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Little Rock Family Blog

Events, activities, news, insight and opinion from the trenches of parenthood by Little Rock Family Magazine Editor Heather Bennett and her editorial staff. Share tips, news and feedback with Heather here.
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Registration Open for I Can! Dance and Music Classes

Participants in the “I CAN! Dance” recital held in Benton.

Time for your kiddos to slip on their boogie shoes -- registration is now open for the programs offered by I Can! of Arkansas.

Currently, the organization is offering dance and music classes for children with special needs, though more offerings, such as art, will be added throughout the fall. Dance classes begin in late September and are held at the I Can! Arts and Resource Center (1040 Angel Court, Little Rock), as well as other locations in North Little Rock, Sherwood, Conway and Hot Springs. For the full schedule and list of locations, visit

Two music classes will also be held at the center, one for children ages 10 and up and another for adults with special needs. The classes will focus on instruments, and will also include some voice and choir coaching.

Mark your calendars now for the fourth annual I Can! Dance with the Stars recital, held at 10 a.m. Dec. 6 at Maumelle High School. The recital will showcase students from I Can! Dance and Music classes, as well as local celebrities, including Channel 4's Aaron Nolan, Channel 7's Chris Kane and Shane Broadway, the Director of the Department of Higher Education.

The organization is also looking for volunteers to help with the dance and music classes in the fall. Children over 10 years old and adults are invited to become a Buddy. Learn more about volunteer responsibilities at the Buddy Workshop at 7 p.m. Sept. 11, held at the I Can! Arts and Resource Center.

For more info about I Can! Arkansas, click here.

5 Events for Weekend Fun: Last Travs Games, Easter Seals Walk and Geocaching

Shake off the first week of school with these five events for the weekend of Aug. 22-24. Families can have fun while supporting a great organization at Easter Seals' Rollin' on the River Race & Family Fun Walk. Or, cheer on the Travelers at the team's final home games of the season. Keep reading for more of our event picks!

1. Rollin' on the River Race & Family Fun Walk at Clinton Presidential Center: Support Easter Seals Arkansas at this annual event. So far, the incredible teams have collectively raised over $74,000 to benefit the organization's programs for individuals with special needs. Two races start the day, and then the fun really begins with a bouncy house, petting zoo, games, obstacle course, photo booth and face painting. The 5K race begins at 7 a.m., and the 2K Family Fun walk starts at 8 a.m. Registration price varies. 7 a.m. Aug. 23. For info: (501) 227-3706,

2. The Travelers at Dickey-Stephens Park: The Arkansas Travelers play their final home games of the season this weekend. On Aug. 21-22, they'll face the Tulsa Drillers: Thursday is Clunker Car Night and families can enjoy post-game fireworks on Friday. You can snag autographs from two Travs players when you arrive early Aug. 21-23. Then Aug. 23-25, the team will play the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. On Sunday, Aug. 24, fans are invited onto the field to take photos with their favorite Travs players and coaches. Plus, families can take advantage of $10 Family Sunday when you bring your church bulletin to the box office. For info:

3. Geocaching Weekend at Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Curious explorers learn about Arkansas State Park’s geocache tour and the geocaches found right in the park. Special events include free geocaching classes for beginners  and a free scavenger hunt! Remember: Bring some extra goodies to replace items in the geocaches you find. Aug. 23-24. Find a schedule of the weekend events at FREE!

4. Girl Scouts “I Can’t Wait To” Fall Recruitment Event at Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Learn about the Girls Scouts and enjoy a hiking adventure on the flat, paved Kingfisher Trail. Games and activities are provided by Heifer International and Girl Scouts - Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Girls ages 5-18 may take the opportunity to enroll or re-enroll for the 2014-2015 school year. 9:30 a.m.-noon Aug. 23. For info: (501) 758-1020, FREE!

5. Storytime: Hometown Heroes at Barnes & Noble in West Little Rock: Nine members from the Little Rock Police Department are special guests at this special storytime! The officers will read aloud and answer questions from children. The featured book is Richard Scarry's "Cars and Trucks and Things that Go," which is all about things that move, from the forklift and the locomotive to the pumpkin car and the broom-o-cycle. 11 a.m. Aug. 23. For info: (501) 954-7646, FREE!

For more weekend events, browse our full online calendar here.

Last Splash: 5 Water Parks to Visit Before September

Image by City of Little Rock

School may have started, but it's still steamy outside. Grab your swimsuits and towels and head to these water parks and splash pads before they close for the season in September.

Magic Springs Water & Theme Park in Hot Springs: Enjoy the rides, fun and adventures that the water and theme parks offer. Both are open through Sept. 7. The park recently announced an extended season, in which the water park will be open Sept. 14-28 and admission will be lowered to $15. Read our full post about the special deal here. For info:

Splash Pad at Tyndall Park in Benton: Splish, splash outside with friends and family at this free park, open through Labor Day. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. For info: FREE!

Splash Zone in Jacksonville: Children can take a dip in the plunge pool, slip down two water slides, get showered by umbrella-shaped water features and more. From 6-9 p.m. on Aug. 22, families can attend the Back-to-School Splash, where they can swim and dance to music by DJ Chad Mansfield. Admission is $2 at the door and $1 for slides. In case of rain, the event will move to the Community Center. For info:

The Splash Pad & Vogel-Schwartz Sculpture Garden in Riverfront Park: Little Rock Parks & Recreation present a splash pad designed for children up to age five. The water play area is located in the Riverfront Park's Children's Play Area behind the Marriott Hotel. Open through Sept. 7. For info: FREE!

Wild River Country in North Little Rock: Slides, wave pool, lazy river and more are open through Labor Day. Hours vary. For info:

For our full list of water parks and splash pads in central Arkansas, click here.

Tips for School Success from THV 11

Image by THV 11

Our partners at THV 11 are going "Beyond the Books" all week long with special back-to-school coverage. The tips for school success range from healthy lunchbox suggestions to helping kids manage social media.

You can also find helpful information from Little Rock Family Editor Heather Bennett, whose recent appearances have included tips for reading with youngsters and her own helpful hints for managing the mayhem of going back to the classroom.

Check out THV 11's website for more "Beyond the Books" clips or tune into Channel 11 to view the live coverage. Happy first week of school!

Nominate an Outstanding Teacher for Amazing Educator Award

Do you know a teacher who makes learning fun and inspires students to learn? Nominations are now open for the Little Rock Family Amazing Educator Award, in which we honor central Arkansas teachers who have made a difference in the lives of their students.

In our second annual Amazing Educator program, we'll recognize one winning teacher in four categories: Elementary School, Middle/Junior High School, High School and Special Needs.

Winners will be featured in the January 2015 issue of Little Rock Family and receive a prize package from our sponsors that includes a $1,500 check from the Presenting Sponsor, Windstream Communications.

Read more about our first class of Amazing Educators here, and then click here to submit your own nomination.

Deadline is September 29, 2014. Private and public school teachers in Pulaski County and in the cities of Bryant, Benton, Cabot and Conway are eligible.

Presenting the Little Rock Family 2014 Guide to After-School Activities

When the school bell rings at the end of the day, what is next on your kid’s schedule? Suiting up for football practice or tuning a guitar for music lessons? Slipping on a pair of tap shoes? Prepping for an ACT practice test?

After-school activities are a great way for youngsters to extend learning beyond the school day. The many programs offered in central Arkansas allow children to discover additional interests that may not be available in the classroom. Enrolling your child in enriching activities can boost academic achievement and self-esteem, foster new friendships, and help develop a lifelong hobby or even a career.


10618 Breckenridge Dr., LR
Contact: Beth Rice
Cost: $65-$88 per hour
Academic Therapy offers specialized tutoring for children with learning disabilities and provides an individualized approach specific to each student’s needs. The therapy addresses reading, spelling, comprehension, written expression, study skills and organizational strategies.

ACCESS School-Pragmatics
10618 Breckenridge Dr., LR
Contact: Beth Rice
Cost: $170 per month for four months
Pragmatics groups are specifically designed for students who are struggling with peer relationships, conversational skills and/or experience frustration with communicating. Pragmatics includes help for public speaking and presentations; problem-solving, games and turn-taking; dealing with peer pressure and humor; social etiquette; understanding others’ feelings; interpreting body language; using social skills in the community; and developing and maintaining relationships.

Arkansas Extended Learning Center
2710 N. McKinley, LR
Contact: Dana Venhaus
Cost: Varies by program
The center offers classes for language and test preparation. Courses are also available to help cultivate new hobbies.

Gideon Math and Reading
2316 Durwood Rd., LR
Contact: Kathi Frieberg, Diana Plattner
Cost: ACT prep $50 per hour, private instruction $45 per hour, dyslexia screening $75 and up
Gideon Math & Reading offers dyslexia screenings and remediation, ACT preparation courses, and personalized instruction in math, reading and study skills.

Huntington Learning Center
11525 Cantrell Rd., Ste. 603, LR
Contact: Bryan Redditt
Cost: Dependent upon the student’s grade level and initial academic evaluation
Huntington is a tutoring solution for all ages. Whether a child needs a little extra help with reading, struggles with Algebra or wants to prep for the ACT, Huntington can develop a personalized tutoring program just for them. Subject tutoring services include Spanish, calculus, biology and Earth Sciences, and exam prep even offers help with Benchmark Exams.

1900 Aldersgate Rd., LR
Contact: Scarlett Jones
Cost: Varies based on programs
Learning Rx provides cognitive skills training to improve intelligence and academic performance.

Sylvan Learning Center
11220 N. Rodney Parham Rd., LR
Contact: Casey Stoffle, Susan Southerland
Cost: Preliminary assessment $95; total costs vary depending on individual needs
Sylvan helps parents create a custom-tailored program to meet their child’s academic goals and needs. Tutoring is offered in subjects including math and reading. There is also homework help and test preparation.

After-school care

Adventureland Academy
1015 Autumn Rd., LR
Contact: Melissa Taschuk, Conni Neal, Ricki Corder
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Registration begins in August.
Cost: Registration $85; $130 per child per week or $40 per child per day; $10 discount for each sibling
Adventureland Academy offers after-school care for numerous public and private schools in the Little Rock area. Our large gym offers a multitude of options to keep them occupied. We provide after-school snacks, homework assistance and reading tutors. Adventureland is open on school holidays and parent-teacher conference days.

ASPire-North Little Rock Parks & Recreation
2700 Willow St., NLR
791-8545; 791-8543
Contact: Jennie Cunningham
Cost: $5 per week, $15 per month, $75 per semester; a 20 percent sibling discount and scholarships are available
The After School Program (ASPire) is available at Glenview, North Heights and Sherman Park community centers. The program is for students in Kindergarten through 5th grades. Children will participate in educational, health and fitness, and art activities at each center. Community center membership is required.

First United Methodist Child Development Center
324 W. 8th St., LR
Contact: Arrena Porter
The curriculum provides a variety of activities daily, plus play on the fresh-air gymnasium, a USDA-approved snack, homework room and other enrichment options. Full care is provided to enrolled families for teacher workdays, Christmas, spring break and inclement weather.

Good Earth Learning Center
511 Ernie Davis Road, Austin
Contact: Angie Horn
Cost: $75 per week
Good Earth Learning Center, located on a family farm right outside of Cabot, links children with farm fresh food and educational activities that bring the whole world of agriculture to life. Through fun activities, kids will learn lifestyle choices that nurture their bodies, their communities and the planet.

Little Rock Athletic Club
4610 Sam Peck Rd., LR
Contact: Melody Nation
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Space is limited, so applications are accepted in the order in which they are received.
Cost: $25 per semester registration fee; Kids Club Member $176, LRAC Member $192, non-member $208; daily rate $20; there is a 10% discount for siblings.
This state licensed after-school care program for children in grades preK-6 is designed to exercise the mind and body of your child. The daily schedule includes fitness activities, educational classes, community involvement, arts and crafts, homework, guest speakers and snacks.

North Little Rock Athletic Club
3804 McCain Park Dr., NLR
Contact: Diane Daws
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: July 16 or until program has reached capacity
Cost: $200 per month for club members, $220 per month for non-members; sibling discount of 10 percent
Our state licensed after-school care program for children in Kindergarten through 6th grade is designed to exercise the mind and body of your child. The daily schedule includes fitness activities, cooperative games, homework, science experiments and snacks.


Arkansas Arts Center Museum School
501 E. 9th St., LR
Contact: Elle McCoy
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Aug. 18 for current students; Aug. 25 for new students
Cost: Varies by class
Art classes at the Museum School offer the opportunity for creative learning and interaction. Led by our experienced artist-educators, a variety of classes are offered during after-school hours and on weekends. The 2014 Fall Quarter theater classes will begin Sept. 13.

Various locations, Little Rock
Cost: $120-$140 per month
Classes are taught on a monthly basis on Monday-Thursday from 3:45 to 5 p.m. and from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Mommy & Me classes are available.

Community Connections: My Art
2740 College Ave., Conway
Contact: Courtney Leach
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Register beginning in August
Cost: Free
A free art class targeting special needs children ages 4-17. Students will explore acrylic paint, watercolor, charcoal and colored pencil.

I CAN! Art
1040 Angel Court, Little Rock
Cost: Free
Held at I CAN! Arts & Resource Center, classes allow children with special needs to explore their creativity and encourages self-expression through a variety of art projects.

Matthews Studios
4004 JFK Blvd., NLR
Contact: Callie Matthews
Cost: $30 per lesson; four lessons for $90
Matthews Studios offers art lessons and art parties for all ages.

Saline County Arts Project
4037 Boone Rd., Benton
Cost: Varies
Professional artists share their knowledge with students in workshops or private lessons in the fine arts.


Bryant Athletic Association
P.O. Box 68, Bryant
Contact: Michael Catton
Bryant Athletic Association is a baseball program dedicated to providing a safe, fun, and high-quality youth sports program for families in Bryant and surrounding communities.

Burns Park Baseball Association
1300 Crutcher St., NLR
Contact: Jason Cauley
Burns Park Baseball aims to be a positive, rewarding experience for young players. Teams are available for players age 3 and up.

Junior Deputy Baseball Summer Program
2500 Cantrell Rd., LR
Contact: Cyndi Allen
Cost: Summer Program (ages 8-11): $60 for 5 weeks or $15 for single game drop-in; Fall Program (ages 7-14): $110; Spring Program (ages 4-15): cost varies by age group and level
Junior Deputy offers fall and spring leagues for competitive and recreational players. For the fall schedule, practice begins in August and games run from September through the end of October. A summer program is offered just for fun; players can register for the entire five-week program or drop by and play a single night.

Miracle League of Arkansas
2500 Cantrell Rd., LR
Contact: Peggy McCall
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: One month before the spring and fall seasons
Cost: $25; scholarships available
Any person age 4 or older with a diagnosis can play baseball in the original, fundamental or competitive league. There is also a branch of the league serving Northwest Arkansas.


Boys & Girls Club Basketball
1201 Leisure Place, LR
Contact: Greg Morse
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Registration begins in August
Children ages 6 to 18 can participate in basketball teams at various Boys and Girls Club locations. The season lasts from November through March.


Cheer City United
7 Clearwater Dr., Suite B, LR
Contact: Sunshine Lee
Cost: Cost varies by program.
Cheer classes, clinics and mini-camps help sharpen skills while having fun.

Dance Dynamics
1308 S. Bowman Rd., LR
Contact: Latisha Daniel
Cost: Cost varies based on hours.
Tumbling classes are available for summer and fall. In the fall, there is a creative movement class for students age 2 and 3.

I CAN! Cheerleading Clinics
1040 Angel Court, Little Rock
Cost: Free
This class allows children with special needs the opportunity to participate on a squad with their peers and perform at an event.

River City Gymnastics
5310 S. Shackleford Rd., LR
Contact: Ola Russenberger, Grady Brown
Cost: Tuition is $60 per week
River City Gymnastics’ After-School Care program is a fun-filled afternoon destination. We provide a healthy snack upon arrival, supervised play time in our 25,000 sq. ft. air-conditioned facility, and quiet time in our class room for homework or reading. River City provides pick up for students from Roberts and Baker elementary schools.

Showstoppers Cheerleading
2740 College Ave., Conway
Cost: Free
The program gives girls and boys with special needs the chance to join a cheer squad. They participate in cheer clinics and then perform at TOP Soccer and Rivals United Football League games.

The Little Gym
1121 S. Bowman Rd., Ste. C-1, LR
Contact: Erin Mansur
This program includes non-competitive gymnastics and dance classes.


Kids Cook!
58 Valley Estates Court, LR
Contact: Faith Anaya
Cost: Varies by program
Kids Cook! classes are held year round. September through May, young chefs can attend after-school and weekend classes.


Arkansas Academy of Dance/Arkansas Festival Ballet
10301 N. Rodney Parham Rd., Bldg. B, LR
Contact: Rebecca Miller Stalcup
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Registration is ongoing, however nine months of participation is encouraged.
Cost: $70-$215
The academy is developing the next generation of accomplished dancers with professional training in classical ballet for ages 3 and older. The syllabus is age appropriate with progressive tracks and pre-professional opportunities. Special needs students are also encouraged to join.

Centre Stage Dance Academy
5710 Warden Rd., Suite 7, Sherwood
Contact: Andrea Strube
Classes in ballet, jazz, contemporary hip hop, pointe and more are offered to students ages 2 to adult at all ability levels. Centre Stage is also home to the I CAN! Dance program for children with mental or physical challenges.

Dancers’ Corner
7509 Cantrell Rd., Suite 120, LR
Contact: Sandy Miller
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Students may enroll in Fall-Spring dance through October where space is available.
Cost: $40-$60; discounts available for siblings or those taking multiple classes
Dancers’ Corner provides quality dance instruction, with an emphasis on classical ballet, in a family atmosphere. Its goal is to share a love of dance with students in a noncompetitive environment while ensuring age appropriate choreography, music and costumes in all classes.

I CAN! Dance
1040 Angel Court, Little Rock
Cost: Free
I Can! Dance is a dance class for children with disabilities including Spina bifida, Cerebral Palsy, autism and Down Syndrome. The classes are offered in multiple locations in North Little Rock, Sherwood, Hot Springs, Conway and at the I Can! Center in Little Rock.

Irby Studio of Dance
2324 Durwood Rd., LR
Contact: Wendy Jones
Irby has ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and lyrical dance classes for beginners and advanced dancers.

Rock City Dance Center
10720 N. Rodney Parham, D8, LR
Contact: Kristen Pittman
Cost: Starts at $55 per month
Recreational and competitive dance classes are available to children and adults. Courses include creative movement, modern, lyrical and musical theater. RCDC Competitive Company Programs are also available.

Shuffles and Ballet II
1521 Merrill Dr., LR
Contact: Jana Beard
Cost: Varies by semester
Shuffles offers the finest quality instruction and education in classical ballet, tap, jazz, modern, musical theater and hip hop. Dancers considering a career in ballet can enroll in a pre-professional program.

Tommie’s Dance Academy
5 Innwood Circle, Ste. 100, LR
Contact: Tommie Lou Coleman
Cost: Tuition varies by hours per week.
Tommie’s has been serving dancers and their families for more than 30 years. Classes offered include jazz, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, pop, tumbling and cheer. Tommie’s also has nationally competitive dance teams.


Community Connections: Acts Jr.
2740 College Ave., Conway
Contact: Courtney Leach
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Registration begins in August.
Cost: Free
A unique program designed to integrate children ages 7-17 with and without disabilities through the use of performing arts.


Central Arkansas Library System
100 Rock St., LR
Contact: Susan Gele, Lee Ann Blackwell, Kate Chagnon
Cost: Free
The Central Arkansas Library System’s 14 branches all have after-school programs, including crafts, puppets, cooking classes, concerts, movies and more.

Excel Models and Talent
8218A, Cantrell Rd., LR
Contact: Summer Moody, Melissa Moody, Hillmer Hein
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Dates vary depending on classes and/or camps available
Cost: Varies depending on classes
Excel Models and Talent is the only registered and licensed modeling and acting school in the state, by the Arkansas State Board of Private Career Education. The children’s curriculum combines personal image and self-esteem builders with the most up-to-date modeling and acting instructions for kids available.

The Laman Library
2801 Orange St., NLR
Contact: Dan Noble
Cost: Free
Laman offers many recreational programs for families including Creation Station, Family Night, Fall Fest and others.


Life CHAMPS Youth Sports
12115 Hinson Rd., Ste. 200, LR
Contact: Rebekah Wallace
Cost: $160 for flag, $150 for tackle
Life CHAMPS provides excellence in athletic instruction and competition while focusing on the importance of character and education. The program offers fall flag and tackle football leagues for ages 5-12.

Little Rock Parks & Recreation Youth Football
Various community centers, LR
Contact: Michael Harris
Cost: $20
The fall football program is open to any child between the ages of 6-11. To register for the Youth Football program, please visit one of the community centers with the required information, which includes a completed registration form, birth certificate and the registration fee.

Rivals United Football League
2740 College Ave., Conway
Contact: Derek Moser
Cost: Free
The league gives children with disabilities a chance to play the game. RUFL players practice drills and play games during the fall.


Arkansas Golf Center
5150 John W. Allison Rd., Conway
Contact: Brannon Watson
Cost: $40 for 30-minute session
The center introduces children to golf and helps experienced players develop their golf swing. Young golfers age 6-12 can learn the fundamentals of the game in a nonthreatening environment.

Country Club of Arkansas
3 Country Club Circle, Maumelle
Contact: Andrew Hopkins
Cost: Five lessons for $115 per child
Individual lessons are offered and the schedule can be decided between parents and the golf pro.

Full Swing Golf Academy
Hindman Golf Course, 60 Brookview Dr., LR
Contact: Cornell Williams
Cost: $325 per child, includes small class golf instruction, full set of youth golf clubs, dry fit polo shirt, golf towel, water bottle, bag tag and a one-day pass to Big Rock Fun Park
Full Swing Golf Academy’s fall Swing Level clinics are designed to teach and introduce the fundamentals of golf to children ages 8 to 17 who may or may not have ever swung a golf club. The 6-week after-school program will introduce and teach children golfing skills as well as life skills. The outdoor activity challenges and exercises mind and body through a non-physical contact sport. The Swing Level clinic is three days a week for six weeks in Sept. and Oct.

Stonelinks Golf Academy
110 Highway 391 N., NLR
Contact: Tommy Rutherford
Cost: Individual-$45 per lesson; group-$25 per lesson per person Stonelinks Golf Academy offers golf lessons to boys and girls ages 8-17. Golf lessons improve self-esteem, confidence, build character, integrity and develop leadership skills.

The First Tee of Central Arkansas
#1 The First Tee Way, LR
Contact: Brad Martin
Cost: Membership fee: $200/year, all-inclusive. Scholarships are available upon request.
Being a member of The First Tee of Arkansas gives a young person the opportunity to take part in the organization’s numerous golf and life skills activities.

Horseback Riding

Diamond TR Horsemanship Academy
46419 Arkansas 10 S, Perryville
Contact: Theresa Vogelpohl
Cost: Call for rates and lesson package options.
The Academy provides a safe, family-friendly atmosphere for students of all ages and levels of experience, boarders and their guests. It offers boarding, training and lessons.

Holtzman Riding Academy
4618 Highway 5, Benton
Contact: Judy Holtzman
Cost: $35 per hour for riding lessons
Holtzman offers lessons, clinics, training and more; all in a safe environment, by a certified resistance-free instructor.

Maumelle Equestrian Center
13405 Settlement Rd., Maumelle
Contact: Sarah Bradley
Cost: Varies based on activities
Riding, safety and horse management is learned through games and fun activities. Classes are available for beginning to advanced riders. Safety is the primary focus.

Midland Farm
3406 Midland Rd., Alexander
Contact: Melinda Godsey
Cost: $40 for private and $35 for a group lesson
Midland offers horseback riding lessons on wonderful, safe school horses. English or Western-style riding lessons are available.

Ice Skating

Arkansas Skatium
1311 Bowman Rd., LR
Contact: Tommy Wages
Cost: $174 includes eight classes, free skates and free season skate pass.
Ice skating classes are offered each week for ages 4 and up.

Indoor Climbing

Little Rock Climbing Center
12120 Colonel Glenn Rd., Ste. 7000, LR
Contact: Logan Wilcoxson
Cost: Intro to Climbing $65; day pass $15 (includes harness)
Children can take the Intro to Climbing class or come and climb with a day pass. Parents must sign a liability waiver for students under age 18 before they can begin classes.


Little Rock Lacrosse
25 Hayfield Rd., LR
(919) 917-6030
Contact: Ilyssa Foxx
Cost: Varies per season and program
Little Rock Lacrosse is dedicated to growing the sport of lacrosse in Central Arkansas for both boys and girls, in kindergarten through 12th grade. There are development sessions every season, as well as teams for all age groups that play against regional opponents. Lacrosse is a terrific opportunity for kids to develop their physical abilities, self-confidence, learn the importance of teamwork, and have fun doing it.

Martial Arts

ATA Karate For Kids
5501 JFK Blvd., NLR
Contact: Sherry Reynolds
Cost: Varies by program
At the Arkansas ATA Black Belt Academy and Karate for Kids, there are classes for everyone. From age 3 to 93, there is training program that is right for you. Now Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offered at our Bowman location.

Community Connections: Martial Arts
2740 College Ave., Conway
Contact: Courtney Leach
Cost: Free
This program ensures that all children, including those with disabilities, get a chance to learn martial arts.

Impact Martial Arts
9808 N. Rodney Parham, LR
Contact: James Nicholas
Cost: Prices start at $100 and vary by program and age.
Students ages 4 and up can choose from martial arts instruction, life skills classes, the Knockout Workout, the student achievement program or weapons classes. Each course is offered year-round. Impact has locations in Little Rock and Beebe.

Rock City Mixed Martial Arts
200 North Bowman Road, Little Rock
Contact: Nathan Kirby
Cost: First class free; family discounts available
Students develop athletic skills along with life skills, including leadership, courage, respect, discipline, focus, confidence, integrity and humility. The Mat Rats MMA class for ages 4-7 teaches the basics of martial arts, while the BJJ class demonstrates Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Kids class for ages 7-13 are available in Gi Jiu-Jitsu, No Gi Jiu-Jitsu and Martial Arts.

Unity Martial Arts
3016 W. Markham, LR
Contact: Tanner Critz
Cost: $145 per month for up to 5 sessions per week
Unity Martial Arts – winner of Little Rock Family’s Family Favorites award for best martial arts – teaches fitness and conflict avoidance through fun, safe exercises and games that help children improve coordination and endurance. Parents love that their kids show greater discipline and respect for others, even outside the Cuong Nhu class.

US Taekwondo Center
1100 Edgewood Dr., Maumelle
Contact: Tammy Harvey-Lamberson
Cost: Four-week introductory program $99 (includes free uniform); cost afterward is $69 per month
Classes are offered at 4:50 p.m. Thu. and 6 p.m. Tue. and Thu. for children ages 6 and up. The adult and teen program is Tue. and Thu. at 6:45 p.m.

Westside Mixed Martial Arts
1021 Jessie Rd., Ste. N, LR
Contact: Roli Delgado
Cost: Introductory class free; call for details on fees
Classes are offered for children ages 3-5 and 6-14. Students can develop listening and motor skills, increase their confidence, and build discipline and concentration.


Carolyn’s Keyboard Corner
11121 N. Rodney Parham Rd., LR
Contact: Carolyn Hamm
Cost: Rates vary.
Lesson for children ages five and up emphasize a strong foundation in music fundamentals. Professional tenured music instructors from the Central Arkansas Music Academy offer instruction in a variety of instruments.

Community Connections: My Music
2740 College Ave., Conway
Contact: Courtney Leach
Cost: Free
Children with special needs are introduced to orchestral and rhythm instruments. They also participate in listening activities and musical games.

FirstArts After-School Music Program
723 Center St., LR
Contact: John Churchwell
Children (grades 2 and up) receive 12 weeks of music instruction in this program. Choose from a variety of instruments, from bass guitar to trumpet. Group and private lessons are available.

I CAN! Music
1040 Angel Court, Little Rock
Cost: Free
Classes are held at I CAN! Arts & Resource Center and introduce participants to the four families of the orchestra. Participation with rhythm instruments, listening activities and musical games will also be incorporated.

Lessons By Liz & Kindermusik With Liz
4004 JFK Blvd., NLR
Contact: Liz Taylor-McMullen
Cost: Lessons $25 per half hour; Kindermusik $75 per month
Children from infancy to 7 years old are invited to laugh, sing, dance, and play at Kindermusik. Music lessons are available for 8 year olds to adults in piano, guitar and ukulele.

Little Rock Jams
10301 Rodney Parham Rd., LR
Contact: Jason Priest
Cost: first lesson free; fees based on length of lesson and/or program
Little Rock Jams, located in Breckenridge Village shopping center, offers private and group lessons for piano, guitar, voice, drums and bass. Students have opportunities to perform with the recital and rock school programs. Also included with lessons are monthly workshops and jam sessions.

Piano Lessons in Your Home
209 Kings Row Dr., LR
Contact: Bandi Avance
Cost: Varies by 30, 45 or 60-minute time slots and form of payment
Learn piano, guitar and voice in the comfort of your own home with highly qualified teachers and flexible scheduling.

Ro-An Music Teaching Studio
19231 Interstate 30, Benton
Contact: Gary McCallister
Cost: $70 per month
Get lessons for guitar, drums, piano, bass and more.

UCA Community School of Music
University of Central Arkansas campus, Conway
Cost: Varies by program
Vocal and instrumental lessons are available for all ages and ability levels, including Suzuki Violin for ages 4 and up, Little Mozart Pre-piano for ages 5-7, beginner guitar lessons and more.


Boy Scouts of America
3220 Cantrell Rd., LR
664-4780, ext. 222
Contact: L.J. Henson
Cost: Registration is $24 per year.
Scouting is a community-based program. There are more than 90 individual programs throughout the city. Programs for boys go from first grade to 20 years old and girls 14 to 20 years old.

Girl Scouts-Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas
615 W. 29th St., NLR
Contact: Anna Beth White
Cost: $15 per year; Troop dues are decided among parents and troop leader.
The traditional and most well-known girl scouting experience is through the Girl Scout troops. These troops are led by well-trained adult volunteers. Girl scouting is also provided through a number of alternative venues, such as collaborations with other communities, youth-serving groups and during- and after-school programs.


Arkansas Soccer Club
108 Wellington Colony Ct., LR
Contact: Brad Shock
Cost: Varies based on age.
Learn soccer in a supportive environment that emphasizes skill learning, team building and fun. Programs available for children ages 18 months to 17.

Arkansas United Soccer Club
1900 N. Bryant St., Ste. 201, LR
Contact: Amber Mathieson
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Recreational Program U9-U18 Aug. 1, U5-U8 Aug. 22; Little Rockers Aug. 29; Academy July 31
Cost: Little Rockers U4 program $85; Recreational for U5-U8 $125, U9-U18 $160; U9-U10 Academy $250
This soccer program offers competitive and recreational soccer for players age 3 and up. Tryouts for the Classic Soccer program are held throughout the summer to build teams for fall play.

I CAN! Soccer
1040 Angel Court, Little Rock
Cost: Free
This adapted soccer program is offered in the fall. The program is designed to give everyone a chance to play, and to foster the values of teamwork, pride and accomplishment within each player.

TOP Soccer
2740 College Ave., Conway
Contact: Courtney Leach
Cost: Free
TOP Soccer is an adapted soccer program for children with special needs, ages 3-17. The schedule will begin in spring 2015.


Girls Fast Pitch Softball League
913 E. Sevier St., Benton
860-5788; 776-5970
Contact: Shannon Earnest
This fall softball league plays at Tyndall Park and is for girls ages 6-16. Teams will be broken down by age group and skills. They will play Mon, Tue. and Thu. nights beginning in September.


Arkansas Sports Performance Center
4701 Sam Peck Rd., LR
Contact: BJ Maack
Cost: Prices range from $250-$375 per month.
Arkansas Sports Performance Center is the place to go if you want to develop speed, strength and agility in a personalized setting. The programs are custom made for athletes of any sport, from 9 years old and up.

D1 Sports Training
10 Viewpointe Cove, LR
Contact: Tisha Kelly
Cost: Prices vary.
Providing the highest quality sports training and physical therapy.

I CAN! CrossFit
1040 Angel Court, Little Rock
Cost: Free
This conditioning and strength program is adapted for children with special needs. Offered in the fall, the exercise program takes the shape of games using common objects, such as bean bags, Frisbees, balls and more.

Special Olympics Arkansas
2115 Main St., North Little Rock
Cost: Free
This well-known program provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.


Arkansas Dolphins-Laser Swim Team
#1 Huntington Rd., LR
Contact: Tay Stratton, Kelly Roberts
Cost: Varies depending upon level
This year-round competitive swim program serves swimmers in Little Rock and surrounding communities. The Dolphin-Lasers offer opportunities for improvement and achievement for every level of swimmer, from beginners to national level competition.

Rick’s Dive ‘N Travel Center
2323 N. Poplar St., NLR
Cost: Prices vary
Virtually any child who is in good health, likes to read, is reasonably fit and between the ages of 10-14 can complete the requirements to become a junior Open Water diver.


Bermudez Tennis Academy at Rebsamen Tennis Center
1501 Leisure Place, LR
Contact: Raul Bermudez
Cost: Pee Wees $6 per 30 minutes, $48 for 8 lessons; Beginning & Intermediate Group $10 per lesson, $80 for 8 lessons; Advanced Group $20 per lesson, $160 for 8 lessons
Tennis lessons are available for recreational and competitive players of all ages and levels. Pee Wee lessons are 8:30 a.m. & 4 p.m. Tue. & Thu. Beginners and intermediate levels are offered during the school year at 4:30 p.m. Mon.- Thu. Advanced lessons are offered all year from 4-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Burns Park Tennis Center
4000 Joe Poch Rd., NLR
Contact: Bill Bodie
Cost: Varies
The center offers group and private tennis instruction and match play through Junior QuickStart Tennis and Junior Development Clinics.

Henson Park Tennis Court
408 N. Beverly, Sherwood
Contact: Jimbo Hobson
Cost: Prices range from $5-$60 depending on length of lesson
Tennis lessons are given year-round for children ages 4-18.

USTA Junior Team Tennis
2024 Arkansas Valley Dr., #302, LR
Contact: Whitney Ewersmann
Cost: Prices vary
USTA Junior Team Tennis brings kids together in teams to play singles, doubles and mixed doubles against other teams. It promotes social skills and important values by fostering a spirit of cooperation and unity, as well as individual self-growth.

Sign Up for Miracle League's Fall Baseball Season

Image by Shutterstock

Registration is now open for The Miracle League's fall baseball season, which officially kicks off on Sept. 5! The league is open to any player 4 years and older who has a physical or developmental diagnosis, including children on the autism spectrum, those with auditory or visual impairments, and kids who use walkers or wheelchairs.

The special Miracle League field is made from recycled tire product and designed to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and crutches, and children who have visual impairments. The diamond is located in Little Rock's Riverdale area near the Junior Deputy Fields (2500 Cantrell Road).

If your player is new to The Miracle League, she will start out in the "Single A" Original League. In this league for beginners, each child will play side-by-side with a Buddy, or volunteer, so that parents can cheer from the sidelines. Single A games are played on Saturdays.

Other leagues are also available for older players who have advanced from the Original League. For more info, click here.

The Miracle League fall season will run from Sept. 5-Oct. 18. Click here to see the full schedule; you can register your child here. Volunteers can also sign up for the season; click here to learn how you can be a Buddy with The Miracle League.

Tickets are also on sale for the Miracle League's annual fundraiser, Miracle League Double Header. The fun will begin at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at Dickey-Stephens Park. Tragikly White will play, as Miracle League supporters bid on live and silent auction items, hang out with local celebrities and Big League players. Click here for more info.

For more info, visit

Family Chatter: 15 Things You Can Do To Keep the School Year Smooth

Image by Hannah Alexander

Growing up during the ‘70s and ‘80s in rural Arkansas was a glorious time of simplicity. Oh, I didn’t know it at the time. The biggest choice I had to make heading back to school each year was what kind of lunchbox I wanted to get. My favorite was an old metal one with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves on it. I wish I still had it!

We weren’t required to have five different binders filled with specifically branded tabbed dividers or an expensive calculator for every type of math we took each year. There were no school supply lists as long as your arm or summer reading assignments. Summer reading assignments would have sent me completely over the edge.

There was no flood of school emails. There was no email at all. Back then, a note sent home from your teacher or school was not considered to be a good thing. Now, school notes are a weekly or daily occurrence filled with nuggets of knowledge about the business of learning.

Education has grown and expanded with the times. Children are learning more and more things earlier and earlier to keep up with the vast expanse of information needed to make it in this world. Our teachers and schools are a critical part of us helping our children grow and flourish. What they share with us is very important. As parents, we need to take this partnership very seriously and give it respectful consideration.

The following quotes are from a group of central Arkansas teachers who work with a variety of age groups. They’ve shared tips and tidbits they’d like us parents to really take to heart in order to help our children and families have a fantastic school year. What these teachers say is as important as reading, writing and arithmetic!

  1. Take time to really read the information sent home (newsletters, notes, etc.) This keeps communication healthy between parents and teachers.
  2. Support your child’s teacher with a positive attitude.
  3. Try not to linger around the classroom. Let little ones walk in on their own to encourage independence and resiliency.
  4. Use email to contact teachers. Also, talk to teacher first before talking to an administrator. Follow the correct chain of command.
  5. Have appropriate bed time routines, so children will be well rested for the school day.
  6. Reinforce correct behavior and respect for adults.
  7. Remember there are two sides to every story.
  8. Attend school events, parent/teacher conferences, and have lunch with your child occasionally.
  9. Learn school procedures and rules. Be familiar with curriculum as well.
  10. Dads are great volunteers too. Kids love having their dads at school.
  11. Help your child be a problemsolver and learn responsibility.
  12. Provide good nutrition in lunch boxes.
  13. Inform teachers and school officials of trauma in the family or anything with which your child may be dealing that could impact their behavior or school performance.
  14. Don’t be afraid to ask teachers questions or ask for help.
  15. Remember even older students need guidance and help with study skills, organization, preparation and social situations.
  16. Life is a journey. Children need a guide.

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About The Author
Jennifer Pyron is the Associate Publisher and Editor of Little Rock Family magazine. She is the go-to gal for family events, activities, news and opinion. She and husband Charles are the proud, exhausted, penniless parents of Charles Jr. and Emily. Plus, should you need a pop culture lifeline on "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire," you may call her.
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