Fun Ways For Your Child To Stay Fit



Finding an exercise program for our kids can often be a frustrating process. Almost every parent has a horror story about signing a child up for a sport or fitness class only to discover it was a waste of time and money. Maybe your son spent his entire baseball season in the outfield picking grass or your daughter cried every time she walked into the ballet studio.

But there are ways to try out different fitness activities without spending too much time or money.

Community Parks and Recreation Programs Many cities have parks and recreation programs that offer kids everything from sports camps and clinics to dance classes and gymnastics. Many of these programs are less expensive than going through a private school, and they usually last between one to six weeks. Your child can try it out and see if it’s something she or he enjoys. Even if your son decides he can’t stand another day at gymnastics, at least you didn’t spend $600 for five months of moaning and groaning. You can usually find classes on the city’s website; catalogs are often sent in the mail.

Libraries – Your local library may offer free fitness programs like yoga and dancing. You can usually find a listing on the libraries online calendar. Many libraries increase kids’ programs during the summer.

Police Activity Leagues This is a law enforcement-based nonprofit agency that provides youth athletic programs such as soccer and basketball. Kids in the program compete in regular PAL tournaments. While it does require the commitment of practices and games, the programs are free. .

Trial Programs Many fitness schools offer free trial classes. The Little Gym, for example, allows students to try gymnastics, dance, karate and sports skills classes before parents pay for a program. It has locations in Millbrae, Mountain View, San Jose and Morgan Hill. Some others that offer trial classes include the JCC East Bay in Berkeley and Oakland, Peninsula Swim School in Redwood City, Tutu School with multiple locations and San Francisco Ballet School.

Teresa Mills-Faraudo is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent and mother of two.

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