December 2021

The Best Gift This Holiday Season is a Class

by brad kava

Maybe all those ships stacked up from San Diego to Los Angeles is a good thing. Perhaps it’s time to wake up and realize there’s something more valuable than all that plastic junk manufactured in China. The ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus counseled. “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” 

We seem to have forgotten that the joy of celebrating the holidays is the joy of being together—for a good time—but there’s something else we suggest this season. What about giving your loved ones time to learn something new.

There are so many great classes in Santa Cruz, where anyone can learn all sorts of new things. Here are some of our suggestions.

Adventure Sports Unlimited
Learning to SCUBA before you take that trip down to southern beaches? Adventure Sports Unlimited at 303 Portrero St. can teach you here so that you can devote your vacation to exploring reefs without having to take lessons down there. The school also teaches basic swimming and has taught 28,000 kids to swim over the past 36 years.

Imagine yourself exploring a beautiful underwater world surrounded by brightly colored anemones, sponges, corals, and fish,” the school says. “You hover weightlessly underwater surrounded by vivid bright colors and abundant life. By learning to SCUBA dive, you learn how to explore a new world that is visited by only a few select people.

Be Natural Music
If you loved the movie “School of Rock,” then you know what goes on at Be Natural Music. The kids learn to play instruments and then put on a show. We caught one recently and were blown away at kids’ sheer talent and energy as young as 9. They rawked!

Be Natural Music is a Jazz & Rock music school based in Santa Cruz, California,. Directed by Matthew D Pinck AKA “yoga Matt” on stage. Our school offers private music lessons, Real Rock Band classes, workshops, group classes, and music camps.

Santa Cruz Gymnastics
What about giving a kid gymnastics classes so they can fly through the air with the greatest of ease. Not only does Santa Cruz Gymnastics offer regular classes all year round, but they offer special three-hour winter camps during the winter holidays. That might be a nice way to work off the sugar holiday high and get them away from the tablet. Not only does the gymnastics program offer classes for kids as young as 3, but it takes them through their teens and trains them for serious competition.

Mountain Music School
A gift that lasts a lifetime: private music lesson on the instrument of your choice? The former B-Sharp is now the Mountain Music School in Scotts Valley. Its teachers include performing musicians on drums, bass, piano, ukulele and singing. You can buy your favorite person an instrument and a gift certificate to study it.

We know that music doesn’t just happen in the studio; it involves the whole community. Our teachers are regularly involved with performance opportunities, showcasing their talents and inspiring their students. We also offer plenty of performance opportunities for our students, giving them ample opportunity to grow as musicians and performers.

Music Together
Music Together/Musical Me has made a successful career bringing the joy of music and dance to the youngest kids, from birth to 5. The grownups who love them enhance children’s learning in multiple domains (mentally, physically, socially, etc.), increase family engagement, and add richly to each family’s “toolbox.” Siblings are welcome, especially infants who may attend free if they are eight months or under.
Its Canta y Baila Conmigo is a unique curriculum for young children (ages birth to 5 years) with dual, complementary goals of music education and language immersion. Designed for beginners and native speakers alike, CyBC creates a playful, interactive atmosphere where language learning is integrated naturally and organically into the musical experience.
And the Rhythm Kids is a drumming, music, and movement program for children ages 4–8 years. Classes naturally support children’s rhythm development and help them prepare for formal music lessons. Contact them today to try a free class and bring the joy of music into your family’s life.
Give your little ones you. Time with you. Time spent singing, dancing, and playing together in their research-based, music-filled, playful classes, whether outdoors or online. Gift certificates are available!

Jim Booth Swim School
Jim Booth Swim School offers classes year-round to get the youngest kids in the water and the older ones in shape. And if you know someone afraid to swim, they even have a class for them, called Aquaphobics. “A second chance for those adults who have never learned to swim…a fun way to become an aquatic wonder. Classes are available for fearful swimmers up to adults who need stroke work. It’s never too late to learn how to swim!”
Don’t worry, the school has classes of all levels for those who already know how to swim and start kids as young as four months old. If you want to gift something for later in the year, the school offers pool parties.

June Bug’s Gymnastics
Here’s a gift for both parents and kids. June Bug’s Gymnastics at Pleasure Point gives parents a Saturday night off from the kids with its Parents Night Out, offered every second and fourth Saturday night from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., including dinner and gymnastics for the young ones, 3-8. 
The rest of the week, Junebug’s has classes for the youngest kids, called Inchworms, who are just learning to crawl, all the way to Jitterbugs 4-8. The first class is free.

I could not believe how many different activities June Bug’s Gym provided in the 3 hours of camp: gymnastics, cooking, and crafts. The quality was excellent: the recipes were healthy but appealing to the kids, the crafts were imaginative, and the gymnastics program was very well thought out. Overall great!

Crooked Beauty Art
Are you looking for a place where your child can explore their creativity in a supportive environment? Carmen has everything you need to let your inner artist fly free. There is a wide range of crafts to choose from and fun stations to focus on your work. In addition, to drop-in crafting, they also do fun workshops with local artists, like woodworking and screen printing. Any child or adult would be ecstatic to get a gift card from this mecca of beauty.

International Academy of Dance
If dance is the thing, you can’t miss studying at the International Academy of Dance, located near Costco, and the home base for the Santa Cruz Ballet and the annual presentation of the Nutcracker. The IAD Story begins with ballet, as classical ballet training is at the heart of our training curriculum! But they also offer expert classes in Lyrical, Hip-Hop, Tap, Dance Conditioning, and Musical Theater. Because of this, they encourage all dancers to become well-versed in many styles, so they can learn any choreography. IAD dancers are empowered and versatile, strong and powerful—on stage and off.
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