Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hannah Takes Gymnastics

Last week was Hannah's first gymnastics/toddler tumbling class. I contemplated not taking her since she'd had the fever that weekend, but she seemed fine Monday morning so we went. This was probably a bad idea, and as a result, she was clingier than usual and a bit shy/overwhelmed, but with some support from Uncle Joel who got to come with us, she eventually warmed up and ended up having a lot of fun. Later on I worried that we'd infected the other kids but they were all there again yesterday so I guess not! Whew!

Classes are at Hoppin Tots Children's Gym.  Back when I was a nanny, I took the boys to classes there and loved it. It was one of those things I made a mental note of for when I had kids of my own.

This next part might be boring in which case, scroll right to the pictures, but for anyone interested in what class entails, keep reading for a description that is, as usual, unnecessarily lengthy and verbose (you know me).

You can arrive up to 15 minutes early and play in the free play area (where they have a huge trampoline that Hannah loves).  At class time, you assemble in a room off the main room for Circle Time. There are bean bags to play with while everyone gets settled, then there's music that we do a dance to.  We do the same dance/song for a couple weeks to give the kids a chance to learn it, and then they'll switch it up on us.  Then we do a song/poem that has some physical movement. Right now it's a song about fall leaves sang to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle.  The teacher passes out little paper leaves on popsicle sticks to all the kids and encourages them to follow her in doing movements that match the lyrics. (That stays the same for a couple of weeks too.) After that we learn the theme of the day (Blue's Clues the first week, Mother Goose this one) and are told to look for evidence of this theme throughout class. I'm not sure what the point of the theme is, but am guessing it's more relevant for older kids who are able to look for little blue paw prints while they're out rolling around on the mats.  Then we learn the skill of the day.  In the first class, there were two skills: log rolls and jumping.  Yesterday the skill was forward rolls.  Hannah refused to do the log rolls the first week but she did let the teacher help her do a forward roll yesterday. (We were given a schedule of themes and skills so we can incorporate those skills into our playtime with Hannah both before and after class.)

After practicing the skill of the day in the circle room, we move to the outer room where a new obstacle course is set up every week.  The obstacle course encourages munchkins to climb up, over, through, and back down. There are sections of the course set up to work on the skill for the day, there's a balance beam (Hannah's not too interested in that), and there's a really cool bridge that is a big hit with all the kids and the only way I got her out of my arms in the first class.

Parents are encouraged to help their munchkis through the course at least three times, and then we move into the free play room where the kids run around and do whatever they want. There's a giant foam mattress thing, tons of mats and soft squishy things, uneven bars, and the big trampoline I mentioned earlier. The teacher will bring out a game for the day for those kids who are interested (it was basketball the first week and giant foam blocks yesterday).  (Hannah checked out each briefly but then quickly returned to the trampoline.)  When that game is cleaned up, the teacher blows some bubbles and the kids run around popping them (except Hannah who stays on the trampoline). After bubbles the teacher breaks out the parachute.  First the kids run around on top while the parents shake it to let air bubbles in, then the kids run around below while we lift it up and let it fall around them over and over again.  Hannah showed no interest in this the first week but ran around beneath it like crazy yesterday.  After parachute play we all sit in a circle and sing the "skinna-ma-rinky-dinky-dink, skinna-ma-rinky-do, I love you" song, get stamps on feet and and hands, and then say goodbye.  Most of this program is exactly the same as when I used to take the boys I babysat so it's interesting to be experiencing it again with my own little munchkin.

The other cool thing about Hoppin Tots is that they have two free play periods a week (Wednesday evening and Friday afternoon) where you can bring your kid to run around and expend some energy. It's free to anyone registered in the current session but it's got a cap on how many can come so you have to sign up ahead of time.  For any kids not currently signed up, it's only $10.  I'd like to recruit some mom friends to come with me some Friday afternoon. Anyone interested????

Alright, my lengthy play-by-play of gymnastics class is complete.  Time for pics!!  I haven't busted out the big, fancy-pants camera yet because I'm afraid the other moms will think I'm a nut job, but I did sneak out my phone and snap a few (really starting to like having a camera in my phone...).  They're grainy and blurry, but they're probably easier on your eyes than the previous 17 paragraphs of me blabbing on and on and on....

Hannah staring at a kid on the trampoline, probably willing him to get off it so she can have it to herself.
Climbing through the donut hole mat thingy...
Running around the giant foam mat thingy (this pic is from yesterday--the others are from last week).
The trampoline is in a darker part of the room and with all the bouncing that goes on, it's impossible for me to get an even semi-worthy picture on my phone.  I'll come clean about my mamarazzi tendencies in a future class so I can get some decent shots to share.

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