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Lots of Fun for Your Lil’ Kickers

soccer classes for kids in Orange County CA

Today’s post is about a great program from a juicy new Tiny Oranges sponsor called Lil’ Kickers, which offers soccer classes for kids in Orange County and many other fun programs I am excited to share with you today.

My kids love everything about soccer – and this mama loves that they are active, running and happy.  Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Tim from Lil’ Kickers, who told me all about their fabulous soccer classes for kids and child development program.

And the best part?  He wants your kids to try the program for FREE! Simply mention this Tiny Oranges blog…and receive THREE FREE trial classes (valid for one child only).

Next Level Sports Complex

You’ll find Lil’ Kickers at the Next Level Sports Complex in Garden Grove – a premier multi-sport complex that offers a broad range of athletic programs for all ages.

Tim told me all about the Lil’ Kickers program and their philosophy about working with young kids.  Read below and see for yourself!

What makes Lil’ Kickers soccer classes for kids in Orange County unique?

One of the most unique aspects of the Lil’ Kickers soccer program is that we were created by child development professionals and soccer professionals.

It is firmly rooted in child development theories, and every class is designed specifically for where a child is developmentally, cognitively, socially, physically, and mentally.

What do moms love about your program?

We use imagination and creativity to engage with the kids. Soccer fields are transformed to become the bottom of the ocean or the galaxy above.  Kids are super active, super engaged, and have a great time.

What kind of “age appropriate activities” could we expect in a class?

In our  “Hoppers” class (beginning for three and four-year-olds), kids will learn soccer skills without knowing they are actually developing soccer skills.

We use story and imagination to engage the kids. This helps the children interact and stay engaged.

Our blue soccer balls become laser balls, or battleship cannon balls, or blue pearls that are at the bottom of the ocean…and the kids are in imaginary “scuba gear,” retrieving the blue pearls and bringing them back to the submarine before the octopus (the coach) stops them.

What ages do you teach?

There are classes for kids as young as 18-24 months which are Parent & Me soccer classes all the way up to age 9.. You can visit the website to see the class breakdown by age and along with class descriptions.

Tell us more about what you offer…

Lil’ Kickers is more than just soccer.  We have our weekly classes for kids ages 18 months to nine-years-old like I mentioned, but we also have soccer birthday parties that incorporate soccer and a whole lot more (bounce houses, dodge ball, basketball, kickball, flag football, and volleyball to name a few!).

We also offer a “Parents Night Out” on a regular basis where parents drop their kids off for “date night,” leaving their kiddos in the hands of the best babysitters, our Lil’ Kickers coaches.  We also have great OC summer soccer camps and winter soccer camps, too!

Want your Lil’ Kicker to try it out? 

All you have to do is call us at 714-230-0706 x107 - mention this Tiny Oranges blog – and receive three Lil’ Kickers classes for FREE (valid for one child only).  SO excited to try them!

Thank you Tim for sharing more about your fabulous program!

[Disclosure: Lil' Kickers is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor.]

An Easy Way to Teach Kids Their Phone Number

I have discovered an easy way to teach kids their phone number and I wanted to share it with you today.

It’s always been important for both of my kiddos learn how to recite important identifying numbers early in  life, particularily their phone numbers and address for their safety.

Just think – in an emergency, does your child know their phone number?

Now days, most people I know (myself included) operate with their cell phones, and very few seem to have the archaic “landline” anymore, so you have to determine the best number to teach them first.

Mine?  Daddy’s?  I chose my cell phone first…because…well, I’m mommy.

Sing a Song with M-I-C-K-E-Y

Now for the simple part.  Sing a song.  And not just any song…but the old school Mickey Mouse Club March.  Need a refresher on how that goes? Watch it with your kids here…

So here goes a sample verse:

“M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E
Hey! there, Hi! there, Ho! there
You’re as welcome as can be
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E”

Okay, now that you have that tune in your head (and it might stay there), adjust the following lyrics to:

(Put your 10 digit phone number, including your area code, in for the “M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E” part)

“1-1-1(pause) 1-1-1(pause) 1-1-1-1 (hold out this number for two syllables to make it fit within the tune)

Mommy’s phone, mommy’s phone
Whenever you need help, call mommy’s phone!”

A little cheesy, I know, but it WORKS!

Like with any new concept, your kiddo is probably not going to pick up on it immediately.  Practice it every day with just ONE phone number. They will get it. Now I quiz my five-year-old at random times and have her recite it.

After a few months of practicing it every day (just to make sure it was drilled into her memory), we practiced her daddy’s number.  She now knows both without blinking an eye.

Note:  If your cell phone has a password protected lock screen, keep in mind that you’ll have to teach them that passcode too!  What if they have to grab your phone and dial 9-1-1 on their own?  Make sure they know how to use your cell phone, just in case.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share?  Any song(s) that work better?  How did you teach your child their phone number?  Please share below!

 Photo Credit:  photo©2013 Prepayasyougo, Flickr

$36 Off Music Classes at California Music Studios

Have you ever wondered where to find the best piano teacher or a wonderful singing coach for your little one?
 Music classes from California Music Studios are your answer!  

There is nothing sweeter than seeing (and hearing) children respond to music. Whether music helps bring them out of their shell or gives them the opportunity to showcase their inner Beyoncé, there is something really special about seeing a child’s face light up when they’re around music.

That’s why I was so excited to chat with our new Sponsor, Jennifer Paterson, founder of California Music Studios, an organization that matches children with talented music teachers throughout Southern California, to find out more about how California Music Studios helps pair children with music teachers based on the child’s own interests, goals, and ambitions.

Jennifer, an accomplished musician with three degrees in music, decided to open California Music Studios in 1987.

After moving to California from Boston, where she was the principal soprano for the Boston Lyric Opera Company (I told you she was accomplished!), she immediately recognized that parents needed help and guidance to find a trusted and talented music teacher for their child.

Jennifer had the experience and expertise to offer them this help.

The organization grew by word of mouth from 2-3 teachers back in 1987, to over 350 teachers today. Through my conversation with Jennifer I found out exactly why that growth happened so naturally.

Teachers Come To You

As a busy mom of two, I am well aware of how challenging it can be to shuttle kids from one activity to the next. If you sign up for music classes from California Music Studios you have the option of having a teacher come to your home to teach the lesson or visiting the teacher’s studio. The option to save time, gas and energy is such a huge convenience.

California Music Studio Screens for You

Out of the 60 applicants that Jennifer receives each month only 3 or 4 are chosen to join California Music Studios. I can’t imagine the time and effort it would take me to scour through the internet to interview and test that many teachers to find the best option for my little one.

Over 65 Performances a Year (FREE OF CHARGE)

California Music Studios offer Formal Recitals and informal Music Club recitals, totaling over 65 performances for students each year. Students of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate, and parents, relatives, and friends are all welcome. The best part about this – they are free of charge.

These recitals help children gain confidence and self-esteem. In addition the student enhances their comprehension and retention of material by being asked to learn a piece for the performance. And, I can’t think of any better way to show off the hard work they’ve put into their lessons. It’s an amazing and rare opportunity.

Class Variety and Customization for Your Child

Because California Music Studios works with such a vast number of teachers they can truly customize the lesson for your child based on you and your child’s interests and goals.

The company has more than a 98% success rate in matching students and teachers, but if for some reason the teacher you were assigned is not the best match for your child, there is an option to change teachers.

Focus on Fun

The last and probably most important reason why I believe that California Music Studios has been able to grow into such a successful business is that it is clear that the company was built out of a passion for music and that both the teachers and the students are having fun. They have students ranging from age 4 to 94 which shows a love of music can last forever!

All Tiny Oranges Readers Get $36 off your first month of lessons.

(New students only. Limit one per household. Not to be combined with any other offer or discount.) 

If you’re interested in signing your child (or yourself) up for music lessons please call California Music Studios @

760-632-7577 for more information, or visit  www.californiamusicstudios.com

[Disclosure: California Music Studios is a new Tiny Oranges Sponsor, and we are so happy to be able to spread the word about their wonderful classes.]

Lil Swimmers, Inc. – OC Swim Lessons for Kids

Isn’t it great when your kids try something new and love it? That was my experience when one of our Sponsors, Lil Swimmers, Inc., a company specializing in South OC swim lessons for kidsinvited my little ones to try a lesson in Laguna Niguel. They are also offering Tiny Oranges readers a free trial swim lesson as well, details below!

My daughter Georgia is 4 years old and has never taken a swim lesson before (I know, I’m a little late to the party, but please don’t judge!). So, when I pulled up to Michelle’s home to take our first swim lesson I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.

Luckily, Michelle, the owner and instructor of Lil Swimmers, Inc. was patient and caring with my newbie and helped get her acclimated with the water.

Within 15 minutes she was floating unassisted. Disclaimer: she was probably floating on her own for only a couple of seconds, but I was still wildly impressed!

After my lesson I asked Michelle a few questions that I thought would be helpful for anyone looking for a great place to take their kids in South OC for swim lessons.

Interview with Owner/Swim Instructor,
Michelle of Lil Swimmers  

I see from your website FAQ’s that the Red Cross suggests starting lessons no earlier than 6 months. What age do you recommend parents start swim lessons? Do you have a favorite age to teach?

The Red Cross suggests 6 months, but at that age the class is a parent and me class, it’s all about getting comfortable in the water and educating parents on ways to hold their children in the water to help facilitate future learning.  It’s a fantastic building block but by no means required. 

The real learning to swim without assistance takes place around 15-18 months.

For any family with a pool or water on their property, I strongly suggest starting swim lessons by this age.  Having a pool at my home, my own kids were in the water as early as 4 months and safe enough for me to sit on the edge and watch them play by 18 to 20 months.

My favorite age is probably 18-24 months; they’re so cute and their personalities are really forming. Even though they are still so young, they are also very capable. And I just love their little voices!

Older children are great for different reasons; with the big kids I’m able to explain things to them and know that they’re getting it. I love seeing the quick progress of their strokes and observing the bonds formed with fellow swimmers.

You offer both private and group lessons, what would you say are the benefits and challenges (if any) to both options?

Private lessons are great because the child learns quicker, but they are expensive.  And the child doesn’t get to watch and learn from a peer.  They also don’t get to play as much when they are by themselves.  What’s great, is that our semi private lessons only have 2 children sharing 30 minutes.  I feel parents get the best of both worlds!

What can parents do to help their kids learn to love and respect the water?

Start at bath time, don’t be shy about getting your child’s face wet in the bath.  One of the biggest challenges instructors face with new students is that the child doesn’t like to get their faces wet.

The more comfortable they are with this simple step, the better.  Another easy thing parents can do is to discuss the lessons and the instructor in a positive way. Hearing how proud their parents are, really encourages the kids.

What made you want to become a swim instructor?

I became a swim instructor because of my love of the outdoors, the water, and kids.

When my husband and I moved into our home, I was not working.  He encouraged me to find something that I could be passionate about instead of just looking for available jobs.  He kept telling me to do what I love instead of looking for a position to fill. 

As a child, I lived in the water.  We had a pool and water skied as a family.  Teaching lessons started out as more of a hobby.  Luckily, I was good at it and really enjoyed the kids and their families.  Once I had my own kids, I had a better understanding of the importance of water safety and the service that I was providing.  I have made great friends with many of the parents that I’ve met.  I feel so fortunate to have my work.

I love that answer! There’s nothing better than making a living at something you love. Kudos to your husband for being so encouraging. Okay, last question. I love the calm, balanced approach you have to teaching kids to swim. Do you have any go to tricks you use if the child is struggling with nerves in the water?

For any kids struggling with nerves, be calm and consistent.  They need to feel secure, and I do that by using gentle words and by holding them in a way that makes them feel that you are in control and that you will take care of them.

Often, I see instructors try to make the kids happy by trying to make them laugh or distract them.  I don’t think that is the right approach.  They are terrified for their lives and it should be acknowledged.  They need to know that the person in charge is confident and trustworthy.

Our instructors tell the children exactly what’s going to happen and when, so that the child quickly learns what the expectations are.  There are no surprises. Once they are comfortable, then everyone has more fun!

Michelle, thanks so much for your sharing your answers with us. I’ve learned a lot about your teaching style and I think our readers have too.

Free Trial for Tiny Oranges Readers

Now for the best part. Michelle has generously offered all Tiny Oranges readers a free trial swim lesson at Lil Swimmers if you call now through June 30th, 2013 and mention this post!

www.oclilswimmers.com

South Orange County Swim Lessons
Laguna Niguel

949.337.8458

Michelle Coulston
oclilswimmers {at} gmail.com

[Disclosure: Lil Swimmers, Inc. is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor and I received a complimentary lesson to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own!]

Varsity Tutors is Here to Help

Can you believe it’s almost September!?!  First day of school outfits, packed lunches, backpacks full of crisp new folders and freshly sharpened pencils, and a clean slate of academic opportunity!  Varsity Tutors is here to help ease your student back into the school year and to help them put their smartest foot forward.

Is your child in a large class size at school?  Would s/he benefit from some added personal one-on-one attention to help them through some of their more challenging subjects?

Serving all of the Los Angeles Metro area (which includes Orange County), Varsity Tutors works closely with students and their families to provide elite, one-on-one tutoring instruction that helps students reach their academic goals.  To start, they assess the specific student’s needs, select the best fitting tutor, and then monitor the student’s progress over time.

Varsity Tutors emphasize a positive learning atmosphere through engaging, personalized lessons, presented in the most easy to understand way to keep the students motivated on their road to success.

They are serious about the screening and qualification process when selecting their tutors, looking for:

Exceptional teaching skills demonstrated during thorough, in-person interview

Demonstration of expert-level knowledge of subjects during interview

Excellent communication skills

Ability to develop and teach individualized learning plans

High test scores (they verify them)

High grades (they verify them, too!)

Prior teaching and mentoring skills or credential

Background check

Friendly and personable demeanor

They have turned down potential tutors with perfect test scores because they weren’t effective enough at communicating difficult concepts in an easy to understand manner!

What I love is you can scroll through the available tutors on their site and see their picture, read a personal message from them and learn about their educational background to get a feel for your tutor before you meet them.

Then your Tutor will come to you in the comfort of your own home, or your can choose to meet at a library or anywhere else you find convenient.

Varsity Tutors is offering our Tiny Oranges Readers a discount!  Book before August 31st 2012 with promo code “Tiny Oranges” to receive $75 off a 24hr+ package.

If your child needs help with chemistry click here for a list of the Varsity Tutors specializing in the tricky subject.

Is your  child trying to get into a prestigious private K-8 school?  Varsity Tutors offers test prep for ISEE & SSAT test taking.

Or is your teen getting ready to take the ACT, SAT, PSAT or PLAN?  Varsity Tutors can help them achieve their highest score!

Or are you looking to go back to graduate school?  They also offer MCAT, GRE, LSAT, GMAT tutoring to get you ready…

Pricing ranges from $55-$65/hr for academic subjects and $65-$75 for test prep, with the hourly rate going down as you invest in more hours.

Click here for the Varsity Tutors’ Facebook Page.

And here to follow them on Twitter.

www.varsitytutors.com

[Varsity Tutors is a Tiny Oranges Partner we are excited to share with you in time for Back to School!]