone strict and inflexible, but if you’re here to have fun and explore I’m eager to help.

Q: What is the one thing that kids can only do in your class and not anywhere else you know of?

A: When a young fiddler is too timid with their instrument, I have them concentrate on making the loudest and most horrible noise with it that they can.  They love that…  But I encourage them not to practice that particular skill at home.

Q: A tip or technique or any other useful bit information for students/parents?

A: Something small and actionable: ex: do 5 pushups before and after every meal, soon you’ll be very strong; practice music first thing in the morning when you don’t have to worry about homework. (sorry, these were my best guesses!)

My best tip is this: when you’re practicing a new skill — whatever it is — there is no such thing as a mistake.  What you think is a mistake it just your body telling you to slow down, focus, and try again.  If you can truly see it that way, you move forward much more quickly and happily.

Interested in checking out a private fiddle lesson with Ernest? He’s located in Mountain View, which makes it a great gateway point for both San Francisco and South Bay parents who are looking for a summer opportunity away from traditional summer camp programs. He can even throw in a tin whistle lesson from time to time.

Categories
After-School Activities Bollywood Dance Indian Classical

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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