My Introduction to Toddler Gymnastics

Somebody should have told me that after a session of Parent and Tot gymnastics I would be far more exhausted than my child!

The Class Itself

AJ turned two at Christmas and so we put her into the eagerly awaited gymnastics class for two year olds. Eagerly awaited by her parents, that is. This is a child who climbs up the side of the slide, swings gleefully on the bar up top, zooms down, and gets up with hardly a whimper from a face plant.

Gymnastics.

Or, in this case, obstacle course.

Ricochets Gymnastics has a kids room with smaller equipment and bright colors in addition to their full-size gymnasium for training older girls to compete. For the 2-year-olds they turn it into an obstacle course to run through during the class.

AJ was utterly thrilled by the neat stuff and started playing immediately. But then it was time for the "hello" song around the parachute. This was supposed to involve clapping and jumping and freezing and touching toes and such in unison.

Nope. This was parent exercise time as my husband and I took turns chasing AJ and bring her back, since she kept escaping to go play on the equipment.

Then the course started. This is what they did...

 

  • walked across balance beams (trying not to step on stuffed frogs)
  • traveled through and over cushions before landing in a ball pit
  • rolled down a ramp and running across a path with more cushions
  • climbed a small wall and sliding down the other side
  • swung on bars (like the uneven bars)
  • crawled through a tunnel underneath a raised platform
  • dashed up the stairs and jumped in place on a trampoline
  • ran up a little ramp, swung on a bar, and plopped into a pit full of foam blocks
  • struggled through the foam blocks to get over to the slide
  • slid down in a spiral and went back to the beginning.

 

AJ made it through 2 1/2 times (the trampoline/swinging/foam slide part was so fun it was done twice in a row before we corralled her back to the beginning) with us spotting her and chasing her when she got distracted.

There were six kids in the class and they were supposed to stand on a star on the floor and "freeze" at various point during the course, mostly when they had to wait their turns. Mine didn't do that. Well, by the end, with encouragement, she started putting her hands up in the "freeze" position and pausing for a fraction of a nanosecond. So it was a start.

Then there was the "byebye" song. More escaping. Although a little participation this time.

As we stumbled out to our car we asked her what her favorite part was. "Jumping" And did she want to go back next week. "Uh-huh" with vigorous up and down head shaking.

Whew.

It's not a cheap activity but I think it's worth the money. For one thing, she had a lot of fun. But she's also going to get some practice in doing things at the right time and waiting her turn. And she will learn how to control her body a bit more when she charges ahead, which will hopefully keep her a little bit safer. Which was rather the point in the first place.

The Morning After

My daughter normally wakes up between 6:15 and 6:45. Friday morning we were dragging her out of bed at 7:15. She didn't open her eyes until she had her juice cup (think COFFEE!! for toddlers) in her hand five minutes later.

I think we finally found a way to wear her out.