Family-friendly activities for winter break

From left to right, Achaia Elohim, Sophia Ferguson and Levi Banks look on with excitement as their pinewood derby cars race down the track at the Boys of Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley in Newhall on Monday. Feb. 5, 2018. Ferguson won first place in the 7 to 9 age bracket. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal
With winter break now in place at every school district in the Santa Clarita Valley, local parents will soon be scrambling to find an activity that will keep their child engaged during this year’s break. Local school districts won’t return from winter vacation until the month of January, meaning children will have multiple weeks of break without a single day in the classroom. Popular theme parks like Six Flags Magic Mountain, Knotts Berry Farm or Disneyland are some of a few Southern California destinations where families will often travel during their student’s winter break. Other local residents might look to ring in the new year with some snow, which is easily accessible by making a short day trip up to Mountain High. Those who are looking to provide their child with entertainment without a long drive or big ticket purchase might seek a place like the Westfield Valencia Town Center or local movie theaters and bowling alleys. Color Me Mine, which is located near the Westfield mall, is one of many businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley that allow young students the opportunity to artistically express themselves. As You Wish Pottery, located at 24201 Valencia Blvd., is another local location where students can find their inner artist this winter vacation. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 5, 2019, ARTree will host Flutterby, a no-charge open art studio held on the first Saturday of each month. Kids and their parents are invited to the art event, which requires no prior registration, according to the city’s calendar. The event will occur at the ARTree Community Arts Center, Studios One and Two, located at 22508 Sixth Street in Newhall. Active children can head to the Billy Beez jungle or a similar venue that encourages an energetic and playful day, according to the company website. Complete with indoor slides, sports courts, tunnels and swings, it might make your child feel like it’s recess. Children 10 and under can enjoy bounce stations, slides, a multilevel jungle gym, ball pools and an enclosed zip line at the House of Bounce on Valencia Boulevard, while the KID-CO Play & Learn Center can serve as a fun place for children 6 months to 5 years old to play. Parents looking to join in on the fun can head to Scooter’s Jungle, which has adult-sized equipment that encourages parents to play with their kids at the indoor “bounce house” play park located at 28230 Constellation in Valencia. Santa Clarita Valley Boys and Girls Club CEO Matt Nelson said mothers and fathers who are working can still ensure their child is having fun and learning by dropping them off at the local clubhouse. “We’ll be open Jan. 2 through the two weeks after that. We’ve got games and fun activities going on from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday,” Nelson said. Parents can register or find more information online at www.scvbgc.org. The local libraries are other options that could help foster a more academic environment over the winter break, and, luckily, there are multiple kid- friendly events happening at various branches this coming January. The Canyon Country Library will host “Pro-CRAFT-tinating,” a crafting event for teens who want to flex their creative muscles, the library’s calendar states. The event will run from 4:30-5:30 p.m., Jan. 3. The Old Town Newhall Library invites teens to it’s movie night on the same Thursday from 3:30-5:30 p.m. for a chance to catch a teenage movies that was recently showing in theaters, according to the calendar. Snacks will be provided. Local students and children are also invited down to Code Ninjas, a local coding center for kids. The company already accepting students for camps that start as early as Jan. 7, according to the website. “Your kids will have a blast building video games while learning coding, math, logic and problem-solving skills.” In the Beginning Javascript camp, parents can expect their child to learn the basics of the programming language in one week, according to the company’s website. Kids can build their own customizations into a popular video game during the Minecraft Create camp. Parents are encouraged to visit https://www.codeninjas.com/camps/ca-santa-clarita/ to receive more information on Code Ninjas and their programs. Families who think their child get enough interactions with video games might consider getting out to see some wildlife. The Shadowland Foundation, with its pack of 8 wolf-hybrids, is dedicated to educating children of all ages about the true nature of wolves and their contribution to the environment, while The Gentle Barn is currently home to over 130 animals who are rescued and given sanctuary from abuse and still has spots available to visit in December and January, according to the company’s website. Children can also enjoy some outdoor time at William S. Hart Park or head to the Gibbons Conservation Center, which is the only organization in the world devoted exclusively to the study, preservation, and propagation of gibbons, and to education of the public about them. “We are open to the public every Saturday and Sunday 9:30 am to noon,” according to gibboncenter.org. “No reservations are required.”

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About the author

Brennon Dixson

Brennon Dixson

Brennon Dixson covers education for the Signal. He comes to Santa Clarita from Long Beach, where he was previously employed by the Press Telegram in Long Beach and the Daily Breeze in Torrance.