Children rock climbing

Family

Class Act

Hit the books—or frost the cake, twist into a yoga pose, or plant a garden—to spend quality time together as a family.

Just imagine for a moment spending quality, one-on-one time with your children. No distractions, no phone interruptions, and nothing but time spent together enjoying one another. Can you envision the twinkle in your children’s eyes as you lavish them with undivided attention?

Or, picture your whole family spending time together, joking and sharing in the joy of each other’s combined ages and stages, accomplishing goals as a team.

It sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it?

But it’s not! Taking classes together as a family can offer that coveted time parents (grandparents, too) and children crave: special mom-and-daughter time, dad-and-kids adventures, or grandma and grandpa and grandchildren bonding moments.

Read on to discover multiple classes available for families here in our Great Lakes Bay Region. Options and opportunities are vast and varied, from classes about cooking to gardening, fly fishing to glass fusing. At the very least, you’ll have something to keep your kiddos from summer-break boredom. You’ll learn a thing or two, and maybe even discover a new hobby.

Now You’re Cooking

On a roll

For a quick class, and good eats, too, try a one-hour Pretzel Rolling Experience at Bavarian Inn Restaurant (713 S Main St, Frankenmuth; 989-652-9941, www.bavarianinn.com). Transform yourself into a German baker, complete with complimentary hair net and cute pretzel glasses, and learn how to properly roll a pretzel and the history of the tasty treat. Savor your fresh-out-of-the-oven creations. Classes are offered at 2:30 p.m., seven days a week (excluding major holidays) for $4.99 per person. Reservations and pre-payment are required.

Take the cake

Enjoying a cake decorating class together at Sweet Choices Cake Decorating School (108 4th St, Bay City; 989-860-2393) could bring your family sweet rewards. Dianne Gruenberg, certified master decorator and owner, instructs families in technique during Family Working Together classes, and she also offers My Special Person and Me for children 5 to 8 years old (accompanied by an adult). Classes range from basic to deliciously advanced, one day to several months, and may cover fondant rolling, sugar art, gum paste flowers, decorating techniques, and more. Cost varies; call for information.

Fresh and free

For a free and tasty chance to spend time together while also learning ways to incorporate eating real, non-processed foods, attend a class at Mercato di O&V (230 E Main St, Midland; 989-486-9268, www.mercato.vpweb.com). From early May through the end of October, owner Peggy Finger gives free demonstration classes from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. using foods she purchased at the Midland Area Farmers Market.

At the core

Connect as a family while practicing breathing techniques, stretches, and yoga poses at Family Yoga by Well-Bean Kid’s Yoga & Mindfulness Programs (classes held at WellSpring Studio, 818 E Ashman St, Midland; 989-488-7449, www.wellbeankidsyoga.com). Held quarterly (each season), one-hour Family Yoga is $25 for families up to four members, and $5 for each additional member. Owner Jen Rapanos also offers monthly Mother/Daughter Yoga as well as Mini Sprouts yoga classes for toddlers ages 3 to 5 year old (with a favorite grownup in tow). Registration is required for all classes via web or phone.

Room to grow

Grow into green thumbs together at Dow Garden’s summer-long Growin’ Gardeners class (1809 Eastman Ave, Midland; 989-631-2677, www.dowgardens.org). From June through September, families meet once a week in the Children’s Garden, learn about gardening topics and tips, and tend to their personal garden plots. Growin’ Gardeners are rewarded with food and flowers grown together. Register by phone.

Fly together

Attend a free, one-hour Flyfishing 101 class on select Saturdays at Little Forks Outfitters (143 E Main St, Midland; 989-832-4100, www.littleforks.com), and learn the basics of fly fishing. For more in-depth instruction, families can attend Introduction to Fly Fishing. Material covered is appropriate for children ages 12 and older. Participants meet once a week for four weeks and spend time indoors and outdoors learning about casting, fly tying, and technique. The sport of fly fishing is demystified for $95 per person, and tackle, rods, reels, and fly lines are provided for training use. More information is available online.

Get Crafty

Knit homemade fashion hits

Learning to knit before the cold weather sets in is sure to bring warm feelings. Not only will you spend time together learning, but your son or daughter could gift Grandma a handmade scarf this holiday. Rapunzel’s Yarn (664 S Main St, Frankenmuth, 989-652-0464, wwwrapunzelsyarn.com) offers Beginning Knitting for $20 per hour (or $10 per hour if five or more people are present). Supplies are purchased onsite, and you’ll learn to cast on (start), knit, and bind off (end) a scarf. Pre-register online or by calling.

Fuse your family

Paint-your-own pottery studio Painterly Pottery (904 N Water St, Bay City; 989-895-1029, and 6285 Bay Rd, Ste 3, Kochville Township; 989-401-7455, www.painterlypottery.com) has two locations where families can unwind and create ceramic art. Both locations offer walk-in Kids & Parent Glass Class every Thursday from 4 – 5 p.m. for $15 per artist. You’ll learn the basics of the glass fusion process, from how to use tools to scoring glass and firing information. You’ll walk away with anything from a glass pendant to a platter—and a memory.

Pick-up painting

Spending two hours together during a guided painting session at Primed to Paint (487C N Main St, Frankenmuth; 989-262-8199, www.primedtopaint.com) will result in 12-by-12 or 16-by-20 personal masterpieces per participant. Families can choose the image they wish to create from an online portfolio. Bring your own snacks and beverages to Wednesday – Friday evening classes, or Saturday classes at varying times. Cost is between $20 – $35 per person. Unique paintings hanging in your home, representative of your work and time spent together, are priceless.

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