Eight Kids-Friendly Activities in Boston

Want healthy, happy kids? Here's how to keep your tots on the move.

healthy kids classes boston

Courtesy Photo

In these warm days, free of school’s daily grind, we imagine our little ones splashing in the waves and pitching tents at sleep-away camp. But sometimes real life gets in the way. “It’s so easy to just pop an iPad in front of a child,” says Martina Albright, director of the Apple Orchard School, in Brookline. Resist the urge. Preliminary research has suggested that physical activity not only keeps youngsters fit, but also helps improve cognitive development. Plus, “[It] allows for exploration, which means it allows for creativity,” Albright says. Who knows? You might even find some peace and quiet for yourself, too.

Horseback Riding
For ages 5 to 15

Has your future equestrian been begging for a pony? Sign her up for classes at Sherborn’s Sweet Meadow Farm, which offers one-on-one lessons and weekly riding clubs for all abilities. And this isn’t your average farm—it boasts exotic animals including a kangaroo, an emu, a potbellied pig, and miniature cows and horses. We can hear the squeals of joy now.

Starting at $225 per month-long session; 111 Coolidge St., Sherborn, 508-314-7433, sweetmeadowfarm.com.

For ages 3 to 6

Weezie’s garden, in the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Gardens at Elm Bank, is full of wonders waiting to be discovered. Among them: a fairy-house forest, vegetable and pollinator gardens, and a sandbox filled with “dinosaur fossils.” Come on Friday or weekend mornings for family programs led by master gardener Melissa Pace, who helps sprouts foster their growing green thumbs while exploring the property.

$8 admission for adults (free for kids 12 and under); 900 Washington St., Wellesley, 617-933-4900,

For ages 6 months to 17 years

Get your tot ready for the big top at Esh Circus Arts, where kids can try tumbling, wire walking, acrobatics, and more. Through the Circus Tots program, children as young as 18 months can dance and play on the trapeze and aerial swings. You may have a budding Cirque du Soleil star—or the next Aly Raisman—on your hands.

$205 per semester; 44 Park St., Somerville, 617-764-0190, eshcircusarts.com.

For toddlers to teenagers

Looking to calm your little ball of energy? Sign him up for the toddler program at Coolidge Corner Yoga (pictured), where the instructor uses storytelling techniques to teach basic poses to children and parents. The studio also runs classes for tweens, teens, and everyone in between, so you can get the whole clan involved. A serene family at the dinner table? Namaste.

Starting at $13 per class; 1297 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-879-0861, coolidgeyoga.com.

Cooking Lessons
For ages 6 to 12

A good diet is just as important as staying active. Help your tyke learn nutrition and kitchen basics through cooking classes at the Boston Public Market Kitchen, a multipurpose space run by the Trustees of Reservations. There, chefs in training prepare palate-pleasing dishes using fresh ingredients from market vendors, leaving kids with full bellies and a set of new skills. Maybe they’ll even make you dinner every now and then.

Starting at $15 per class; 100 Hanover St., Boston, 617-973-4909, thetrustees.org.

Dance Classes
For all ages

Whether your pride and joy wants to become a prima ballerina or Beyoncé’s youngest backup dancer, Urbanity Dance promises to provide all the needed moves. In addition to standard ballet and tap classes, the school offers lessons in contemporary dance, hip-hop, improv, and more.

Prices vary; 1180 Washington St., Boston; 111 West Concord St., Boston; 617-572-3727, urbanitydance.org.

Obstacle Courses
For ages 5 to 13

Reimagine play makes fitness fun with obstacle-course-based classes that teach kids mobility, speed, flexibility, and endurance. Aspiring gym rats work up a sweat using classic equipment like ladders and hurdles, as well as kid-friendly toys and accessories such as Hula-hoops and reaction balls. Classes take place in locations all over the city, including Boston public parks and the Park Street School.

Prices and locations vary; 617-875-6642, reimagineplay.com.

Creative Chaos
For all ages

Kids are bound to love any program dubbed “Messy Monday.” Specific activities change from week to week, but this Boston Children’s Museum event series is all about letting little ones burn off some energy with sloppy tools like mud, water, and paint—far, far away from your brand-new white carpet.

Free with admission; 308 Congress St., Boston, 617-426-6500, bostonchildrensmuseum.org.