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.
"You can do it," is not just an empty phrase at Texas Tumblers Gymnastics, it's the cornerstone of their entire philosophy. The coaches teach their students confidence from the get-go as they work their way through complicated recreational gymnastics or prepare for competitions. They also teach dance to kids ages 3 and older, as well as helming a program called AllStars cheerleading. The positive teaching philosophy also carries over to classes for adults. The fitness program for fully grown students includes circuit training and dance cardio classes, but does not include lessons on how to pole vault over cubicle walls.
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."
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
Gym Adventures' fun and challenging equipment helps kids ages 1–9 develop confidence-boosting might and motor skills. Enroll somersaulting striplings in 45- to 60-minute gymnastics classes, amply scheduled from morning to evening. Color-coded sessions are divided by age bracket, ensuring youngsters bond with other movers and shakers in their peer group. During exercises, students tumble over foam, bounce on trampolines, and swing fancy-free on ropes, as well as engage in Olympics-priming balance-beam and vault work. Parent/Tot Gymnastics sessions bestow rug rats' guardians with the opportunity to join in on activities and reenact Mary Lou Retton's impressive judge salutes.
At Lone Star Gymnastics, each summer day camp boasts a different energetic theme and activity plan. With camp titles such as Splish Splash, Mad Scientist, and Crazy Cooking, the gym aims to expand the campers' interests while maintaining a balance of physical and cranial activities. Enrollment is generally capped around 30 campers, but if more enroll, Lone Star will add instructors to maintain a perfect kid-to-adult weight ratio.