Looking for something out of the ordinary for fall? Build on what they already love and explore some of the amazingly creative options nearby.
- If your kid likes Tennis, then try: Archery
- If your kid likes Gymnastics, then try: Circus Arts
- If your kid likes Gaming, then try: Coding
- If your kid likes Art Class, then try: Fashion Design
- If your kid likes Photography, then try: Filmmaking
- If your kid likes Dance, then try: Yoga
If your kid likes: Tennis
Then try: Archery
Thanks in part to bow-and-arrow-wielding kid heroes like Eagle Eye, Katniss and Merida, archery’s popularity is skyrocketing. In fact, the Archery Trade Association reported that by February 2013, more than 18.9 million Americans (over 18) had taken up the sport, and USA Archery Individual Memberships have shot up 176 percent from 2011 to 2013.
The accuracy she’s learned from afternoons on the tennis court will feel familiar in archery practice, and the physical and mental benefits of using a bow and arrow—things like balance, coordination, strength and focus—will help her the next time she picks up her tennis racket, too. And if it’s a question of safety that’s keeping you from signing her up, you can rest easy: According to National Archery in the Schools Program, archery is safer than virtually every other youth sport, excluding badminton, bowling and table tennis.
101 Rt. 46 W., Saddle Brook
Kids ages 6–17 are offered the opportunity to join a 10-week-long youth league. Individual lessons include equipment, range time, professional instruction and target.
The New Jersey School of Archery
177 Columbia Tpke., Florham Park (indoor range)
South Mountain Reservation, West Orange (outdoor range)
Offers group and private lessons for students of all ages and levels.
Union County Archery
136 Oak Ridge Rd., Clark
Group safety classes cover archery safety, proper equipment use and technique for ages 9 and up. Intermediate lessons are also available.
53 Major Rd., Monmouth Junction
Beginner through advanced archery classes are offered for ages 8–18. Students can participate in the Junior Olympic Archery Development program.
X-Ring Archers School of Archery
287 South Main St. Suite 5, Lambertville
Beginner classes offer an introduction to safety, form, shot sequence and focus for ages 7 and up. Sessions are nine weeks long and include classes through the expert level.
If your kid likes: Gymnastics
Then try: Circus Arts
He’s mastered every trick on the trampoline, his steps are just things between cartwheels and you hear “Look how high I can climb!” more than you’d like. Yes, you’ve got a gymnast on your hands, and if the idea of watching him soar through the air or balance on a two-inch cable doesn’t completely terrify you, it’s time to make the leap from gymnastics to circus classes!
Learning circus arts in a controlled environment—think acrobatics, aerial silks, stilt walking, tight wire, trapeze and unicycle—will give your daredevil a safe outlet for his stunts. And, while he’s caught up in the rush of swinging from yards of suspended fabric and juggling batons high above his head, he’ll actually be gaining skills (balance, coordination, patience, self-confidence and stamina, to name a few) that will stay with him long after his big-top days are over.
Circus Arts Programs
The Circus Place
6 Jill Ct. Building 23, Hillsborough
Classes in acrobatics (ages 71/2–16), hand balance (ages 12 and up), aerial arts (ages 6–15) and circus arts (ages 7–16) are available in 12-week sessions. The Circus Troupe program offers students ages 7–16 the opportunity to develop routines for performance.
If your kid likes: Gaming
Then try: Coding
Okay, so your kid might not think “Let’s do some coding!” sounds nearly as exciting as “Let’s play some Minecraft!” But once she realizes learning how to code is like getting an all-exclusive, behind-the-scenes pass to the world of video games, you won’t be able to get her to class fast enough.
And she won’t be alone! Within two weeks of Computer Science Education Week’s initiative Hour of Code going viral last October, more than one million students signed up to learn code, and as of July 2014, that number is more than 39.5 million. Code.org projects that by 2020, there will be one million more computer science jobs than students. These kids’ classes use programs—such as LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 (building and programming robots) and Scratch (animating and creating games)—to introduce kids to coding in way that feels like play, not work.
203 South Ave. E., Westfield
317 George St., New Brunswick
Ten-week sessions in video game design, computer programming and robotics classes offer kids of all ages the opportunity to use Scratch, Python and Ardunio.
Montclair State University
1 Normal Ave., Montclair
The Academic Foundations Program (grades 4–5) and Academic Juniors Program (grades 6–8) for gifted and talented students offer classes designed to introduce kids to the basics of Java programming.
One River School of Art and Design
49 N. Dean St., Englewood
Teen Digital Studio (grades 6 and up) offers classes that explore digital software, Web design/development and game design/animation.
If your kid likes: Art Class
Then try: Fashion Design
Moziah Bridges (age 11), Isabella Rose Taylor (age 12), Cecilia Cassini (age 14)—What do these three have in common? Yes, they’re all kids, but they’re also fashion designers! Bridges and Taylor both started designing at age 9, and Cassini sat down at her first sewing machine when she was just 6 years old. So, if they can do it, why not your kid?
Help your artistic, clothing-obsessed prodigy take her creativity from notebook to mannequin in a fashion class, where she can learn to sketch and sew by hand and machine. Next time she can’t find what she’s looking for at the mall (or if you don’t like the price of what she’s found), she can consider making it herself! And who knows—maybe she’ll be the one keeping you in clothes someday, too.
Fashion Design Programs
Blue Print Studio
432 Wyoming Ave., Millburn
Students learn the art of fashion and design through themed classes, like Eco Design and Ready for the Runway.
Fashion Classes of NJ
165 Amboy Rd., Marlboro
Fashion Runway (ages 10 and up) and Creative Sewing (ages 8 and up) classes are offered in eight-week sessions.
615 S. Livingston Ave., Livingston
Classes for kindergarteners through teenagers explore themes including Slumber Party Designer, where students can make pajamas, and The Look of the Season, which focuses on trendy fashions.
M Avery Designs
720 Monroe St. Suite E306, Hoboken
Offers project-based classes including sewing for ages 5–6 and 7–10 and fashion design and sewing for ages 10–15.
If your kid likes: Photography
Then try: Filmmaking
You know that kid who “borrows” the nearest iPhone and maxes out all the storage with selfies and videos? Well, if he belongs to you, consider enrolling him in a filmmaking program before he adds another clip of your daughter dancing to One Direction to your camera roll.
In filmmaking class, your kid will be developing a plot on a storyboard, directing a cast (or acting himself!), shooting with professional-grade cameras and green screens, digitally editing film and more. And while your mini-Spielberg is busy creating his next great work of cinematography, his communication, technology and storytelling skills will be developing, too.
NJ Film School
55 Central Ave., New Providence
Classes for fifth through eighth graders cover scriptwriting, shooting, lighting, sound, special effects and film editing over the course of 10 weeks.
One River School of Art and Design
49 N. Dean St., Englewood
Teen Digital Studio (grades 6 and up) offers classes in animation, where students learn to use iMovie, and the Digital Video Foundation Course, which covers capturing and editing digital video.
Small Factory Productions
560 River Rd. Suite C, Fair Haven
Classes offered include Stop Motion Animation, Video Production and Create-a-Cartoon.
If your kid likes: Dance
Then try: Yoga
Balance, flexibility, strength—your little dancer’s mastered them all, and on demi-pointe, no less! So why not encourage her to trade in the dance floor for a yoga mat, where she can turn her pliés into downward dogs and her pirouettes into tree poses?
Practicing yoga will challenge her to use those dance skills in new ways. All of the poses she’ll be doing will help her build flexibility and strength, and that end-of-class meditation will teach her focus and a way to manage stress. And when the class is encouraged to make up poses based on their favorite animal, she’ll be developing her creativity and self-expression.
347 Lincoln Ave. E., Cranford
Classes are offered for little kids (ages 4–6), kids (ages 7–9), tweens (ages 10–12) and teens (ages 12–17). Family Yoga (ages 4–10, with a parent) and Storytime Yoga (all ages) are also available.
Bella Buddha Yoga
921 Main St., Belmar
Family Yoga and Kids Yoga are offered in eight-week sessions. Mommy-N-Me Yoga is geared toward caregivers with kids ages newborn through 7.
Carol’s Yoga Youngsters
145 Washington St., Morristown
Mommy and me classes (ages 3–4 with caregiver) are available, as well as kid yoga programs for ages 4 and up.
86 Summit Ave., Summit
Classes incorporate songs, music and stories with movement, focusing on fun and creativity.
1001 Bloomfield St., Hoboken
Offers Big Kid Yoga, a drop-off program for ages 2–31/2 that includes yoga, songs, a story and crafts.
175 Rock Rd., Glen Rock
Classes featuring yoga, gymnastics, stories and art are offered to ages 3–5 and 5–7, and classes featuring games, art and relaxation are offered to ages 81/2–14. Family Yoga is recommended for ages 6 and up.
17 Hanover Rd. Bldg. 300, Florham Park
Youth yoga classes focus on learning yoga in a fun, creative and educational environment.
Purple Om Yoga
3118 Rt. 10 W., Denville
Classes for ages 4–6 and 7–11 include yoga games, singing, dancing and instruction in poses, and are available as a drop in class or four-week series.
Soul Power Yoga
455 County Rd. 520, Marlboro
Mommy-N-Me and Kids Yoga classes are offered for ages 3–16.
South Mountain Yoga
18 South Orange Ave. Second Floor, South Orange
Drop-in classes and weekly sessions are offered in KinderYoga (ages 4–7), Tween Yoga (ages 8–11) and Yoga Club (ages 12 and up).
107 Forest St. Suite 3, Montclair
Classes are based around the Grounded Yoga program, which strives to ground kids using yoga, laughter and elevation. Pre-Grounded (ages 4–6), Pre-Grounded Elevating (ages 7–9), Grounded (ages 10–12) and Grounded Elevating (ages 13–16) are offered.