Back to school means back to sports and getting into a new routine. In our household, we LOVE our extracurriculars. I am proud and blessed to have two little people who are enthusiastic to try their hand at everything. Our biggest struggle is narrowing it down. My son rattled off a dozen sports and activities he wants to do this year! Maybe you share my problem, or maybe you kids need a little nudge to get started with a new activity. That is why I have assembled a list of our personal tried-and-true favorite ways to keep little people active from moms, bloggers, business owners, and friends.
And so, in no particular order, I present my best-of Columbus kids’ organized sports and physical activities.
“We have had the best experience at BalletMet Dance Academy for the last going on 5 years for Noah. He gets to watch the professional dancers rehearse, has loving, knowledgeable teachers, and this coming year the opportunity to audition to perform in The Nutcracker. His love for dances grows more every year.” -Carolyn
I have to agree; as a former student of the academy, and an academy parent, I have seen it from both sides. My son took there for a few years as well and had a very positive, joyful experience.
“Bexley Yoga really is about being part of the community, and that includes the littlest ones, too! We offer a kids yoga class so that yoga can be part of the entire family’s routine. This fun and engaging class empowers children to develop a deeper sense of body awareness, strength, flexibility, coordination, self-exploration and interpersonal skills. Creative music and sequences include yoga poses, breathing exercises, relaxation, partner poses and cooperative games. Yoga themes and concepts are creatively woven throughout the class to help children learn life skills as they have fun moving their bodies and exploring the practice of yoga. Monday’s from 4:45-5:30. Ages 4-7. Drop off class ” -Elizabeth of Columbus Stories
Owner, mama, rockstar, Amy Blank adds the following: “Kids yoga should be fun and engaging. Yoga empowers children to develop a deeper sense of body awareness, strength, flexibility, coordination, self-exploration and interpersonal skills. The kids I’ve observed in yoga classes, including my kids, love creative music and sequences including yoga poses, breathing exercises, relaxation, partner poses and cooperative games (especially partner poses!). Having a yoga theme or concept creatively woven throughout a class helps children learn life skills as they have fun moving their bodies and exploring the practice of yoga. You can create a yoga class out of just about any theme. One of my daughter’s favorite is the cheetah theme. Who would think cheetahs and yoga would come together in such a natural way? Young kids haven’t developed the coping mechanisms at a young age that older kids and adults have, yet they still have stressors. Yoga can give kids an outlet to work out their kinks”
Tweens are faced with their own unique pressures and stressors every day. Yoga can be a very powerful tool to help them cope and to remind them how individual and perfect they are. This is a receptive age group to learning about the importance of self-care and self-love. I’ve observed how they gravitate towards the music, breath techniques, relaxation/meditation and fun discussion in a completely non-competitive environment. And their very favorite thing about class is going upside and doing partner poses. This is the perfect age to bring yoga into a youth’s life!
I could not be a bigger fan of Goldfish. I have written about it before and I can promise you’ll be reading lots more about it. Don’t get me started or I’ll have your ear for 10 minutes going on and on about the safety lessons, the fun, how small the classes are, how much my kids have gained, how beautiful and functional the facility is, and so on. (I’m even here now, peeking up and flashing my kids smiles and thumbs up through the giant glass wall.) We will be keeping this activity up year round for sure. Columbus has locations in Westerville and Dublin.
Eryn writes 614 Mom and she loves Adventure Academy (so be on the lookout for next summer) and in the meantime kids of all ages (ok, maybe not tiny babies) can enjoy similar experiences at Zip Zone. She’s also pumped for Commons For Kids Fall Fest (which we also love) so check it out. Kids will keep their blood pumping on all the amazing inflatables they have and maybe catch the golf bug playing putt-putt.
We have been regulars at Locker Soccer for many years now. Classes start as early as 2 and go all the way up to 10, teaching kiddos the skills of the game, coordination, listening, and love of sport in an age-appropriate manner. The staff are SO nice and the kids talk about their next soccer lesson all week. This year, my son starts playing games through CESA and he gets to apply the skills he learned at Locker Soccer all these years. He couldn’t be more pumped. Literally the only downside is how hot it gets in the summer, but fall/winter/spring you’ve got a great, dry, climate-controlled atmosphere in Gahanna and Powell for the kids to play and learn. The session has already started, but you can join anytime; they offer prorated plans and make-up lessons.
“My son is doing karate at ATA Pickerington karate and we love it. It’s only a 15 min drive and they have a whole “life skills” aspect to the program. They have report cards that come home on various life skills like sharing and being a good friend and they get stamps when their parents say that had that life skill at home. And every other class they get a new stripe on their belt and every 6-8 weeks they “test” for a new belt in front of friends and family. They’re obviously little to be learning much actual karate but he gets his impulses to punch and kick out and gets some good life lessons and short term goals in the mean time. ” -Lauren
Here’s a loooong time family favorite. I think it was the first “sport” my son ever started. I only put it in quotes because the kiddo was almost 2, but he has kept at it even now at age 6. There were classes where I wore his sister (now 4) in the baby carrier and she joined in the fun just as soon as she could enroll. It’s especially fun if you have multiple kids interested because they can be in the same warm-up group, then rotate around the stations at the gym with their peers. You can enroll anytime, but classes start soon- Sept. 5th! Fostering positive attitudes and teaching safety and all-around motor skills seems to be the thing they seem to do best. We like to pair it with a trip to Whole Foods after for a few healthy groceries and buffet-style dinner.
“Our family LOVES participating in anything Coach Chris sponsors through the Bexley Parks and Rec. We’ve done Sporties for Shorties, Soccer and Summer and Winter “camp”. My 3 year old loves his energy. I love that he focuses on listening skills, basic skills and teamwork over winning. Coach Chris also leads activities through Whetstone in Clintonville and his business The Homeschool Gym.” -Sarah
“Pack 166 is a great group of open minded, welcoming people. We just completed our first full year with them and it has been a fun year fun of great lessons and opportunities. Noah is going into his wolf year and is more than excited to begin the year.” Carolyn.
I am going to venture a guess that no matter what pack you have in your neighborhood, you can count on scouting to provide your kids with fun, friendship, hiking, camping, and active lifestyle role modeling. This will be our first year trying it out too!
“Squats and Tots is one of our favorite activities to do together! We both get a workout and have tons of fun. I love that my daughter recognizes that she’s exercising and taking care of her body. I can’t wait to strap my new baby on and get extra resistance, too!”-Nurit, Zumbini teacher. (What’s Zumbini, you say? An amazing program for parents and the 4 and under set with musical instruments and fun. Nurit is brining it to Columbus this fall! Stay tuned here for details.
I can’t help it!! I have to brag for just a sec about the class I created and teach alongside my daughter. (I call her my co-teacher). I shared the details for you in Class Spotlight: Squats and Tots so make sure you check that out if you have a baby, toddler, or preschooler! When my kiddos were small, I knew I wanted to find a way to exercise WITH them, so I could take care of myself, spend time together, and be a positive role model for them. I was looking for an indoor class I could do year-round that wasn’t yoga, and when I couldn’t find one, I made this! We have been off for the summer, but if you follow the page on Facebook, you’ll catch the big fall announcement. We’d love to have you around the parachute with us!
“We would definitely recommend Columbus Gymnastics Academy in Canal Winchester. Their toddler classes are age appropriate, but also skill-oriented. My daughter started out being scared of everything but within a few sessions was using the beam, bars, and floor equipment with confidence and joy.”- Nurit
Golf for Kids
This is one I am trying to navigate currently since I have a motivated young golfer with two clueless parents. He enrolled in SNAG (starting new at golf) through Columbus Parks and Rec over the summer and I strongly recommend it for your beginner: Awesome Affordable Golf Lessons for Kids Super affordable lessons in a small group. For the school year, they offer a free (WHAT?!) program for ages 7-17 that we want to check out after the great experience we had over the summer. So cool! We are also big fans of The Golf Depot for its low key vibes, historic train-related things, and short course for beginners. You can learn more about their lessons and rates here and I am pretty sure we will end up there soon! Plus there’s a cool restaurant with a patio and the best view of downtown in all of central Ohio. Go at sunset!
Got a budding equestrian? My kiddos LOVED horse camp at Bookmark this summer. Did you read about it in Horse Lover’s Day Camp at Bookmark Farms? Most of my details are there for ya. You can try it out this school year with individual lessons. It’s way more affordable that way, though you will need to have the proper gear, which costs some money. Your child can use a helmet they have at the stables, but must have proper footwear. I love the approach they take to riding, putting safety first, and emphasizing technique. The setting is beautiful and your horse-lover will be all hearts-for-eyes. Bonus: it’s right by Lynd’s Fruit Farm. Make a perfect fall day of horses and apples. I think that’s just what we will do!