Children have flipped, tumbled, jumped, and hurled themselves into the air for more than 20 years at The Gymnastics Place. Kids practice their all-around skills on equipment that includes the vault, beam, and bars. They can also break out into specialized classes that focus on tumbling and trampolining, cheerleading, and hip-hop dancing. The center encourages adult involvement, with Mom & Tots classes—in which tots as young as 18 months old begin learning the basics of gymnastics—and boot-camp classes that ramp up fitness. Or moms and dads can get a night to themselves with Footloose Fridays: kids play and eat pizza at The Gymnastics Place, and parents can stay at home and debate the pronunciation of "Nadia Comăneci."
World Olympic Gymnastics Academy's instructors employ expertise as tumblers to elicit youthful shrieks of glee at trampoline stunts or arts and crafts successes while parents take time to treat themselves. Pizza, drinks, music, and games engross the minds of petite patrons during Friday's semi-regular parents night out, which grants patient guardians peace and a long-awaited turn on the swing. Tykes ages 3 and older tumble and twirl at the Day After Thanksgiving camp as other family members brave the madness of Black Friday shopping sprees or scarf the remaining stuffing. Antics on colorful padded mats introduce chips off the old block to the fundamentals of gymnastics or bestow them with the coordination and agility to begin dabbling in other sports. Winter and Spring Break camps tie up the interests of students with two days of training in gymnastics blended with entertaining exercises such as tumbling, trampoline, and artistic activities.
At University of Gymnastics, you won't find professors and lecture halls. Instead, you'll find a Learning Academy that melds academics, fitness, and music into a cohesive program for preschoolers. Kids can also take part in a gymnastics program that instills discipline while boosting agility and coordination. All of this was created by Dave and Lynda Rose, who passed it on to their daughter and former competitive gymnast Dayna DeProspero. DeProspero heads up a team of veteran gymnastics instructors and academic teachers who challenge students both intellectually and athletically to help them reach their goals, from competing in the Olympics to reciting a Shakespearean monologue during a balance-beam routine.
Recently opened, Texas Champion Gymnastics offers regular classes that help hone kids' athletic skills while building their self-confidence. Tumbling and conditioning classes strengthen the muscles and motor skills needed to pull off the tricky moves for vaulting up to the cereal cabinet, and recreational gymnastics classes focus on the discipline and techniques of nailing specific routines.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
The instructors at Excite! Gym, Cheer, and Dance fulfill many roles for each child, from leading dance, gymnastics, cheer, and tumble classes to ushering fun programs. They work with students preschool aged and up, focusing mostly on the physical skills needed for tumbling, cheerleading, and dance. They hold regular classes for kids to attend, and also conduct more succinct summer and holiday camps. All the while, instructors monitor their charges' progress carefully, regularly promoting them to more challenging classes as they master the skill requirements.
Equipment: Trampolines, tumble mats, foam pit, bars, beams, all spring floors.
Students should bring: Comfortable clothing, pack a lunch and drink.
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 25+
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot