If your children’s holiday wish list items are mainly Xbox games or Star Wars and Frozen themed toys let’s think out of the box and replace a few of these with a gift they’ll always remember, an experience gift to do what they love. It’s a great way to spend winter break too!
Put on your Mittens
Snow and ice activities are a special treat for SoCal kids. Liberty Station, Kroc Ice Center and the Hotel Del on Coronado all have outside ice skating rinks and family skate times during the holiday season. Snow tubing is a fun family adventure and Mountain High Resort’s North Pole Tubing Park (about 3 hours from San Diego) offers all day (or 2 hour) snow tubing passes, tubes included, for adults, teens and kids (taller than 36 inches).
Cue the Music
If you have the next Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift at your house, a music day camp might be a real thrill for your budding musical artist. The Recreational Music Center at Liberty Station in Point Loma offers a special Musical Madness Holiday Day Camp for ages 5 to 10 that runs December 21 to 30. If your child has ambitions to become a rock star, San Diego School of Rock immerses kids in a kid rock band experience, with instrument and vocal lessons and live stage performances.
Drop in, Climb Up
Instead of having your kids climbing the walls in boredom this winter, sign them up for a day or more of indoor rock climbing at Mesa Rim Climbing Center. Beginner programs Rock Monsters (ages 7-12) and Rock Techs (13-17) coach kids in safe climbing techniques through skill building games on climbing walls.
Calling all drama queens or kings!
A theater camp is just the right ticket to get some acting chops. San Diego Junior Theater Winter Camps in Balboa Park teach voice, acting, dance and movement, and of course camp ends with a live performance. It’s daily during winter breaks, for kids in kindergarten through 6th grade.
Horseback riding on the beach is a true Southern California experience, and San Diego Beach Rides’ Sea Shore Ride takes you and your kids (age 6 and above) through the Tijuana River Valley Nature Preserve to the beach. For little ones check out nearby Ponyland, with pony rides and a petting farm.
If your kids can’t get enough of the food network, a hands-on cooking class will bring out their inner Top Chef. Williams Sonoma in Fashion Valley offers free Junior Chef Classes throughout the year. Check out their website for class schedules for kids age 5 to 13 (and a Christmas stocking filled with whisks, spatulas and cute measuring spoons will let them practice at home!)
Sleep with the Animals
San Diego Zoo, Safari Park and the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista all offer family overnight camping adventures to see and hear wildlife when it’s most active. Tents are available to rent at the Zoo and Safari Park; the Living Coast Discovery Center provides indoor camping.