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By 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Godfrey family had done it all.

Parents Natalie and Jacob left their house late in the morning for the Santa Maria Town Center with a singular goal in mind: get their children out of the house. The family of five had lunch at Red Robin and sauntered between shops and storefronts before popping into the Rockin' Jump — an indoor trampoline park for families and children.

"They've been cooped up for two weeks," Natalie Godfrey said as she watched her three children make their way up a multicolored foam rock wall. "They want to get out but it's been hard this year. Even things like going to the grocery store have been difficult."

For many parents with schoolchildren, the Godfrey's dilemma is a familiar one. With school out until the new year, they seek child care options or family-oriented activities to fill the void.

"We're starting to see more pickup now that [Christmas is] over," said Rockin' Jump Manager Perry Page. "With trampolining, parents and children have the option of exercise instead of staying indoors or playing video games all day."

The facility hosts morning acrobatics classes for parents with children under 6 years old and offers a dedicated time (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) for toddlers and small children to jump with their parents. At 3 p.m., older children and adults are let onto the trampolines.

Even with the mixed clientele, Page promotes Rockin' Jump as a safe and fun option for children on break, with games and activities for all ages.

"We're a great place for older kids who don't have to have to be watched all the time," he said. "A lot of parents feel very comfortable dropping their kids off while they're going to other stores in the mall."

Across the street at the Santa Maria Public Library, Youth Services Librarian Dawn Jackson said she has seen a notable increase in the number of children and families.

"We've seen a lot of kids and families come in for leisure material or to play on the computers," Jackson said. "We've probably doubled the amount of kids coming in over the breaks."

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She added, the free activities and safe environment draw many children and families to the library, and the variety often keeps them there for a majority of the day.

"We have something for everybody — from children to adults, we have something of interest for them," she said. "There are a lot of things going on that are free of charge or educational."

Some parents who seek daylong activities or child care have turned to the Santa Maria Valley YMCA, where the staff has coordinated a Winter Camp for children under 12. The camp, which runs weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Jan. 12, provides children with daily activities revolving around a unique theme.

"Parents are loving it," Kelsey Ferguson, child care director for the YMCA, said of the Winter Camp. "It’s a safe option for their kids and we work to keep them active and engaged."

Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga


Education Reporter

Santa Maria Times reporter Mathew Burciaga covers education for Lee Central Coast Newspapers.