As any mother will know, family-vacations tailored to the under 5s are few and far between. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve tried to sign up Little Sun (4) for some sort of activity only to discover he was born a couple years too late.
While by definition a family-vacation involves lots of family-time, as many mothers will agree it’s also essential to get some time away from the little tykes.
It turns out there’s something pretty special in Sun Valley Resort that helps out with both these things: The Sun Valley Playschool. I know, sticking the kids in daycare while I go off to have fun in the sun is not going to win me any “mother of the year” awards, but this is not just a run-of-the-mill daycare. This is a bona-fide summer camp for ages 3 months to 5 years. On the day I took Little Sun and Baby Sun (18 months) along to try it out, I was so jealous of all the fun they had that I actually tagged along with them for most of it.
Smaranda, the playschool manager, welcomed us with open arms, quickly settling us down to some arts and crafts time in the newly remodeled building, just behind the Sun Valley Post Office. Little Sun was very proud of the paper sword Smaranda helped him create, while Baby Sun and I spent a good 10 minutes playing chase-the-baby-with-the-marker-before-she-destroys-the-brand-new-walls (not a highly recommended activity).
When all the day’s participants were assembled we were given our schedule: ice-skating lessons at 10am, tennis lessons at 11:30am, lunch and nap time, followed by swimming at the Olympic pool from 2:30pm. And this was just a Tuesday. On Monday throw in a gondola ride and a picnic on top of the mountain, Wednesday it’s horses and paddle boating, Thursday golf and hiking is on the menu, and Friday take a Hay Ride out for a BBQ at Trail Creek Cabin.
While Little Sun is a budding Andy Murray, ice-skating has not featured in his skill-set so far, but he was game – positively bursting with excitement as Smaranda and her crew buckled the class into the specially modified golf-cart/wagon playschool-mobile and whisked them off to the rink.
Here’s a sampling of his newly-learned skills on ice and some styling on the tennis court from his day with the playschool:
After a morning of lessons and a well-earned nap, it was out to the Olympic swimming pool, where a newly-installed splash park provides the perfect entertainment for those not quite ready for the Olympics.
As I buckled Little Sun and Baby Sun into their car seats at the end of the day, the heavy eyelids and broad smiles on both their faces was testament to the fun they’d had. Next time Mr. Sun and I decide a hard days mountain biking is needed, we won’t have to feel guilty about taking the tots to playschool – as they’ll probably be having more fun than we are.
The PlaySchool is open 7 days a week during the summer, 9am to 4pm. Call 208.622.2288. A full day of activities, including lunch, is $95. Or drop in for 2 hours ($38) or 4 hours ($73). A Young Summer Camp is on offer for ages 6 and older. Details are here. Both camps are open to the public.