A few local options to get your kids on this fitness train…
You might’ve heard that it’s Fitness Week in these parts. And while you’re surely ready to hop on the fitness train in 2015, we want to make sure you don’t leave your offspring at the station. Alone. Their weak muscles probably trembling as they hold a CapriSun in one hand, a bag of Cheetos in the other.
It’s possible I took the whole train metaphor a bit far, but I’m glad I went with it.
Luckily, Richmond has all kinds of options when it comes to helping kids of all ages start (and maintain) healthy food and fitness habits. A few ideas for you…
Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome to pitch at Shalom Farms, a six-acre sustainable farm–and “an agricultural learning lab,” as they call it–dedicated to serving communities with low access to healthy, locally-grown food. Bring the kids out to plant, prune, harvest, and learn about where their food actually comes from.
- Monday through Friday • 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM; Fridays and Saturdays • 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (volunteers needed February through November)
- 1033 Rock Castle Road (in Goochland)
Boasting course (ha!) options for ages 3 to 16, Young Chefs Academy of Richmond offers weekly classes focused on safely and properly preparing delicious and nutritious meals. Students will also learn how to adjust recipes for dietary restrictions.
- Weekly classes and Spring Break camps available
- 2230 John Rolfe Parkway
- $69 for a 12-month membership; $99 for month-to-month membership (four classes); or drop in for $30
Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
Richmond’s favorite indoor play space offers two weekly classes focused on getting those little ones moving–well, moving purposely at least; we all know they are incapable of not moving. Miss Sarah Ruppel of the Richmond Ballet leads Wednesday’s “Move With Me,” a “creative and energetic movement time” for even the littlest dancers. On Thursdays they’ve got “Pretty Fit Tots,” during which your child will be led through activities that build flexibility and hand-eye coordination.
- Wednesdays and Thursdays • 10:00 AM
- 2820 W. Cary Street
- Free with admission ($5 for kids 12 months and older; memberships are available)
Romp n’ Roll really lets you start ’em young. With classes for littles ones as young as three months (yes, months) on up to age six, you’ll have oodles of time to help your kids establish an appreciation for moving their bodies. The class sizes are small, the teachers are enthusiastic, and the play is purposeful–you’re all going to love it.
- Morning, afternoon, evening, and weekend classes are available; see website for details
- 9677 W. Broad Street (Short Pump); 11541 Busy Street (Midlothian); 6300 Mechanicsville Turnpike Suite E (Mechanicsville)
- $60 per month for one child, $99 for two, or $129 for three (includes unlimited classes and open gym). But your first class is free!
This playful, active yoga class is designed especially for babies and toddlers, promising a time for you to bond with your little ones and facilitate their physical development as they build confidence in moving their bodies. Parents will also have the chance to connect with other moms, dads, and caregivers. (Translation: OMG ADULT CONVERSATION MAYBE.)
- Classes available for infants and toddlers; see website for details
- 3122 W. Cary Street
- $72 for a six-week session
Richmond Little League’s season starts in March, but sign-ups are already underway. Richmond-area boys and girls ages 4 to 16 are welcome to come to join the fun.
- Season runs March 28th through mid-May; practice and game times vary by team
- Most games take place at Byrd Park
- $70 for tee ball; $95 for machine pitch, minors, majors, juniors, and seniors
Richmond Kickers offers programs for kids as young as 2, recreational soccer options, and on up through your fancy-pants travel teams.
- Recreational season starts in March; travel season starts in April; classes for the little ones run year-round
- See website for practice and game locations
- Registration fees vary; see website for details
Code LaCrosse in on a mission “to increase the level and depth of lacrosse in the 804 Area CODE.” Code LaCrosse has recreation and select teams for U9 through U15 and put a big emphasis on good sportsmanship and conduct. Developing bodies and minds! It’s a twofer! Registration is underway, so hop to it!
- Season starts March 7th
- Practices and games take place at TBD Henrico County Parks
- $195 for recreational teams; $230 for select teams
As the YMCA website explains it, “The Y is the starting point for many youth to learn about becoming and staying active, and developing healthy habits they’ll carry with them throughout their lives.” YMCA Richmond offers all kinds of team sports, many happening year-round. Options include baseball, basketball, football, soccer, and cross country.
- See website for dates
- Offerings vary by location; see website for details
- Prices vary by location, so check with your local branch
Gymnastics, Dance, and Movement
Classes are available for a variety of ages (starting as young as 18 months) in traditional gymnastics, tumbling and trampoline work, and something called “urban gymnastics,” which, frankly, sounds fascinating.
- Class times vary; see website for details
- 3004-B Impala Place
- $60-$120 (depending on the class)
With offerings that include ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip-hop, capoeira, and even karate, you’re sure to find something to keep your kid happy.
- Spring session runs March 2nd through May 30th; class times vary
- 4901 Old Brook Road
- $65 for the first child, $58 for the second, $55 for the third
Go big or go home, right? But don’t let the fact that this is a beloved Richmond institution intimidate you–the website assures me that these classes are both for those interested in pursuing a ballet career and for those who just want to dance. Classes are broken up by age at first: 3 1/2 to 5, 6 to 8, and 8 to 12. From there they also offer more intensive instruction for pre-teens and teens looking to take things to The Next Level.
- See website for registration deadline and schedules
- 407 E. Canal Street
- Prices vary by class; see website for details
A one-mile run for kids ages 5 to 12 to serve as the kick-off for the Monument Avenue 10k. It’s fun and adorable.
- Saturday, March 28th • 8:00 AM
- Cathedral Place, near Laurel Street
- $15-$30 (price determined by when you register)
Do your kids like running multiple miles? Do your kids like to get blasted with colored powdered after running said miles? Then this is the race for them. Heck, join them and making it a big, messy family affair.
- Saturday, April 11th • 9:00 AM
* 10515 Colonial Downs Parkway
- Kids aged 1 to 12 are free (adults are $55 for individuals and $65 for teams after January 14th)
Kids ages 5 through 8 will swim 50 meters, bike 1.8 miles, and run 0.6 miles. Kids 9 through 14 will swim 100 meters, bike 4.8 miles, and run 1.2 miles. Swims will happen indoors at Shady Grove YMCA, with the bike and running portions taking place on and around the YMCA property. Kids doing triathlons? I can’t even, as they say.
- Saturday, May 16th • 8:00 AM
- 11255 Nuckols Road
- $55 until February 18th; $65 February 19th through April 15th; $75 April 16th through May 13th (walk-up registration is $85 if space is available)
No need for me to reinvent the wheel here. Check out this round-up from our own Kelly Gerow–just be sure to contact the facilities you’re interested in to verify pricing and what not.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Lee