If Your Child is a Brainiac
At Chess Palace in Garden Grove, children can take classes, play for fun, and participate in tournaments. Chess Palace has been owned by the Ong family since 2003; some of its students have won national championships.
Bionerds. Budding scientists from kindergarten through sixth grade can enroll in a four-week class in Irvine to learn about worms, bacteria, DNA, and fruit flies.
Brain Builders offers Engineering with LEGO classes at dozens of public and private schools throughout Orange County and at its facility in Laguna Niguel.
If Your Child likes to Run in a Pack
The Rinks Anaheim ICE. Kids aged 4 and up can learn to play and participate in a league. Skating classes are offered for kids 3 and up.
Open Gym Premier. Beginner basketball classes for ages 7-10 are taught by former NBA player Juaquin Hawkins in Anaheim and Lake Forest.
If Your Child Loves Languages
Kids Code Academy teaches children computer programming and coding in Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Newport Beach.
Young Ambassadors. Kids ages 7-14 can improve their public speaking and debate skills through this program based in Irvine.
Lango Kids. This Irvine center provides Spanish and French lessons for ages 1-10.
If Your Child is an Artiste
Fine Art Studio owner Russell Varon has been teaching children’s fine art classes for 40 years. Children can draw, paint, and much more at this studio in Tustin.
At the Laguna Playhouse, children ages 4 and up can take a variety of acting classes at this renowned Laguna Beach theater, first established in 1920.
If Your Child is a Sporty Soloist
French Junior Tennis. Vincent Allegre, who left France to play tennis for UCLA, has been teaching tennis since 2001 in Aliso Viejo.
South Orange County Wildcats Youth Track Club. Beginners through elite runners ages 8-18 practice and compete in track and field events.
Ortega Equestrian Center. All kinds of Western riding lessons—such as horsemanship, barrel racing, and roping—are offered in San Juan Capistrano. Yeehaw!
If Your Child Prefers Air-Conditioning with their Workout
Care 4 Yoga. Ages 3 and up will breathe easy learning yoga at this studio in San Clemente.
Saddleback Lanes. League bowling for children as young as 3 is offered on Monday afternoons and Saturday mornings in Mission Viejo.
Sender One Rock Climbing in Santa Ana offers a six-week “Climbing Academy” for kids.
If Your Child Loves a Good Battle
At Lau Kune Do Temple of Martial Arts in Costa Mesa, children learn Kung Fu, which involves self-defense, physical fitness, and respect for others.
Lockhart’s Karate Academy. Don Lockhart has taught karate in Aliso Viejo for 17 years. He claims karate lessons can improve childrens’ confidence, self-discipline, concentration, coordination, fitness, and flexibility.
Gryphon Fencing and Fitness Studio. Children ages 5 and up can learn fencing, and children ages 7 and up can practice archery. The studio, which has been in Placentia since 2009, provides all the equipment and lots of fun.
If Your Child is a Water Baby
Mariners Junior is a Sea Scout group in Dana Point for ages 12-14. The co-ed program offers instruction on Wednesday nights and Saturdays in rowing, paddling, small boat sailing, and sailboat racing.
Costa Mesa Aquatics Club. Kids in Costa Mesa and throughout Orange County can participate in swim lessons, swim teams, water polo, and Splashball in a large, new facility.
If Your Child’s got Rhythm
DanceLova Dance Academy in Irvine offers classes in ballet, world dance, jazz, hip hop, and lyrical dance.
Capistrano Academy of Dance. Young ballerinas, tumblers, and hip hop, tap, jazz, and lyrical dancers can find classes at this 11-year-old San Juan Capistrano studio.
Team OC Fun celebrates a decade in Costa Mesa as one of the largest gymnastics, cheer, dance, and trampoline training facilities in Southern California.
Orange County Music School. This Tustin studio offers group and private lessons, teaching theory and practice in piano, violin, voice, and other instruments. Lessons may be at the studio, at the child’s home, or over Skype. Recitals and concerts are held at least twice a year.
Firestorm Freerunning in Santa Ana offers, among other classes, an Aerial Silks and Lyra class described as “that Cirque de Soleil thing.” Children ages 7 and up perform aerial acrobatics, swinging and spinning their bodies into and out of various positions while hanging from a special suspended fabric.
If Your Child Loves to Help
Lion’s Heart Service Organization is a nonprofit service organization for kids and teens in 6th through 12th grade. Groups of 3-20 kids and teens decide how to serve their community, with each person volunteering at least 30 hours per year. Participants have worked at OC Ronald McDonald House, Special Camp for Special Kids, Animal Crackers Pet Rescue, Second Harvest Foodbank, and many other organizations.
If Your Child is a Domestic God or Goddess
At Lil Chef School in Irvine, children 5 and up learn to make bread, soup, pizza, cookies, and other delicious food.
Orange County Sewing Lessons are held on Monday and Wednesday afternoons for crafty kids at the Arts and Crafts Studio at Ace Hardware in Costa Mesa.
by Debra Garfinkle