Keeping kids active |

Keeping kids active

Shauna Farnell
Daily Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Daily staff report/Kristin Anderson

It’s official. School is out for summer, and while pencils can be put away for a few weeks, there are still plenty of ways for young people to learn and expand their skill sets. Behold … the long list of summer options for your offspring:

Children get a taste for the backcountry with SOS Outreach’s seven-day wilderness camping trips. Hiking, rock climbing, camping and backpacking will make an early outdoor extraordinaire out of the fresh-faced and hardy young (12 and older). SOS also offers condensed versions of the wilderness trips involving an overnight camp and hike up one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains. Children interested in specific outdoor sports such as mountain biking, kayaking, paddle boarding or rock climbing are also in luck. SOS offers summer programs through August specializing in all of our favorite rock, water and dirt pursuits. Visit for more information, or call 970-926-9292.

From volleyball and lacrosse to baseball, gymnastics and soccer, the Vail Recreation District has all the bases (and nets) covered. Camps range from a half day to a full week and come with specialized instruction from longtime coaches and experts in each field (or court). The camps are open to everyone from young children to high schoolers and range in price from $85 to $170, depending on the duration. For information about each, visit

Now that everything is beginning to look beautifully green around here, adults aren’t the only ones flocking to the greenest of spots … on the golf course. The Youth Foundation’s First Tee of Eagle County has a myriad of programs aimed at jumpstarting an interest in golf at a young age, from birdie-level instruction to a players’ league to weeklong girls-only sessions, all costing around $70. For more information, visit or call 970-763-7004.

On Tuesdays between 10 a.m. and noon, young skateboarders can hone their skills with the Rec District’s skateboard clinics atop the Lionshead parking structure for $25 ($20 for Vail residents) and Wednesdays (July 6 and 20, Aug. 3 and 17) present a chance for children ages 8 and older to put their wheels to the test in local mountain-bike races:

For a taste of several sports – not to mention swimming, rafting, arts and crafts, educational activities and trips to fun parks – the Vail Rec District offers one-day to 10-day camps from June through mid-August, including two special Friday options for elementary-aged children: an Extreme Camp focusing on day trips river rafting and cave walking and jaunts to amusement parks and also a Mad Scientist camp involving rocket making, building and learning about life’s complexities at Golden Peak Children’s Center. Other camps are available for young children (starting age 30 months) and high schoolers. Prices are discounted for Eagle County students. For more info, visit

Turning over rocks becomes a much more intricate endeavor when it comes to Walking Mountains. With so much natural beauty around, children have the opportunity to appreciate it and acquire a certain expertise through Walking Mountains Science Center’s day camps and summer programs in Edwards and Eagle, which focus on everything from dinosaurs to little critters to plants and a slew of different habitats. Five-day Day Camps (drop off at 8:30 a.m.; pick up at 4:30 p.m.) start around $290. Hiking, camping, compass using and fun education in survival skills abound in the science center’s three-day overnight programs in July, which start at $325. Parents have the chance to learn with their 4- to 7-year-old children in Minturn on Fridays from July 8 to 29, when Walking Mountains Earth Keepers focuses on animal tracks, birds, dinosaurs and crazy weather. Prices are $35 per session for an adult/child pair. For more information about Walking Mountains’ youth programs, call 970-827-9725 or visit http://www.walking

Growing is something that green things do, too, and children ages 5 to 10 can learn all about it from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail. Plant education gets down to digging in the dirt for a $5 donation.

Young music lovers can hit new high notes, both learning and teaching, through the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival youth programs. The festival’s Instrument Petting Zoo can be found at farmers’ markets all over town throughout the summer, presenting hands-on tutorials of all instruments in the orchestra, while junior and senior high school students can volunteer in the zoo, as well as usher during summer concerts through Bravo!’s Junior Guild. For more information, call 970-827-4302.

Watch out, Hollywood. Beaver Creek Children’s Theatre Company offers four-day workshops for children ages 5 to 12, coaching them in singing skills, creating characters and gaining stage confidence. The sessions are Monday to June 30 and July 11 to 14 and 25 to 28 from 9 a.m. to noon. The cost (per four-day session) is $185. For more information, visit or call 970-926-5855.

Local libraries are hubs for creative programs for kids that go way beyond books. The Vail library offers story time for toddlers (18 to 30 months) at 10 a.m. and at 11 a.m. for preschoolers (2 to 5 years) every Tuesday and Wednesday. Also on Tuesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. through Aug. 14, the Vail library invites first- through fifth-graders to special presentations involving reptiles, balloon sculptors, musicians, magicians, dancers, artists and chefs, incorporating reading into each session. Call 970-479-2179 or visit

kids_and_teens.cfm for more info. The Avon, Eagle and Gypsum libraries also offer story times for babies to 5-year-olds, some sessions bilingual and in Spanish. See the schedule at

On Saturdays from July 9 through Aug. 13, Lionshead transforms into a learning playground from 3 to 6 p.m. for Vail’s Saturday Afternoon Club. Firefighters demonstration lessons in safety, and the Discovery Zone brings lessons in green living, nature and science. There’s also a hula hoop area, water balloon and pizza-dough tossing and face painting.

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