Virtual and In-Person Options for School-Aged Kids and Families

Colorado is taking COVID very seriously, but school-age kids might not appreciate the protocol. They just want to have fun. And as cooler weather sets in children and families need some solid options for spending more time indoors. Rest assured, there are still plenty of creative ways to play away the days.Here are a few that might inspire you:

Sports still in session
The YMCA will continue to stage COVID-careful cohort team sports all over northern Colorado throughout the winter, including Learn to Play Basketball and 3-on-3 Leagues focusing on skill development, team camaraderie and coaching for kids ages 5 to 14; social distanced, small-group youth triathlon training for grades Kindergarten through 12th; and Kindergarten through 5th before- and after-school care at seven schools, as well as School Day Off Camps and Drop-In Mondays at nearby Y locations.

Bounce or climb
With locations in Longmont and Fredrick, Airborne Gymnastics, recently deemed a low-risk environment by Weld and Boulder counties, has numerous school-year programs and camps for energetic tykes. More at

Likewise, ABC Kids Climbing has figured out how to do indoor climbing safely through drop-off mandates, class size restrictions, reservations, and health screenings. Its offering holiday camps every Monday (since kids are off school), as well as over Thanksgiving and winter break. Regular winter recreation classes start November 2 for kids as young as two and a half up to 16, and there new open-gym times too.

Read away the day
There’s nothing dreamier than a crisp Colorado day spent immersed in between the pages. High Plains Library in Weld County is open for in-person book browsing, holds and pickups, computers and WiFi. Longmont Public Library has limited in-person hours and temporary guidelines such as only 10 youngsters in the Children’s & Teens section. Boulder Library has more on-site restrictions but extensive virtual programming, including digital story times; “Dial A Story” over the phone; online clubs for Go and anime; STEAM-related videos; a queer book club; Spanish classes; teen chat rooms; and more.

Space out
Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium is closed at least through the fall semester, but there’s a whole online world that’s yours to explore. Watch live episodes like “Dome to Home: Perseverance to Mars” every Wednesday at 1 p.m. through December 19 on the Fiske YouTube channel. The Fiske podcast – “A View From Earth” – is also streaming fresh content right now or you can catch up on Season 1 anywhere you get your podcasts. Virtual talks on a variety of topics, including climate change, are also held monthly. Check for the latest.

For your viewing pleasure
Colorado Festival Productions stages the last of five independent film series: Front Range Film Fest, Feb. 20. As of now FRFF 2021, which celebrates filmmakers from Colorado and abroad, is slated as both a live event at La Vita Bella on Main Street in Longmont and a virtual screening. Check out the best film topics for kids and updates at

Walk it off
All family members can participate in a pandemic-friendly virtual 5K. It’s a great way to get moving and connect with community. Watch for your favorite local 5Ks switching to virtual models. One creative physical challenge that’s virtually safe is Badass Boulder. Pick a single-day challenge — run, bike or multisport — and record your stats on Strava any time during the month of December. More at

By Julie Kailus,
Raised in the Rockies