by Nina Thompson
As we enter the New Year, it’s out with the old and in with the new, as they say. Some of us want to change our routines and try new things. Same goes for the kids. Once in a while (or may be all the time?), they get tired of the same schedule and want to try something different.
For kids who love to work with their hands, there are tons of creative classes available. The Children's Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum) features Early Birdles, a hands-on play-based workshop that includes movement, live music, and collaborative storytelling. Seesaw offers Friendship Skills classes and also language playgroups in French, Spanish, Mandarin, and Korean. Portrait and family photographer Kathi O’Leary runs a photography school for kids ages 7 and up in her spacious studio and outdoors, in inspiring places like Golden Gate Park. Designer Connie Walkershaw teaches kids how to sew playful clothing, pajamas, costumes, and even stuffed animals. Precita Eyes in the Mission offers mural workshops in which kids ages 5 and up create portable and permanent community mural paintings. Kids Carpentry, a long-time math enrichment program in the East Bay (with classes in the City) teaches practical woodworking skills with an emphasis on the safe use of hand tools for kids in kindergarten through grade 6.
There are several unique options for the active bunch. Kids ages 7.5 and up can sign up for a Scottish Country dancing class and dance to wonderful, toe-tapping Celtic music, while learning lively Scottish jigs and reels. Archery classes are available at the range in Golden Gate Park on 47th Avenue and Fulton. They are offered by Cupid’s Gate Archery and Golden Gate JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development). Want to learn about lacrosse? Matt Ogelsby’s All West Lacrosse offers classes and clinics all over the Bay Area. Adventure Out teaches surfing in Pacifica, rock climbing in Berkeley, and wilderness adventures in Santa Cruz on weekends throughout the winter and spring. Kids ages 8 and up are welcome. House of Air in Crissy Field offers trampoline classes for kids ages 6 and up.
Even SF Recreation and Parks now offers classes you wouldn’t expect they would. Family kayaking in the Bay? Sign up for this or a Moonlight Paddle class that is open to kids ages 12 and up and held at India Basin Shoreline Park. Kids ages 8 and up can sign up for Kayaking Exploration or Stand-up Paddling at Lake Merced, Pier 52, India Basin Shoreline Park, or Treasure Island at their own pace. SCUBA lessons are available for kids ages 14 and up and skin diving and snorkeling classes are available at the Coffman Pool. Try out Aztec Dance for all ages at Mission Recreation Center or Mexican Folk Dance for kids ages 8 and up at St. Mary' Recreation Center. Archery is offered at Golden Gate Park on Saturdays. In the last few years, skateboarding has been a big hit at Richmond, Mission, Bernal Heights, and Tenderloin Recreation Centers. And then there is fencing at Eureka Valley and Sunset Recreation Centers. Find these and other Rec and Park programs at sfreconline.org.
It’s not too late to sign up your kids for these interesting offerings throughout the City. And if you’re looking for something specific, you’ll find most classes listed on the sfkids.org website.