We recently spent the weekend on the slopes at Northstar California, where our kids took ski lessons with one of their experienced instructors. We were amazed at how much progress they made in just a few hours!
When should you get your own kids started on skis? Mike Hafer, assistant director of the Northstar's Ski and Snowboard School, was kind enough to answer this and a few other questions about ski lessons for children. Mike is also a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) Demo Team and father of two young daughters.
What's the best age to get your kids started on the slopes? Is it ever too late?
When the child is ready. The mountain environment can be very intimidating to a young child. I would recommend that the child experiences snow play prior to learning how to ski or snowboard. Most 2-year-olds will only last about 20–30 minutes at most on the snow with equipment. 3-year-olds will typically go anywhere from a half day to a full day depending on their normal routines. If they are in need of nap time, I would recommend sticking with a half day program.
If you're planning a birthday party, why not consider bowling? You probably went to birthday parties at the bowling alley when you were a kid, and you probably had a blast, too. Bowling is fun, exciting (remember when you knocked down that first pin?) and makes for a great birthday party experience. Throw in the fact that there's usually food and drink available on-site, and that you don't have to clean up, and it has the makings for the perfect party.
The crash of the pins, getting your bowling shoes, picking out that perfect bowling bowl, and learning to keep score are all part of the experience. It's a fun activity that all partygoers—kids and parents alike—can enjoy, too.
Country Club Bowl in San Rafael has been a local institution since 1959, and is Marin County's only bowling alley. They offer a birthday party package that includes:
Surf's up today at Novato's Hamilton Community Pool at their Family Fun Day from 1 to 5 pm.
Admission to the pool from 1 to 5 is half price—Novato residents pay just $3 for adults and $2 for youths and children, whil non-residents pay $4 for adults and $3 for youths and children. Have a great time at Novato's newest community pool, which features shaded picnic areas, lawns, and a fun waterslide and water play structure in the kids' pool. Read our review of the Hamilton Pool here.
For another $5, you can take part in additional Family Fun Day activities. Your wristband entitles you to a raffle for great prizes like a free season pass, and private lessons,unlimited bounce house entry, games and activities like a diving contest and swim race, and sno-kone, too!
Golf is one of those sports that you have to try at least once, so you learn how to swing the clubs properly and understand the game. A number of Marin County summer camp programs offer golf lessons for kids starting at pre-K. Here are some of the choices:
Marinwood Community Center in San Rafael offers a Junior Golf Summer Camp for ages 7–16. There are 9 sessions starting on June 13, Monday–Friday from 9 am–noon or 1–4 pm. The Junior Golf Camp takes place at the McInnis Park Golf Academy in San Rafael. The camp focuses on building the confidence of young athletes through training in proper technique and foundational skills. The cost is $325 per session. Visit their website to sign up or more info.
McInnis Park Golf Club Summer Camp in San Rafael offers weekly camps for ages 7 and up Monday–Friday with morning and afternoon sessions. Their golf camps cover all aspects of the game with a low student-to-teacher ratio. Camp ends with a graduation BBQ and presentation of graduation certificates. The price is $325 and includes a daily snacks. For more info, call (415) 492-1800 or go to their website.
Still looking for fun kids' activities and camps for summer? There's still time to sign up for one of the many classes and programs offered by local parks and recreation departments and other organizations. Find your local recreation resource on our list below. We've also included links to the summer camps offered by the Marin YMCA and the Osher Jewish Community Center.
Guest contributor Barbara McVeigh shares some great resources for summer sailing and nautical fun for kids and families.
The America’s Cup sailing race is yet two years away, but the excitement in the maritime communities is beginning to build just like the wind before a full blown gale.
There are lots of family fun sailing events planned this summer with activities promising to please the youngest of sailors to the crustiest of old salts. Treasure hunts, model boat building, schooner sails and pirates in Vallejo are just some of the teasers to lure a landlubber into the magical world of sailing.
Youth sailing camps start in June. The sport encourages teamwork and develops self reliance and confidence unlike any other activity. For a child, this can be the beginning of lifelong knowledge of the sport and art of sailing, as well as a connection to the natural elements of sea and wind. Kids laugh and have fun sailing!
Help raise funds for Novato's schools at the 2011 Tour of Novato, an annual bicycling event organized by School Fuel, the Novato Foundation for Public Education, this Saturday, April 30 from 7 am to 3 pm. You can sponsor an existing rider or sign up to ride yourself—registration is accepted the day of the event starting at 6 am. There are three possible routes to ride, ranging from easy to challenging, and a Cycling for Schools FunFair at San Marin High School starting at 9 am.
The Tour of Novato is School Fuel's biggest fundraiser for the Novato Unified School District, and has raised over $238,000 for Novato schools over the last three years. All money raised goes directly to the schools, with money raised by each rider going directly to the school they represent.
The Terra Linda Community Pool is now open for the 2011 season! Come enjoy the tot pool—for non-swimmers and their parents or caregivers—and the big pool and diving board. The tot pool is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm, and the big pool from 1:30 to 6 pm.
Pool admission for San Rafael residents is $5 for adults and $4 for youth; non-residents pay $9 for adults and $7 for youth. Children under 12 months are free. Season passes are available, too.
The Terra Linda Community Pool is located at the Terra Linda Community Center, 670 Del Ganado Road, in San Rafael. For more information on the pool call (415) 485-3346 or visit www.cityofsanrafael.org. For information on swimming lessons or special programs, call the Terra Lind Community Center office at (415) 485-3344.
Gymnastics is not only great for coordination and balance, but it's a lot of fun, too, which may explain why it's a popular summer camp activity. Pyramid in Corte Madera, Marin's oldest gymnastics club,offers weekly morning and afternoon intensive summer camp sessions for boys and girls starting June 13. The Pyramid summer camps introduce kids to real gymnastics, where they'll receive instruction on the six Olympic events for men and the four Olympic events for women. Campers have plenty of opportunities to develop their coordination, strength, flexibility, and balance in a safe and fun environment.
Pyramid offers morning and afternoon sessions, depending on age. The morning summer camps offers five weekly sessions that run Monday–Thursday from 10 am–noon for children six year of age and older. The cost for the morning summer camps are $120 per session. The afternoon summer camps are for children in pre-k through sixth grade and are held Monday–Friday; pre-k and kindergarten camps are from 2:45–3:30 pm, kindergarten–second grade from 3:30–4:15 pm, first–fourth grade from 4:15–5:15 pm, and third–sixth grade from 5:15-6:15 pm. The cost is $65–$75 per session.