Fun 4 Gator Kids Blog

Fun 4 Gator Kids, the premiere resource of information of places to go and things to do with kids in the Gainesville, Florida area.

Back to School: Important information, Programs now Registering, Events, Afterschool and more!

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Back to school time can be overwhelming for parents. Between picking out and packing backpacks, meeting teachers, and buying school supplies, there's hardly a free minute to even think about fall extracurriculars.

Here's a complete rundown of everything you need to know to prepare for the upcoming school year, from a list of sports and programs preparing to start their fall term to important dates and deadlines you won't want to miss! There's helpful information for parents with kids of ALL AGES, from information about FREE preschool programs to local tutors. We hope this blog will help you stay sane during this crazy time of year.

PROGRAMS NOW REGISTERING

Tons of programs are gearing up for the fall. To see a complete list of up-to-date information about all of the local programs now registering, visit the Fun4GatorKids website. Here we have highlighted a handful of the many amazing programs getting ready to start this fall!

1. i9 Sports The deadline to enroll for an i9 Fall Sports Team is August 28! The sports teams include: Flag Football (ages 5-12), Baseball (ages 3-7), Soccer (ages 3-14) and Basketball (ages5-12). Practices and games are held on the same day, making this sports league convenient for busy schedules. If you pay by August 28, the cost is $125, which then increases to $150.

2. City of Gainesville Pop Warner Football - The deadline to register for Pop Warner Football is August 18! The league is open to boys ages 5-11, who will play and compete with teammates of similar age size, from August through October.The cost to register is $100.75 (for city residents) or $150.75 (for non-city residents).

3. Gainesville Youth Baseball and Fastpitch SoftballThis parent-run organization (in partnership with the City of Gainesville) is offering multiple registrations dates at Play It Again Sports: August 18 (5:30-7:30pm), August 20 (10am-2pm), August 25 (5:30-7:30pm) and August 27 (10am-2pm). Kids as young as 4 can register for T-Ball, all the way up to the Seniors program for ages 13-15.​

4. Gainesville Youth Soccer Gainesville Youth Soccer is a recreational soccer league for boys and girls ages 3-16. Players will have fun while learning soccer skills and competing in refereed soccer games! There are three different registration dates: Aug 20 & 27 (10am-3pm) and Aug 24 (4-6 pm) at Beef O' Brady's on 43rd Street. There are several practice locations around town to choose from, but all games will be played at the Jonesville Soccer Complex.

5. Vision Volleyball Club of Gainesville - Vision Volleyball ​ is hosting evaluations on August 22 for those interested in learning about the game or joining the club team! 'Volley Starters' runs through the fall and springs and is open to players (ages 5-13) who are new to the game. 'Mini Club' runs through the fall and is open to players (ages 7-13) who qualify based on evaluations.

6. Sun Country Sports Center Sun Country is hosting an Open House – 'Sunny's Showcase' on August 26, during which families will be able to learn about all of the programs being offered at the gym this fall plus see actual exhibitions performed by current students. Parents who enroll their child(ren) in a Sun Country program during the open house will receive discounts!

7. Fun Languages Gainesville Fun Languages is now enrolling for its Fall Semester, which will run from Sept. 19 through Jan. 31. Children (preschool-elementary) can attend a weekly playgroup at one of several locations around town where they learn a language through songs, games, drama, stories, simple recipes and crafts.http://fun4gatorkids.com/Whats-Happening/Programs-Now-Registering/09/21-Fun-Languages-Gainesville/View-details.html

8. Gatorball Academy - This program is for players of all ages and ability, but players must register by and attend evaluations on August 12 to be placed on a team!

IMPORTANT BACK TO SCHOOL INFORMATION
Looking for Meet the Teachers times, bus schedules, the 2016-2017 school calendar or information about the NEW dress code? You can find answers to these questions and more on the Fun4GatorKids website. Just click here, and then follow the School Board link provided.

BACK TO SCHOOL EVENTS AND DRIVES

There are still a few Back to School Events to get the kids excited and ready for the new school year, a few of which are listed below! To see a complete list of Back to School events, visit the Fun4GatorKids website.

1. Chick-fil-A and Fun4GatorKids Back to School BashChick-fil-A Oaks Mall and Fun4GatorKids and teaming up for a Back to School Bash on August 11! Head to the restaurant between 5:30-7:30 pm with a school supply donation, and you'll get a FREE ice cream sundae and FREE face painting by Fabulous Faces!

2. FREE HAIR CUTS at Summit Salon Academy - Your child(ren) can get FREE Back to School Haircuts at Summit Salon Academy on August 11, from 9 am until 9 pm, on a First come, first served basis!

3. Back to School Party at Millhopper Library On August 12, head to Millhopper Library between 2 and 4 pm for games, crafts and fun to celebrate the start of the 2016-2017 school year!

4. School Supply Collections Want to donate school supplies to Alachua County students in need? There are several school supply drives happening now, at places like Haile Jewelry, 2nd and Charles, Books-A-Million, plus the Partnership for Strong Families and Tools for Schools drives! Click here for more information on how you can help local students get ready for a great school year. 

BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS

We have 37 different Before and After School Programs listed on the Fun4GatorKids website! To see the full list, including information about each option, click here! Here is a list of some of the exciting Before and After School Options.

1. O2B Kids After School At O2B Kids, afterschool students will have the opportunity to investigate the mysteries of science, explore the internet, plant a garden, make a movie, paint a picture, sing a song, choreograph a dance, learn a back-flip, write an article, build a float, take a trip, play basketball and more! There are three O2B After School locations that offer transportation from a variety of school.​

2. Engineering for Kids Afterschool ProgramEngineering for Kids is now offering an afterschool program for children ages 4-14. The new'Engineering Academy Club' gives parents gives parents many options, from part-time and pay-as-you go enrollment, to full-time enrollment that comes with year-round access to programs and additional benefits!

3. Girl's Place After School The Girl's Place After School program is open to children ages 5 and older, plus offer transportation from 12 different local schools! Girls will participate in arts and crafts, field trips, various sports and study period.

4. Bouncin' Big After School Bouncin' Big is now offering after an after school program called Kickin' It Big! Each afternoon, students will participate in indoor and outdoor games, play indoor soccer, do homework, and of course, BOUNCE! There will even be a Jonesville pick-up site available to parents!

​5. Sun Country FUNrichment After School Program This structured fitness-based after school program is open until 6:30 pm each night. Students will have the opportunity to participate in specialty classes like Swimming, Karate, Fencing, Yoga, Drama and Creative Writing and/or learn new skills in Gymnastics, Rock Climbing, Fitness, Cheerleading and Dance!

6. Okito America After School Program Students learn more than martial arts at the Okito America After School. Afternoons are filled with sports, arts, science, recreational activities, Spanish classes, homework time and more! Free transportation from area schools is also provided!

EXTRACURRICULAR PROGRAMS

There's no shortage of extracurricular programs in Gainesville. From dance, to martial arts, to swim teams or horseback riding, there's certainly a program for every child. To see a complete list of all the Programs and Classes offered in the area, click here. If you're specifically looking for a sports program, click here.

​1. IndepenDance Studio – IndepenDance offers dance classes for toddlers through adults! They have a long list of available classes, including: ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, pointe, lyrical, musical theater, street dancing, acting and improv, and modern and competitive dance team!

2. Pofahl Studios Beginning dancers through professional-level performers can enroll in classes at Pofahl Studio, resident school for Dance Alive National Ballet. Classes include: pre-ballet, classical ballet, classical jazz, pointe, partnering, contemporary, hip-hop, tap, conditioning and boy's class.

3. Doxa Dance Studio - DOXA offers classes in ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop for students of all ages and abilities, starting at age 3!

4. Pro TaekwondoThe instruction at Pro Taekwondo is based on two concepts: "positive mental attitude" and "high goal setting." The whole family can enroll in classes and will learn about this exciting martial art, known best for its dynamic kicking and hand techniques!

5. Aikido of Gainesville At Aikido of Gainesville of Gainesville, participants learn a non-aggressive yet dynamic form of self-defense. There are even FREE classes available each and every week for kids, teens and adults!

6. Moring-San Martial Arts and Alghren Athletics Classes are available for all skill levels and ages (5 and older), including karate, self-defense and even kickboxing, all of which are taught in a fun and family-friendly atmosphere!

7. Capoeira Academy of Gainesville Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art form that is part dance and part martial art. At Capoeria Academy of Gainesville, the whole family can participate in classes (from ages 4 and up)!

8. Gator Swim Club Swimmers at Gator Swim Club range from new swimmers to competitive athletes.The youngest swimmers learn the basic fundamentals of the competitive strokes (kicking, starts, turns, etc), and eventually progress to the competitive swim team.

9. Haile Plantation Equestrian Center At Haile Equestrian, lessons are available for beginners through advanced riders in the areas of basic horsemanship, dressage, hunter/jumper, and western riding. Riders will learn the basics of grooming/tacking and will learn to ride in a structured but fun environment!

10. Pony Paddock at Dragon's Lair This family-friendly equine facility offers lessons for all ages! Located just 5 miles from Town of Tioga and only 20 minutes from UF, Pony Paddock is convenient for families living in the Ganesville area.

11. D.O.K. StablesChildren as young as 5 years old can enroll in horseback riding lessons at D.O.K.! At each lesson, the rider will get to groom, saddle up and ride their horse, work on riding through obstacles courses, and then take a trail ride!

TUTORING AND EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

Whether your student needs help now or as the school year progresses, there are 15 businesses and organizations that offer tutoring and services in the Gainesville area! See a list of all your options here. For other Educational Resources, like brain training and special needs, click here.

1. Brain Works Brain Works offers brain & auditory training for children and adults to help with auditory processing, sensory integration, attention, mood, memory, coordination, language and more. Home programs are available.

2. The Tutoring Company - The Tutoring Company provides one-on-one tutoring well-trained and knowledgable tutors in the following areas: all math classes, all science classes, SAT/ACT/EOC test prep, and study/organization/test-taking skills.

3. The Morris Center​The Morris Center provides evaluations and treatment programs for children and young adults with language-based learning disabilities, as well as sensorimotor and attention deficit disorders. Online tutoring is also available through the NOW Programs! You can even save 10% off of services if you mention Fun4GatorKids!

PRESCHOOLS AND FREE VPK PROVIDERS

It's not too late to find an exceptional preschool program for your little one! There are three categories of preschools in the Gainesville area: Faith-Based Preschools and Child Care Center, Non Faith-Based Preschools and Child Care Centers, and FREE VPK Programs! Below are just a few of your options from the hundreds of preschool in Alachua County! Click the name of the school to find out more!

There's so much to think about, remember and do to get ready for the new school year. Hopefully this blog will help you as you get your kids ready for school, signed up for extracurriculars, and prepared for a great year!

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