Sports Activities

Sports and games for families.

Rhythmic Gymnastics: Stretching into Mainstream Popularity?

June 1, 2012

Rhythmic gymnasticsMarin Mommies presents an article by guest contributor Barbara McVeigh.

Rhythmic gymnastics is an Olympic sport that Americans often don’t talk about or even know about, in contrast to Europe where it’s one of the leading competitive sports for girls. Also known as gymnastique moderne, the athletes perform floor routines to musical accompaniment using rope, hoop, ball, club or ribbon. They practice rigorously for years to achieve a high level of grace, balance and flexibility.

Despite the lackluster of local mainstream appeal, there is a growing, devoted group of families who find great value in a fairly new coach with Rhythmic Academy of Marin (RAM). Six years ago Coach Natalia Makrushina arrived from Russia, and she has families driving their children from across the San Francisco Bay Area many times a week for multiple hour practices, including intense stretching and ballet study. And, they are competing around the state and country, winning lots of awards.

"She’s firm, but she’s fair,” the girls say.

And, clearly they respond well to her coaching.

High-Flying Fun at San Francisco's House of Air

April 10, 2012

House of Air MatrixEveryone's been telling us how much fun they've had at the House of Air, San Francisco's indoor trampoline park, so we decided that it was high time we paid it a visit. House of Air is located in an historic airplane hangar at Crissy Field in the Presidio of San Francisco, and features 8,000 square feet of trampolines that allow you to jump, fly, flip, and have a blast.

We booked our session online (always a good idea at this busy place, it turns out), and headed south across the Golden Gate Bridge. Unlike some places in San Francisco, there's plenty of free parking in the area, especially in the large lot adjacent to the beach.

When you go in, sign the waiver if you haven't already, then check in and get your bracelet. You either jump barefoot, or you can buy a pair of special House of Air trampoline socks to wear for $2. You'll jump in the Matrix, a large area of 42 interconnected trampolines, which includes the 2X Bowl, a special freestyle trampoline area modeled after a skate park. The House of Air's staff of Air Traffic Controllers give you a short briefing before your session, and then you're good to go. You also have access to the smaller Collosseum, a space with 22 conjoined trampolines that's used for organized sports like trampoline dodgeball.

2012 Summer Tennis Camps in Marin

March 27, 2012

tennisOne of my passions in life is the game of tennis. As a child, I took lessons, and I love to play with friends and family. I love the challenge of tennis, and of course it’s great exercise at any age. It's also a great game to challenge the little ones and a good way for them to meet new friends. Listed below are a list of tennis camps available throughout Marin County.


  • Belvedere Tennis Club is offering a Activity Day Camp for ages 4–8 and an Aces Summer Camp for ages 8–12. Activity Camp is weekly, full day camp from 9 am-2 pm that includes tennis, games, crafts, activities, snack and lunch.  Prices range from $65–$350 per child. The Aces Summer Camp is a weekly, full day camp from 9 am-4:30 pm that includes summer camp fun and professional tennis instruction. Prices range from $85-$95 a day. For more info, visit their website.

Corte Madera

  • Ross Valley Swim and Tennis Club offers a summer camp for ages 6–16 starting on June 18. Bay Club Ross Valley Junior Tennis Academy Summer Camp is designed for those players looking to improve their tennis on both technical and tactical levels. The Camp will use situational based training to enhance the learning environment and provide a "play-based" setting in which juniors will learn specific tactical responses to situations. Camps are Monday–Friday from 9 am-noon. The cost is $275 for members and $325 for non-members. For more info, call (415) 461-5431 or visit their website.


  • The Cañon Tennis and Swim Club in Fairfax offers a tennis camp for ages 7–14, grouped according to their ability level. The weekly camp sessions start on June 11 and runs through August 17. Sessions are Monday–Friday from 11:30 am–3 pm, with extended day care available from 3–5 pm ($75 per week or $20 per day). The cost is $235 per week. To register, call (415) 457-9217. For more info, visit their website.

Bowling Birthday Parties at San Rafael's Country Club Bowl

January 11, 2012

Fun at Country Club Bowl in San RafaelIf you're planning a birthday party, why not consider bowling? You probably went to birthday parties at the bowling alley when you were a kid, and you probably had a blast, too. Bowling is fun, exciting (remember when you knocked down that first pin?) and makes for a great birthday party experience. Throw in the fact that there's usually food and drink available on-site, and that you don't have to clean up, and it has the makings for the perfect party.

The crash of the pins, getting your bowling shoes, picking out that perfect bowling bowl, and learning to keep score are all part of the experience. It's a fun activity that all partygoers—kids and parents alike—can enjoy, too.

Country Club Bowl in San Rafael has been a local institution since 1959, and is Marin County's only bowling alley. They offer a birthday party package that includes:

  • Two hours of bowling for both kids and parents
  • Food to eat while bowling
  • Rental shoes

Surf's Up at Hamilton Pool's Family Fun Day!

August 13, 2011

Water slide at Hamilton Pool in NovatoSurf's up today at Novato's Hamilton Community Pool at their Family Fun Day from 1 to 5 pm.

Admission to the pool from 1 to 5 is half price—Novato residents pay just $3 for adults and $2 for youths and children, whil non-residents pay $4 for adults and $3 for youths and children. Have a great time at Novato's newest community pool, which features shaded picnic areas, lawns, and a fun waterslide and water play structure in the kids' pool. Read our review of the Hamilton Pool here.

For another $5, you can take part in additional Family Fun Day activities. Your wristband entitles you to a raffle for great prizes like a free season pass, and private lessons,unlimited bounce house entry, games and activities like a diving contest and swim race, and  sno-kone, too!

Marin Golf Summer Camps 2011

May 25, 2011

Golf is one of those sports that you have to try at least once, so you learn how to swing the clubs properly and understand the game. A number of Marin County summer camp programs offer golf lessons for kids starting at pre-K. Here are some of the choices:

  • Marinwood Community Center in San Rafael offers a Junior Golf Summer Camp for ages 7–16. There are 9 sessions starting on June 13, Monday–Friday from 9 am–noon or 1–4 pm. The Junior Golf Camp takes place at the McInnis Park Golf Academy in San Rafael. The camp focuses on building the confidence of young athletes through training in proper technique and foundational skills. The cost is $325 per session. Visit their website to sign up or more info.
  • McInnis Park Golf Club Summer Camp in San Rafael offers weekly camps for ages 7 and up Monday–Friday with morning and afternoon sessions. Their golf camps cover all aspects of the game with a low student-to-teacher ratio. Camp ends with a graduation BBQ and presentation of graduation certificates. The price is $325 and includes a daily snacks. For more info, call (415) 492-1800 or go to their website.

Marin Parks & Recreation Summer Classes 2011

May 17, 2011

Still looking for fun kids' activities and camps for summer? There's still time to sign up for one of the many classes and programs offered by local parks and recreation departments and other organizations. Find your local recreation resource on our list below. We've also included links to the summer camps offered by the Marin YMCA and the Osher Jewish Community Center.

Summertime Sailing Fun in the Bay Area

May 13, 2011

Kids and mom sailingGuest contributor Barbara McVeigh shares some great resources for summer sailing and nautical fun for kids and families.

The America’s Cup sailing race is yet two years away, but the excitement in the maritime communities is beginning to build just like the wind before a full blown gale.

There are lots of family fun sailing events planned this summer with activities promising to please the youngest of sailors to the crustiest of old salts. Treasure hunts, model boat building, schooner sails and pirates in Vallejo are just some of the teasers to lure a landlubber into the magical world of sailing.

Youth sailing camps start in June. The sport encourages teamwork and develops self reliance and confidence unlike any other activity. For a child, this can be the beginning of lifelong knowledge of the sport and art of sailing, as well as a connection to the natural elements of sea and wind. Kids laugh and have fun sailing!

Help Raise Money for Novato Schools at the 2011 Tour of Novato and FunFair

April 27, 2011

Tour of NovatoHelp raise funds for Novato's schools at the 2011 Tour of Novato, an annual bicycling event organized by School Fuel, the Novato Foundation for Public Education, this Saturday, April 30 from 7 am to 3 pm. You can sponsor an existing rider or sign up to ride yourself—registration is accepted the day of the event starting at 6 am. There are three possible routes to ride, ranging from easy to challenging, and a Cycling for Schools FunFair at San Marin High School starting at 9 am.

The Tour of Novato is School Fuel's biggest fundraiser for the Novato Unified School District, and has raised over $238,000 for Novato schools over the last three years. All money raised goes directly to the schools, with money raised by each rider going directly to the school they represent.

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