Sports Activities

Sports and games for families.

Cal Star Gymnastics Indoor Power Play Now on Mondays

March 7, 2011

Cal Star Gymnastics foam pitBeginning March 7, Cal Star Gymnastics in Novato adds Mondays from 10 am to noon to its schedule of Power Play open gym time for kids 5 and under. Power Play is a great opportunity for kids to have fun and work off a little energy, especially on rainy days. Kids love the trampoline, the foam pit, and the obstacle course. It's safe, great exercise, and, most of all, it's fun.

Cal Star Gymnastics also offers 5-and-under Power Play sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to noon and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 to 10:30 am. Power Play sessions for children 6 and older are offered on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 to 10 pm and 6 to 9 pm, respectively (perfect for when mom and dad need to enjoy an evening out by themselves).

The cost for 5-and-under Power Plays is $8 for Cal Star members and $10 for non-members; parent supervision is required. Evening Power Play sessions are $16 members and $20 non-members. For an additional discount, Power Play saver cards are also available.

Go Bowling this Winter Break

December 28, 2010

Christmastime is very busy for my family. Both my and my husband’s immediate family (including parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and assorted nieces and nephews) live locally, so there are lots of parties and get-togethers during the season. After all of this holiday togetherness, I need to take a break and forget about Christmas and do something fun with friends.

One fun, active, and indoor family activity for Winter Break is bowling. I used to bowl at Nave Lanes in Ignacio when I was younger, but since it was torn down and replaced by a Safeway, we often head up to Southern Petaluma and go to AMF Boulevard Lanes, which is spacious and clean with a friendly staff. For the kids, they offer bumper bowling, which consist of metal barriers on either side of the lane so the ball can’t go in the gutter. We've even seen families use a special slide like ramp, so small children could roll their balls down the lane instead of facing the dreaded prospect of having their ball lose momentum and stop halfway to the pins.

Support Novato Gymnastics Family Spaghetti & Fun Night

September 20, 2010

Novato Gymnastics CenterHelp support Novato Gymnastics at its Family Spaghetti and Fun Night, Saturday, September 25, at 5:30 pm at the Novato Gymnastics Center. This night of family fun features a spaghetti dinner, cake walk, face paining, fun photos, and of course gymnastics for the kids. There will also be a silent auction and a "gently-worn" leotard sale.

All proceeds go directly to the Novato Gymnastics Center to cover programs costs not supported by the City of Novato.

Tickets must be purchased in advance by Wednesday, September 22, either through the Gymnastics Center office or a booster family. Cash or check accepted. Kids 5 and under $5, adults $10; family (two adults and two children) $25; includes pasta, salad, beverages, and dessert.

The Novato Gymnastics Center is located at 950 Seventh Street (at Grant Avenue) in Novato. More information at

Tennis Anyone? USTA Youth Tennis in Marin

September 7, 2010

Tennis playing kidOf the many different sports activities out there that kids can participate in, tennis is fulfilling, fun, and something you can play your whole life. If your child is interested in playing tennis, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) junior team tennis league could be just the thing you're looking for!

For players from 6 to 14 years of age (depending on program), the junior team tennis leagues are a great introduction to the sport and take place through the fall. The leagues incorporate elements of the USTA's QuickStart format, which involves the use of specialized equipment like foam and low-compression balls, smaller court sizes, and a modified scoring system, all of which maximize fun and learning while minimizing pressure.

In Marin this fall, leagues take place in:

  • Novato: registration: September 11, 10 am, Novato High School Tennis Courts; season: September 18–October 23, Novato High School Tennis
    Courts; cost: $60; ages 6–14
  • Larkspur: registration: Saturday, September 11, 12:30–2:30 pm, Piper Park; season: September 14–October 19, Piper Park; Cost $139; ages 6–10
  • Tiburon: registration:; season: September 19–November 7, Tamalpais High School; Cost $175–$192; ages 8–15

The Novato program in particular is both extremely affordable and successful, usually drawing between 50 and 70 children for its fall program. The Novato program was also recently awarded a $2,500 grant from the USTA.

Elsewhere in the North Bay, you can find leagues in Petaluma, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and Windsor. For more information on the program and the individual leages, visit the USTA Northern California's website at

All In The Same Boat—Sailing Fun!

May 10, 2010

Family sailing in Pico sailboatSan Francisco Bay is considered by many to be the best place to sail in the world! Guest contributor Barbara McVeigh shares her experiences in learning to sail with her children, and provides some resources for parents who want to get started in sailing.

When our sailboat capsized, I heard a loud shriek. It came from me. My six-year-old daughter was too busy laughing to be washed with worry. My giggles quickly followed. Fortunately we were in very protected waters, and we knew how to be safe and recover our capsized boat.

Go Swimming Indoors This Winter

January 19, 2010

I decided that I’m going to do something for myself this year—I finally joined our local health club and I’m going to get myself back into shape. I signed up at the Marin YMCA a few weeks ago, and have to say that it was the best decision I’ve made so far this year. Not only am I able to take advantage of the workout room, but our entire family can participate in the classes and programs they have to offer as well.

One of our favorites features so far is the indoor pool. Believe it or not, we have been making a lot of use of it during on these recent rainy weekends, and my kids are able to burn off some energy as well as brush up on their swimming skills. My son wants to join the swim team in the spring and he needs to be able to swim the length of the pool first, so we’re getting in some valuable practice time.

There’s something I love about swimming in an indoor pool on a rainy day. At first thought it seems a little odd to want to go swimming when it’s cold and wet out, but once you get to the pool it’s warm and pleasant and a contrast to the yucky weather going just on the other side of the windows and walls.

Marin Parks & Recreation Fall Classes 2009

October 5, 2009

Looking for fun kids' activities this fall? 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 winter camps offered by the Marin YMCA and the Osher Jewish Community Center.

How to Photograph Kids' Soccer Games

September 1, 2009

There's good images to be had after the game, as wellMarin Mommies is pleased to present a guest post by photographer Norm Levin, owner of Natural Portraits: Family and event photography as nature intended. He offers some valuable tips on photographing your children's soccer games (and any other sports activity). Read on to learn how to capture that perfect sports photo. You can visit Norm online at


Where did the summer go?

It seems like yesterday that school was out and we were taking the little ones off on a family trip, or to camp, or swimming and baseball practices. As a parent with a camera, which eliminates practically no one, you’ve attempted with varying degrees of success to capture your child actively enjoying his or her outdoor pursuits.

Those cherished summer events are mostly behind us now, living on in our memories and stored on our digital devices.

If your refrigerator door is anything like ours, it’s already displaying your child’s fall soccer team assignment precariously held under a magnet. When the soccer season starts, which should be any minute now, you know you’ll be there digital camera in hand to get the photo goods. May the god of pixels be with you.

High Energy Birthday Parties at Cal-Star Gymnastics

June 16, 2009

My son recently celebrated his sixth birthday, and when we asked him what he wanted to do for his party, he was adamant on having it at Cal-Star Gymnastics, a gymnastics and sports facility in Novato. He'd been to another party there last fall and obviously it made an impression on him. The price seemed to fit our budget, so we made the reservation and got ready to invite his friends.

Although I'd been to Cal-Star before for their drop-in Power Play sessions, I wasn't too familiar with their birthday parties. I didn't quite know what to expect from them, but I was more than pleasantly surprised at how fun and well organized the party was. The best thing about it, of course, was that all the kids had a blast. We had a wide range of ages there, from 3 to 8, and everyone had a really good time. Of course it didn't hurt that they were getting some great exercise and physical activity while they were at it!

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