Learning During COVID-19: Online Classes for Kids

As parents, it can be difficult to keep kids engaged during school closures and breaks. In-home lessons can help children stay busy, even when it is not possible to physically be at a camp or class. Virtual learning can also benefit children who are seeking advanced instruction that may not be available near you. (Also see: Online Classes for Kids: Tips for Success)

Live, Interactive Classes vs. YouTube

In a live online class, the instructor and students meet on Zoom or another interactive system and can see each other. Students are able to ask questions and can follow along in the class. A live class meets at a specific time, so it’s important to note the time zone of the class. Scheduling live classes can be beneficial for staying on a routine during school closures.

Live online classes are also an opportunity to schedule virtual playdates with friends or classmates. During this time of social distancing, it can be fun for kids to connect with their friends while doing something fun online.

Recorded online courses may be found on YouTube or other educational websites and can be watched at any time. These types of online lessons can be helpful if need a quick option. The most common types of pre-recorded online classes are movement – kids dance or zumba.

Online Art Classes for Kids

Online classes for kids during school breaks due to COVID-19
Free Online Art Class for Kids

Art is a very popular online class for kids of all ages. Most art classes use materials you would normally already have at your house – pencil, paper, old magazines or paint. Live art classes provide time to ask questions or spotlight finished art projects.

Family favorites include:
CD’s Art Studio: Draw a different subject every week – previous classes included baby raccoons, penguins and even a hedgehog.
Art & Soul: Small group, highly interactive sessions through an online Art Club.
Young Art: Select from a variety of lessons in all kinds of art media, including clay sculpture, animation, acrylic painting, and pencil sketching.
Artist Center: The online classroom is a State of the Art Program using “The Masters” techniques.
KidztoPros: Variety of creative art programs including anime, graphic design, architecture art design and more.

Find low cost or free online art classes for kids >>

Online Coding Classes for Kids

From beginner level Scratch to more advanced Python, find online coding and gaming camps for kids of all ages. Introducing a child to programming languages could be either a building block for a career or an entertaining option for your young gamer. Not sure where to start? Get expert tips on picking the right coding camp to fit your child.

Family favorites:
Camp Edmo
NR Computer Learning Center
Discover Science Center

Find low cost or free online coding classes for kids >>

Online Sports and Fitness Camps for Kids

online yoga class for kids, meditation and movement during covid-19 stay at home restrictions
Online Virtual Yoga Class for Kids

Set aside some time to burn off all that extra energy from being stuck at home. Movement and exercise can help support children’s mental and physical well-being during this challenging time. Online sports and fitness camps include skills and fun games that kids can do from the safety of their own home, backyard, garage or patio. Family favorites include martial arts, yoga, dance, virtual recess and more.

Find low cost or free online sports and fitness camps for kids >>

Online LEGO® Camps for Kids

Popular LEGO® camp curriculums have been adapted for online learning so that your child can make their screen time count with engaging and entertaining STEAM enrichment. Build with LEGO® in themes of cities, robots, superheroes and more.

Find low cost or free online LEGO® camps for kids >>

Online Girl Scout Camps

Earn Girl Scout badges through online workshops in coding and science. Popular badges include: Fling Flyer badge, Coding Basics Badge, Bugs Badge for Brownies and more!

Find online girl scout classes and camps near me >>

Online School Break or Full Day Camps

Many online classes are between 30 minutes and an hour, but full day virtual camps are available. These may be more more convenient for parents that have multiple kids or are trying to work from home.

New Camps:
Camp Super Duper (9:30am-3pm)
Teeter Pal Spring Break Camp

Free Online Classes for Kids

ActivityHero LIVE offers a free, daily series of live, interactive classes for kids. These classes are made possible by teachers who want to help families while school is out with classes in art, music, business, medicine, cooking, LEGO®, fitness and more. They are also small businesses who have lost income due to COVID-19.

Find free online classes and camps for kids >>

Sports Super Activities for Super Kids

Choosing Sports for Kids: 8 Ways Parents Can Help

How to choose sports for kids
image from Flickr user tbsphotography

When kids start to express an interest in sports, it might be hard to know where to start. How do you know if your child is a Steph Curry or a Serena Williams?

Here’s some ways you can help kids find the right sport for them.

1. Child’s activity level

Is your child constantly running about and complaining of boredom? Or do they prefer to spend their free time doing low impact activities like reading?

If you have a high-energy child, consider a fast-paced sport such as soccer, football, or basketball. If they are less interested in contact sports, your child may like individual sports such as golf, tennis or swimming.

2. Consider physical traits

Although many teams need a variety of different players, take into account your child’s stature and what activity may best suit them. Children that are taller and broader might make better football players while those that are shorter and more slender would be great runners.

But don’t let your child’s physical traits limit them from their passions—the only limitations are the ones set in the mind.

Choosing sports for kids
image from Flickr user Snap-Happy-Mom

3. Check out the coaches

A passion for a sport can fizzle out due to an ill-prepared or off-putting coach.

Some things to look for in a good coach are encouragement, knowledge of the game, and approachability. A good coach is passionate about the sport and dedicated to helping kids do their absolute best. Check out the 10 qualities to look for in a good coach.

Observe the children on the team—are they smiling? Do they seem to be enjoying themselves?

Feel free to ask the coach as many questions as time allows, if they are truly committed to their job they’ll gladly give you feedback.

4. Individual vs. group

Does your child perform better in individual or group situations?

Some kids work better on a team and find it to be less pressure than individual sports where they are competing one-on-one. Some might find the opposite to be true.

If your child is more independent, consider sports like tennis or martial arts where kids compete one-on-one.

5. Widen your options

Try to introduce as many sports to your child as possible so they can see what interests them and what comes naturally.

Kids will have more trouble sticking with a sport if their minds wander to something they’ve never experienced.

Practicing different sports with your child will help open their eyes to their talents and skills. Pay attention to your child’s attitude during each sport and ask them how they feel after playing.

Sports for Kids
image from Flickr user Boston Wolverine

6. What sports does your child like watching?

Some kids can sit through an entire baseball game, excited from beginning to end, while others would rather flip the channel. Chances are if your child can watch an entire sports game from beginning to end they may have an interest in playing it.

Try to introduce your kids to as many sports games on TV as possible and take note of which ones grab their attention. Ask your child what they like about the game and if they can picture themselves playing the same game.

7. Consider costs

Before your child decides to be a star quarterback or a gymnast, do a little research on the costs of the sport.

Things like tennis rackets, soccer cleats, and leotards can be more expensive than you’d think. If your child is eager to start an expensive sport, be sure you have a solid commitment before making expensive purchases.

8. Importance of sportsmanship

Let’s face it: no one likes to lose, but studies show that kids who cope with losing end up more resilient in the face of future challenges. Temperament matters, too; some kids are more graceful losers than others. Read more about promoting self-reliance in kids and teens.

Some kids can find it especially tough to deal with loss in a team setting where there is a shared responsibility for success. Other kids might not struggle as much with this scenario. On the other hand, one-on-one sports like tennis or golf deal with facing personal loss. Know which types of challenges your child can handle.

Either way, it’s important to teach your child that winning isn’t everything. Playing to the best of their ability, not holding a trophy, should make them feel successful.

How Parents can Help Choosing Sports for Kids

ActivityHero lists hundreds of top-rated sports classes and camps. Find the right match for your family today.

Written by Sarah Antrim

After-School Activities

6 Reasons To Pick this Winter Activity This Summer

Swimming, softball clinics and church camps – you can likely rattle off the lists of summer activity options in your sleep by now. However, there may be one “cool” sport you may have missed while packing your calendars full this summer – ice skating!

Sure, it may take you a moment to shift your focus from sipping ice water poolside to watching your child learn a new skill rink side, but as you weigh the benefits, chances are your family may become winter sports enthusiasts – even while the weather is hot.

children ice skating

1.     Beat the Heat

Unless you live in an uncommon destination where snow’s the norm, chances are your summer plans are often driven by your desire to stay cool during a standard heat wave. Reduce your spending on A/C units and family-sized popsicle packages, and instead head to the local ice skating rink for the chance to chill out while your child enjoys learning a new skill. Many skating rink day camps around the country offer your family the chance to not only learn how to ice skate, but also participate in arts & crafts, movies and games – all with an abundance of air conditioning for mom and dad.

Find ice skating camps and classes near you! >>

2.     Enjoy a Discount

Most camps will offer some sort of discount, either via promotional code or multiple registrations. However, winter sports offer an additional incentive – many of them are more affordable than their summer counterparts during this time of year for the sole reason that they are often an afterthought for many families. Elite figure skating lessons and ice hockey gear can get pricey, and summer is a great time to take advantage of discounted public sessions or kid-focused day camps that can save you a bundle.

 3.       It’s Unique

Especially with slightly older children, the idea of doing something out-of-the-box may make the annual mundane activity selection process a bit more exciting. And you don’t even have to sell them on the idea of participating in a winter sport all summer long. Groups that make summer camp their business maintain a more traditional fusion of academics and camp events, while making each Friday a field trip day. Included with many? Ice skating.

4.     Support Local Business

Yes, we know it’s nice to take that big sigh of relief when your kids are on their own for a bit under the watchful eye of an adult that isn’t you. While we all need alone time, even with a full camp schedule the cabin fever crazies can set in during even two days in a row at home. Get out and support local businesses by taking them to your neighborhood rink to participate in a public skating session or to cheer on a friend on the ice hockey league. Or, if you live where it snows, find out what those local resorts are offering now that it’s all melted away. They may have some great summer options like whitewater rafting or mountain biking that don’t get a lot of publicity because their snowy reputation precedes them.

5.     Get More Mileage Out of That Wardrobe

Remember that hot pink sweater she NEEDED to own, only it was stubbornly never on sale? Or, even better, did you purchase a warm weather clothing item for your child only to experience the weather shifting dramatically only a week or so later? Seasonal shopping can be tricky, and winter sport participation during the summer months ensures you get the most mileage out of those items that would otherwise hang out in the back of the closet. So pull out those sweaters and long pants for a hockey camp or ice skating party.

6.     Get What You Pay For!

Finally, summer camps are great fun, but many times the schedules change because of the weather. Yes, it’s warm outside – but in most regions of the U.S. summer still involves at least a bit of rain and windy days. This means a swimming day may get canceled, as can any outdoor event. Since the majority of summer camps plan their thrills in the great open air, the very thing that motivated you to sign up for that specific destination may not materialize. With winter sports and activities, Mother Earth doesn’t get much of a say in what kids can or cannot do. Controlled temperatures and routine schedules reign supreme when it comes to indoor, winter-themed fun.

Author: Tamara Warta

After-School Activities

Girls Sports Have Unexpected Mental Health Benefits

Girls gain many things from playing sports. From self-esteem to physical fitness, there are some great reasons to get your daughter involved in a competitive girls sports team.

If you are new to the world of female athletes, then there is a lot to learn. First and foremost, be prepared for what your family is about to take on. If you have boys in the family already involved in sports, you are likely used to the commitment level involved. If not, say goodbye to free weekends and extra spending money – but also say hello to great family camaraderie and a whole slew of new friends.

For your girl, new friends are the first perk of participating in girls sports. Sports teams are a great way to build relationships with new girls, especially if you have just moved to a new town or your daughter is exceptionally shy. The bond is often fast too, thanks to the importance of learning to work together as a group to score points and win games.

With new friends being made, and knowing that others are depending on them, girls get a self-esteem boost from sports. Unfortunately, this can sometimes go in the opposite direction, but usually, it is a great way to get a timid girl to come out of her shell. Many quietly focused girls excel at sports and begin to learn to get outside of themselves a bit more.

A great benefit for the adults and siblings in your daughter’s life is the fact she will likely be less moody. The pouting and complaining stereotypical of young girls (come on, we know you’ve seen it) is likely to fade somewhat thanks to that healthy dose of endorphins pumping through her body during practice and game time. Exercise is a powerful antidepressant, and girls often feel better about not only themselves but the world around them when their bodies get moving.

Sports are just plain healthy. It is important for young women to learn how to eat properly, and also be emotionally healthy by learning to balance schoolwork and social life with being on a sports team. Girls who enjoy being busy will thrive at this, while others will need a bit more time to adjust to a crazier way of living. When everyone has found their groove again, you can rest assured that the physical and mental health of playing sports far outweighs any sacrifice. And, depending upon your daughter’s specific needs, this success can be found in either team or individual competitive sports.