As you know I am the mom of two very active little boys. Well actually they are not so little anymore. They are going to be 9 & 12 next month and I honestly don’t know where the time went. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was changing diapers and doing midnight feedings, but alas my boys are definitely not babies anymore.
I want to take a second to emphasize something I said before, though. I said that my boys were active, and on most days that would be an understatement. I strongly believe that a big part of why they are so active today is largely due in to the multiple mommy & me classes that I did with each of them at the Little Gym. I had originally heard about the Little Gym when my oldest son was about five months old and after doing a little research, I found out that they offered classes for children as young as 4 months old.
I called my local Little Gym (which at the time was in Raynham, MA) and set up a free introductory class. The class was a combination of singing, open gym play, circle time and a basic gymnastic skill (which for the littles were things as simple as rolling over). My little guy had such a fun time in class, I signed him up for the whole 20 week “Bugs” class.
Each week the classes were structured the same way. We always started the class by sitting in a circle while the instructor sang a welcome song, always naming each child in the song. Then we would learn a new skill for the week (rolling, forward rolls, etc) and then it was time for free play. Each class ended back on the padded mat in a circle with a goodbye song. Miss Lisa was the teacher for all the classes that my boys took at the Little Gym (spanning about six years time) and I was always impressed that she knew every child’s name and always made it a point to compliment each child on their specific achievements during class as they left.
Not only were the classes at the Little Gym a great way for the kids to burn off some energy indoors, I loved that I was free to let my kid (s) explore as they wanted the entire class. There was absolutely no pressure to have them sit and pay attention to the activities. My little man didn’t like to sit still for the opening circle and liked to wander and that was not an issue at all.
As a mom I really appreciated that the age ranges for the classes are small. It really allowed the teachers to be able to focus on the developmental abilities of the kids at that stage, rather than trying to teach to a wide range of abilities and ages all at once.
What’s unique about the Little Gym is that they use their proprietary philosophy called Three-Dimensional Learning as the foundation for all their classes. They three key elements of their philosophy are:
Nurturing listening skills, concentration and decision-making that benefits your child well beyond the gym.
Promoting sharing, teamwork, cooperation and leadership through spending time with your kid’s friends and peers.
Developing flexibility, strength, balance and coordination through varied physical activities.
They offer various classes for different age groups, but when my boys were small, I was specifically interested in the Parent/Child classes (4-36 months old). They are split into 3 groups by age:
Bugs (4-10 mo)
Birds (10-19 mo)
Beasts/Super Beasts (19 mo – 3 y)
I also wanted to mention that every time I went to class, the gym was always super clean and that they sanitize all materials used in class (balls, maracas, etc) after every class. Additionally, no shoes are allowed on the gym mat. At all – not even by the babies in the Bugs classes.
This was my youngest son’s final class at the Little Gym. The parents all wanted a photo of the class with the teacher, Miss Lisa. I have a very special place in my heart for her – but as you can see, the photo didn’t work out so well.
They also offer gymnastics, sports skills, dance, karate and music classes for the older kids. Plus, you can have your child’s birthday party there, too. My oldest son had his 5th birthday party there as a matter of fact. When the kids are older (above mommy & me class age), there is a large viewing window that you can see your kids from while they are in their class. That way you can watch them, but not be a distraction.
If you are looking for a safe, positive atmosphere for your child to learn, explore and be active, I highly recommend checking out a class at the Little Gym. The mommy & me classes were a great way for me to bond with my son (s). The Little Gym can be found in over 300 locations across the country, so find a location closest to you and give them a try today! My two boys attended classes at the Little Gym for a total of about six years and I have nothing but happy memories of their time there. We had wonderful experiences in all of the classes we did there.
Before I leave you, I want to leave you with one more thing. You may have noticed that there were only pictures of one of my kids here. It’s my youngest son as his Super Beasts graduation. When my oldest was a member at the Little Gym, technology wasn’t what it is today & there was no such thing as Facebook, so all those photos are on CD’s (yes, CD’s) somewhere.
**This conversation was sponsored by my friends at the Little Gym, but all experiences and opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any ways.