Getting kids started at a young age builds a strong foundation for the future?whether it's heading to competition or simply learning the value of self-discipline. At Olympic Dreams, students as young as 18 months can enroll in gymnastic classes that work to develop coordination, physical prowess, and how to execute a perfect-10 somersault. In addition to general gymnastics courses for boys and girls, the center also offers more specialized and focused classes, such as tumbling and trampoline.
Perfect Balance Gymnastics and Cheer trains kids from pre-K to high school age in the arts of gymnastics, tumbling, and cheer. Whether they're getting ready for a state championship or working on their fine motor skills, all students benefit from a crew of supportive instructors who draw from a wide range of experiences?including coaching National Champion collegiate gymnasts and winning state titles with impressive vault and floor work. Tumblers learn dizzying feats of acrobatics on the mats, while gymnasts hone everything from basic skillsets to advanced techniques. Cheer camps and classes train students in the stylish moves of hip-hop dance teams as well as the structural soundness of a perfectly designed human pyramid.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.
The YMCA Adventure Warrior Race gives kids and adults a chance to prove themselves against ropes courses, mud, water obstacles, and other unexpected mental and physical challenges—all while supporting a good cause. Amid the breathtaking views and tranquil waters of Lake Tris, runners maneuver around trees and carry heavy objects up the sometimes snow-covered Laurel Highlands mountains, climbing up to 1,000 feet as they go. Warriors aged 16 and older make a 4-mile circuit, whereas younger participants run age-appropriate distances of a half mile or a full mile. Trophies and the respect of all the woodland creatures are awarded to the top male and female runners, top male and female teams, and top co-ed team. According to the Daily American, funds raised from the race provide camp scholarships that allow kids to attend residential and day programs at the 263-acre YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles.
My Gym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 weeks—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6–8, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
The instructors at Tumble Athletics—all of whom were former college cheerleaders at Division 1 schools—emphasize precision and teamwork over somersaulting for the spotlight. During classes for 3- to 18-year-olds, they demonstrate acrobatic skills that build both strength and a sense of sportsmanship. Students rehearse maneuvers from front tumbles to back handsprings, looking to their coaches and recorded videos for feedback on their form. An 8 to 1 ratio of tumblers to teachers ensures that they each receive personalized, positive attention.