The winter season may bring a reprieve for active Colorado families. But too much unproductive time isn’t what all kids want — or need. Here are some creative ways to inspire play in your children as temperatures cool down and the holidays ramp up.
TRY, TRY, TRY AT THE Y!
The best thing about the YMCA of Northern Colorado is the fun is up to you. “The Y offers tons of opportunities for kiddos to stay active as the weather gets cold,” says Executive Director of Communications Andra Coberly Webster. Court sports are the name of the game this time of year. The Y offers basketball and volleyball throughout Boulder and Weld counties as well as Sports of All Sorts, a mini sports sampler for the littlest athletes. “These programs allow kids to get out their winter wiggles, build a foundation of sports skill and athleticism, and learn about teamwork and sportsmanship,” she says.
Better yet, when school is out, the Y is in session. During Thanksgiving and winter breaks, full-day School Day Off Camps for school-age children feature swimming or ice skating, crafts and STEM projects, games and active time, and more. Coberly Webster says winter is also a great time for swim lessons. “Lessons in the winter allow swimmers to maintain and build upon skills they learned over the summer.”
LET’S MAKE MUSIC
Boulder Symphony Music Academy’s program Music Prodigies and Parents teaches toddlers and preschoolers — and their parents — fundamental music skills through interactive games, musical crafts, and voice exploration. “Your child will develop their capacity to work in a team, cooperate, and grow their imagination,” explains Outreach Coordinator Bridget Ryan. “Children can explore different instruments, which in turn, primes them for more focused musical study as they get older.”
Class activities range from exploring rhythm and making patterns to learning song structures and dynamics and improving auditory focus and listening skills. “You and your child will have the opportunity to nurture both halves of the brain, explore all areas of holistic development, and increase self-esteem in a supportive learning environment,” says Ryan.
INDOOR ON THE ROCKS
ABC Kids Climbing’s after-school program is unparalleled. There are classes for kids ages 4 to 19, with something for all abilities. “Our 10-12 week programs build each week to give climbers a comprehensive set of skills to begin their climbing career,” says Kara Caputo of ABC Kids Climbing.
After climbers have developed a good base for their climbing, Team ABC is available to help kids hone their advancing skills in a supportive, fun-filled environment. Team ABC is broken up into divisions by age and ability, starting with Hot Shots (ages 5-7), Rock Stars (ages 7-12) and All Stars (ages 10-18). For serious rock climbers, ABC Kids Climbing’s Pre-Elite and Elite Teams (ages 7-19), taught by highly experienced instructors and record-holding alumni, are some of the most competitive in the country.
PUTTING ON A SHOW
Have a thespian in the house? Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids continues its 8-week after school program through the winter. Geared toward both beginner and intermediate performers, classes teach basic acting, vocal and dance techniques in a creative style that nurtures imaginative play. All sessions conclude with a short presentation on the last day of class. The goal is to showcase each actor’s growing skills, but simple costumes and set pieces are added to kick up the fun factor.
By Julie Kailus, Raised in the Rockies.