photograph © Yobro10 | Dreamstime.com
Typically, boys get bit by the skateboarding bug in elementary school and for moms (at least this one), that reality can be a bit unnerving. But I soon discovered that skating not only builds confidence, it’s also a good outlet for creative types who gravitate to art or music. So be brave and let your kid fly (just make sure he’s got a helmet and pads).
Where: • Tobey Skatepark, 2599 Avery • Houston Skate Park, Clayton Dr., Germantown • Southaven Skate Park, 1320 Rasco Rd., Southaven, MS • Latimer Skate Park, 5633 Tulane Rd., Horn Lake, MS
Classes: For Skating 101, head out Saturday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m. when families converge on Tobey Park. Skatelife Memphis also holds free skateboard sessions for beginners and advanced skaters. See their FB page for details.
More: To find other skate parks in Tennessee, go to concretedisciples.com. Or read locally produced Luchaskate magazine by David Thornton. You’ll find him on FB, too.
So you discovered this summer that your youngest loves climbing the wall at AutoZone Park. Now what? Well, BRIDGES offers a super-cool climbing wall, perfect for climbers of all ages. This activity is great for developing overall strength and confidence.
The climbing wall is open to the public twice a month on Friday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. They provide harnesses and guidance, as well as belayers (people who hold the ropes steady as climbers go up and rappel down). Many kids take to it like a duck to water.
Where: BRIDGES, 477 N 5th St, 452-5600 • bridgesusa.org. Next Climb: Friday, September 6 & 20, 6-9 p.m. Enjoy music, snacks, & free Wifi. $15/per climber.
More: The Kroc Center in Midtown also has a public obstacle course that includes climbing through themed rooms. $5/day pass. krocmemphis.org
If you’ve ever been on a trampoline, then you know how much exercise bouncing provides. Trampolines offer good core workouts while helping kids develop gross motor skills like balance and coordination.
Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park offers a jumping extravaganza, with free play, a ball pit, and basketball areas. For tots, Toddler Time happens Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to noon, followed by Homeschool Hop from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Prices vary.
Where: Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, 5355 Distriplex Farms Drive, #102. 322-3281. • skyzone.com or visit on Facebook.
More: For little tumblers, don’t forget The Little Gym of Germantown, which also offers ways for kids to get physical. thelittlegym.com/germantowntn
For my money, a bike is one of the best gifts you can give a child. Bikes offer exercise, fun, and a world of adventure. Kids can usually begin riding a two-wheeler with training wheels around age 5 (although some start younger). Let them get acclimated by riding in level, open spaces. Once a child finds his balance, it won’t be long before the training wheels come off and the adventuring begins. Best of all, it’s free.
Where: Shelby Farms Greenline, a 6.5-mile linear trail that connects Midtown (at Tillman) to Shelby Farms Park. shelbyfarms.org • Or explore the Wolf River Greenway at Walnut Grove and Humphreys. For our review, see memphisparent.com.
More: The Peddler Bike Shop offers public rides, info on family cycling and useful tips on kids and helmets at peddlerbikeshop.com.
The martial arts — such as karate, taekwondo, or judo — help kids develop concentration, coordination, and confidence as they learn how to refine a variety of moves and forms. Some programs, like Midtown Taekwondo, even offer after school programs for kids that include transportation from the school to the center. Definitely cool.
More: Midtown Taekwondo, 200 N. Evergreen, 725-5552 • midtowntaekwando.com. Prices vary.