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Frugal Family: Picking the Perfect After-School Activity

Programs in Monmouth County to keep your kids busy this fall.

It's back to school here in Monmouth County and while your days may not be as fun-filled as they were this summer, there's still plenty for the kids to do this fall. This week, we're going to take a look at some fun places your kids can go for after-school activities that will allow them to have fun, make friends, and stay active.

The following are just a sample of what we have available for kids in our area, so keep your eyes out for other creative outlets that will suit your child.

The Art Room Studio & Gallery

Registration is still being taken for The Art Room's fall 2011 classes, which begin on September 12. Classes for kids as young as three years old are just as fun as those scheduled for teens adults. Students become engaged in the art activities they're pursuing, and the teachers enable everyone to shine at their own pace. Classes are available Monday through Saturday from mornings through evenings. Please call 732-842-0027 for more information.

Small Factory Productions Fall Classes

Since 2008 , located on 560 River Road, Suite C in Fair Haven, NJ, has helped build innovative minds through its award-winning children's arts and technology programs. This fall, the company launches Small Factory School of the Arts with an Open House of free activities and consultations on Saturday, September 10th from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Contact Small Factory at 732-212-1088 or smallfactory@mysmallfactory.com with questions or to register your child(ren) for the free day of activities. Free parking on site. Visit www.mysmallfactory.com for a full listing of School of the Arts classes, rates and schedules.

Freehold Academy of Performing Arts

Girls and boys from every corner of Monmouth County make Freehold Academy of Performing Arts (or FAPA as it's affectionately known), their home for everything entertainment. Known for premier instruction in all types of dance, including ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, acrobatics, modern, hip hop, street, and pop and lock, FAPA's staff of hands-on instructors bring out the best in your child.

The school offers classes for children ages three years to adult. Classes are scheduled throughout the week and Saturdays, from mornings, through afternoons and evenings. Call 732-625-0900 for more information.

Count Basie Theatre's Performing Arts Academy

Registration is now available for Count Basie Theatre's Performing Arts Fall session. Each session is approximately ten weeks long, and consists of performing arts specialties such as chorus, musical theater, Broadway basics, beginning acting, junior and senior pop/rock vocal ensembles, acting for television, a comedy workshop and much more. All your child needs is the ability to want to learn more. It's a perfect place for the child that needs to come out of their shell a bit more,  the child who has no problem with shyness, and everyone in between! Please call 732-842-9000 for more information, or visit countbasietheatre.org/education for more.

Tiger Schulmann's Mixed Martial Arts

One of the hottest forms of the martial arts is MMA, or mixed martial arts. Tiger Schulmann's takes three of the most popular types, Muay Thai, boxing and Jiu Jitsu and puts them under the same roof, so you can see which one is a perfect fit for you. Their latest trial offer promotion comes with a free pair of gloves and a free class. They also offer a kids martial arts program in which children learn determination, get greater confidence, and gain improved focus. For more information, call 1-866-891-1955.

Frozen Ropes

One of the most interesting places to learn the art of sports in Monmouth County, Frozen Ropes takes sports to an entirely new level. Their curriculum and teaching philosophy is based on over 20 years of experience in player development. From their 3-4-year-old program called Born to Play, to programs for elementary, middle, high-schoolers and college-bound seniors, there's something for everyone and many different techniques available to help your child perfect whatever sport they are interested in.

Frozen Ropes even have a program called Brain Day for baseball and softball players, ages 12-18, which helps youngsters deal with competitive anxiety. Please call 732-380-0400 for more information.

Jeff Gollin September 08, 2011 at 01:31 PM
Pardon me for sounding like a carmudgeon, but - after the school day has ended - how about letting kids be kids? I realize that parental attitudes (& student freedoms) have changed post- 9/11, but I yearn for the days when kids could hop on their bikes after school, do their own (unsupervised) thing and not be seen nor heard till dinner time. Nowadays, it seems as though every waking moment of every young person's time is being closely organized, controlled or monitored. (Nothing wrong with occasional organized activity, but sometimes I feel we're going way overboard at the expense of kids' childhoods).
carmen September 08, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Thank you for that.... I completely agree
Rick Holbert September 08, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Parents, who I am sure, think they are doing all this for their kids and not to them, have made childhood into a job. The always structured days, rigorous schedules to keep, tired or not, often long demanding practices, road trips for games in various sports and competitions, home practice time (summer homework), pressures to excel and not to fail from parents, coaches, and/or fellow participants, and the ever present stress of not wanting to let their parents down and feel like a failure result in kids missing a real chance to be kids. When exactly do the kids unwind from the same pressures of school and the daily grind we all felt as kids? When do they connect with each other in a fun environment that they coordinate? When do they actually get to do what they want, silly or not? When do you as a parent get to stop? I get the idea of trying to give your kids all the things you never had growing up but lighten up and realize too much of a good thing is not good. Let them find something they may want to do and be supportive but don't try to fill all their free time with your childhood dreams or the things other parents push their kids into. If all these activities are only about babysitting think again. When your child does not want to be there they will learn to hate the very thing you are trying to get them to enjoy. They are only kids once and for a very short time. Let their memories when they look back be a relaxing and enjoyable thing to recall and share.
Paul September 11, 2011 at 01:15 AM
I like to take my children to the Associated Humane Society on Shafto Road in Tinton Falls. They love going there so much that during the summer we made multiple trips. My youngest son fell in love with an adult cat ("Orella") and I think he (cat) appreciated him visiting so much also. We would bring donations of food,blankets,towels and toys. We would have adopted the cat if it were not for the $125 fee. They have a room dedicated to cats where they can roam around and get exercise. Not many people know, but they also have a bird room. You just have to ask for an escort. They don't allow you to venture in there on your own.

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