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 4 months old to 12 years old 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 .
Bodies vault, twist, and somersault at Olympia Hills Gymnastics, defying gravity with solid technique and strength of will. The Gymnastics team provides training for kids of all ages and fitness goals ranging from fun tumbling classes to programs that prepare students for competition. Classes include cheer clinics, parent and me classes for kids ages 10 months to three years, and power tumbling classes for ages eight and up. In these classes, students learn how to throw their bodies in the air and maintain control and balance, with a focus on safety. After learning the basics, students can progress to advanced levels by invitation or whenever they show up with newly-sprouted wings.
"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.
Though “The Machine” is an unlikely name for a little girl, flipping phenom and Sunburst Gymnastics Academy student Haley Vasquez certainly earned her title. The diminutive firecracker used her gymnastics training to tackle 143 cartwheels in less than four minutes. Sunburst’s owner and a gymnastics coach of 14 years, Nathan Britt, has fostered a fun and educational atmosphere for kids just like Haley "The Machine" Vasquez for more than 30 years.
Along with his team of skilled gymnasts, Nathan leads recreational gymnastics classes through the high school–level, training youngsters in professional events such as vault, bars, balance beam, pommel horse, and flipping into a zipped-up pair of pants. In the fully air-conditioned gym, the staff also designs and leads programs that teach skill and burn off steam for kids as young as 18 months.
For United Gymnastics' coaches, gymnastics isn't just about mastering a back handspring or having the flexibility to sink into the splits. In classes, they nurture kids to become more disciplined and confident as they strengthen their bodies and gain coordination. Parents accompany their little ones to toddler classes, which are held in a sectioned-off area with miniature, cushy equipment. Older kids advance through classes that develop tumbling and gymnastics prowess at age-appropriate levels, laying the foundations for a lifetime of physical activity.
The staff members also host birthday parties and summer camps that engage tykes with crafts and open-gym time, in which they will gain enough dexterity and flexibility to build s'mores with their feet.
Scattered across the globe like so many building blocks in the playpen of a toddler architect-to-be, Gymboree Play and Music provides wee ones up to five years old with a safe place for enriching, educational play. At more than 500 facilities across 30 countries, grown-ups come along to observe art, music, and sports classes for toddlers up to five years old, as well as their signature Play and Learn sessions.