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Family fun: 5 ways to build parent-child learning experiences

UPDATED: Fri., April 27, 2018, 3:01 p.m.

Create a work of art or learn yoga poses with some good company, in a class with your kid.

Parents tend to book kids’ activities as a solo experience. However, several regional classes gear educational fun to both a parent and child, or even grandparents and kids.

“You have a different relationship if you’re a coworker rather than being in a parent role,” said Karen Mobley, who regularly teaches art workshops specifically pairing adults with kids.

“Kids can see the successes and failures of their parents, and they can work side-by-side.”

It’s also a way for busy parents to try out something new with a son or daughter, without buying a bunch of materials, to see if a child really becomes interested.

Here are five examples of adult-child learning experiences this spring:

Balancing act yoga

Posing with a small child on your back in a plank provides a little extra challenge. And kids flex easily into yoga-like positions.

Beginning May 4, instructor Kelle Jo Masterson plans to launch a weekly 4:45 p.m. Friday parent-child yoga class at Evergreen Gymnastics, 3200 E. Trent Ave. A parent can bring a child, ages 2 to 16, at a cost of $20 a pair.

Masterson said the class will have some elements of AcroYoga, involving two people who do combined yoga and acrobatic moves. The session also will have regular yoga and dynamic moves.

For the kids, Masterson plans to use fun names for poses and teach everyone about balancing. Her own family experiences with AcroYoga inspired the idea.

“I recently adopted three kids,” she said. “I’ve found connecting with them through AcroYoga to be beneficial not only to our relationship but among themselves with the confidence that builds.

“You really have to communicate with each other as each of us builds these skills.”

Big and little artists

On May 5, Karen Mobley offers her next Bigs and Littles workshop, pairing a parent and kid, or grandparent and child, for learning how to experiment with watercolor, tempera and various types of paper.

A recent workshop attracted 12 people in one family: Grandma, adult daughters and the daughters’ children. Mobley tends to set out project samples, whether it’s a painting or a notebook cover design.

The next workshop runs from 9 a.m. to noon at Mobley’s Studio, 3515 S. Lee St. Registration is required through Spokane Art School, at a workshop cost of $30 per person, plus $10 supply fee. For more information, go to http://spokaneartschool.net/classes/.

Another place to explore art together is at Spark Central, 1214 W. Summit Parkway. The site has a “Drop In & Draw” session, 4-5:30 p.m. each Wednesday, for all ages in a beginner-friendly setting.

A Saturday workshop “Masterpieces Made By Two,” will be held 10 a.m.-noon May 12. The format is for parents to team with a child, from ages 2 to 7, to paint a whimsical collaboration. There’s no cost, but registration is required at http://spark-central.org/events. Classes tend to fill up fast.

Family hoedowns

Try simple folk dances involving your circle of relatives, at a monthly family dance and potluck hosted at St. John’s Cathedral, 127 E. 12th Ave. The next meal and dance starts 6:30 p.m. on May 4.

It’s free, but donations are accepted for the band. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Another dance is scheduled the evening of June 1. Families are encouraged to bring a potluck item, even if it’s a bottle of juice, cookies, or take-out pizza.

All ages are welcome, from babies to grandparents, said Susan Dankovich, dance leader. She encourages kids learning with adults, in a variety of folk and line dances.

“It’s a great bonding time,” Dankovich said. “The only rules are to have a good time and bring your smile.”

After a summer break, the once-a-month family dances resume in fall on the first Friday, September through June. For information, call Dankovich at (509) 533-9955 or email sdanko@cet.com.

Another venue, Spokane Roadhouse in Spokane Valley, holds an all-ages dance class 6:30-8 p.m. Thursdays for swing and line dances. Cost is $8 per person at the dance club, N. 20 Raymond Road.

For more of singing and instrument-playing option, Willow Song Music Therapy holds a monthly “Family Drumming for Wellness and Joy. The next one is scheduled at 6:45 p.m. May 14. Age-appropriate instruments are provided, at a $10 suggested donation per family. The center is at 21101 E. Wellesley Ave. For info, call (509) 592-7875.

Two-cook kitchens

Sometimes two cooks in the kitchen aren’t too many.

The Inland Northwest Culinary Academy offers cooking courses taught by regional chefs in Spokane Community College’s teaching kitchen. If registered with an adult, children 12 and older may attend with a signed release form, its website says.

Upcoming classes include Pizza Stromboli, Oh My and Croissants. The Stromboli-making class is 6-8 p.m. Thursday, for $59. It’s hands-on to fill, shape and bake the Italian delights. At $49 for croissant-making on May 17, you can create the treat with almond paste or chocolate.

The teaching kitchen is located on the first floor of Spokane Community College’s Main Building 1, 1810 N. Greene St. Parking is free after 5 p.m. Register at (509) 279-6030 or online https://ccs.spokane.edu/Corporate-Continuing-Education/INCA-After-Dark.

Child-focused cooking classes are held at a Young Chefs Academy franchise that opened in Hayden earlier this spring. Owners are planning to schedule a parent-child session over the summer.

Find the center at the 293 W. Prairie Shopping Center, or call (208) 772-6807.

Build something

Check with your local Home Depot store for free once-a-month workshops to build a project from wood for kids ages 5-12 with an adult helper.

Most sessions are held on the first Saturday of the month. Project examples include building a small wooden windmill or birdhouse.

Some sites require registration ahead by phone, online, or in the store to ensure enough kits are available. The Home Depot in Spokane Valley will offer it’s next session from 9 a.m. to noon May 5.

For more information, check at individual locations. Regional stores include ones in north Spokane, 9116 N. Newport Highway, (509) 534-8588; Spokane Valley, 5617 E. Sprague Ave.; (509) 892-4425; Liberty Lake, 21701 E Country Vista Drive, (509) 891-0613; and Coeur d’Alene, 220 W. Kathleen Ave., (208) 676-1441.


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