With 35 years of kid-entertaining experience, The Little Gym provides a safe and noncompetitive environment wherein wee ones and maturing moppets can exercise their brains and bodies. Visiting youngsters glean social, intellectual, and emotional skills from the facility's professionally developed parent-child program, which features diverse activities in gymnastics, dance, sports, and parent-child yodeling for mountain-echoing communication more effective than a squeal. With student to teacher ratios of 7:1, kids can also safely fly solo in programs that cater to differing ages, levels of muscle development, and hatred of vegetables. Each session's hands-on activities keep the indefatigable energy motors of little tikes revving, facilitate bonding, and boost listening skills, attention spans, and confidence. Check the complete class schedule for a list of all courses and to confirm times.
Helping youngsters succeed in gymnastics comes as second nature for husband-and-wife coaching duo Rosen Manolov and Neli Manolova, whose own daughters, Rali and Iva, grew up practicing gymnastics under their direction and now lead classes at The U.S. Gymnastics Academy. Rosen’s stint as the men’s gymnastics coach for Bulgaria at the Sidney Olympics and Neli’s years of competing internationally are experiences they call upon while guiding aspiring gymnasts toward their personal goals, whether they be to join an Olympic team or to dramatically end conversations with back handsprings.
The U.S. Gymnastics Academy’s sprawling 13,000-square-foot facility provides enough elbow room for fledging flippers to flourish, and its in-ground trampolines, foam pits, and high-quality equipment ensure a safe and fruitful learning environment. The world-class coaches also host various fun and creative summer camps, where kids tumble, draw, and learn to build campfires by high-kicking kindling in rapid succession.
The acrobatic arm of the River Road Park and Recreation District, Gymnastics Northwest offers classes and parties for tumblers aged 18 months to 16 years. Reflex beams, rings, and an in-ground trampoline await first timers and intermediate students for weekly classes and events. Open-gym sessions run on Fridays for acrobats up to age 8, and Action Nights see junior jumpers aged 6–12 bound on the spring floor and feed the pommel horse every third Saturday of the month.
• For $39, you get one month of boys' or girls' beginning or intermediate gymnastics classes, held once per week (up to a $107 value, including $25 registration fee). • For $49, you get one month of boys' or girls' beginning or intermediate gymnastics classes, held twice per week (up to a $148 value, including $25 registration fee).
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a California mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children's cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes for parents, newborns, and children under 1 year that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
Metro Dance Academy helps create a love of dance and cheerleading in students through a robust slate of classes. With a wide variety of classes for students of all skill levels, the instructors at Metro Dance Academy strive to help dancers grow as individuals and as a group by fostering a positive, encouraging atmosphere. The dance program offers a curriculum that spans jazz, tap, ballet, princess ballet, hip-hop, technique, musical theater, and contemporary dance. The dance schedule runs from September through June and culminates with an end of year recital in the spring.