When school is temporarily out of session for holiday breaks or extreme weather days, it may elicit excitement from the kiddos — and a sense of pressure or even dread as a parent. It can feel like you’re losing the stability of your routine at a time of the year when the to-do list seems a mile long.
If you find yourself thinking about those off-school days and worrying about how to fill the time with activities that are active, entertaining, and healthy, we’ve got you covered.
We asked Samantha Stark, senior director of kids and aquatics programs at Life Time, and mom of four, to share her top ideas for things kids and families can do during school breaks. All of her suggestions can be done at your local Life Time — which means you have fewer places to run around to, and could even get in a workout yourself while your kids are off having fun.
1. School-Break Camps. When school’s out, camp’s on. Kids can spend the day at Life Time engaging in planned and supervised activities such as sports, crafts, science experiments, and gym games, while playing with friends or other kids their age. Register for a single day, multiple days, or a full week. Camp is in session from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with before and after care that as early as 7 a.m. and last as late as 6 p.m., respectively.
2. Kids Events. There are events hosted each month for families to take advantage of as part of their Junior Membership: Parents Night Out events take place once per week, while Tween Events typically are offered twice per month. The themes for the Parents Night Out events in December are “Pajama Jingle Jam” and “Drop Off and Shop.” Drop your kiddos off at Life Time for three hours so you can work on your holiday shopping, run errands, grab pick-up orders, or complete any of the other tasks you might not otherwise have time for.
3. Swim. Winter is a great time for kids to focus on improving their swimming skills before the next summer pool season arrives.
Swim lessons are available year-round. Parents are welcome to stay by the pool during swim lessons, but they are also able to leave the club and pick up their kids afterward, or take advantage of the kid-free time by doing their own workout.
Families can also come during Open Swim hours to work on water skills together or simply have fun with pool games.
4. Open Gym. Run around to burn off some energy, or encourage your little ballers by shooting hoops, playing a family game of basketball, or challenging each other in rounds of around the world, HORSE, or lightning. “As a parent, I feel like I’m always on the go,” says Stark. “The flexibility of open-gym time makes it easy for me to pack up my kiddos last minute and enjoy time together doing something active.”
5. Court Time. Reserve a court and introduce your kids to the pickleball craze. Or play singles or doubles tennis as a family. “I’ve taught all my kids to play pickleball,” says Stark. “What’s nice about this sport is everyone in my family can play at the same time — and my kids’ ages range from 9 to 20 years old.”
6. Kids Studio Classes. Let your kids participate in the same group classes you love at Life Time, but in a format tailored to their age. Choose from SHRED, Ringside, Warrior Sculpt, SOL yoga, or LifeBarre dance, with classes grouped appropriately by development for kids ages 5 to 8 and 9 to 13.
7. Kids Academy Classes. On any given day, you can drop your kids off at the Kids Academy while you use the club. Options include dance, arts and crafts, yoga, sports, tumbling, junior warriors, martial arts, and more.
“The Kids Academy takes the guilt factor out of investing in myself,” says Stark. “My kids can come with me to Life Time, have a blast, and be active for an hour or so, all while I get the chance to put time into my own health by taking a class or using the workout floor.”
8. GameFace Sport. If your kid is between the ages of 5 and 8 or 9 and 13 (age ranges are taught separately) and shows an interest in sports, GameFace Sport classes are designed to help them learn the fundamentals of movement and increase their athletic confidence and abilities.
9. LifeSpa. Take your kiddo to the LifeSpa to get ready for the holidays with a kid’s haircut, manicure, or a pedicure — or drop them off at the Kids Academy for up to 2.5 hours and enjoy spa services for yourself. “A lot of people look to get extra services done around the holidays, and it’s a convenient advantage that you can leave your kids with us while you get your appointment in,” says Stark.
10. Rock Wall. If you’re at one of our athletic country clubs that has this feature, head on over to the rock wall during open climbing hours. This activity can promote athleticism, strength, and confidence as you climb to new heights.
11. LifeCafe. Ease the stress and pressure of cooking this holiday season by taking advantage of the convenience of the LifeCafe. “The nice thing about the LifeCafe menu is that it covers all different tastes and sizes while being healthy,” says Stark. “Families can order a shake on the run, sit down and enjoy a full meal together, or, my personal favorite, take a few grab-and-go meals and have a sit-down dinner at home minus the cooking.”