Questions about what to bring to camp are common. A full list is below and there are some important considerations and how campers are prepared can make a big difference in ensuring a smooth and fun camp day:
but please prepare your camper for the responsibility of keeping track of those things (name labels are awesome!). Also note that no toys from home are permitted during yoga class, except for rest time if they are not distracting. No stuffies or personal toys can go on outings or to the playground either.
that can hold their lunch, water bottle, and, if they wish, towel on water days. This is not optional and shoulder or grocery bags are not acceptable alternatives. Campers need their hands free during outing transit – they will be holding hands with partners, using hand-railings, or holding rope lines. Loose lunch boxes and water bottles are often dropped and have been left behind on buses and metro trains. Shoulder bags are not as secure as backpacks, short campers tend to drag them along the ground, and things fall out of them, especially when children lean over or swing their bags around (which poses a safety hazard as well).
We strongly recommend a regular backpack with comfortable straps, but older (1st+) campers may prefer those drawstring bags. That’s fine. They are old enough to make their own comfort choices. Younger campers (PK/K) tend to have trouble with the drawstring backs and they end up dragging on the ground a lot.
Campers carrying too much stuff tire quickly . . . and whine a lot, which is contagious and brings the mood of the whole group down. When we go on outings, we take only essentials, leaving extra changes of clothes and unnecessary personal items in the camp cubbies.
We routinely empty extra toys, books, and miscellany – even rocks – from camper backpacks before outings (for campers 1st+, we ask them to do it and decide what’s worth carrying). We’ll keep doing this, so no sweat if your kid packs stuff, but for small campers especially, please consider what you can do to lighten their load. Stainless steel lunch containers and water bottles, for example, are heavy. Consider investing in very small cold packs. Several small lunch containers in a soft bag might be easier to manage and to pack into a backpack than a bulky lunch box. Consider a small towel rather than a beach towel on water days (towels must fit in backpacks. It is not safe to have campers dragging towels on and off busses).
We go out every day – to a playground, water feature, or field trip. We do not allow campers to wear shoes that might fall off: no flip flops, open-healed or loose crocs or clogs, wedges, or ballet flats please. We didn’t need the confirmation, but there are apparently scientific studies proving that people walk more slowly in flip-flops than more secure shoes. Sandals are fine, if they are secure.
If your camper wants to wear their flops at the spray park or Yards Park, they are welcome to pack them, but see previous paragraph. (We generally find they don’t wear them, by the way, so if you want them worn, make that clear to your child.)
Consider also your child’s ability to manage their own shoes: tie-up high tops, for example, or sandals with complicated straps?
Campers are required to wear either a camp t-shirt or bandana on all outings. No exceptions. Each camper will get one t-shirt, but we do outings almost every day and the shirt may not stay clean all week. We always have bandanas on hand, but not all campers love those which is why we are adding the shirt option this year.
If your camper would like to have an extra shirt (or shirts), please indicate that in the camper questionnaire and we’ll charge the credit card on file. If your camper would like an extra shirt, email us. We’ve placed the order based on enrollment and extra shirt requests submitted. We will fill additional requests if we have available shirts.
We use the shirts and bandanas to help us quickly identify our campers among a crowd of kids – so awesome for spotting a child wandering from our group or doing our interval head counts during water play or playground time – and if a child is ever separated from the group, they are wearing the camp phone number.
Please pre-apply sunscreen. We try to eat in the shade (as much for heat as sun), but playgrounds and spray parks are sunny places. Feel free to send sun hats and sun glasses.
There are even a couple field trip venues for which we recommend umbrellas as portable sunshades because we expect a long, exposed walk (we’ll let you know when those are coming).
When we are out for a long period, we may have campers reapply sunscreen and the staff carry some for that purpose or for campers who have forgotten. If you need your child to use a particular sunscreen, please pack it in the smallest possible container.
We usually eat away from the camp venue and campers need water bottles to stay hydrated. Please pack (and label) a water bottle every day.
We do not allow campers to ride the buss with bare legs (girls) or chests (boys). If their suits are effectively t-shirts and shorts, they are good to go. Otherwise, they need a coverup of some a kind. Please consider that your camper may be putting shorts/pants over a wet/damp suit on the way home. They may need dry bottoms to change into on waterplay days.
If you’ve spent any time in schools or camps you know that the lost-and-found is a monster. We ask variations of “does anyone know who’s waterbottle/lunchbox/shirt/yogamat/etc this is?” many, many times a day. Our collection of spare swimsuits, hats, gloves, and more is all stuff that was left behind. Label EVERYTHING! – or at least everything that might be removed from your child’s person over the course of a camp day – wait . . . that’s everything.
Ok, now here’s the list (click the arrow to expand):
With fun, age-appropriate poses, our yoga for babies and toddlers classes focus on breathing exercises, movement games, rhythm, and songs for little ones and caregivers to do together. Yoga supports motor skills, language acquisition, and social-emotional development. Learn more.
for crawling babies to 24 mo old toddlers with parent ore caregiver
for 21 mo toddlers to 4 yr old preschoolers with parent or caregiver, younger siblings welcome
Younger siblings are welcome in Preschooler Yoga. Walking siblings 1 year or older may register for half price. No charge for babes in arms. Nannies, nanny-shares, grandparents, and other caregivers welcome. Up 2 two caregivers may attend weekly. Adults participate in class, but no yoga experience is required. Learn more about early childhood yoga.
A kids yoga class encourages children to move creatively in a non-competitive environment while honoring each child’s unique expression of the poses. Breathing Space classes incorporate age-appropriate poses, breathing, movement, games, music, and art. Classes often revolve around a philosophical or natural theme and always include some form of quiet relaxation.
Our summer classes for bigger kids are ideal for students ready for class on their own. We’ll do poses, games, stories and relaxation every week.
We know that summer schedules are all over the place. For example, you may have vacation scheduled or your yogi is with younger siblings and the family nanny some weeks and signed up for camps other weeks, but you’d still like to participate in yoga. We here you!
Partial registration allows families who know they will miss one or two classes to commit only to weeks they know they are available, but there are some differences between partial registration and regular registration.
Summer series are 6-8 classes long partial registration can be 1 or 2 weeks shorter than the full class. Applies to Tot Yoga (crawling-24 mo), Preschooler/Little Family Yoga (21 mo – 4 yrs), Kids Yoga & Mindfulness (4-8 yrs).
Starting in June, our weekend prenatal and baby yoga classes move to Sunday afternoon/evening at Shenanigans Art Space! Hopefully this shift better accommodates weekend travel, plans, and nap schedules. Please contact us with any questions.
Sign Up Options:
Learn time-tested massage techniques to soothe and connect with your baby. Learn more or sign up for a summer series:
The ideal time to start this class is when your baby is 2-6 months old, but younger and older babies are welcome. Our 3-week series is $96 per baby and up to 2 adults, sibling discount for twins depends on how many adults attend (contact us). Class instruction is progressive, so drop-ins are not allowed. Parents who miss a week are welcome to make up that same week in a subsequent series.
Most of our summer camps are for rising K-3rd graders, and a few weeks are open to rising PK4 as well, but we have a a couple special weeks designed for campers 2nd grade and older only:
We’ll explore things our campers care about and how they can make a difference in their world. Girls will share yoga, art, creative activities and relaxation. Register: 3rd-6th Girls
A lot of the images in this video are of our Girl Power campers from Summer 2017. The big group yoga class shots are of the yoga class they planned for our younger (PK-1st) campers. There are also quite a few photos of our younger campers doing their Colors theme activities.
We are super excited about these camps and have great activities planned – from more advanced yoga poses, more partner, and more complex games than we can do with younger kids, big-kid focused creativity activities and crafts, and fabulous outings.
We’ll explore all sorts of ways to move: balancing and strengthening poses yoga postures, tai chi, obstacle courses as well as mindfulness and relaxation, art and creative expression, and outings. Register: 2nd-5th Grade
Do you know a nearly 7-11 year old who would love these camps? Please spread the word by using the buttons to the left.
Looking for Harry Potter? So sorry but we cancelled that camp week due to low enrollment. We’d love to run this camp sometime in the future, so feel free to make scheduling suggestions.
I’m here to break it to you. There’s no secret to parenting. There’s no 3 easy steps (popular “discipline” manuals aside).
It’s messy. It takes your whole-hearted participation. You are going to feel like you get stuff wrong . . . But while there are lots of possible descriptors when reflecting on parenting choices and approaches, with some obvious exceptions, there isn’t really a “wrong” because for a lot of parenting questions there’s no objective right answer. It’s not math. It’s guiding an individual person through growing up.
What is there then? There’s the approach that most closely honors your integrity and matches your core values executed with as much skill as you can manage in that particular moment. In short: there’s doing your best.
Yes, this post is absolutely a reaction to something that came across my Facebook feed. I writer who typically posts interesting material, posted something that really read to me like “if you are having this problem, you doing it wrong.”
The problem with the post (which, no, I’m not linking to) is that the author mixed up approach and values with results. I approve of her approach and values – in this case making the child feel heard and understood in regard to their feelings about some disagreeable task – but disagree that it will necessarily result in a cessation of resistance to said task in the short run.
That said, I generally take her approach to the problem. So why do I keep doing it if it doesn’t “fix” the problem? Because it’s the that matches my values and feels like integrity. So I will continue doing, likely in the face of continued resistance, until something shifts. My guess is that shift will be partly my skillfulness, but will mostly be my child growing up.
Do other people’s children throw fits every time you make them leave the house, no matter the destination? For the intensity of the wailing, you’d think I was taking her somewhere truly awful rather to the local playground to meet one of her best friends (with whom she’s been playing beautifully for the last hour).
Featured image: two girls sharing a secret by flickr user personalcreations/cc license
“Yours is so much more relaxed than other camps where I’ve worked,” remarked a college-age staffer earlier this year.
Well, there are several reasons for that. One is that we intentionally keep our camp small enough that normal kid energy and noise isn’t usually overwhelming. We also consciously plan lots of transition time into our day so that we don’t feel hurried from one activity to the next. But one of the biggest reasons: we try hard to balance structured activities – yoga, arts & crafts, and themed field trips – with lots of freeplay – both in- and out-of-doors.
The value of this spaciousness and camper-directed play goes way beyond helping keep the counselors relaxed. Child-directed play has enormous benefits in brain development, social-emotional skills, self-regulation, and general happiness and mood:
“Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.” – American Academy of Pediatrics
“Children who can entertain themselves, or play with one another, are unconsciously learning how to adapt themselves to challenges they’ll face further down the road.” – Time Magazine
We are lucky to offer camp in a space that allows for lots of gross motor play as well as imaginative play with traditional playroom toys. When we play in the parish hall, children are allowed to use the materials in whatever why they like. Adults only intervene if children need help making play choices that are safe, don’t damage anything, and enable everyone to have fun.
The playroom contains a variety of imaginative toys and campers often combine different toy types in elaborate role-playing games.
We provide choices and variety in play activities. We often bring out fine-motor building materials such as links and blocks. We have about 1000 Keva Planks and, while extremely heavy to load in and out of the car on school-closed days, they were definitely our best single camp purchase.
Some days we bring out sensory materials such as play-dough, shaving cream, or water beads or process-art materials. (We are overdue for another slime day.)
Sometimes our field trips even allow for free play or open-ended exploration, such as the Children’s Garden at the Botanic Garden or the Spark!Lab at the American History Museum.
We also prioritize outdoor time, which has been shown to improve mood and ability to concentrate. We get out most days and usually spend lunch and extended play time at neighborhood or metro-accessible playgrounds and splash parks.
Sound like fun? It’s not too late for your yogi to join us this summer. Read more about kids yoga camp and sign up!
Ok, the headline is a little misleading . . . I think it’s good for pregnant moms to attend breastfeeding support groups, but not as their only breastfeeding preparation.
As a leader of peer-to-peer breastfeeding support, I’ve seen a trend of childbirth educators assigning La Leche League or Breastfeeding USA meetings as homework for their students. Yes, those meetings are free and expecting moms (and sometimes partners) are welcome. Yes, those meeting leaders are knowledgeable. Yes, peer-to-peer support has been shown to increase breastfeeding duration and satisfaction (which is pretty cool). As wonderful as a peer-to-peer meeting can be, it is NOT a class and is not intended to be.
A prenatal breastfeeding class presents the information for expecting parents in an organized format with an emphasis on the most common challenges and best practices to set up the breastfeeding mother and baby for success. A support meeting addresses the issues in response to the moms who show up, which may not be typical.
Meetings tend to be focused on the mother baby dyad and, for the comfort of self-conscious new moms, may not even allow male partners to attend. Classes tend to be targeted to both parents as a team!
Meetings tend to be focused on supporting moms and babies from 2 weeks to 2 years postpartum. This is well after the critical first hours and days for establishing breastfeeding. A class can can lay out a set of landmarks for expecting parents as those first hazy days with a newborn and need to know if things are going well or if it’s time to get help.
A good class addresses the critical questions parents have in the early days: How much milk does your newborn actually need and how do you know if he is getting it? How often should your baby nurse and for how long? What is engorgement and what do you do if it happens? How do you know your milk has “come in”? What do you do if you aren’t sure if it has? Are the considerations (tips) different if you have a c-section birth? An early baby? A really large baby? What can your partner do to help? A peer-to-peer meeting might touch on all of these things, but it might not.
I don’t intend to start a firestorm since I strongly support mother-to-mother breastfeeding networks. I recommend attending even when everything seems to be going fine with nursing. Group leaders are usually experienced breastfeeding mothers, sometimes very skilled facilitators, and are extremely well educated on breastfeeding. Unlike a class, a meeting provides an valuable opportunity to hear first-hand about struggles and overcoming them and simply hanging out with other new moms is good for mental health during what can be an isolating postpartum period.
However meeting discussions are driven by the individual needs of the participants and can be very stream-of-consciousness. That can be hard for an expecting mom or dad to follow when breastfeeding and newborns are still very abstract.
I’d love to see expecting moms moms attend both organized breastfeeding education and peer-to-peer support before baby comes, but if they have to choose, I’d rather see them do a class designed especially for them.
A really common question: What books do you recommend for new parents?
Yeah, it’s overwhelming. I don’t even want to look up the number of parenting and baby books available on Amazon.com What’s more, recent studies have shown that all this advice is not only overwhelming, it’s making us depressed.
According to The Conversation, “[t]he problem is that these there is a potential mismatch between expectations of what the books offer and the reality of being a parent.” Many baby books promise long stretches of sleep and predictable behavior if you simply follow their schedule and method. But often, baby doesn’t read the book. Since the behaviors promised are often not developmentally typical, parents end up at odds with their babies and feeling like a failure.
But in an age when many new parents have little to no experience with baby care and are far from family and support networks, we need to turn to somewhere to learn right?
Many baby care books are heavy on the advice and light on the science and citations. These may not be the most common baby shower gifts, but are my favorite references because they are evidence based, cited, and declare their author biases (affiliate links):
If you are looking for a manual of all things baby care and concerns that might come up in the first few years, the American Academy of Pediatrics book is pretty good.
Get the most recent version since advice changes as new science is published (and be aware that authors toe this line on AAP policy recommendations, including sleep safety.)
Want to know what’s going on inside that adorable little baby you were just handed? This is a good one on brain development and why responding to baby is so important. This is not a practical manual, but still an excellent read.
Disclaimer: I don’t actually care for his perspective on sleep, but at least he admits that how it reads – as an overview of inadequate science with a justification of his personal preferences – is actually what it is. There isn’t scientific agreement on sleep and baby development at all and Medina put this section in the book reluctantly because of that.
This La Leche League classic was last updated in 2004, which sounds like a long time ago, but babies and breastfeeding is actually pretty timeless. It’s organized in a very helpful prenatal-to-weaning format and including lots of first person stories from real families facing real struggles and triumphs. It covers a wide variety of topics for breastfeeding families including some basics on sleep and the baby sleep myths that are unhelpful, going back to work and pumping, introducing solids and more.
An easy, well-illustrated read covering the prenatal and early antenatal development, reflexes, and perceptions of babies.
This child development book is refreshingly devoid of parenting advice. It’s organized by month and quite comprehensive.
The 5-S’s method of baby soothing has become both a cliche and cottage industry, with a series of spin off books, videos, and other products (including a $1000 bed, yikes), but Karp’s advice in the Happiest Baby is solid.
I especially like the way Dr Karp encourages parents to look at the world from the baby’s point of view and adapting soothing techniques to match baby’s needs and expectations (hint: that works better than expecting the reverse to happen).
For an alternative take on bed sharing with lots of great advice for parents, Sweet Sleep is my top recommendation. As the subtitle indicates, this book is really focused on the breastfeeding family and the advice goes well beyond early infancy.
Many sleep books focus on night weaning and spreading out feeds in order to maximize sleep. Unfortunately, this goes against biology since babies are designed to eat pretty frequently and mom’s body is designed to deliver milk that often. Some babies (and moms) do just fine with long stretches of no breastfeeding, but lactation consultants will tell you that again and again sleep training is often one of the factors when mom presents low milk supply between 4-12 months and baby’s growth has slowed.
Is the current conventional wisdom – scheduling and sleep training – the only option? Nope. This book provides real family examples and tons of strategies for getting sufficient sleep while supporting breastfeeding for as long as baby/mom/family want to continue.
This simple how-to manual by sleep researcher Dr James McKenna is for parents wishing bed share to or deciding whether bed sharing is appropriate for their family. McKenna covers the pros and cons and how to bed share most safely. Since some 60% of parents end up with baby in their bed at some point, even if the aren’t planning it, bed-sharing safety is important for every family and this makes my “must read” list.
Overwhelmed? Join us for a quick 2-hour overview of baby development and care at one of our Beyond the Bump workshops.
Amazon Affiliate Link Disclaimer: Breathing Space is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com
Breathing Space summer camp provides children with a fun, creative, and educational experience through yoga movement classes, mindfulness activities, relaxation, games, crafts, field trips and outdoor time. Each week-long camp is sure to create lasting memories, new friendships, and a foundation for health and well-being!
The weeks of Jun 25, July 17, Aug 13, Aug 20 all welcome rising PK4 campers but space is limited, so don’t wait to enroll.
We will run our popular Girl Power camp (rising 3rd-6th) again this year, but in June, so our Aug 13 camp week enrollment will not be limited by gender. We are also running a Harry Potter-themed camp for 2nd-5th graders the week of July 23 and would be open to running a boys-focused (2nd-5th?) camp the week of Aug 6 if there is enough interest.
Music & dance and Harry Potter-inspired camps are new this year. We are repeating colors, superheroes, fairy-tale inspired themes and our outings-focused camps too. While some themes repeat, activities are always different.
Enrollment update June 5, 2018: There is very limited availability in camp the weeks of June 25 (K+) and July 30, and Aug 6 (2nd-5th) only.
Week – Theme – Age Range
1. Watch Camp Highlights
“For it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
– Brother David Steindl-Rast
We are encouraged by culture and media to be joyful and grateful during the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years. Sometimes that comes easily, sometimes not so much. For those of us struggling, a gratitude practice can be powerful.
We often visit this theme in kids yoga classes, but simple practices can be incorporated into home routines as well. A colleague of mine recently described her family’s simple routine. She uses her 10-minute school commute for their practice with a few simple rules: Everyone must share sometime, anything, no judgement, so long as it’s not what they shared the day before. She finds that simple routine gets everyone’s day started on a positive note and brings her family closer together with a daily check-in.
These practices can be especially helpful during the holiday season, which encourages us to spread love and joy but also can seemingly revolve around what we want and do not have, something known to make us less happy!
One of our favorite practices in kids yoga is gratitude relaxation. We listen to a guided meditation while remembering all our gifts and advantage and the people who support us and love us. Thanks to Childlight Yoga, the program that Jen uses to teach kids yoga teacher trainings, you can now listen to audio recording of the gratitude relaxation from Yoga for Children, by Lisa Flynn. Find a comfortable position (instructions for the one on the right are posted on the CLY blog too).
At Breathing Space, we are grateful you have chosen to share your family time with us through classes and workshops. We are looking forward to seeing you this holiday season and in 2018.
In some cultures, parents have been massaging their babies for millennia. In modern western cultures, researchers have confirmed many of the developmental benefits of the infant massage tradition – from improved growth and sleep to social emotional development or bonding and more. As massage has become more popular in the age of YouTube, you might wonder if attending a class is necessary.
The easiest way to learn to massage your baby is with the help of an certified instructor of infant massage. Our courses are taught over a number of weeks, normally 4 – 6, to give both the parent and baby time to learn and become comfortable with the massage.
The strokes and styles of massage are easier to grasp when demonstrated by our experienced instructors. Baby position, parent posture and hand positioning, pressure, speed and reading babies cues all affect the massage experience and all are part of the class instruction. By taking an in-person class, your instructor can watch your technique, make suggestions, and answer questions. Because every baby is different, massage is not one-size-fits-all. You instructor will suggest variety of approaches depending on the babies in the class.
Each week parents learn strokes for a new part of the body while reviewing strokes from previous classes. So new strokes are learned and previous information is reinforced. We teach a little at a time to ensure that you are confident with every aspect.
For the baby, the multi-session approach respects their unique response to massage. While beneficial, a skin-to-skin massage is an enormous amount of sensory stimulation. It is unusual for babies new to massage to have the stamina for the full body routine in one sitting. By learning over multiple weeks, we can go at baby’s pace.
Our classes are held in small groups to ensure personalized attention and allow participants to get to know each other. We offer supportive group sessions where parents can share experiences and learn from each other while having fun.
Classes are baby led. In our classes, it’s okay for babies to cry! Recommended age for group classes is from birth to pre-crawling.
Besides teaching the time-tested massage techniques, valuable parenting tips will be shared and topics on child development will be covered. Our instructors are experienced parents and early childhood educators. Class discussions are also designed to enable parents to learn from each other.