Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gymnastics at The Little Gym: Our Experience.

As much as Ava has been enjoying her ballet and tap combo class, she mentioned the other day that she missed doing gymnastics. It just so happened that around the same time, an opening was available for a toddler gymnastics class at The Little Gym, so - always looking for new ideas to keep Ava active, happy and an outlet for all that toddler energy - we signed right up.

This past weekend was our first class, and I was blown away by our experience at the first class. We've done gymnastics before at two other local places, but it was still amazing to me how quickly Ava was able to jump right in and participate with the class. The class she's in, known as "Super Beasts" and for 2.5-3 year olds, is 45 minutes long, which is the perfect length for her attention span and energy level, and I loved that the age grouping was so narrow and focused, because all of the kids were on the same page and right around the same ability level, which really helped to keep the group on track.

One additional bonus was that our class meets on Saturdays, which means - voila! - my husband can attend with us, which made Ava's day! His previous experience with Ava's gymnastics classes was limited to parent watch days or sick days for me, so Ava was happily surprised that daddy got to join in on the fun!

The class started out with the introduction of the learning concept of the week - another added bonus that we haven't experienced at other gyms - which happened to be "high and low". The 45-minute class and activities focused around this theme, including high and low bars, throwing the ball high and low, blowing bubbles high and low, etc.

Once the concept was introduced, hula hoops were brought out for the kids to play with, followed by some time with the big parachute, moving it up high and down low and going under and left and right. These spatial concepts are fundamental learning skills, as well as early  mathematic skills, but Ava certainly didn't know how much she was learning - she was just having a ton of fun!

Once the parachute was folded back up in its place, they then moved on to some loosely structured activities within the gym itself, which looked like this:

Did you know my kid could do this? Because I certainly didn't....

As much as Ava loved the bars, she ADORED the balance beam, and has since her very first gymnastics class at 16 months. Check out how awesome she was:

She also picked up right where she left off when it came to the spider crawl and bear crawl across the parallel bars:

It is hard to narrow down what Ava's favorite part of the class was, but if I had to guess, I might say the different activity stations on the gym equipment. I loved that there was flexibility in what they could do: Our previous experience had been that the kids had to all go to one place, and then wait their turns one at a time, which we all know can be hard for this age group. At The Little Gym, though, they were able to choose what they wanted to try, and how often they wanted to.

Once the kids had a chance to explore the equipment and practice their skills, they were then shown a "skill of the week", which involved walking their legs up a mat while holding a bar, and flipping themselves over the bar. Sounds hard, right? Yet somehow, the instructor was able to get every child to try, and some - including my little monkey - to master it! Consider me impressed!

Once the gym time was over, the class moved back onto the mats to practice forward rolls, once again incorporating the high/low theme by teaching the kids a rhyme to get them into the safest forward roll stance:

"Reach up high, touch the sky.
Reach down low, touch your toes!"

Ava's been telling me that ever since! In fact, a lot of their cues to move on to a new activity or to clean up, etc, are set to music/rhymes, which makes it both easy to remember, and eases the transition. We're going to be trying a bit of that at home - ha!

The class then ended with some balls, bubbles and - of course - stamps for participation! Ava has already asked me in excess of 30 times when we're going back to gymnastics! Luckily for us, we loved it so much and were so impressed with the way the class was run, the answer is next week!

For more information about The Little Gym of Round Rock and to sign up for a trial class to see for yourself how amazing it really is, click here. For those who don't have time for a weekly class, you're in luck - they do birthday parties as well!

For disclosure information, click here.

1 comment:

  1. We took a mommy/baby class at the Little Gym when Asher was 6 months old. We obviously need to get back! Looks like so much fun!!


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