by Paula Kully –
The Saanich Peninsula is a veritable playground of fun, kid-friendly activities. Besides the usual soccer, baseball, t-ball and lacrosse, you can find some unusual and engaging options to keep the young people in your life busy during the summer and all year long.
With the Salish Sea at our door, what could be more enticing and appropriate than sailing? The Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club offers Summer camps during July and August. Classes range from basic to advanced and follow the CANSail program, Canada’s updated sailor training standards and a leading sail training initiative.
All programs teach water safety, how to set the boats up for sailing and how to sail. Each program includes intentional capsizing so the kids learn what to do if they end up in the water; this is closely monitored by the instructors. Additionally, kids learn about tides, currents, water temperature, boats and respect for each other.
Courses range from $275 to $600. A full listing and details of courses are available on the club’s website: http://www.snsyc.ca.
The McTavish Academy of Art (MAOA) is founded on a philosophy that encourages kids to recognize that their creativity has value. The Academy’s ever-growing and evolving programs focus on dance, yoga and art and include some interesting activities outside the norm such as screen printing and creating your own comic book.
Kids 12 and over can take part in a one-week summer camp from August 14 to 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. They will learn foundations for illustration and graphic design and will walk away with a completed comic book of their own creation.
For art classes, most art supplies are provided but those that aren’t can be purchased through Island Blue at a discount.
Check out MAOA’s comprehensive website for details on all of their programs at www.mctavishacademy.ca.
The Sidney Lawn Bowling Club offers a junior program year-round. With little equipment needs other than specific shoe requirements and a very reasonable annual fee of just $42, this sport offers both an economic and fun option for kids.
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of lawn bowling is the opportunity for youth to play competitively, or just for fun, with adults and seniors as the club is shared by all ages from eight to 100. This intergenerational aspect of the sport draws a focus on good sportsmanship, the value of volunteering, and the importance of a good attitude, to properly consider advice and direction and self-reliance.
Juniors train and practice for two hours every Tuesday evening but for those who will be going on to the Provincials, extra time is allotted once school is out. To register and for more information call 250-516-2229.
Peninsula Academy of Music Arts offers a broad spectrum of classes in all instruments along with voice and private lessons. Registration is accepted year-round and classes are once a week ranging from half an hour to one hour with monthly fees between $85 to $95. The Academy even offers a fall and winter Preschool Music Sampler for kids 18 months to four years old.
All of the instructors are practicing musicians and bring a wealth of talent that offers diverse programs that engage, nurture, educate and enrich the community. Several of the teachers are affiliated with the Royal Conservatory and can offer the associated curriculum for the practical and theoretical exams.
As students will require an instrument to take home and practice, the Academy offers reasonably priced rentals and sales. To register call 778-426-1800 or use the online contact form at www.peninsulaacademy.ca.
For another creative outlet, drop in at Paletteable Pottery and Arts Studio at Mattick’s Farm or make a reservation and host a kids’ party!
The studio provides all the materials needed for kids to create a one-of-a-kind piece that is both fun to make and provides a lasting memento. There are over 400 pottery pieces to choose from, including figurines, dishes and the ever-popular mugs.
Kids will have access to 60 paints and colours and an abundance of brushes, sponges, stamps, stencils, idea books and silk screens to let their imaginations run wild. As well, experienced staff are on hand to provide tips on techniques. Once complete, pieces are left to be glazed and kiln fired before they are ready for pickup within five to seven days.
Reservations for parties can be done through the website at
For something really different, check out Boulders Climbing Gym! The facility offers programs for kids six to 12 and youth 12 to 18 with instructors that are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides.
The gym has 1,208 square metres of climbing space, with classes from beginners to advanced and even outdoor climbing. Boulders is also a unique option for hosting a birthday party. This includes 1.5 hours of climbing followed by an hour for cake and presents in the mezzanine.
The “Just Hang” drop-in option is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. or Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. The fee is $25 and kids must be five or over.
Once school opens, Stelly’s Secondary School students climb for free from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Registration and details can be found at ww.climbtheboulders.com.
Hastings Martial Arts’ kids and junior programs resume September 6 and provide an activity for kids that focuses on both physical and mental training.
Sensei Cory Hastings has been training since 1990 and holds a fourth degree black belt in both Shotokan Karate and Daiwa Ryu Aiki Jujitsu.
Entry level classes for five- to six-year-olds teach the basics of Shotokan Karate and start students on their journey to a black belt. The classes provide kids with the fundamentals of teamwork, concentration, coordination, agility and balance while introducing the principles of respect and discipline. Students age seven and up will develop a solid foundation in the art of Shotokan Karate. They will learn forms (kata), hand techniques, kicks, stances and self defence as well as the principles of respect, discipline, listening and good sportsmanship.
Classes are one hour each Wednesday for $95 a month. More information can be found at: www.hastingsmartialarts.ca.
Ardmore Golf Course has been a fixture on the Saanich Peninsula since 1930. It is just 10 minutes from Sidney, and five minutes from the Victoria International Airport. The nine-hole course, with alternate tees for a second nine to play 18 holes, is located on gently sloped property with an open layout making it very walkable, fun and easy to play.
Ardmore offers memberships including students and kids. During the summer, youth 18 and under can play nine holes for $18 or 18 holes for $28 and club rentals are $10. A junior membership is open to kids 10 to 18 at $183 plus tax per year.
As well, the Ardmore Golf Academy provides lessons with Karl West who has 20 years’ experience teaching golf and is a certified club fitter. To book lessons call 250-656-4621 or visit