Santa Cruz county is not known as a magnet for toy shops – and now with the closing of Toys ‘R’ Us, there are fewer places than ever to pick up toys in town. However, tucked away in the Aptos Center is Outside In Kids, a small but lovely toy shop with a good selection of quality toys for children of all ages. They eschew a lot of the super plasticky junk toys such as you’d have found at Toys R Us, and instead focus on higher quality, higher margin toys and books. If you’re looking for inexpensive gifts, this isn’t necessarily the shop for you – you’ll need to head to Target for that. But if you want to browse a good selection of carefully chosen merchandise for children, head on over and check out Outside In Kids. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what they have to offer! Check out the photos in our photo gallery to get a feel for the place and the kind of items you’ll find there.
Yesterday was opening date for Aptos Little League. I can’t believe it, but I am now in my fifth year of being a Little League parent. We started our oldest son Aiden with T-Ball when he wasn’t quite yet four years old. Our youngest son Evan started when he was four, and now he’s in his second season, still in T-Ball. Aiden is now in AA, and it’s starting to get real.
All these years, I’ve been an assistant coach on the teams Aiden has been on. It’s a little ironic, because I’ll be the first to tell anyone that I know diddly-squat about baseball. Oh, I know the basics – three strikes and you’re out, nine innings, yadda yadda. But when it comes to the mechanics of playing baseball – how to throw a ball, catch, hit – I’m pretty clueless. I can do all those things to some degree, but I was never in Little League. The finer points were never taught in my PE classes in school.
When the kids are really little, coaching didn’t involve a lot of those fine points. Mostly, it was me telling them not to eat the sand and play tag in the outfield. Now that we’re in AA, it’s starting to get serious, which is why this year on Aiden’s team, I’m now a bench coach. Is that even a real thing? I just googled it, and it turns out, it is – but I’m no second in command. My job is to keep the kids focused on the game when they’re seated on the bench, waiting for their turn at bat. There’s not too many fine points with that job, so I can handle it pretty well.
My kids don’t have the advantage of a dad who’s super into baseball. Yes, I play catch with them and pitch balls for them to hit now and again, but not as much as I should. Throwing, catching, batting – they’ve learned almost all of it at Little League practice and games.
And it is amazing to watch their progress. Neither of them came to Little League with a love of the game. We’ve been to AT&T Park a few times to watch the Giants play, and they’ve had fun – running around, eating ice cream and hot dogs and soaking up the energy – but they weren’t exactly intently focused on the game. Yet, there at Little League, you can see their skills mature, their confidence increase, and their enthusiasm grow with each day on the field. They’re learning about the value of practice, persistence, and teamwork – and it is a joy to behold.
But there’s more to it than joy. It’s a strong reminder to me that we can all get better at anything – with grit, determination, repetition. Whether it’s being a parent, Real estate broker, or Guardian in the Crucible, practice makes perfect. Or at least makes it better.
I’m really thankful to Little League for helping my kids with this important life lesson – and of course, also to the other parents and players who really enrich the sport and show what makes our such a special community.
Community Bridges will be hosting a Triple P 4-Week Brief Group starting in Aptos, beginning Tuesday October 25th and ending November 15th. The workshop is about Teaching Children to Share & Cooperate using Positive Parenting methodologies. Anyone may attend this free parenting group to learn how to teach your child to share with siblings and others, and get tips for staying calm and patient when problems do occur. This group meets once a week for four weeks every Tuesday between 6 and 8 PM.
If you are interested in attending, please visit this web site to register or call (831) 465-2217. Community Bridges is located at 236 Santa Cruz Avenue in Seacliff Village, behind Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant.
Synergy Dance Fitness and Tai Chi is a dance studio and fitness center in Aptos offering a number of dance, movement, and Tai Chi classes for all kinds of students and experience levels. The studio features a high quality, surround-sound stereo system and high-tech disco light package. The classes which are offered include:
- Tai Chi
- Cardio Dance
- Beginning/Intermediate Ballet
- Interval Circuit
- Cardio Kickboxing
- Intermediate Belly Dance
- Beginning Jazz for Adults
- Zumba Fitness
- Kids Dance Classes
- West Coast Swing
- Jazz Workout
- Wedding Dance Lessons for Couples and Groups
Synergy Dance Fitness and Tai Chi instructors are available for private dance lessons, and the entire studio space is available for rent for your own dance parties! They also host special events such as dance and magic shows for kids of all ages. They have a special, limited time offer – 10 classes for $100 where you can take any class you want, so mix and match!
Synergy Dance Fitness and Tai Chi Instagram Feed
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The annual youth Chess Tournament at the Aptos Library will be held on Saturday, May 16 from 12-4 PM. Children between the ages of 6-18 years old are invited to participate. All participants will receive a certificate, and medals will be awarded to the top three finalists. The tournament is free to enter, but preregistration is required.
Aptos Library resident chess master Dana MacKenzie, who teaches the library’s weekly chess club on Tuesdays, organizes the tournament each year at the library. Participant check-in will take place from 12-12:30 p.m. At 1 p.m., participants will play three games with no eliminations. Light snacks will be provided.
Call the Aptos Branch Library at 831-427-7702 to register for the chess tournament.
This should be a wonderful event for young chess players – even if your child doesn’t (yet) play chess, consider going to this event anyway, as it’s a fun and free event for families in our Aptos community.
British Soccer Comes to Aptos this summer! The Aptos Soccer Club is hosting British Soccer, which kicks off June 8th and runs for the week to June 12th, and also from August 3rd to 7th. Each child will be coached by a British soccer coach flown to the USA exclusively to work on this program.
The British Soccer camp is being put on by Challenger Sports, which will hold over 3,500 Soccer camps this summer and will coach over 140,000 players between the ages of 3 and 19. Challenger’s 1,0000 touch coaching syllabus provides an innovative daily regimen of foot-skills, moves, juggling, tactical practices & daily tournament play.
Space is limited – parents are encouraged to sign up on line in advance to avoid disappointment. Find out more information at the Challenger Sports web site.
Spring has sprung, and thousands of Aptos area families with children aged 2-12 will be looking for fun, exciting, yet affordable ways to enjoy their spring break. This year there’s a new option for us: Spring Break is Happening at the MOD!
The Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery (MOD) has a packed schedule for kids, with classes being held Monday through Friday at various times. Classes include Edible Art, Geometric Abstract Art, Animal Masks, Chromatography Art, Conversations in Spanish, Mad Science with Alicia, Music Together, and many many more! Click this link for the complete list of classes and class times. You can also use this link to download the class schedule.
Classes are free to MOD members, or with admission to the museum. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 2-17, and kids under 2 get free admission.
I attended the Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on November 15 2014. I shot some video of both the ribbon cutting and a variety of the exhibits…which you could hardly see, because there were so many people there. In fact, they counted over 2,000 people through the doors on launch day!
Here on this page you will find two separate videos – the first is sort of a montage of the opening day, taking you on a tour of the museum as it was on launch day.
Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery Opening Day Montage
The second video is the ribbon cutting ceremony, with remarks from Patrice Keet, the museum’s founder, as well as Sam Storey, the Mayor of Capitola.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
The museum is off to a great start, and it has already become the new hot spot in town for kid’s birthday parties, with dozens already scheduled within the next several months. Hundreds of people have now also purchased memberships to the museum as well.
Even though the museum is off to an amazing start, it’s still very much version 1.0. The museum is in need of donations: cash, materials for new exhibits, and skilled help to run and augment the museum. I you can volunteer money, equipment, or skills, please get in touch with the museum staff to let them know what you can offer.
The day that many of us have been waiting for is about to arrive! The Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery opens Saturday November 15 in the Capitola Mall. The grand opening starts at 10 AM and lasts until 6 PM, when I am sure they will have to be pushing people out the doors to close.
The museum is located in the space previously occupied by Abercrombie and Fitch, and is located not far from the food court, near Macy’s. Admission is FREE the first day the museum is open, and since the museum is in the Capitola Mall, there is plenty of free parking. The actual ribbon cutting ceremony will be at 10:30 AM.
If you are planning on going, consider letting the world know that your’re coming on the Facebook Event page! You can also go one step further and from that page, click the “Invite” button on the upper right of the page to invite more people you know.
Come and be part of this landmark – and possibly historic! – event. The Museum is sure to become a fixture in Santa Cruz county, and a cherished memory for many children as they take what they learn at the museum and weave it into the tapestry of their lives.