43 posts categorized "Classes (for kids)"

Throwback Thursday: Extracurricular Activities

September 19, 2013

As we settle into our school-years, some of us settle into a schedule of extracurricular activities.  Today's Throwback Thursday recounts past conversations on extracurriculars:

And some open threads:

And - finally - what do you do while waiting?


September 11, 2013

Here’s the scoop for the weekend. For more ideas on what to do this weekend, check the Events Calendar on Metro Parent's PDX Kids Calendar and the urbanMamas calendar page.

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. Four days of fun-filled activities, including live music on four stages, free Kindergarten with rides and shows, arts and crafts show, and more! Thursday - Sunday. Most events are free. 

Tallulah's Daddy at Cafe Au Play. Come sing and dance while Tallulah's Daddy sings and plays his guitar, bass and cajon. Friday 10-11am. Suggested donation.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - SEPTEMBER 13-15, 2013" »

Monday class scheduling blues

January 10, 2012

Monday, Monday! Can't trust that day.

I should know by now, after having considered this topic week after week last November and January in the days leading up to the LEGO competition -- LEGO club was Mondays and Wednesdays after school, and thank goodness for the Wednesdays, because some weeks that was the only day club met.

Monroe is going to "speech group" as part of the services he receives from Multnomah County ESD. It's great; he adores his teacher and the other members of his class are sweet kids. He looks so forward to it each week. I love it, too, because even though it's 45 minutes it makes a nice routine for me -- I run during his class so I know I have a guaranteed weekly 4-some miler. No excuses possible.

But, it's on Mondays! I forgot how inauspicious this day was until PPS gave its students that extra day of break on January 2nd. Monroe missed the first day of the year and he'll miss next week, too, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Lucky Thursday kids; they get to meet every single week in January.

So if you're contemplating which day to put your child in a class that meets according to the public school calendar, be warned: every other day (every other day!) every other day of the week is fine...

Pushing toward activities with the littles: Yea or Nay?

November 15, 2011

We seem to have entered a period of hibernation. Last year at this time, we were excitedly participating in wrestling three days a week plus weekends, and Lego club, and I was biking the boys three (plus) miles away to school, and I barely had time to breathe. I spent most of my winter feeling that I should have gotten up earlier or stayed up later. I rushed everywhere.

This year Truman is at a much closer school, and not in any after-school clubs. I've been trying to get Everett re-enrolled in school after several months of a homeschooling respite, but... ok, a story for another day. Let's just sum up: no Lego club. And after a very busy fall of coaching for me, I asked the boys if they wanted to do wrestling club again this year. "Ummm... I'm tired," said Everett. You mean, every day you're tired? "At wrestling. I just think I'd be tired." Truman? "Well... maybe... I think 'no.'"

They are still getting over very bad colds (so am I, a punishing week-long feverish exhaustion whopper, so I'm giving myself until next week to make any decisions). And they're young enough -- six and nine -- that their future athletic careers can still be saved. There are plenty of Legos at home, along with running around the block and up the hill and jumping/climbing/showing off their amazing ninja moves. Activity level is not the problem. My feeling that I should, if I were a good parent, have my kids in at least one or two activities each, is the problem.

How do you feel about pushing your kids into activities (sports, art, music, science, whatever) that you think will benefit them -- but they're "too tired" or otherwise unmotivated to do? Do you have to insist on activities, or do they beg to do them? In your opinion, is hibernating, for either one long winter's nap or a few years, OK?

Seeking Japanese Class Suggestions

October 12, 2011

An urbanMama recently emailed:

We're looking for a west-side Japanese class or tutor for our seven-year-old daughter. She's taking classes at Bodhi Tree in SE Portland now, but we're moving across town and she would really like to keep it up.

Preschoolers & Enrichment Classes: what's good?

September 09, 2011

Right now, I have three kids in different age gropus, but a preschooler I have not.  However, when my elder kids were wanting to start sports, dance, swim, yoga, I searched high and low for classes that were a good fit: affordable, fun, convenient.

An urbanMama recently emailed:

I have a three year old.  I am kind of a DIY type with the whole kid thing, tending to go to the river instead of swim lessons, turn up the tunes instead of dance camp, climb trees instead of circus.  Partly because it's how I grew up, partly because it is cheaper, partly because all that structure doesn't really turn me on, but also just because my kid is still so small.  So many of my fellow parents, and their kiddos, though, have been in the world of planned-and-paid-for activities for a while now.  Body Vox, Do Jump, Parks and Rec, art classes, music classes, swim classes - it seems that every kid over a year is signed up for something.  So I am beginning to feel a little negligent.  Maybe she does need "enrichment."  She has tons of friends, and I share parenting with other moms, so socialization is not the issue (at all), but, in this world of specialization, maybe she would benefit from the right teacher - someone who is not a "mama".

My question is this: which are the good classes, that are not expensive but are also not just paper glue and glitter, or a basket of shakers and a boom box... For me to commit not just to paying someone, but also to schleping my kid somewhere on a regular basis (cuz you know the travel time is going be greater than the class time), I want to know that the people who are doing it are into it.  Also, up until now, all the classes are mommy-and-me, (the adults all acting like awkward kids and the kids are all looking at the adults like they're nuts) but at 3 there start to be classes which are 3-5 year olds, which my kid would be into because she loves the bigger kids, but she's not the type to just jump off my lap and into the fray in a room full of strangers...

Are you children in the 3-5 year old range in some kind of classes?  

Seeking Hindi or Gujarati Lessons

March 18, 2011

An urbanMama recently emailed:

We are a NE family consisting of a cultural mutt (me) and a wonderful  half English/half Indian (my husband).  We embrace all aspects of our combined heritage but identify closely with the Indian side of the family.  However, my husband was never taught his father's language of Gujarati or the national language of Hindi growing up.  I am a strong believer in 2nd language education for kids from a very early age and I would very much like my children to have the chance to learn either Hindi or Gujarati (or both).  I even went so far to take a year of Hindi myself to try to learn enough to speak a little to them - that didn't last long.  I'm wondering if anyone in the urbanMamas community is aware of a school, a tutor, an organization - anything that offers these languages specifically for kids.  I would even conisder a nanny/household helper that spoke so that we could all be immersed in the language from time to time. 

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Classes for Toddler (18mo) & Preschooler (3.5yo) at the same time?

April 27, 2009

Mamas, this question came in via our Facebook page.  Do you have any suggestions for juggling a consolidating classes/activities for two children of different ages? 
I know there is a lot of knowledge in the uM community regarding classes and activities for kids. I'm looking for something quite specific, and I'm hoping someone might have some leads. I have a toddler (18m) and a pre-schooler (3.5). I am looking for some type of group class situation where there would be simultaneous classes appropriate for both. I'm not picky about the content (art, music, dance, sports, etc), but I would like to be able to go to one place at one time and have my daughter in a class with other preschoolers while I attend a parent-involvement type class with the toddler. We've done classes where we all attend together (exhausting!), or back-to-back classes (time-consuming!), but what I really want are two classes run at the same place at the same time.  Any ideas?

Music Class: when is a good time to start?

May 28, 2008

They say it's never too early to start, but it that really true?  For a little babe clearly shows interest in all things musical, when do you think would be the best time to start?  An urbanMama recently emailed:

My daughter Uma is 9 months old but already she is so musically inclined and just enjoys anything that makes noise, listening to music, dancing etc.  I am writing to see if anyone has suggestions for Portland (or outlying areas) that provide music lessons at an early age -- not necessarily right now, but when could/should we start?  How early do they start?  I just want to offer this early on since it seems to make her so happy and I really think she has a talent for rhythm.  Thanks so much for the suggestions in advance!

For previous recommendations on music classes, check out:

Or even:

Getting Horse Sense

March 29, 2008

Mila has a seven-year old cousin whose family has a few horses. Like her cousin, Mila is surprisingly confident and comfortable around Cody, Feather, and Hank. Everytime we make it down to Nevada, Mila can't wait to brush and ride the horses. I have no horse sense but I would love Mila to continue learning how to ride safely between family visits, which brings me to my question for the UM community:

Any suggestions for riding lessons or riding camps in the Portland area? Especially opportunities for the wee ones (age 5 and above).

Help Save French Pour Les Enfants!

January 20, 2008

We know that there are many Francophones or those interested in teaching their wee ones French. Stephanie recently wrote to us in a plea to help rescue a Saturday morning French class for 3 to 5 year olds.  She writes:

Last spring there was a discussion on the Urban Mamas site about French classes/playgroups for preschoolers:


Since then, the Matt Dishman Community Center has started offering a French class on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. It's called French Pour Les Enfants and it combines songs, games and vocabulary to introduce children ages 3 - 5 to the French language.  My daughter took the class last term and loved it. Unfortunately, it is now in danger of being canceled because only four children have signed up this term.  It really is a nice class, and it would be a shame if it was canceled. I thought perhaps some other Urban kiddos might be interested. 

A class description can be found here:


Singing / Voice lessons?

January 14, 2008

Well mamas, we bring to you another good question.  Andrea has a little singer and wants to encourage her talents so she asks:

Is there a thread on finding singing lessons for 5 year olds. My daughter really wants to take a class but I didn’t see a thread on it.

I don't think we've addressed this question yet, so let's hear it.  Who's found singing lessons for the little ones?

Have you tried the OGA?

January 08, 2008

We've talked about plenty of classes for kids here on urbanMamas, including Tumble and Roll, toddler swim, dance class, and mama 'n' me fitness.  Emily asks whether anyone has had experience with the Oregon Gymnastics Academy and seeks other suggestions:

Has anyone had any experience (good or bad) with the StarBabies class at the Oregon Gymnastics Academy?  I thought it would be fun to find a tumbling class for my son and so far StarBabies is the only thing I have found for the his age group (19 months). Any other ideas for tumbling classes for the very young?

Soccer Moms: Getting Started Early

December 01, 2007

Some mamas are happy to wait until the little ones are older to get them involved in organized activities.  Melissa's interested in finding a soccer class for her toddler.  Are there really any out there?  She asks:

I keep hearing of all of these Moms getting their 2-year olds into soccer classes/teams.  I can’t seem to find a class anywhere and am curious if you might know of some?

Infant Swimming Lessons

November 09, 2007

Beyond the toddler swimming lessons, can other mamas and papas share experiences with toddler swimming lessons?

I am looking for input on peoples experience with infant swim programs in the Portland area. My little guy is 6 mos old and I would like to get him involved in a swim program but feel a bit overwealmed by the different options out there. Any anecdotes or recommendations?

Art Classes on Saturday?

October 25, 2007

Leah is seeking suggestions for art classes for her daughter.  Can you help?
My 4.5 year old daughter loves art. And we've been searching for a saturday art class for her. But everything I find is during the week. Drats. Does anyone know of a great weekend art class?  We live in SW but are close in so east side is easy too. Thank  you!!

Music Classes for 2-4 year olds?

October 24, 2007

Beyond previous suggestions in our Music Classes for Preschoolers, Diana is looking for more suggestions for her children:

I would like to start music lessons my 3.5 year old son and my  2 year old daughter will follow.  Unfortunately,  I don't know anyone with a little one in lessons so I'm looking for reccomendations for teachers or classes.  I've decided that I don't want to go with the piano, as we don't have one and they are a costly and big.  So I think my first choice is guitar.   Are there other mamas out there who have started their kiddos on a instrument this young? Was it fun at all for the child or should I wait until he's older?  Where is a good place to buy the first instrument?  Any thoughts or comments on th subject would be great.  We live in close in NE, and would like to stay in Portland for teachers and lessons.  Thanks so much!

Interested in Starting a Kids Yoga Class Downtown?

October 06, 2007

Nancy has a wonderful idea of trying to organize a group for a kids yoga class. 

My  4 year old son is, like many, really interested in movement right now. I've been looking for yoga classes for his age group in downtown Portland and am striking out.

So, my first question is, have urbanMAMAS already scouted this out and could you point me in the right direction?  (Note from the urbanMamas: there was a previous thread on Yoga for Kids with a few suggestions).

If such classes do not exist, I'd like to go to Yoga Pearl and ask them if they'd be interested in starting a regular class for kids. Before I do that, however, I'd like to be able to tell them how much demand is out there. And maybe even have a group of kids ready to sign up.

Is there interest out there?  Should Nancy inquire about setting this up?

Under pressure: How many extracurriculars do you have?

September 26, 2007

Everett_ballet_shoes In August, we signed Everett up for two after-school activities: ballet, which he'd been doing for several months, and Do Jump, which I knew he'd love. So the first week of school he went to ballet on Saturday morning and acrobatics on Tuesday afternoon. The following weekend, we went to his grandma's house and read a new-to-us Berenstain Bears book called Too Much Pressure. Brother and Sister discover they're doing too many activities, and at the end they agree to only do two each. Brother picks computer club and soccer.

Simultaneously, we began having trouble with Everett's behavior, and called in some heavy -- and expensive -- hitters to help us figure out how to fix it. Ballet went out the window immediately, at least for the next few months: the balance of the year's substantial tuition just couldn't fit in the budget along with therapy. Then yesterday, we had a blow-up in Do Jump and I began to question the intelligence of doing that (we've already paid through November). I told Everett I was thinking about cutting it out of his schedule.

"That's ok," he said. "I want to do computer club!"

*Sigh* That wasn't exactly my point (but at least his reading comprehension is good!). Now I'm wondering, how many activities are right for children once they start preschool or kindergarten? Especially when you're having trouble acclimating? Is "zero" the right number for a five-year-old? What works for you -- and if your children are older, when did the time seem right?

Scout Dilemma

September 18, 2007

The other day at the Kite Festival, I noticed that the local cub scouts were the ones selling snacks and the like.  My two younger brothers were cub scouts, and I felt like a den big sister or den second mother.  We hosted a few den meetings at our house, and I can still clearly recall the oath we would recent at the start of every meeting:  "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my coCub_scoutsuntry...."

This email comes from a mama who would love your insight:

My 7 year old son really wants to join Cub Scouts. We went to the initial orientation meeting, and even wrote a check for his membership, but I still can't shake that feeling that I just don't want to be a part of that particular organization. Though my husband was a scout for a short time, and my own brothers were scouts, we don't practice any religion and feel uncomfortable with the amount of "God-speak" involved in the scouts. We'd want to be a part of the den, but feel hypocritical pretending to lead a prayer. Though I was raised Catholic, I haven't wanted to be a part of organized religion since I was about twelve. I can't shake that paranoid feeling about sending my own son off to strangers that hold so many conservative beliefs! Isn't there an alternative scouting-type organization? A more liberal, more focused on camping and less soldier-like, less preachy alternative? Am I being uptight and ridiculous?

What's your favorite PP&R Class?

August 28, 2007

Summer is screeching to an end as we catapult into fall.  Last week, we received Portland Parks & Recreation's Fall Class Schedule at our local community centers (we love Portland Parks & Rec!).  We'd love to hear from urbanMamas which classes you love (and for which age group) and which community centers you love.  What are you signing up for - either for yourself or for the kids - this fall?

Martial Arts for Kids?

July 14, 2007

Does anyone have any experience or recommendations for martial arts studios?  Sarah asks:

I'm starting to look into a martial arts program for my 4-year-old son, likely starting classes in the fall.  I'd like him in a class just once a week, an hour or so per class, reasonably priced.  Tae kwon do, karate, kung fo, etc., I don't really have a preference for the type of arts.  I'd like to stay in the inner NE/SE area.  I've heard of US Westcoast Tae Kwon Do on NE Broadway, but I don't know anyone who's had kids in classes there, so I'd like to hear from parents who have, and I'm curious if there are other programs that people have had positive experiences with?

Recommend great physical activities for the kids?

July 04, 2007

The little folk loves some good activity - running around the park, some team sports, maybe swimming or gymanastics?  We recently received a request for recommendations:

My spouse & I recently became the guardians of our niece (8) and nephew (6).  Though it's a huge adjustment, so far things are going well. My question is this: the hubster and I are fairly quiet, bookish people, and while the kids love reading with us, they are *really* physical/performance oriented: dancing, singing, running, etc.  So we really need some suggestions for classes, games or other things that really play to their strengths.

Mommy & Me Cooking Classes

June 11, 2007

It's never too early to start nurturing love for cooking and crafting nutritious meals:

Hi, my name is Tami and I have a soon to be 5 year old that is very interested in cooking and baking. She loves Martha Stewart! I thought it would be fun to take a baking/cooking class together. Are there any "Mommy and Me" baking/cooking classes in Vancouver/Portland area that would meet our needs? I bought her an EasyBake Oven for Christmas but I think she has exceeded it's culinary limits. Thanks!

Sports for Kids in NE

April 30, 2007

Kimber would love your suggestions:

I live in the Sabin neighborhood and am trying to find any T-ball or soccer programs nearby for my 5 1/2 year old.  Do any exsist?

Parlez vous francais?

April 11, 2007

Je ne comprend pas (I don't understand) is one of the first phrases I learned in French when I took an "Introduction to French" class at the community center with my mom when I was a kid. As it turns out, my mother was a whiz at languages; I think she can speak four languages fluently. It's never too early to learn another language. Many children show keen interest and ability to absorb. Stephanie is looking for French classes for her 4 year old:

Does anyone know of anyone/anywhere that offers French language instruction (or even French summer camp) for preschoolers? My daughter used to take French lessons at the Alliance Francaise de Portland, which she loved, but her teacher accepted a college-level teaching position and the class was discontinued. I do know that there is a French preschool program at the Fulton Park Community Center, but it starts at 12:30 and my daughter doesn't get out of preschool until 12:30, so that won't work for us. There's no way we could get there before 1 p.m. I heard a rumor that they offered French classes through Portland Parks and Rec. at Sellwood Park, but I'm not finding any evidence of that online. Any other leads out there? My daughter is four and she has been BEGGING to take French classes for ages - she brings it up almost every day. (I suspect it is because she had so much fun at French class when she was younger. She still remembers all of the songs!) Since the interest is there, I really want to encourage it, but I haven't had any luck finding any classes out there for four year olds. I'm familiar with the Portland French School and the French International School, but sadly, we really can't afford the tuition. So, I guess I'm really looking more for a class or camp situation that would be supplemental to preschool for her. We live in the Hawthorne neighborhood, but I'd absolutely be willing to drive to another part of town for class. I know there are a lot of great French tutors in the Portland area. If there aren't any established classes out there already, are there any other mamas out there who might be interested in trying to start one by sharing the costs of hiring a tutor for a weekly session?

Fitness for Mama and Toddler

April 03, 2007

There's yoga for kids, and there's mama yoga. There's pilates for mommies, and there's tumble and roll.

What about classes, books, or DVDs for both mama and child? Emily asks:

I am wondering if anyone can recommend a fitness class/book/dvd that is for both mama and toddler. I took a few mama and me yoga classes, but now that my 13 mos. old daughter is on the verge of walking I need something that will both engage her and help me get back into shape.


March 22, 2007

Next week is Spring Break for Portland and Beaverton Public Schools. That's a change in the schedule for all of us. For some of us who may work fulltime, spring break means a hunt for day camps. For some of us, spring break means a search for new and fun activities for ourselves and our kids. There are things going on out there, like Free Swim Lessons at some pools and surely a whole host of other funness to be had. There are camps at the ol' standbys: the Zoo Camp or Children's Museum Camp. What else is there? Art camp at 100th Monkey Studio? Kung Fu Camp? Maybe leisurely mornings and long bike rides? Walks to our favorite parks to catch up with neighbors and friends?

What's Spring Break '07 like for our family? Monday through Wednesday, our girls will hang with one of their bestest gal pals (a sitter share!). We have family coming in late Wednesday, who'll spend some QT with the girls on Thursday. On Friday, we'll zip away for a long weekend getway at Sunriver, and that'll be that!

How 'bout you all? Care to share some plans for your upcoming week?

Tumble and Roll

March 01, 2007

We all know that a little activity is great for our little ones, many of whom love to tumble and roll. Where do you take your tot to get his tumbe time? Beth is asking:

Does anyone know of a good place for gymnastics for my 3 yr old? We went to a community center class and most of it was waiting in line to do a tumble or walk the balance beam. I'm hoping for north or NE but any suggestions are welcome.

Free Swim during Spring Break

February 28, 2007

Spring Break is coming up March 26 through 30th, and some of Portland's Pools are offering free swim lessons. We go to Dishman Pool and I picked up a flyer. Lessons will be held Monday through Thursday of that week at Dishman:

9:00 to 9:30 AM -- Goldfish, Penguin (Y), Otter (P), Seal (Y), Polar Bear (Y), Sea Lion (Y) 9:40 to 10:10 AM -- Aquaducks, Penguin (P), Seal (P), Dolphin, Adult Beginner 10:20 to 10:50 AM -- Goldfish, Penguin (P), Otter (Y), Seal (Y), Park Shark.

(Y is for "youth" ages 6 and up; P is for Preschooler ages 3-6)

Registration begins March 1, 2007; call 503 823 3673.

Does your pool offer free lessons during Spring Break? I do recall Dishman offering free lessons also during winter break.

Deadlines everywhere for summer, spring and fall activities

February 16, 2007

I wrote a few minutes ago about my struggle with Portland Public Schools' registration for kindergarten, and the knowledge that I just didn't have (must. remember. for next child!). For many popular programs, classes, camps and activities in Portland and elsewhere, if you're a mom you just really should know that you have to be (a) in the know and (b) extraordinarily prompt. I've heard tale of moms and dads in business suits standing in line in the wee hours of the morning to get coveted preschool spots, or calling a registration line over and over on the appointed day until they get through, just like when you were in junior high and called a radio station to be the 10th caller and win a Bell Biv Devoe album.

Well. I may have missed out on my chance to get Everett in full-day kindergarten (please, oh please, let eight people find spots in other districts) but at least I haven't missed registration for the summer pre-ballet program at OBT. Registration for that is due today, February 16, by 5 p.m.

I also haven't missed registration for spring and summer classes at Do Jump, the popular "physical theatre" school. Registration starts February 26 at 10 a.m., and forms are available now -- get your forms [pdf link] printed and filled out and be ready to submit early on the 26th, as classes (for young children especially) fill up in the first day or two of registration.

Dance classes for my fancy dancers?

January 28, 2007

Twirling_dancer Everett and Truman love to dance, and although Truman's definitely on the wobbly side still, I think Everett has some talent. What's more, he's a big fan of Angelina Ballerina and any Disney movie featuring dancing. He'll get up and show me the way you're "supposed" to dance for a given song, and often? He's pretty much right.

It occurred to me tonight that now is the time. If my little guy is going to ever dance off-off-off-Broadway, well, it's time to get practicing. But I have no idea where to start. I mean, he's a boy. Most boys (let's be honest) don't take ballet.

Can anyone recommend good dance classes (in the southeast would be nice, but downtown or close-in NE would work, too)? And, most importantly, any that have boys in them? Everett's four-and-a-half, and if it was a dance/drama combo program, so much the better.

Infant/Toddler Sign Workshop

January 21, 2007

Thanks Leslie for passing on this info. We're sure many other urbanFamilies will be interested:

Due to loads of requests from local parents, LilyToad is teaming up with the Portland Early Learning Program to offer an infant/toddler sign and language development workshop on Sunday, Feb. 4 from 4-6 pm. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. $45 per couple includes 2 hour workshop and a highly acclaimed infant sign book. You can register either at LilyToad or on-line at here.

Mama and Me Knitting

January 19, 2007

The folks over at Sydney's Cafe have an idea. How about a mama-'n'-me knitting group every week? Are you interested? Of course, all mamas are welcome, regardless of whether their kiddies are knitting!What time would work best (considering the cafe closes at 6pm in the evenings)? Would 4 or 5 o'clock work one evening each week? A weekend time?

Ice Skating Classes

January 05, 2007

In December, my daughter had two ice skating birthday parties at Lloyd Center Ice Rink on consecutive weekends. The first time, she was timid and a little nervous about being on the ice. The second time, though, she was whizzing around like a seasoned recreational skater. I even spied her skating in the center of the rink with her friends, trying to learn to spin Yamaguchi-style. Then, when we were in SF on Christmas Eve, she begged to go ice skating at a rink there. For 2-1/2 straight hours, she skated and skated. She outskated me, her daddy, her grandparents, and her uncles. We were exhausted, but she would have skated until the wee hours of the night.

Now that we're back home, she is begging us for lessons and to skate more regularly. I noticed that Portland Parks & Rec is offering Ice Skating Basics, but it isn't clear to me whether the lessons are held at Lloyd Center or ?... This email from Jess is timely:

I wanted to ask urbanMama readers if they have had any experience with ice skating. The only class my daughter has been interested in is ice skating. We had a drop-in lesson at Lloyd Center Ice Rink today. The ratio was 17:1. That's 17 preschoolers on ice skates! Needless to say children were not getting the attention or direction they need. My daughter still really wants to skate. The ice rink said that they will not add more teachers to the class and that my only other option is private lessons. These lessons are $12.50 for 15 min plus we need to rent skates for $5. Can anyone refer a private lesson for cheaper or would anyone be interested in forming a small group (3-4 kids) and paying a private instructor? Is there any other place other than Lloyd Center?

Music Classes for Preschoolers

January 03, 2007

Thank you, Susan, for sending in your question:

I’m wondering if you could post a question about music classes for preschoolers.  I enjoyed taking my older son to music classes at the Community Music Center, but now with my three year old, I’m wondering about the other options out there.  The Music Together classes especially intrigue me, however they cost twice as much as the classes at the Community Music Center.  Are they that much better?  Anyone have experience with other places?

RecycledArt Kids Class December 21

December 14, 2006

There was a post about RecycledArt a while ago...Well, RecycledArt will be having a class for ages 4-6 on Thursday, December 21 that is a perfect Holiday Break activity for your little one. Here is description of the event:

Through the Looking Glass!

We will join together this holiday season to see what we can spy with our little eyes using salvaged windows from the Rebuilding Center! This 1 hour workshop will kick off with a circle time and a short story. Each artist will create a masterpiece as we talk about the values of reuse before recycling. We’ll learn how glass is made and recycled and how that glass is used to make windows. The last 10 minutes of class are reserved for our art show…a chance for artists to share their creations and tell us the story of what they saw Through the Looking Glass.

Date:  Thursday December 21
Time:  3-4pm
Ages: 4-6
Cost:  $10 per artist (includes materials)
Place:  Milagros, 5433 NE 30th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97211

The class is limited to 10 students and requires advance registration. Contact RecycledArt-ist Liesha Eberst at 503-901-9324 or makerecycledart@yahoo.com to register or for more info.

Holiday Camps?

November 27, 2006

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone (although the leftovers still abound), we're looking ahead to holiday fun, like holiday crafty stuffs.  But, for many of us, we will also be faced with needing to find some all-day holiday cheer for our kids whose schools or daycares will be closed.  There are holiday camps, similar to summer camps, offered at larger institutions or community centers:

Children's Museum Camp runs from December 18 through 22, the full week before Christmas.  Full-time care can run from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM, then there is additional aftercare offered until 5:30 PM.

Oregon Zoo offers 1/2-day camps for children ages 4 through Kindergarteners for $12-14 per day.  Full-day sessions for children in grades 1 through 4 are $27-35 per day.  Good animal winter fun!

Portland Parks & Rec offers Wild Winter Wonderland at the following community centers: Mt. Scott, Fulton Park, Matt Dishman, and East Portland.  Another offering (which seems to be the same offering) is Winter Madness at Sellwood, Hillside, University Park, Southwest Community Center, Montavilla, St. Johns, and Peninsula.  Some centers offer the whole week, others centers register day-by-day.

Do you have any other suggestions for finding holiday childcare or camp fun?  Aisha writes:

Can anyone recommend a good day care for the Xmas break in the North/Northeast Portland area--my hubby's 7 year old is going to be with us on Christmas break at a last minute's notice and we both have to work.  I have tons of recommendations in SE but nothing around our neck of the woods, any suggestions would be helpful and appreciated.  Something like a winter break camp would be perfect--sports or art related in particular.  Thanks for the help and have a great holiday!

Yoga for Kids

October 31, 2006

When Philly was younger, we'd practice yoga at home together. I had the video, YogaKids, which she loved, loved, loved! We also did some practice using the Kids Yoga Deck. Admittedly, though, a yoga class could have a different effect. It'd be fun! Even more awesome would be if there could be a simultaneous mama class at the exact same time and place as a kids class. Am I dreaming?

Mama Melia is looking to use yoga to give her little one the tools to enjoy calm and focus. She asks:

Does anyone know of any yoga studios, preferably on the southwest side and into beaverton, that cater to the under-7 set? Tualitan Hills Park and Rec has a class for 6 year olds, but my guy is 5 and in need NOW! What other ideas are out there for helping kids focus?


RecycledArt: Something New from Something Old

October 23, 2006

It's always nice when we hear about something new and different among the great offerings in Portland.  Better yet, it's something fun, educational, and makes use of one of our favorite themes: "reduce, reuse, recycle".  Yay for Leisha!

RecycledArt offers stimulating, hands-on, educational art and science workshops for kids ages 3-10. Students take common, everyday objects and turn them into something totally out of this world!  They paint, sculpt, draw and build from the inside out while sharing ideas and making new friends.  RecycledArt unites the wonders of science with the creativity of art and we help to make the world a better place to live by learning about renewable energy sources and brainstorming ways to create less trash through reducing, reusing and recycling materials.

Remember tupperware parties?  Well, RecycledArt workshops are offered in a very similar style.  We come to you!  A RecycledArt workshop hostess invites up to 10 children to attend a 1 hour, custom themed activity.  As a workshop hostess, your child attends for FREE!  AND..your child will receive a treasure box filled with found objects that they can later use to explore their creativity!  In addition to workshops, RecycledArt also offers birthday parties!  The cost per artist is $10.

So...while the kids are learning cool science facts and having fun making art, the Mom's get a chance to relax and share a cup of coffee or go for a walk.  RecycledArt also offers pecial packages which include an on-site, chair massage, manicures and pedicures!

For more information on our workshops and packages, send us an email...makerecycledart@yahoo.com or contact Liesha Eberst at 503-901-9324. 

Kids Climb the Pinnacle

October 17, 2006

Every single time we walk into the REI in the Pearl, my girls stop and gawk at the Pinnacle. They want to touch it, climb it, conquer it. Just got wind of a class for kids coming up this Thursday, October 19th. It's called "Introduction to Climbing", open to children of all levels aged 6 to 12, and costs $21 for members ($30 for non-members). Get your "I Climbed the Pinnacle" tee!

Do Re Mi: Seeking Piano Lessons

October 11, 2006

We have a six-year old, who is so SO so interested in playing the piano.  My husband and I both learned when we were little, so for the past couple of years, we teach her little things and songs on our piano at home.  But, there is only so much we can teach!  We have always wanted to steer clear of over-programming our little ones, though, so we have decided to defer the piano lessons.  Until now.  We signed up for a 10-week class at Ethos Music Center called "Kinder Keyboards".  It was a group lesson for kids 5-7.  After two sessions, we realized the class wasn't for us.  The group was unruly and it was a lot of waiting around as the teacher went from child to child.  In the meantime, waiting children didn't know what to do with themselves.

So, I ask: have you had any great experiences with piano lessons, either private or group?  At what age did you start your child's lessons?

Toddler Swimming Lessons

May 26, 2006

It's that time of year, mamas.  Time for swim and time for cheer!  I have only done classes via the Portland Parks & Rec Aquatics program. Every year, they have this freebie week of swim class (this year, the Free Week* is June 19 to 23), held usually the week before the summer outdoor swim season starts (this year, Session 1 starts June 26).

Aquaducks, for ages 6 to 36 months, is basically like Book Babies in the pool. Songs, blowing bubbles, playing games - it is totally fun. Our first summer in Portland, I did the free week when Tati was just an itty-bitty 7 month old. For me, the most challenging thing about summer swim classes is that it's an EVERYDAY sort of thing.  Two week sessions, class every day.  That's intense.  Still, it's fun.  Warm pools, even if it's a tad bit nippy outside?  I'm there.

What other toddler swim programs are there out there?  Send on your recommendations & details, if you have 'em!

* The Free Learn-to-Swim in-person registration is on Saturday, June 17, 8AM to 11:30AM at your local pool.