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Caring For Our Kids

New options for indoor family fun

The rock-climbing wall at Play Haven is great for developing problem-solving skills. Photo: Liz Farrell

The calendar may say spring, but it sure hasn’t felt like it with the recent rains. El Niño has not disappointed, and though I am grateful for the rain, wet weather can leave both parents and children feeling a bit stir crazy. If April showers deliver, there are several new great options for indoor family fun:

PLAY HAVEN

For parents with younger children, Play Haven is a great new indoor option on any day. Opened last fall, it is owned by Sheryl Tecso, who worked as a preschool teacher at the Jewish Community Center for many years, and is a mother of two children herself.

I was impressed with this space — it is clean, fun, and they have literally thought of everything. There is a nursing lounge, diapers and wipes in the bathroom, and a kitchenette stocked with fresh-cut fruit and snacks for $1. My son’s favorite part was the rock-climbing wall and the cozy armchairs in the reading corner. The space also has areas for art, fine motor skills, dramatic play, and infants only, as well as a large room for parties or lunch.

Play Haven is open seven days a week and can get quite busy, but there is a magic moment when it tends to clear out for naptime. The cost is $12 per child and $6 for siblings. You can also buy multiday passes or a monthly membership. Another plus: There is a free parking lot right next door (254 Laguna Honda Boulevard, 415-702-6555, playhavensf.com).

SAN FRANCISCO BASEBALL ACADEMY

The arrival of spring means baseball season should be in full swing, but practices and games are regularly canceled with rain. In those cases, the just-opened San Francisco Baseball Academy (SFBA) on Geary Boulevard in the old Bridge Theater is the place to go.

Owner Michael Aicardi is a native San Franciscan who has been playing baseball his whole life. Michael and his team of coaches are great with kids of all ages — they are patient, great teachers, and your kids will not only learn the fundamentals of batting, pitching, and playing but also life skills like respect and sportsmanship. SFBA offers one-on-one lessons, group lessons for teams, or batting cage practice without a machine where you will actually have a coach pitching to you.

The cost is very reasonable, and this is a great option for those young baseball and softball players to practice and get some wiggles out. Parents, it is also a great stress reliever even for us. I had a great time taking a few swings at bat myself (3010 Geary Boulevard, 415-742-4890, sfbaseballacademy.com).

MV CODE

It is always a challenge to keep those screens out of our children’s hands. So instead of having them veg out with a video game on a blustery day, check out MV Code and have your kids create their own game. MV Code recently opened its San Francisco location and teaches an introduction to coding, video game development, and robotics. The classes are small so there is a lot of individualized attention.

My two older children did a trial class, and it was fun to see them so excited about what they had created. This is the wave of the future, but it is a whole new unfamiliar world for me, so I enjoyed having my children teach me a thing or two (most of the programs can also be worked on at home).

One of the things I like most about MV Code is they offer girls-only classes. It is wonderful to walk in and see just as many girls learning to code as boys. There are school classes and summer camps for children ages 7 through 13, and weekend open lab hours when you can just drop in (MV Code, 3236 Geary Boulevard, 415-569-2112, mvcodeclub.com).

Discovering a new place to enjoy an afternoon can be fun regardless of the age of your child. These options are great places to bring friends or meet as a group, and can be enjoyed in any kind of weather.

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Liz Farrell is the mother of three young children. She was formerly a television producer in Washington, D.C. and in San Francisco. E-Mail: [email protected]

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