One big question that parents of babies and toddlers tend to ask themselves constantly is what exactly am I supposed to be doing with my kids at this point?
With older kids, the answer tends to be simple. You can sign them up for activities, camps, sports teams, dance classes. Their days include schooling, either at a school or in the home. There’s really no limit to where you can take them or what you can do. But with those little ones? It can be a serious challenge figuring out where to go and what to do.
Fortunately, there are some truly wonderful places that give parents of young children something fun and educational to do with kiddos. Our family’s favorite? The Little Gym.
We started going to classes at The Little Gym a few years ago when our oldest daughter was one. We immediately fell in love with the staff and the programs that are offered. Because our oldest daughter is autistic, the idea of finding a peer activity for her was incredibly stressful. You never really know how children, parents, and teachers are going to react to a child who can get overstimulated or not be vocal.
Thankfully, we stumbled upon The Little Gym and felt like we had found a home that was truly inclusive. When I needed to find an activity for our youngest daughter (pictured in this post), finding our local Little Gym was a no-brainer.
The Little Gym: A Perfect Activity for Babies and Toddlers
Moving + Learning
You can probably guess by the name, but The Little Gym offers classes that includes age-appropriate physical activities in a gymnastics gym setting. Tumbling mats, balance beams, ramps, and bars fill a bright and colorful room for your little ones to explore. Throughout the class, instructors periodically bring out other objects like balls and bubbles.
What you may not know is that the entire class combines physical activity with opportunities to learn. In the class we attended (geared towards children ages 19mo – 3 years), we enjoyed a fun version of circle time as a warm up. Parents and children practiced stretches to energetic music while practicing counting and making numbers with our bodies.
Other brain-boosting opportunities to practice things like color recognition and language development were also woven throughout the class.
Inclusion + Low Stress
As I mentioned earlier, one of my very favorite things about parent/child classes at The Little Gym is that they are inclusive for all children. We found this to be true when taking our daughter with autism to a class.
When you come in, the instructor makes it very clear that the intention is not to be wrangling the kids and forcing them to participate in activities. Instead, parents are asked to participate and lead by example. The children can choose to participate, or to explore the gym on their own.
This approach makes the class incredibly inclusive to little ones on the spectrum, or with ADD, or ADHD, or just a lot of age-appropriate toddler energy. 🙂 And as a result? The class is a heck of a lot more enjoyable for parents who don’t have to spend the entire time chasing after their kids. It’s heavenly, really.
It’s also amazing to watch what happens to the kids with this approach during the class. Our girl started off exploring the room on her own, and then gradually started to participate (happily!) in the group activities.
While the learning and the exercise are all wonderful, the best thing about classes at The Little Gym are that they are truly fun. With kind instructors, a vibrant setting, and a variety of organized activities, both parents and kids can expect to have a great time.
To find a local Little Gym near you, head here. I’m sure you and your little one will end up loving it as much as we do. 🙂