Explore our Youth Variety program offerings each season! We have something for nearly every interest. We also offer Youth Athletics and Dance programs!

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NIU Outdoor Adventures

Pop-Up Learn How: Cross-Country Ski

When there is enough snow, try out cross-country skiing as a fun activity for the whole family! Equipment and instruction are provided. Plan for a 90-minute workshop on a weekend afternoon or weekday early evening on a date when the snow is just right. Dates will be announced on social media or email outdooradventure@niu.edu to be added to a custom email list for this special pop-up event.

Date TBD (weather pending)
Time TBD (weather pending)
Buena Vista Golf Course, 131 Buena Vista Drive 
$18 R/ $21 NR

Learn How: Snowboard Clinics 

Snowboarding can be an intimidating sport. A gentle introduction will help start building confidence. Learn the basic skills to get you started for a taste of the fun in a safe and controlled environment. These beginner lessons are offered for children ages 3+ and adults can register as well. Included in the fee is instruction and all snowboarding equipment including boots, board, and helmet. Group sizes are limited to 4 participants per session. The Sled Hill will be closed to the public during this clinic

Sunday, Feburary 18 (Rain date: Sunday, February 25)
11:00 am, 12:00 pm, or 1:00 pm (each 45-Minute time slots)
Hopkins Park Sled Hill, 1403 Sycamore Road 
$31 R / $37 NR per time slot

S.A.M.A. Karate Of DeKalb

Learn discipline, focus, self-confidence, coordination, fitness, self-defense and more through the study of karate. Classes are taught by Sensei Shannon Marbutt and his assistants. Belt, tests, uniforms, and other equipment are available at reasonable fees payable to the instructor. Voted "The Best" Martial Arts programs in 2022 DeKalb County's Finest, as part of the Daily Chronicle Reader's Choice Awards.

Save the date and pre-register for our FREE KARATE TRIALS on December 19, February 1, March 7, and April 18! 

Tuesdays and Thursdays

Session 1: January 9 - February 1
Session 2: February 13 - March 7
Session 3: March 19 - April 18, No Class 03/26/24 & 03/28/24

Beginner Kids- White Belt (Ages 5-6): 5:00-5:30 pm
Beginner Kids - White & Orange Belts (Ages 7-13) 5:30-6:30 pm

Intermediate & Advanced Kids (Ages 5-13; yellow belt and higher): 6:30-7:30 pm

Haish Gymasium, Large Gym

Beginner Kids- White Belt
$29 R/ $36 NR per session

Beginner Kids- White & Orange Belts
$48 R/ $60 NR per session

Intermediate & Advanced Kids
$48 R/ $60 NR per session

Check out our Teen/Adult Karate here!

NEW! Let's Make a Mess

(Ages 5-10)

Let's get messy! We bring the fun and clean up the mess! Each session will include a project that your child can bring home. We encourage kids to wear clothes they can get dirty.


Session 1: February 3 - Slime
Session 2: February 10 - Clay
Session 3: February 17 - Paint

10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Sports & Recreation Center, Art Room
$13 R/ $16 NR per session

Kids Pizza and Paint Nights

(Ages 6-13)

Join us for a fun night of painting and pizza! Artists of all abilities will be guided through a step-by-step canvas painting that you will bring home. Celebrate your masterpieces with pizza and sparkling juice! Register for a single night or create new paintings during all upcoming events. Generously Sponsored by Papa Johns' Pizza of DeKalb. 


December 14 - Holiday Llama
January 19 – Lava Lamp
February 16 – Mouse & Cookie
March 22 – Sleepy Sheep

5:30-7:00 pm
Sports and Recreation Center, Art Room
$27 R/ $34 NR per session date

Fairy Garden Workshop

(Ages 6-14)

Everyone needs a little whimsy in their life. Let our instructor walk you through the creation of an adorable fairy garden! This kids-themed workshop will set you up with a winter fairy garden that you can customize throughout the changing seasons.


Session 1: February 11
Session 2: March 10

1:00 - 2:30 pm
Sports & Recreation Center, Art Room
$31 R/ $39 NR per session date

Little Veterinarian School: Dogs

(Ages 4-6)

After “adopting” their very own plush puppy, students will roleplay the key responsibilities of a veterinarian, including how to properly perform a nose-to-tail exam. These future veterinarians will learn how to sew stitches, remove ticks, make healthy treats, and vaccinate their dog.

Fridays, February 16 - March 22
4:15 – 5:15 pm
Sports & Recreation Center, Conference Room
$140 R/ $175 NR

Little Doctor School

(Ages 6-10)

Through role-play and activities, students will learn the key responsibilities of a doctor and explore the heart, lungs, and digestion. Students will use real medical instruments (stethoscope, reflex hammer, and blood pressure cuff) and practice scrubbing, suturing, and tying knots like a real surgeon.

Fridays, February 16 - March 22
5:30 – 6:30 pm
Sports & Recreation Center, Conference Room
$140 R/ $175 NR

NEW! Chocolate Dipping

(Ages 6-18)

Learn the basics of dipping different desserts to create your own holiday confections. Dipped desserts will be taken home at the end of the session.

Saturday, December 2
(Ages 6 - 10) 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
(Ages 11 - 18) 12:30 - 2:00 pm
Sports & Recreation Center, Art Room
$19 R/ $24 NR

Cheer Clinics

(Ages 5-15)
Come learn to jump, stunt, and do basic tumbling with our experienced cheer coach at our one or two day clinics. Beginners will learn new skills and returning cheerleaders will perfect their skills.

Single Day Clinic- Sunday, March 3

Spring Break 2-Day Clinic- Monday, March 25 & Wednesday, March 27

Single Day Clinic- 2:00-5:00 pm

Spring Break 2-Day Clinic- 5:30-7:30 pm

Haish Gymnasium, Large Gym

Single Day Clinic- $35 R/ $44 NR

Spring Break 2-Day Clinic- $43 R/ $54 NR